Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Dudley Randalls, Margaret Mead and the Death of Dr. Wayne W. Glas

The nationally known poet Dudley Randall and his wife Vivian both were employed at Eloise between the late 1940s into the 1960s (and perhaps even beyond). Dudley as an assistant librarian and head librarian and Mrs. Randall as a psychotherapist and coordinator at the Wayne County Mental Health Clinic.

In 1965 Dudley founded the Broadside Press in Detroit. It would go on to become one of the most influential forums for black writers and remains that way to the present day.

In 1981 Mayor Coleman A. Young honored Dudley with the title of Poet Laureate of the city of Detroit. Along with that honor he won several national awards for both his poetry and prose.

Several Eloise administrators and doctors met very untimely demises via tragic accidents but the death of Dr. Wayne W. Glas may have been the most bizarre.

On October 2, 1965, Glas, director of surgery at Eloise, was driving to the hospital along I-94 from his home in Ann Arbor to see a patient when he was approached at an intersection by Harold L. Russell, Jr., 43, a security guard at a Chrysler plant in Detroit. Russell claimed that he was attempting to make a citizen's arrest of Glas for supposedly cutting him off earlier on the freeway when the doctor rolled down the window, laughed in his face and sped off. Russell then pulled his gun from the holster and in a botched attempt to "fire a warning shot" discharged a bullet into Glas's right eye with the capsule emerging through the top of his skull and killing him instantly. Obviously Russell's account didn't match the facts and he shot the doctor with malice.

Russell was arrested 90 minutes later at a roadblock after running into a field. In police custody he was taken to Wayne County General for treatment from symptoms of shock. He would later be tried and found guilty of second degree murder.

Dr. Milton Erickson was a preeminent psychiatrist in the field of hypnotism and served several years as the Director of Research at Eloise. The noted cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead contacted him in 1939 concerning the differences between "deep trance" and "somnambulistic" traits as it applied to Balinese dancers and their trance-like states. After several correspondences back and forth each invited the other to visit their respected city, to which Mead would venture to Eloise in 1940. She brought with her the above short documentary film Trance and Dance in Bali which she recorded with her husband Gregory Bateson while visiting in the 1930s. Although it wasn't released until 1952 she played it for interested parties including Dr. Erickson during her visit to the hospital. Erickson's wife was put under hypnosis and watched the film while in a trance to help the doctor better understand the behavior of the dancer (The entire transcript is available here starting in the middle of page 33.). His enthusiasm for the documentary was evidenced by the fact that it was screened for the Eloise staff, using it as a teaching tool to further their knowledge in the field.

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