Contributed by klstacy_home
Description: Two Violent Lunatics Watch Each Other Until Both Are CuredDate: February 25 1886
Newspaper published in: Huntsville, AL
Source: Madison County, AL Library
Page/Column: Page 4, Column 5
Two Violent Lunatics Watch Each
Other Until Both Are Cured
Dr. George W. King, Superintendent of the Hudson County Lunatic Asylum, at Snake Hill, reported to the Freeholders yesterday a cure he had effected in the cases of two patients, Patrick Ryan and John Murphy, for many months the very worst lunatics in the asylum. They were so violent that it was found necessary to confine them separately in padded cells. No keeper could approach them with safety and it was impossible to prevent them from destroying their clothing, bedding, and the furniture of the cells. After every other method of treatment had failed. Dr. King made an experiment. He put both in one cell. The keepers feared they would tear each other to pieces. Each of the patients, however, conceived the idea that he had been placed in the cell for the purpose of taking care of the other. They say from morning until night at opposite sides of their small apartment and gazed compassionately at each other. When the Doctor called on them after a week’s confinement he found them as quiet as if they were perfectly sane. Each possibly had frightened the other into good behavior.
“Well, John,” said the Doctor, addressing Murphy, “how is Ryan?”
“Oh, the poor creature is getting better, sir,” was the cool reply. ”If you leave him here with me a little longer, I’ll have him cured entirely.”
“And how do you find Murphy?” the physician asked Ryan. “Well, to tell you the truth, sir,” was the answer. “I’m afraid he’ll never be quite right in his head, but he’s not as bad as he was.”
After the men had been kept thus confined for two months, the Doctor reported, they were entirely restored to reason, and were discharged.