20 – Insane Insane Asylum Tales

January 30, 2017

What started off as a listener suggested look into the┬áTrans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, West Virginia became a disturbing timesuck into the dark history of mental health patient mistreatment, especially in late 19th century America. A diagnosis of reading too many novels or being prone to day dreaming could end up getting you an “icepick lobotomy”. Seriously. All this and so much more in this completely insane episode.

(Photos are, top row, left to right: Topeka State Hospital, inside Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, TA Lunatic Asylum front. Bottom row, left to right: tranquilizer chair, hydrotherapy, rotational chair therapy, TA reasons for admission plaque)


  1. Dennis Vargaa says:

    Keep up the good work.

    1. admin says:

      Thank you!!

  2. Gary vargas says:

    Holy crap a new Chad Daniels album! time to find my wallet.

    1. admin says:

      Haha! Yeah – he’s great!

  3. Kevin says:

    I had to pause this one multiple times so I could stifle my laughter. At the same time this was super duper horrifying. Also, I think my favorite reasons for being admitted have to be Fighting Fire and Salvation Army. It makes zero sense.

    1. Kris Pockell says:

      I think time of life may be my favorite.

      “Sir, are you having fun?”
      “Fun?! I’m having the time of my life! This is better then the time I fell from my horse in the war!”
      “Then say hello Dr. Stabby McIcepick!”

  4. Josh says:

    I like the show but I think it would be better with more people like a lot of other podcasts

    1. admin says:

      Thanks for listening Josh. No plans for other people commenting on the episodes at the moment but who knows! Might be fun from time to time.

  5. Caden Gates says:

    hi I am a big fan of your comedy and have been loving this podcast. I live in Honolulu Hawaii and am wondering if you would ever come to preform. if no it’s ok. thank you for the hours of entertainment and inspiration.
    post script. you should make an episode about superstitions around the world and different mythology. I will also never check my email. but will list to the next episode regardless of topic

    1. admin says:

      Thanks Caden! Adding superstition to the topic list. Glad you love this podcast. Would LOVE to perform in Hawaii. It’s the only state I haven’t done some shows in. And, it’s HAWAII. Hope I can make it happen.

  6. Caden Gates says:

    oh and I forgot to mention I’mean originalyou from Idaho and have driven through your home town a few times on my way from Boise to Cour d’Alene to see my grandparents. lovely little town.

    1. admin says:

      Haha. Thanks Caden! Yeah, Riggins is pretty damn cute.

  7. Caden Gates says:

    fuck auto correct

  8. Erica Bradley says:

    This is an insane subject, but learning more about it, and especially people who tried to make things better and failed horribly, I feel helps me better understand people. I’m Transgender, so people like me have been tossed into asylums for decades. It’s like desensitizing myself to things I fear!

    I really wish mental health care was more important in our world.

    1. admin says:

      Thanks for the great comment Erica! Yeah, it’s terrible the way the mentally ill have been treated. People just had no clue what was going on inside the brain. Thank God it’s getting better!

  9. Austin Reed says:

    You should look into Edward Gein The Butcher of Plainfield!

    1. admin says:

      Will look into that for sure. Thanks Austin!

  10. Taylor says:

    Heard about you from A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan. You are officially now in my weekly pod rotation. I love this stuff!

    1. admin says:

      Yes!! Thank you Taylor. So glad you like it!

  11. Ariana says:

    These podcasts make for great bedtime stories, honestly. Keeps me company, too.
    Thanks for being the dad I never had.

    1. admin says:

      Hi Ariana! I’m happy to be your weird dad. I hope some decent fatherly advice flows from these podcasts from time to time. Glad I help you get some sleep. Ha!

  12. Crystal says:

    Awesome podcast episode. Loved it. Just wanted to ask if you would consider doing a podcast about Ted Kaczynksi. I’ve been doing a bit of crime reading and would love to hear what you think of him. Hes not as netoriase as Charles Manson but still interesting

    1. admin says:

      Thanks Crystal! The Unabomber would be a good episode. I used to be fascinated with him! I’ll add that to the list. Thank you for the suggestion!

  13. Brenda says:

    Great podcast! For the record I heard about you from Tim Bernard. Either the podcast or morning show. I’ve been obsessed with religious cults and how people are drawn into them since watching Leah Remini’s A&E series about Scientology. Wonder if you’d ever cover that topic? So much material!

    1. admin says:

      Thanks Brenda! I’ll have to thank Tim Bernard as well. I’m obsessed with cults as well and will definitely be doing a Scientology one at some point for sure. Fascinating stuff!

  14. David Jessup says:

    Great Episode! I want to spend the night in one of these abandoned insane asylums.

    1. admin says:

      You’re braver than I am! No way I’m doing that.

  15. David Jessup says:

    There’s a great indie film directed by Brad Anderson called Session 9 that was filmed at the Danvers State Mental Hospital before it was torn down.The location itself acted as a character. Super creepy.

    1. admin says:

      I’ve thought about watching that a few times. I think it’s on Netflix. Thanks for the recommendation – and it was great working with you and meeting you!

  16. Matthew says:

    Hahaha “choosing to ignore life’s responsibilities with their horse-shit nonsense”
    Love your podcast. I have been a fan of your stand up for a while. I found your podcast while listening to Pandora and I have been listening every week. Thanks for making me laugh!

    1. admin says:

      Haha. Thanks Matthew! I appreciate you leaving the nice message. Hope you continue to enjoy the show!

  17. David Jessup says:

    If you get a chance google Poveglia Island off the coast of Italy. It was used for plague victims for years then turned into an insane asylum. It sits abandoned now and was recently sold.

    1. admin says:

      Wow! Over 100,000 people died there. I just added that to the list of possible future topics. Thanks for sharing David!

  18. John says:

    Hey Dan,

    I love all of your comedy very much! I was wondering if you would post your sources in the description of your podcasts I like to listen to try and learn about things and laugh at the same time. It would be great to be able to go read up on what you found or just fact check so I can confidently bring up these topics in conversation!



    1. admin says:

      Thanks John. Down the road I’m gonna do a web redesign that will include transcripts. Just don’t have time to add those at the moment (and properly footnote them, etc).

  19. Lori Kettner says:

    I toured the kirkbride in fergus falls. A positive note- the facility was completely self sustaining with crop fields,gardens and livestock barns. Many of the patients found purpose in worming,baking bread, canning pickles, reading to the other patients, etc.
    I hope you get to tour a place like this as the tales amd facts are fascinating!! Idk how i missed this episode until now!! Fascinating!!!!

  20. Lori Kettner says:

    Working-jesus i cant type :-/. Keep on sucking!!!!

  21. Jesse L. says:

    Ice Pick McBrainstabin, Ha!

    1. admin says:

      Thanks Jesse ­čÖé

  22. Thanks love the podcast and your comedy you need headbands on your store also sorry for bouncing around thanks

    1. admin says:

      Headbands could be cool! Thanks Jackson. Excited to get more sweet suck merch in the store. Keep on suckin’

  23. Andrew Roberts says:

    Crazy stories!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks Dan keep up the great work

  24. Rhonel says:

    Hey Dan:
    Loving the podcast. After this Asylum episode I was intrigued. I learned that JFK’s sister was lobotomized with the approval of JFK’s dad (JFK’s dad did not even tell JFK”s mother about the operation). She had an IQ of 70 or 80 and after the lobotomy she could not talk or walk. During JFK’s election they said she was a recluse and a teacher (so as not to create bad publicity, I guess). I am leaving a lot of stuff out so as not to bore you.
    Can you do a podcast of little known political cover ups?

    Thanks, and keep on keeping on, Brother!

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