Category: Insanity!

The Starving Anarchist.

Posted by – April 23, 2017

December 8, 1886
Jansen Placed in an Asylum for the Insane and Forced to Take Food.

CHICAGO, Dec. 8—Henry Jansen, the wife-murderer, was transferred from the jail proper to the insane ward yesterday and his fast, which had continued for some days, was abruptly broken off. He was very weak from lack of nourishment, and could not have survived his course of abstinence many days longer. Superintendent Kiley determined to compel the man to take food, and to that end he prepared a very palatable concoction of brandy, sugar, milk, and eggs. As was expected, Jansen refused to take it. A muscular attendant pinioned the patient, and his clinched teeth were pried apart with a spoon. A spoonful of the mixture was poured into his mouth, and as he spattered and spat in an effort to eject it, a clasp was put down on his nose and as he gasped for breath, down went the life-giving fluid. In this painful fashion, while he writhed and roared between breaths, Jansen was compelled to swallow a gill of the fluid. Twice, later in the day, his heroically-administered meal was given him. His strength rapidly grew, although this improvement put him in an ugly frame of mind, and he denounced his saviors in the most bitter terms.

From the Collection of The Comtesse DeSpair
The 1886 Morbid Scrapbook

At Rest At Last

Posted by – December 14, 2014

December 23, 1886


The Closing Chapter of the Sad Story of Miss Pickel’s Life.

VINCENNES, Ind., Dec. 17 –A message was received from the Indiannapolis [sic] Insane Asylum at the home of Miss Lydia Pickel a day or two ago which reveals the last chapter of a sad story. The message was as follows: “Lydia Pickel is lying at the point of death. Come if you wish to see her alive.” The dying girl lived in Harrodsburg, Lawrence county. She was on [sic] of a numerous family. She accumulated a snug sum of money, which she was ambitious to invest to the best advantage. She learned that under the Homestead law she could secure a considerable tract of land with her little store of money, and with this thought in view she set out for the west. 

On the way to her destination she had to travel a long way by stage coach. One night the coach was entered by several drunken cowboys. Seeing a defenceless [sic] woman was the only occupant of the coach save themselves, they attacked her. It will never perhaps be known what really took place in the stage coach on the lonely prairie that night. It is only known that the poor girl escaped from her persecutors by jumping from the coach.

Three or four days later a woman with most of her clothes torn from her person was found wandering aimlessly about on the open prairie. When captured she was found to be hopelessly insane. Fortunately a man from Lawrence county, Indiana, was present and he at once identified her as Miss Lydia Pickel, whom he had known from childhood. A guard was provided and the poor girl was sent home, and from there to the State Asylum for the Insane. Her case was beyond the power of human skill, her mental ailment being long since pronounced incurable. Her physical health had given out.


Culled from the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair: the 1886 Morbid Scrapbook.

Upholsterer Levens Has Hallucinations

Posted by – November 17, 2013

Chico Weekly Record, Chico, California – Saturday, December 11, 1897


Told Officers That Arson and Murder Was Being Committed Yesterday.


Will be Examined on a Charge of Insanity

Jack Leven, an upholster [sic], who has been in Chico several months and has been in the employ of Jewell & Johnson at various times, has become mentally deranged and was locked up by Officers Henry and Walsh yesterday morning.

Leven had previously called upon Marshal Mansfield and told queer tales, but as he appeared harmless, he was advised to take some medicine and try and sleep off his strange delusions.

Yesterday morning about three o’clock he approached Officer Henry and gave a startling report. He said that a young woman in Yreka, named Annie Lawrence was to be murdered, and he urged the officer to save her life by telegraphing to the officials. He also said that two fires were being started in town which would destroy large business blocks. Then the officers told him to accompany them to a telegraph office, and it was only a short time until Levens was in a cell in the city prison.

The fellow was very changeable in his immaginations [sic]. He thought he had been doomed to be killed or multilated [sic], but at times he would recover his reason and talk rationally. When his reason would come to him, he would talk of his being “rattled.” He is not a drinking man. He will be held in the city prison a day or two longer, and if the physicians believe him to be insane, he will be taken to Oroville.

He formerly resided in Arbuckle, where he was well known, Claud Stanton of the hotel there being one of his friends.

Hmmmm… Don’t you wonder whether he really did have inside information regarding imminent crimes?

From the collection of The Comtesse DeSpair.


A Pretty Girl Becomes Insane

Posted by – November 17, 2013

Steele Scrapbook – January 24, 1885


Special Dispatch to The North American.

NEW YORK, Jan. 24.—A handsome twenty-year-old Hungarian girl named Xenia Orli, well known among artists as a model, was admitted to Bellevue Hospital yesterday from the Working Girls’ Home, 140 east Fourteenth street, suffering from insanity. She had been ailing some time mentally, but only became violent Friday night, when she threatened to throw herself out of the window to escape imaginary enemies. The girl has always kept her private affairs to herself, and all that is known about her is that she came from Paris four years ago, where she had some trouble with her family and separated from them


Wrapped Up In A Straitjacket And Stolen From Alf

Attempted To Cremate Himself

Posted by – November 17, 2013

Latin Reader – January 18, 188?



Made Insane by Excessive Cigarette Smoking and Applied a Match to Kerosene Oil He Rubbed on His Body.

Jersey City, Jan. 18.—Florentine Patterson, twenty-one years old of 77 Giles avenue, who was made insane by excessive cigarette smoking, attempted to burn himself to death yesterday at his home. He was released recently from the lunatic asylum at Snake Hill, and it was thought he was cured. Yesterday his mother heard him screaming in his room, and found him enveloped in flames.

He had partly stripped himself, rubbed kerosene oil on his body, and touched it off with a match. His mother wrapped a blanket around him and extinguished the flames, but not before he had been severely burned. Afterward he threatened to kill his mother and stepfather, and they had him arrested. He will be returned to the asylum.


Snatched From The Arms Of Alf