This is a good site from PBS that gives the world-wide history.
I remember this article from years back, about Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights which had a very controversial ad campaign. Here is some related information here. And here.
Right away I admit have been a hypocrite. I have toured Dixmont after it was closed. I have toured the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and also done their Halloween Haunted Asylum attraction. I have given money to TALA in the form of paying for these tours and so contributing to the profit they make off of their ventures.
The thing is, and I don't know if this is any kind of defense of my participation. Certainly, I can't condone going to the commercial attraction part of TALA, but when I walked through Dixmont, when I toured TALA, I was thinking about the horrors of those who were abused while living there. After my experiences I spoke out loudly about how poorly individuals were treated in these "hospitals" and I was sickened by how closely the rooms at TALA for the sick resembled the cells of the prisoners at Moundsville. Not that prisoners should be treated inhumanely! And certainty many prisoners are mentally ill. But I think you get what I mean. A hospital that is more like a prison? Shouldn't a prison be more like a hospital? That is the best way to look at it.
As far as the book Asylum goes, I do think that, while capitalizing on the macabre details that attract people like me, Madeleine Roux does make it very clear that what went on at this particular "hospital" was wrong and inhumane. I can see where this would be a good discussion starter. A sneaky way to get to the root of how we treat the ill.
Project 17 was a much more interesting book, as far as entertainment goes. If I can even call it that. Ugh. But I can't recall it did that. The thing is, I am living proof that reading expands your mind and your heart. I am so much more aware of offenses that I have committed in the past, such as dropping my own contribution in the bucket of a business that mocks those who are mentally ill. And I won't commit them again.
What's Going On Here?
There are SO MANY wonderful book review blogs out there and I can't compete with them, that is for sure. So this is not a book review blog. This is just a way for me to organize what I have read so that I can be better at matching the right book to the right person. The blog title comes from the brilliant mind of the most talented woman who ever lived, Ms. Judy Garland. The full quote is, "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else." That is what I hope to do here and in ever aspect of my life.