Sunday, March 5, 2017

Writs Against the Wit of Illegal Commitment

Detroit Free Press, July 19, 1945
The surefire remedy for illegalities of law are taking out writs against judges and public officials. Such was the case of Rose Sherman who spent 6 years in Eloise under an invalid commitment. Her attorney, Roy G. Lord, brought forth the petitions before Judge Lila A. Neunfelt claiming that Sherman's evaluation was never proper adjudicated since the psychiatrists who claimed her insane never testified in court. Not to mention the fact her STEPDAUGHTER, Nellie Morofsky, signed the original petition. Needless to say, Judge Frank B. Ferguson reversed the tainted decision.

And speaking of insane people: beneath the article announcing Rose Sherman's release from Eloise is a short blurb about Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinisky breaking a 26 year silence due to his own insanity. Having not spoken for the entirety of that duration he broke into laughter, talking and of course, dancing at the sight of Red Army troops in Vienna, where he as apparently living. Meanwhile, their so-called comrade saviors reveling in the fall of evil Hitler and Germany were busy raping Auschwitz survivors. Goddamn their eyes!

Reports of nearly 1 million female holocaust survivors having been raped and twice that many German women violated by Russian troops, not to mention the wave of sexual assault on their march across Europe, was more a cause to mass insanity than the war itself but I'm jumping way off course here.

Detroit Free Press, August 8, 1945

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Another Suspicious Suicide

Detroit Free Press, August 14, 1944
While I've been perfectly content digging through and scanning my collection of vintage photos lately I realize that I have a small following here and people always want more information. Plus, there are a few Facebook pages who regularly pilfer articles to recycle as their own and never credit the fact that they picked them from the blog and I wouldn't want them to go dry. Not that I frequent their sites but occasionally a link is presented to me and within the pages there's my graphic cut and paste handiwork showcased as somebody's research. No matter. I don't own the articles but I do pay a subscription fee to regularly scour and obtain them so a quick mention would be ethical.

It would also have been ethical for the Free Press to follow-up on their articles of public importance but apparently they frequently did not. Likewise, it would have been a principled move by Eloise to contact the police within 5 hours of a suicide but such are the moral deficiencies in public and private life.

Clarence Starks, a patient for 5 months at Eloise, slashed his throat with a razor in the early hours of August 13, 1944. Which was a common occurrence at the institution. What wasn't typical was that the police weren't contacted for several hours afterwards. This prompted an investigation by Wayne County police. Detective Lt. Thomas Gentile began the inquiry but apparently nothing became of it. It's likely that Eloise agreed to more stringent reporting of violent deaths in exchange for the end of the investigation and bad press.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Women's Insane Asylum Plans, Sanitarium Addition & Other Construction Updates From 1915

Detroit Free Press, June 20, 1915 (enlarge)
I have a few mental quirks and the main one concerning Eloise is that I have little interest in the buildings themselves. As such, I don't know one individual building from another. In keeping with that tradition of ignorance I present you the drawing of the Women's Insane Asylum. A three story structure designed by Baxter, O'Dell & Halpin and built by the A. J. Smith Construction company in 1915. The frontage was 200 feet by 100 feet deep. A worthy hospital space that accompanied the ice house and boiler house that Baxter, O'Dell and Halpin had previously designed.

Sanitarium and employee housing building were also under construction. The sanitarium added 170 feet to its length and 30 feet to the width, space enough for an additional 32 patients. The employee and attendant housing project was a three-story, 40X60" brick veneer structure.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Accused Murderer & Former Eloise Patient Acquitted

Detroit Free Press, September 17, 1938
When J. Edgar Hoover phones your loony bin you know that it's serious business. Dead serious. As in murder.

Otto Himmel went to Eloise for surgery on September 8, 1938 and for whatever reason his fingerprints were sent to the FBI in Washington, D. C. Apparently, there was some sort of mechanism in place to catch fugitives and it probably targeted indigents and the insane who likely signed away their rights upon entry. Regardless of the how and why the wheels of justice moved quickly against Himmel as police from Indiana accused and charged him in the murder of Angeline Murphy at her farm where he was previously employed. He had been on the lam for four years. Of course my entire research may be tainted by misinformation as the Syracuse Journal identified the victim as "Sarah Murphy".

Either way, Himmel was acquitted as this newspaper.com preview page shows:


Subsequent searches for "Sarah Murphy" provided more blurry previews which were sufficient enough to prove that the Detroit Free Press was semi-fake news long before the term became vogue.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Patient at Eloise Jumps to Death from Window

Detroit Free Press, September 17, 1938
You'd think that with the several incidents of window jumping by patients at Eloise that bars would have been installed to prevent suicides. I guess not. The written text of this article for research purposes follows below:

Eloise Hospital authorities Sunday were investigating the death of Mrs. Julia Paniotis, 31 years old, 1517 Dix Ave., Lincoln Park, a patient, who jumped from a third story window at the hospital. Police said that she had told other inmates at the hospital that she was going to commit suicide.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Clarence Rehn, Photomatic Booth Star and Eloise Patient


I haven't been blogging much lately but have managed to dig through, research and add to my old photograph collection. While researching this Photomatic picture of Clarence Rehn and his daughter Shirley Cochrane I came across this death certificate file for Mr. Rehn:


Unfortunately, it's only a record of the file and not the actual death certificate itself which might have led to further information about his stay at Eloise. I have a similar photos of him with his wife so maybe I can track back to his fate through her.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Milton Erickson Fishing Out the Symptoms of Daddy Issues Via Automatic Writing

Detroit Free Press, January 18, 1942 (enlarge)
The career of Dr. Milton Erickson and his work in the field of hypnotism has been expounded on here previously. This article delves further into hypnotism and the act of automatic writing. Which is unconscious doodling while under a trance.

The main example in this story was of a college girl who was struggling with depression. She sought out Erickson's help and he led her to the discovery that her best friend was having an affair with her father. Subconsciously she knew this, claimed Erickson, but hadn't put the pieces together. More realistically though I think that she knew it fully but had nobody to confide in since the triangle involved three of her closest loved ones. Mix in a little Freud and you have the synopsis. Though the incidental stories included here are interesting just the same. Ditto with the farcical drawings. 

(enlarge)