Friday, October 18, 2013

500 Insane In Detroit Area

The Border Cities Star, January 5, 1928
"We have a mental health crisis."

You often hear this political catchphrase bandied about any time a person shoots up a school or sets them self on fire at the National Mall. The truth is that there has always been a percentage of the population, whether through a misfiring of the brain circuitry or evil intent, that cannot and will not assuage to the norms of society.

Newspapers from a hundred years ago are fraught with the same tales of scandal, child abductions and murder, fratricide, matricide and any other pathological inequity the mind can conjure up. It's safe to suggest that technology hasn't evolved the human mind past its carnal whims and desires though it has considerably lessened the burden on the physical self.

Eloise was seemingly always bursting at the seams. Though the context for being adjudged insane wildly varied then, with petty indignities--by today's standards anyway--such as drunkenness and spousal abandonment being included in the mix.

Regardless, Eloise was overflowing in 1928. There was a waiting list of 320 and of the 1,727 patients at the facility it was estimated that 50 to 80 regularly were without a bed and slept on floor mattresses. The winter months were especially trying as the POGIES (Poor Old Guys In Eloise) filled the beds as the cold weather curtailed most employment opportunities for the outdoor labor force.

No comments: