Friday, 11 November 2011

Pictures at an exhibition. . .Part 3

The pursuit of phrenology at Am Steinhof involved measuring the size and shape of the head. From the measurements it could be deduced that a patient suffered from a mental abnormality and also in some cases the nature of the mental disease could be recorded: e.g. Mongoloid. The brains of many patients were stored in glass jars in the cellars to await post mortem analysis and further scientific investigation.

In Am Steinhof the colour of an individual's eyes could be a factor in determining his fate. Doctor's used glass marbles such as these for comparison. Your chances of survival were doubtless better if you had blue eyes.

On the left a chair where a patient would sit to be measured. Note the angular strip of wood used to separate the buttocks. Symmetry, or lack of it, may have been a factor in diagnosing mental illness. On the right a machine for giving electric shock treatment. These kinds of devices are still used to treat schizophrenics. At Am Steinhof the large pads would be affixed to a patient's temples and a sudden jolt of electricity would be transmitted through them which would subdue an excited or aggressive individual. Or maybe result in his death.

(to be continued...)

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