Day in the Lyfe Graffiti Magazine’s Online Blog Updated daily with graffiti, street art and original photography from around the world.

Author: KNOX HARRINGTON

Tru

Fuck Em

Western State Lunatic Asylum opened its doors in 1828 its first two patients were men suffering from religious excitement and excessive study. One left a few months later, the other stayed there until his death 1852. They represented the harsh division of patients, those that could be cured and the others that were there for life.

The Asylum’s first superintendent Francis Stribling believed in “moral therapy”, treat the mentally ill with respect and they will in turn respect themselves.  The original buildings reflect the time when psychiatrists believed that architecture could cure mental illness.  The designer of these buildings, Thomas Blackburn, was President Jefferson’s personal architect.  It was said at the time that the hospital’s Pleasure Garden was so beautiful that the town’s people would all come and picnic on its lawns.  Stribling didn’t like the town’s young men cavorting about with his female patients, and so he erected a fence to keep the town’s people out.

Things began to get a bit darker at Western State Hospital under its new superintendent, Dr. DeJarnette.  DeJarnette was a firm believer that mental illness was hereditary, therefore the “feeble-minded” and “sexual promiscuous” needed to be sterilized.  Over the course of the next 40 years, 1,205 sterilizations were performed at Western State mostly to teenagers and young adults.  He performed 649 of them personally.

DeJarnette did not embrace the moral medicine that his predecesor had practiced.  Instead he would have patients bound to their beds for hours at a time, induce insulin comas where a patient would be given an overdose to cure them of their addictions and suicidal thoughts. And of course electroshock, a procedure that caused such violent spasms as the current jolted through your body, that patients were known to break vertebrae and limbs.

Can you see the ghost?

 

A few years later in 1954, the hospital was averaging nearly 25,000 procedures a year on some 2,700 residents including one of the most horrific procedures at the time, the transorbital lobotomy.  The so-called “ice-pick” lobotomy was popularized by Dr. Walter Freeman, a man who would perform the procedure on as many as 20 patients a day in the Virginia during a 12-day tour he dubbed “Operation Ice-Pick.”  The procedure which he taught to many psychologists at the time involved inserting an 8 inch orbitoclast into a patient’s eye-socket then breaking through the skull and into the brain cavity with a metal hammer.  Then the psycho-surgeon would attempt to sever the connections between a patients frontal lobes blindly, usually while the patient was either awake or semi-conscious thanks to receiving a dose of electro-shock.  Patients would lose all their creativity and become docile human sacks at best, hemorrhage out at worse.

 

There are almost 3000 people buried in the cemetery at the Old Western State Mental Asylum.  It is the final resting place of confederates, union soldiers, veterans of WWI and WWII as well as Korea and Nam.  Some died of old age, some of suicide, many from psychiatric experiments, and more from pseudo-science like eugenics and psycho-surgeries.  The most striking feature of the cemetery is the rows and rows of unmarked graves.  At the time for patient confidentiality numbers were painted on the graves in place of names.  The hospital has been closed for over 40 years, and at this point not a single number remains on a grave.  Leaving thousands of dead mental patients rotting away in unmarked graves.

 


 

Last week was pretty awesome. I travelled down to Virginia with my friends Caroline and Ian, along with a tv production crew to film a sizzle for our new TV show. We’ve been working on the show for over a year now.

The original pitch was called America Underground, we filmed it last year when I was in NYC editing Loosies. We went under New York and explored the Atlantic Avenue Line, checked out the African Burial Grounds on Duane Street, and followed the IronMiners into some of the abandoned iron mines in the upstate area. Then we put together a 3 minute pitch video.

Our manager showed it around for about 6 months and we were rejected by a number of outlets, until finally we were picked up by the production branch of one of America’s big three broadcasters.

Looking forward to telling you guys more about it over the next few months if we get the show.

Seriously you have to watch this video.

Flickr Video

Spotted somewhere in Ohio.

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That’s right folks your favorite graffiti movie of all time Day in the Lyfe has made a surprise cameo in this extended trailer from Banksy’s Exit through the Gift Shop.  Look for the clip at :37 seconds of ANTHRAX tagging with a burning can!

By the looks of it Banksy’s archivist has been scouring in the web looking for the best graffiti clips to add to their street art love fest.  We can only thank them for being fans of our shit.

Flickr Video

Original Footage

Day in the Lyfe wishes Diar a Happy Birthday!

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dark akae fst

New Video from FST

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0rWWE8LnsM

Got to love / hate the fact that so many people post your movie on the interwebs.