The half-abandoned remains of the Central State Hospital in Georgia are open for tours after capturing the attention of urban explorers and ghost hunters for years.
The institute originally named, Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum was founded in 1842 and became notorious as one of the largest in the world, with over 12,000 patients by the 1960s.
Unfortunately, as was the case for many mental health hospitals post-World War Two, the hospital struggled for funding to keep going and staff had very little understanding of mental health resulting in brutal patient treatment.
Doctors wielded the psychiatric tools of the times—lobotomies, insulin shock, and early electroshock therapy—along with far less sophisticated techniques, according to Atlanta Magazine.
Children were confined to metal cages; adults were forced to take steam baths and cold showers, confined in straitjackets, and treated with douches or “nauseants”.
Today, only part of the hospital remains open and 300 patients are being treated. However, the current regimen takes a more modern, attentive approach to mental health care.
Meanwhile, over 200 other buildings on the 8,000 acres have fallen into disrepair, capturing the attention of urban explorers and ghost hunters, NZ Herald reports.
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Urbex US described the site in a Youtube video as "a perfect example of decay in an old asylum."
Viewers responded saying: "Iwish places like this would allow people to explore them, I understand people have to be idiots and mess places like this up but someone could come say the month of October or something and let people walk around I love stuff like that."
Another added: "It's supposed to be insanely haunted."
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The interest prompted Milledgeville to establish an official tour in January 2020, which now runs once a month.
The tour takes visitors around the grounds, teaching them about the hospital's complicated past and offering a sense of closure for locals involved in the institution.
Tour guide Kari Brown told the BBC: "It's important to remember the history of where we came from and how we've continued to grow and a society and in the medical profession."
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