Memories From An Insane Asylum: Stories From Rockland County Psychiatric Center

Two years ago, I wrote a post about Rockland County Psychiatric Center, an abandoned insane asylum complex that is easily one of the most haunting places I’ve ever scouted.

To my amazement, more than 250 comments have since been left by former patients, doctors and nurses, and residents who lived in the area when Rockland Psych was in operation. Some of the memories shared are as heart-breaking as you’d expect; others are uplifting, funny, nostalgic, and even inspirational.

I wanted to share a selection of these with you, to allow those who knew Rockland Psych firsthand to tell its story.

001

I performed at Rockland Psych with my middle school chorus 17 years ago. I remember being really nervous to go there…Once we were inside, it looked almost exactly like your pictures, seriously chipped walls…I remember one man throwing fake grenades at us, another man removed for masturbating in his chair as we sang, and an old woman who wept loudly the entire time we performed. I have no idea how the school got away with taking us there, but they did. I have a feeling after our experience they didn’t go back again.

005

At Christmastime of 1966, my junior high school band played a concert of holiday music for the patients at the hospital. It was a bit scary, but most of all, fascinating. It was overly stimulating for some of the patients there. We got going with the sleigh bells and the whip and some couldn’t handle it and were removed by the staff. The whole experience piqued my interest and I went on to have a long career as a psychotherapist and administrator of mental health programs.

003

I grew up down the road from this hospital. We were told a lot of awful stories about it including someone escaping and killing someone in the neighborhood.

rockland

My father was a police officer in the area and was often called to Rockland Psych. He has commented on the horrible things he saw there but never went into much detail. Growing up, I remember a story of a man escaping and murdering an entire family in the house across the street.

004

I grew up in the development just behind Rockland State…There was a famous murder in 1957 from one of the patients who had escaped. I believe the murder happened on Dutch Hollow Road. 

006

I grew up one block from the hospital grounds…Soon after we moved in, a patient who escaped from Rockland State murdered a woman who lived three blocks from us. The community came together to form a civic association that talked with hospital administrators about ways to keep the community safe.

006b

I grew up down the road from the hospital. Occasionally, the police would drive around and tell all the kids to go inside because someone had escaped.

006A

I remember visiting there once as a small child but do not recall any details except the memory of a blue door with a small wired glass that my Grandmother entered through to visit her sister. She went into the facility because she lost her mind at the abusive hand of a cruel husband.

008

I was institutionalized at Rockland County Mental Institution when I was 8 years old (1965-69)…I lived in a big dormitory with 50+ children. We were lined up at shower time and lined up to go to cafeteria. I remember spending most of the day in a “day room” – most of the other kids were severely disturbed / mentally retarded. If I didn’t do as told, they would put me in an isolation room (all day). Once they tied me to a bed with wet sheets layered with ice and opened the window in winter. There was an outside play area where one of the “minders” would hit kids with a wiffle ball bat. At meals I was forced to eat and finish everything on my plate even till I puked. It was HELL!

057

I was in Rockland State Hospital in the mid-1960s. I started off in the children’s ward and I made it up into the teens ward. I also was tied down in straitjackets in strait sheets when I did not obey their orders…When you’re heavily medicated, you don’t tend to really care about anything. I also remember a young lady dying. I remember everybody said “I hope she dies, I hope she dies,” and I was saying, “no let her live,” but she died. That always stuck with me.

009

They did have some strange ways of dealing with us. When we started to misbehave, they would tie us down with icy cold wet sheets. I guess that was their way of cooling us down. The wet sheet thing I found more humiliating than barbaric. The only physical pain I received from it was when the sheets started to dry, I started to itch. Of course, there were the straitjacket and the itchy room but that was it.

009c

Do you remember when all of us were left alone during the evening to clean that long hallway in cottage 3? Boy do I remember! We soaped the hallway down, took of our gowns and started sliding down the hallway. We would slide all the way down to the end of the hallway where a hot steaming radiator was awaiting us. We would try to break before we hit the radiator but the soapy floor proved to be too challenging and we ended up hitting it butts first. POW! Boy did that sting…Yes, we had some bad times but we had some good times too and we made the best of it. We were “The Little Rascals of Rockland.”

094

I was a patient at Rockland State back in 1961. Even though it did have all those weird and creepy people, remember that they were people in need. When I got there I was given a ground pass. I was 15…I used to run around the ground and I knew practically all the case care personnel workers…I had some very happy times. Its been 50 years and I would like to see it before is gone. I was there for 6 months…All the workers at Rockland hospital were very good people.

010

I worked at Rockland State Hospital… It was both interesting and training for the rest of my life as I worked as medical transcriptionist. Met my husband there, he was an attendant in Bldg. 58 which housed maximum security patients. One night a patient forced another employee by gun point to take him into New York City by via Tappan Zee Bridge so he wouldn’t get charged with kidnapping by going thru NJ. He was captured soon afterwards.

011

I did my nursing psych rotation here in the 80′s. There was a metal door locked behind you every where you went. I was in a ward with men who had been institutionalized for many years. One guy was in his 40′s and had been there since he was a teenager. He started a fire, killed his family. Most of the men seemed to wander in circles…and had few teeth due to the psych meds (which makes your mouth very dry).

012

I was there and didn’t belong in that place. But it was a safe haven for me and many like me. There were good times as well as bad times. I remember a young lady on our ward that died there. I also remember meeting the love of my life there. Too bad I didn’t know that until I chased him off. But in life there are ups and downs. You have to take the hand that you are dealt and make the best of it.

013

I worked at RPC from 1970-1991 as a psychologist, in many of those buildings…I rescued a patient who had just hanged herself in one of those windows, and a year later I discovered (too late) that same patient in the act of strangling to death another patient. During the years I worked there, an employee, working alone at night in a building for more functional patients, was stabbed to death by one of her patients. Too many patients were beyond my capacity to help, but I found gratification in helping those who under more fortunate circumstances would have been dear friends.

035

A friend and I were playing at the nearby reservoir and stopped some kid that lived there from drowning himself. He jumped in because we were swimming..but he didn’t know how to swim!! We threw him a rope that we used to swing on.

017

My mom was a patient at that hospital as well as many other institutes in NY. I remember visiting my mom for weekend visits. One visit she was in a white gown, her hair wild than ever and she was drooling out of her mouth, She looked like a zombie…She had also gone under the lobotomy and other sick things:

022

I grew up in N.J.just over the Rockland County line. My first memory of Rockland State was of hearing my parents talking about a “lunatic” who had just escaped from the hospital. I didn’t know what a lunatic was at 6 or 7 years old, but I could tell by the way they acted that I should be scared. My mother eventually used that fear to keep me in line by saying “you better be good or the lunatic will get you.” My ears still go up when I hear that word.

040

The building you said looked like a bus stop? It was, buses to the city and surrounding areas. They also had a barber shop in there, where I got my hair cut. When I walked over I used to have to check in to the guard gate, I was always afraid they would keep me in there. As I walked by, there were people in the “porches” area out front and they would yell at me, crazy stuff.

081

The power plant was coal powered and the coal train used to come right by our house along with the dalmatian dog and waves from the engineer.

082

My dad was just telling me today that he remembers being a kid, growing up in Tappan, just five or so minutes away, and occasionally hearing the Asylum’s alarm go off, indicating that someone had gotten out. Scary to imagine!!

025

I moved to Blauvelt in Nov 1958 and I distinctly remember the sirens going off whenever a patient supposedly escaped. I also remember when they stopped the alarms because the frequency was upsetting the residential neighborhoods.

026

My mother worked there for years, as did some of her friends, and as a teenager I would sometimes stop by…The grounds were always well-kept, and yes, as an institution it did have that institutional look, but it was not creepy…Lobotomies? Maybe in the early days – I have no idea – but definitely not in the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s. And as for the sirens calling patients back to the hospital – that is a load of crap, but I guess it does make for good lore.

027

I worked two summers at the school. Remember getting my set of skeleton keys that would open the heavy doors. For the past 40 years whenever someone has said “I’ll lock you in” I always think of that heavy door shutting and the sound of the keys.

032

I lived at Home 26, room 90 which housed female staff. A small room maybe 8×12 with a bed, sink, TV, little fridge and a hotplate. My friend at that time worked there and allowed me to stay. It was quite a small minority-type city. The staff buildings had day rooms on each end used for many card games, drinking and socializing. The hospital had its own drug dealers, loan sharks, police and fire…Eventually I was removed and barred from the ground due a drunken brawl. The 1970′s were a difficult time for a white man to be living with a black female.

034

It was a city unto itself, even with it’s own fire and police department. It was a difficult time in the treatment of psychiatric illnesses. Some of the treatments were very harsh and I cringe remembering being a part of them. Thorazine and Stelazine were just introduced. Many patients received insulin shock. I know there were many patients institutionalized who didn’t belong there, but then there were patients who were so sick that I couldn’t imagine how they could live without some sort of protection that Rockland did offer.

IMG_3617

There were over 20,000 patients during that time. The treatment of geriatrics was so difficult and to my mind, there was plenty of abuse…I was only 18 at the time and had never seen mentally ill patients. It was there that I learned deep compassion for the human condition and spirit. I still work in the mental health field today & will never, ever forget what Rockland taught me about humanity.

034a

My father’s family had been living in the area for a very long time, and my aunt knew the director of the place very well. Whenever she wasn’t happy with how I talked or behaved she would tell me how easy it would be for her to call him on the telephone and have me disappear forever.

034b

[There were] tunnels that ran underneath the grounds, which allowed them to take patients from one building to another without being allowed out on the surface. They were gradually closed off with locked gates and I only ever saw bits of them. The people that worked in the hospital were afraid of them and used to talk about rats but I think what they were afraid of was not rats.

099

We had a whole bunch of legends at school of Rockland Psych. A lot of the sports teams used to send their freshman there as some sort of hazing challenge. And during Halloween time tons of kids would break into some of the buildings. One big legend about the place was that one of abandoned roads lead into the forest that would lead into an alternate dimension. Supposedly the further into the forest you went you would feel colder and colder and as you would look back it would start to blur. No missing students that I know of so I guess they eventually turned back. Also heard of students who went there coming back and feeling “odd” or “ill” because they had brought back a spirit. Usual collegiate stuff.

096

Looking at pictures now and thinking “how horrible”, isolated stories, and movies such as One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest….. do not fairly portray the whole picture. I am sure for every nurse Ratchett there were numerous Florence Nightingales and for every lobotomy there were numerous patients who were treated differently. The grounds, buildings, and facilities were beautiful and kept up very well.

037

Although it was an insane asylum, or rather a psychiatric hospital, it was always brimming with activity, with many people (patients and employees) walking around, from one place to another. The large cafeteria was often crowded and the church on the grounds too. And I can tell you I was never afraid walking around the campus. Was it because I was young and didn’t think? No I don’t think so. Bad things can happen anywhere and all the times that I was there and all the years living near there, there were no more frequencies of incidents than in the world beyond those gates.

038

My grandfather…emigrated to NYC as a young Irish boy, and became a very successful business person. He married my grandmother, and they had 6 children…The research I have done on my family indicates that grandfather had a serious problem with “the drink”, and spent many years drinking heavily, drying out at places like Rockland; and he eventually lost his career, and left his family while in his 50s, for the Bowery in NYC (around 1926). My grandfather died at Rockland Psychiatric Hospital/Institute in 1936 after a stay of about 18 months. He had a very sad ending to his life, and our family is still riddled with alcoholism.

I began drinking at a very early age, and watched most of my family members struggle with the disease of alcoholism. I was blessed to have found a 12 Step recovery program about 29 years ago, and have been able to maintain continuous sobriety since then…I am no better a person than my grandfather, just a bit luckier to have been born in a time when alcoholism was better understood, and more positive help was available.

040

As teenagers we would cross the state line and drive the grounds of the hospital “looking at the “lunatics”behind the screened in porches. We drove up to an old gentleman who was sitting on a bench and I asked him how he was doing and he said “I’m mindin’ my business and you do the same.” Words to live by.

001

Thank you to all who left memories. To read these comments in full and many more, check out the original posts here: Part 1 & Part 2.

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34 comments

  1. Both my parents worked at Westborough State Hospital in Westboro, MA. My father was a security guard, and my mother worked for a while in the kitchen, then as the hairdresser. It was a rural hospital and a complete farm. They had their own dairy and grew all their own vegetables, and the patients did a lot of the work on these farms. Once a month they would have dances and the music was provided by an orchestra with both staff and patients. I have very good memories of attending those dances. I had no problems dancing with the patients even as a 15 year old in the mind 1950’s. The hospital has been closed for many year, and I remember reading that some of the buildings have been town down and the land sold. I am sure there were some problems, but I never saw them. Maybe I was just oblivious, and just enjoyed the time I spent there.

  2. Thanks for this post, Scout. Interspersing the damn good photos and the comments brings it alive.

  3. You most certainly are the most interesting man in the world. Nowhere else can one find such meticulous photographs and fascinating narratives to accompany them.

  4. Patty Barrett Graves

    I worked here for about 3 years when I was in high school and the year after I graduated. I worked in the recreation department and we were responsible for taking the patients out for fun. Mostly on the grounds; baseball games, swimming, bingo, dances, game night, etc. It was an experience I have not forgotten. I tell my friends it was just like the movie “One Flew Over the Cookcoos Nest.” The patients were very insane and very heavily medicated. It was amazing that we as teenagers were aloud to take groups out. Employees were given large skeleton keys that opened all the doors to the wards. Without this key you were very vulnerable. I also worked in the research building, which was basically a human guine pig unit. Testing very hard narcotics on the patients that were signed into the ward by their families for money, I believe. It was very sad, a patient Ruth whom I had worked with in another unit was sent their by her family and she went totally insane and begged me everyday to get her out. I couldn’t do anything. No one cared. I became very close friends with many of the patients because they were so happy to have someone who was nice to them, who cared about them. I learned a lot about mental health back then and didn’t even know it. The brain and its breakdown. I’ll never forget that place or those people.

  5. We adopted our dog from the Rockland Psychiatric Center – in the winter 2004. There was a kennel set up there for abandoned dogs, and they were cared for by some of the patients. We responded to an ad on Petfinder and ended up driving to the Psych Center. I don’t know at this point how much of the facility is still in use or whether this program still exists, but our dog, who was found on the streets of Paterson NJ and was brought to the center, lived with us for 9 years before he died last summer.

  6. Check out Kins Park Pshyc in Kins Park LI.

  7. Synchronicity!
    I just re-posted actor Jack Nicholson’s recent post, and WOWSERS! I come across what appears to be a “Cuckoo’s Nest” of an asylum.Incredible photography…and stories!
    tv’s “American Horror Story” and their second season, has nothing on this!

  8. This is the first time I’ve left a comment, although I’ve been reading your blog for some time (and can finally give some $!). Places like this institution have always held a fascination for me, and this post, along with all of the comments and photos, was really thought-provoking and touching. I’ve never been to New York, but I enjoy how I’m able to experience all of these amazing places through your posts. Thank you.

  9. This is beautiful, both the photographs and the comments. It brings up a lot of memories from my times as a patient in psychiatric hospitals. Thank you for choosing to give a breath of humanity to these experiences.

  10. Randen Frykberg-Siegel

    Another place of my childhood , passing by the rusty wrought-iron gates and covering my eyes . I attended the school a couple blocks down the street . I’ve attended Little League games for my siblings at the fields that now occupy a good portion of the still used space on the property . I’ve always wanted to go for a little photo-walk around the grounds rather than just drive through it to get to friends houses in the suburbs on the other side . I’ve heard may ghost stories set on the grounds which ironically only heightened my interest . Rockland is my home , which makes me less impressed with the surroundings , yet at the same time I can say from my personal experiences Rockland ( Let alone Orangetown ) is a strange place …

  11. You should try to check out Letchworth Village in Haverstraw.

  12. This documentary you made was amazing. But I’m so sorry you were instituted in that horrible place.i have a question if you don’t mind,I’m actually doing a project on life in an insane asylum, but what were the people like? We’re they really insane or did they lose their sanity after being tortured there? If you could reply that would be great,thank you so much and this documentary you made is a lot of help and REAL information,thanks again!

  13. i was in the newly built buildings of rockland phsic center n i could see the old building when they would let us go outside or from and barred window

  14. I believe my father was institutionalized there when I was a boy roughly the years 1955 – 1958. Would you know whether it is possible to obtain his psychiatric records?

  15. Is this facility still in use today, what are any plans for these buildings. This web page brought tears to my eyes. Finally, some good stories and memories can come from this. I was in Horizons in Clearwater, Florida. The patients were mean and so was the staff. It added more problems to the problems I already had. In Calif., in the 80’s, they had the best, best mental health programs. They saved my life, literally…I want to see more on this facility, how many deaths, how many people passed through those gates, time it was open till it closed. Thank you for sharing all this info, your a blessing to those who wonder.

    • Sharon Finley what a small world. I live in Clearwater Fl. and have been a patient at Horizon a few times. It is now called Windmoor and I have been a patient there under that name as well.

      Horizon/Windmoor has it’s problems but was no where near the brutal experience I went through in the 70’s at the state hospital in Pontiac Michigan. I was in and out of there from age 15 to 21 when I finally got free of that state it’s insane psychiatrists and moved to Florida. I had initially been placed there after the death of my father when I was 15 because I had a bipolar episode.
      I accept the fact that I have an illness called bipolar but I still strongly object to the kinds of ‘treatment’ offered still in many of our nations mental health facilities, including and especially those getting their ‘treatment’ in the prisons.

      Very interesting website here. Congrats on your work Nick.

  16. I am a student at Washtenaw Community College in Michigan and I’m doing a research paper on psychiatric hospitals and the difference between them around the 1950s and now, would there be any way that I could ask you some more questions about Rockland County Psychiatric Center?
    It would help a lot!
    Thanks

  17. When I was 8 years old I was put into an insane asylum, I commited some pretty harsh crimes. I would prefer to not talk about them but if someone really really wants to know about them (NOT IN DETAIL!!!) I can (and will) Explain what I did. I often got tied down to the wet frozen blanket. I will say one thing that I did. Never mind, I can’t say it.
    Even just thinking about what I did has bought tears to my eyes…
    I remember the one cold damp room they had in my part of the psych center…
    I never went in there because I usually followed the rules I only broke the rules 3 times total.
    I did have a friend there though. His name was Ben T.

    • My name is Ben
      And I was in an insane asylum when I was 9, my last name was Therrence.
      I had a friend with your name so, Oh my god.
      Henry it’s nice to talk to you again

    • Kimberlie Morrison

      Oh my goodness, the fact two patients reunite makes me smile. <3
      & about your mental illnesses & the crime you've committed… I just want you to say you're not alone, which I am sure you now realize that. I am 18, & I have been to several mental institutions, I too, have committed a few things I rather not speak about publicity… I refer to my mental illnesses as 'special powers'. I've leaned a lot about my issues and how to cope and I more than likely headed back to a log-term facility… however I want to say thank you bc I now realize that I'm not the only rather young person who've done some (I don't like the word crazy, but I've done some things that would amount to the words 'crazy' things) I hope you andBen reunite and whatnot, that was amazing. :)

      have a good day/evening whatever your timezone may be. Enjoy!

    • I was hoping to contact you about your experiences there and if the institution helped you at all.

  18. Harsh crimes at 8 years old? I’m sorry for whatever must have occurred in your life prior to 8 that would have turned you into a criminal at such a young age. I can’t imagine a life imprisoned behind these walls would have been a healing experience for you. So tragic.

  19. Christine Donnelly was a patient from 1965-1968:
    At NY Rockland Psychiatric. She was a quiet, exceptionally beautiful, slender, elegant, black haired, white woman, who defended herself against extraordinary physical and mental abuse by her husband.
    She was not a criminal or insane.
    I want to find others who knew her there: either patients or doctors. She told me she was electro shocked, drugged, ridiculed, raped, and mentally abused by others there. When she left she was no longer beautiful. She was 200 pounds and never regained her senses. I want to know if this can be verified.

    • I’ll verify that what she told you is likely to be the truth. Things were extremely harsh for patients back in those days, especially for attractive women.
      Rockland State makes PTSD in people, they don’t help them.
      While i was inpatient in 2000, there were still rapes going on in the high rise newer section of building (57 and it’s attachments).
      I also was sexually harassed by a staff member of Saudia Arabian descent. When i reported it, the treatment team did nothing.
      I was lucky to have my wits about me, or likely i’d have end up being victimized like others on the wards i was on.

  20. I just came onto your post and found it quite interesting. I am also associated with houston psychologist, houston counseling and love to enjoy the stuff on the same as its rarely found on internet. Thanks again for writing such a good post.

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  21. I worked in Kitchen 4 mostly for 5 1/2 years. I started my 20th birthday in 1978. I also worked in food service in Buildings 32, 35, 57. I was on the wards everyday bring meals. Lots of time I spent in Building 10. I saw things that were amazing all the time. The place definitely has a haunting feeling. I saw patients run head first into walls, smashing their heads against tables, patients telling me they were going to die and were dead hours later and a hundred other wild things. It was a city in itself really. Employees playing the numbers, drugs, lots of drinking, affairs. Working there made an impression on me I shall never forget. Incredible place.

  22. I worked as a security guard in a place like this. Everyone resigned in less than a week on the job…want to know why? Insurance had to mandate a Detex system, meaning that there were 70 stations set up. Each station is a barcode. You take the tour wand and walk to all 70 stations (usually one station per room) and swipe it/scan it. At the end of your shift the wand is downloaded in a computer system that displays the date and times of all the stations you went to. We had to hit everyone. It shows that the guards are not sleeping and actually doing their rounds.
    Guards were scared to death. They just wanted to find a comfy little cozy place to sleep on nightshift. When you are working alone at night and walking around with a flashlight you’d think back on all the ghost stories. The worse location was a basement loaded with sarcophaguses. And there was another station in the middle of the cemetery. I worked there for about a year and found a better job. Did I see ghosts? I only saw shadows and hear a lot of eerie noises.

  23. Why not help a local enterprise by making use of a nearby removals company.

  24. Hello,

    My mother used to work at Rockland State Hospital during the 60s and 70s. I used to go to work with her and she also shared her experiences. Please feel free to contact me.

    • Hi Mr./Ms. Williams,
      My aunt was institutionalized (we think) at the Rockland State Hospital in the 60’s. Does your mother know where we might be able to find any information on documents/death cert’s, etc.? My aunt died in 1966 at the hospital and I was too young to know what was going on. My sister and I are trying to find out information about her and her demise there. Thanks for any help you or your mom can provide.

  25. Visiting Rockland Psychiatric to deliver Christmas presents for internees, I was astounded to discover an electrical shock machine. The device was hideous! Before exiting, this PE Engineer ensured that terrible
    device would never again function.

  26. I remember the horror stories my mother told me of being committed to Rockland State Hospital. My grandfather had been an abuser of his children. My mother was raped by him, beaten, and constantly belittled, and abused. She approached her mother at about 8 years old and looked to her, to rescue her from the abuse. Her mother who’s only support was her husband looked at her with great fear, and anger and called her a liar. She ran away from home a number of times and was brought back time, and time again by the police and beaten over and over. She stole money to be able to hide out in the movie theatre to stay late until my grandfather had fallen asleep where she would slip back into the house late at night hoping not to awaken the monster that abused her. At age 9 her parents had talked with a social worker and they put together a story accusing my mother of being a liar and a troubled child. The social worker convinced them to make her a ward of the state where she was interned or imprisioned in the Rockland State Hospital. Upon entering into her ward or cottage as they called them (3 cottages for girls, and 3 for boys) she was not let out of the building for the next year. Never to walk on a play ground or feel grass underneath her feet, seemed to bring a feeling of helplessness and anger at the world. The staff seemed very distant and uncaring. More like babysitters, or prison guards, who had many forms of punishment for those who got out of line and became discipline problems. It was more like being a prisoner of war than just going to prison. The punishments she received were being stripped, and put into an ice bath, or ice sheets, a very dehumanizing punishment. Many times she was put into isolation, A small room with a single bed where you barely could put your feet to the floor on the side of the bed, and a toilet (no sink or bath). The window had bars on the outside but you couldn’t see out since the window was frosted. The door was split at the middle and had no window, only a slot that opened at the center to place a meal for the patient. There were no books to read or anything to do in there . More or less days spent staring at the walls and ceiling and being alone with ones thoughts. Electroshock therapy as it was called, was one of the more severe punishments where the patients were taken out and later came back confused and crying. Some had memory lapses of what had happened that day, and some couldn’t remember their own names, but eventually after a few hours returned to somewhat a normal state, although they seemed different, in that they withdrew from the others for a while. Their were stories, and threats of the most severe cases being labotomized although she never personally witnessed this punishment. It was a fear of many there. For the most part she felt that most of the girls in her ward were like her. Not mental patients with some mental problem but more just abused children that were discarded by family’s looking to get rid of the problem they created. As for her relationship with the other girls,, she says their was a social order determined by how tough you were. At night when the staff locked the patients in and they disappeared, the challenges of position thru fights in the cottage would begin. My mother participated in a few of these fights and she had obtained the fourth position but decided not to bring challenge any further to the top three girls. Not that she would have lost but she felt she didn’t need to go further than she had. She had witnessed some of the older girls in the ward being raped multiple times there. She believes that since she was younger she was left alone.After a visit from her grandmother, her grandmother seeing the conditions there and being in fear of her granddaughters life there, went to my mothers parents and demanded them to get her out. For a time she stayed with her grandmother who tried to give her some peace from the life of hell she had been victimized in for so long. When my mother and father met she was a bitter and angry person and her father even told her she was too guy for anyone to care about her. Truthfully she was no at all ugly but was made to feel worthless and it took years before her life became stable in her mind, and she was able to forgive those who abused her, although the scars are still on the inside, and out.

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