Uncovering the Dark Past of Mental Health Treatments: A Look at

'Stonehearst Asylum' 

Electric Shock, Incarceration, And Mercy Kill: In The Murderous World Of Dr. Silas Lamb

Brad Anderson’s 2014-film ‘Stonehearst Asylum’ follows a mentally ill man impersonating a psychiatrist to search for the love of his life and reform the system of institutionalization in mental asylums. 

An adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether’, the film follows a 

certain “Dr. Edward Newgate” taking up a position in Dr. Silas Lamb’s sanatorium.   

Newgate witnesses Lamb’s murderous treatment methods for mental disorders—like drugging and strait-jacketing the asylum inmates in basements, electric shock therapy (ECT), and mercy killing. 

Newgate leads a revolt against Lamb and his actions result in a reformed mental institution.

‘Stonehearst Asylum’ is significant in the way it sheds light on the late 1800s’ infant notions of ‘mental healthcare’ and mental disorders—especially hysteria and ‘pseudologia fantastica’ or pathological lying and impersonation.

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