Ten Days in a Madhouse


Nellie Bly

On September 22,1887, Elizabeth Cochrane Seamen was asked by the New York World if she would be willing to go undercover inside the New York Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island in order to write an expose on the treatment of patients in the asylum. The only instructions she was given were to “Write up things as you find them, good or bad, give praise or blame as you think best, and truth all the time.” Cochrane, who wrote under the sobriquet “Nellie Bly”, optimistically accepted the assignment.

Bly’s biggest hardship would be to first be declared insane and be admitted to the institution. She also worried about being discovered before her assignment was complete. The newspaper wanted her to go incognito so that she could observe exactly how patients were treated as there were rumors that patients were being abused and that conditions in the asylum were deplorable. If her identity was discovered, conditions in the asylum might be altered so as to conceal the real treatment of patients. The final hurdle for the undercover reporter would be getting out once having been declared insane.
Continue reading


Fort Lowell: Tucson, Arizona


In mid-August 2005, when I first moved into my apartment complex (Apartment #113), I was single and living solo for the first time EVER. It wasn’t too long after I moved in that I got into a routine: cook dinner, eat, clean up, watch television, climb into bed, read and fall asleep. What an exciting life. I’d been living there a month and I don’t know why, but I started to imagine something watching me from the bedroom door, which was facing the bathroom on the other side of the very short hallway. Of course, I brushed these feelings off as being my wild imagination because I was now living alone. At least, that’s what I suspected at first.

One night, I woke up in the middle of the night. Half-asleep, I stumbled across the hallway to use the facilities. I shut the door, took care of business and washed my hands. Still groggy, I stumbled back to the bathroom door, opened it, and took a step into a very tall and handsome man dressed up in a nice button shirt and jeans– he looked like a cowboy/vaquero. Having run into him, I immediately apologized with a quick, “Sorry, didn’t know you were there” (spoken aloud), and I backtracked into the bathroom, shutting the door behind me. Continue reading