The photo is my favourite, it is so haunting . The mystery behind it all is what really brings me in . Her body position, the darkness of it all, the curtains closed to shut out all light of getting in.
More than 400 abandoned suitcases filled with patients’ belongings were found when Willard Psychiatric Center closed in 1995 after 125 years of operation. They are skillfully examined here and compared to the written record to create a moving—and devastating—group portrait of twentieth-century American psychiatric care.
This straitjacket restrained adult patients in psychiatric hospitals during the 1930s through to the 1960s. It is made of heavy canvas. It has four ties on the main body and excessively long arms. These wrap around and tie behind the back. Such garments restricted the movements of patients considered violent or unruly. Their use was phased out when anti-psychotic drugs and more ‘humane’ methods of management were introduced.
The Northville Psychiatric Hospital opened in 1952 and was considered one of the finest facilities in the country for treating psychiatric patients. Alas, 50 years later the place shuttered, but left behind a disturbing, and possibly other-worldly presence. The facility now sits derelict and subject to trespassers who are curious to see this haunting place.