Over the weekend I was exploring online which lead me to the internet rabbit hole going from one site to the next. That is where I came across this unbelievable read by Nellie Blye called Ten Days in a MadHouse.
Synopsis: Undercover journalist Nellie Bly pretends to be an insane person to get herself sent to a mental institution where she exposes everything that goes on at Blackwell’s Island insane asylum.
The book brought to life in 1887, Ten Days in a Madhouse is a non-fiction, biography, autobiography story of a 23 year old young woman showing bravery and determination in unmasking the truth that was hidden away by the white-capped nurses, bolts, and bars from the knowledge of the public.
I thought by the title of this book it would be written for exploiting the patient’s mental illness who were at the asylum, but that wasn’t the purpose of the book. Some of the patients seemed normal and shouldn’t have been placed into an institute by their loved ones without having a proper psychological evaluation.
What bothered me is how the nurses got away time and time again with their disgraceful and inhumane behavior towards the patients. This book wouldn’t be recommended for the faint-hearted.
Not an easy book to read, however, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. In this case, after the success of Nellie Bly’s writings, an investigation was set up as well as money invested in improving the asylum.
A few quotes from the book.