Ten Days In A Mad-House
Investigative journalist Nellie Bly once pretended to be insane in order to investigate for herself reports of abuse and mistreatment at New York’s infamous insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island. After a night of feigning delusional expressions, Bly convinced unsuspecting workers at a boarding house she was, in fact, insane. She was then examined by several medical doctors and professionals, all of who likewise declared her insane.
Her accounts were first published as a series of articles in World and later published in book form, which documented her ten-day harrowing account in which she witnessed first-hand how the city’s unfortunate are fed and treated; the terrors of cold baths and cruel, unsympathetic nurses; attendants who harass and abuse patients and laugh at their miseries.
Her exposé, while poignant and chilling, resulted in sweeping reforms and an increase to the state’s budget to care for the unfortunate, improving the living conditions for all those unfortunate enough to call Blackwell’s Island “home”. Her account brought her widespread and lasting fame.