It’s like Bedlam on the tubes somedays…

Posted: October 4, 2011 in Cemetery, Films, Medical, Morgue, Unusual Findings, Weird
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London’s pretty famous for a variety of reasons but one of the places I read about when I have the time is Bedlam. Bedlam was originally the St Bethlehem Hospital, in 1247 when it opened and was nicknamed Bedlam.

It was a lunatic asylum and possibly one of the first of it’s kind in England, other uses and the word Bedlam is now synonymous with chaos.  So it comes as no surprise that there are many stories roaming around about it, paranormal or otherwise.

Archaeologists were brought in to survey the area with a proposal for Crossrail tunnelling. The bodies have been removed for study. It has posed interest on a macabre level because of the bodies being found uncoffined and there could be thousands in numbers. It’s a significant number of patients and their stories which will hopefully be brought to life via the London Museum at some point.

From opening it’s door it accepted the “insane” and did so as a Religious priory until Henry VIII managed to close them, 1547 it shut it’s doors only to be refounded as a Hospital which in 1598 was reported as full of squalor and neglect.

With decaying buildings, a cesspit threatening to overflow and unchecked drains it would have been a horrific place. The patients hardly faired any better either with iron restraints, buckets of water and the lash being used to control them.

The howls of the patients were enough to drive other men just as mad, the notoriety of the place made it a tourist attraction. It was possible to pay a penny to walk through the place and to witness it first hand.

London faced a realistic crisis of the dead overcrowding the city, the graveyards were at crisis point. Gatherings from Graveyards is a book that was in response to the crisis and in graphic detail for the time is given a unique look into the problem. There is a distinct possibility that the numbers of dead there are brought to the graveyard as they have space. The reason this is more likely is also that Bedlam was a hospital and like any other they would discharge patients or the bodies could be sent to the deceased’s local parish instead.

I am told that there is a series about this place and that it’s based on ghosts and hauntings. For every real historical situation someone will find a reason to use it for a TV series eh! Personally I think a Lovecraftian or Poe style story based on it would be brilliant so if you know any do pass them my way.

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