Human history has an extremely patchy record when it comes to the treatment of the mentally unwell. Doctors, baffled by the behavior of their patients, have pointed the finger at everything from demonic possession to divine inspiration, but for the individuals themselves things rarely end well.
Often such people were seen as an embarrassment or an inconvenience to their families, to be kept out of sight. In a world driven by money this inevitably led to the rise of the asylum, where patients could be safely forgotten under the gossamer-thin guise of “treatment”.
Such treatments were often brutal and misguided, and thankfully much of that age is now behind us. However, in the ruins of the abandoned asylums that remain we have a haunting reminder of the cruelties of our past.
Here are six abandoned asylums, and the stories they tell.
1. Volterra’s Sanitarium
2. The Orlovka Asylum
3. The Colorno Psychiatric Hospital
4. The Manicomio de Mombello
5. Abandoned Brazilian Mental Hospital
6. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Top Image: Abandoned asylum interiors offer a haunting testament to the mistreatment of the patients housed there. Source: Aliaksandr Siamko / Adobe Stock.
By Joseph Green