Start A Petition

The Chilling Pictures of Suitcases Left in a New York Insane Asylum By Patients Who Were Locked Away for the Rest of Their Lives

Offbeat  (tags: The chilling pictures of suitcases left )

- 1808 days ago -
Photographer Jon Crispin has been documenting the suitcases left behind by patients at the Willard Asylum for the Insane in Upstate New York 400 suitcases were found in an attic at the asylum in 1995. They date from 1910 to 1960

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Gysele van Santen (213)
Monday June 10, 2013, 1:00 am
looking at this made me kind of sad. everyone has a story. those patients had families & that most of them were buried in unnamed graves is sad to me.

Lydia M (80)
Monday June 10, 2013, 1:37 am
Noted with thanks.
This sad story & these photographs of the contents of the patients suitcases, chilled me to the bone. :(

Darlene W (303)
Monday June 10, 2013, 5:24 am
How sad that these items were not returned to the families of these people. Unnamed graves also--no reason for this. At least they are in a better place now no longer suffering. Hard to believe things like this were allowed to happen. What goes around comes around. Bless all their souls.

Darlene W (303)
Monday June 10, 2013, 5:33 am
Went to the site and have shared this--praying it will help someone with their geneology. Please spread the word so others may check this out. Thank you Agnes for sharing this, very informative for those who keep up with their geneology.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Monday June 10, 2013, 9:14 am

Past Member (0)
Monday June 10, 2013, 10:41 pm
How sad. And to be committed for such ridiculous reasons as grieving more than 3 months after losing a child or from having very poignant a story this is. And for their entire lives? Unmarked graves? So very sad. Thank you for sharing Agnes.

Maureen C (4)
Monday June 10, 2013, 11:28 pm
Haunting, and sad.

At least one of those suitcase owners--Dymtre --was released in 1977: after 24 years in there, he probably wasn't interested in finding his suitcase, just getting out! And one of the comment posters -- George Ebert -- was also in Willard for a while: I hope their stories can be added to this exhibit.

Elisa F (235)
Monday June 10, 2013, 11:42 pm
It's upsetting, the conditions people of that time were locked away for. I agree that the belongings should be passed on to family if possible. The unmarked graves were probably due to the "stigma" of families not wanting to being associated with asylum patients. Very sad indeed.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday June 11, 2013, 4:27 am
Heart breaking pictures of lives and memories lost.

Kerrie G (116)
Tuesday June 11, 2013, 5:16 am
Very sad. :(

Suzanne L (99)
Tuesday June 11, 2013, 12:00 pm
Thank you Agnes. This is an extremely poignant post. Asylums like this dotted North America and many other places beginning in the later 1800's. Closings began in the 1960's due to changes in laws and policies and also the money required to keep the buildings up and heat them. Most had very high ceilings. I laud Crispin for his work and I would hope he might somehow link the suitcases and belongings to what each person was institutionalized for. I have been to a few of these asylums in Ontario where they were built from limestone, often quarried by convicts. They are immense and unsettling. Some are now condemned and inaccessible. Others have been retrofitted for other uses, and they maintain small museums documenting psychiatric care during their period of operation. It is all chilling indeed.

Connie O (44)
Tuesday June 11, 2013, 5:14 pm
This is a very interesting story. It makes me wonder all about the occupants of the hospital. Was the veteran suffering what today would be PTSD? Did Flora T. suffer seizures from epilepsy? The suitcases also give a glimpse into life in the first half of the last century...fascinating.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Wednesday June 12, 2013, 4:10 am
Sad and tragic, especially the unmarked graves and the fact these belongings were never returned to family.
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in Offbeat

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.