This place has a truly horrific past- *all kinds* of experiments were conducted on these people 
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 This place has a truly horrific past- *all kinds* of experiments were conducted on these people

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Giving Names To The People Nobody Wanted To Know
Susan Campbell

May 29 2005

Thomas Masterman died in 1914 at age 52, William L. Miller at age 73.

The words were nearly lost on the wind - the names and ages and death
dates of former patients at Connecticut Valley Hospital, read in a
ceremony Wednesday during a nor'easter that braided the trees overhead
and pushed the sky so low, you could almost touch it.

James Foley died in 1914 at age 43, Michael Dumbrowski at age 50.

These people were supposed to go away, away from society and away from
their families, especially. In life, society gave them many names:
imbecile, idiot, insane. But in death, they gave them only numbers.

Mary Fraser died in 1914 at age 48, Lillie C. Johnson at age 29.

The idea for a naming ceremony started about 15 years ago, when Robin
Hall, wife of the then-new Congregational minister in town, the Rev.
John C. Hall, took a bus tour of the hospital that went past the old
cemetery. She came home to tell her husband how sad were the rows of
numbered stones, and he went to see for himself.

He found the grounds solemn and sobering. The cemetery is divided by a
road, but the bulk of the unnamed graves rest lower on the hill that
the hospital crowns. The dead include {*filter*}agers, some people in their
70s and infants and their mothers, some of whom are buried off to the

But Hall would learn the stories of the graves only later. For years,
the people in the graves were as anonymous in death as their families
wished them to be in life. Although some of the graves are quite
shallow, the stigma of mental illness buried these people deeply. The
cemetery would go years without a single flower left in remembrance.
Groundskeepers kept up maintenance, but the cemetery had welcomed no
new dead since 1955.

Once he'd seen for himself, Hall suggested a naming ceremony. Hospital
officials balked, given patient confidentiality laws.

Christine Hanson died in 1914 at age 84, Bertha Mills in 1915 at age

But the dead would not rest easy. By happenstance, a Wesleyan
University graduate student found a list of the buried in school files.
The attorney general weighed in and said the patients had died prior to
the passage of laws that would protect their identities, and the first
naming ceremony was held in 1999.

A group of ministers from the Middletown Clergy Association and others
have performed subsequent ceremonies every year, naming the dead in
groups of 100. This year, they read the names of the people buried in
graves 600-699.

Dividing the cemetery up by 100s gives them time at each stone to read
the name, say a blessing, sprinkle holy water and leave a white
carnation. Hall figures it will take another 10 years to acknowledge
all 1,600-plus people buried there.

Mary Moore died in 1915 at age 40, Austin Fox at age 68.

Last month, in preparation for Wednesday's gathering, Jimmy Ortiz,
hospital carpenter, and Guy Mathews, mason supervisor, were building a
small platform.

Mathews figured out how to replace the stones that were damaged by time
and the weather. He uses a branding iron to stamp the numbers while the
stone is still wet. "The ones I am pouring are going to last a long
time," he said.

If historic preservationists have prevailed, and the graves will
continue to be unnamed, three large stone tablets at the front of the
grounds lists the name, grave number and lifespan of the interred,
starting with Mary Abbott, No. 887, 1922-76.

"It's a powerful setting," said Hall. "You can really see the shame and
anonymity of mental illness through the years. No one wanted to be
associated with them. What a terrible burden these people bore."

Phoebe Davenport, age 58. And at grave No. 653, an infant, dead at
birth in 1916, surname of Muratore.
Copyright 2005, Hartford Courant


Tue, 13 Nov 2007 14:32:04 GMT
 This place has a truly horrific past- *all kinds* of experiments were conducted on these people
They say the insane who died at these hospitals haunt the halls . I
know closed places like Fairfield hills have seen so called ghost
hunters breaking into it to search for those creepy insane ghosts.

Just over the line in NY's Hudson Valley there is a large closed
hospital there called Harlem valley, It has a old burial place in the
swamps across the street..very spooky

Tue, 13 Nov 2007 14:53:30 GMT
 [ 2 post ] 

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