It’s Spooky Season: The Weston State Hospital

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Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Atomic Geography
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    says:

    Interesting piece. The first of these Kirkbride institutions, the New York State Inebriate Asylum in Binghamton, NY is a couple of miles from my house. I actually visited it while still in use when I was a caseworker in the 70’s.

    Mostly interior photos of that facility can be found here. I imagine they are similar to what Weston looked/looks like.

    The NYSIA is currently under renovation and will house one of the Clinical Campus’ for Upstate Medical University. I hope Weston can find a way to a similarly useful fate.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Atomic Geography
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      says:

      I agree. I’m a bit torn on its current use. I think the name it goes by now is pretty offensive, and some of the events they have there are (in my opinion) disrespectful to its history and the people who lived there.
      On the other hand, it does bring in much needed tourist money, and proceeds that are being put to good use in restoring and preserving the buildings and land.Report

  2. Avatar Christopher Carr
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    says:

    It’s interesting reading about these practices through the lens of Foucault’s History of Madness: it was almost inevitable that mental castration would be a normal and accepted way to neutralize noncompliant members of any Modernist society.

    I wonder what is the modern equivalent. Immigration? The Drug War?

    Also, the phrase “menstrual hysteria” is redundant, as the very word “hysteria” is pathogenically linked to the uterus by definition.Report

  3. Avatar Em Carpenter
    Ignored
    says:

    Christopher Carr: Also, the phrase “menstrual hysteria” is redundant, as the very word “hysteria” is pathogenically linked to the uterus by definition.

    True, but I think they mean PMS, as in, the hysteria kicks up around the time of menstruation.Report

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