Showing posts from May, 2021

Asylum “Ghost Tours” are Grotesque Tours

By Tracy Mack and Geoffrey Reaume  Abandoned or renovated psychiatric asylums have inspired countless urban legends and ghost stories, overshadowing the lives of the people who lived, worked, and died there, with most of their histories remaining untold. Building on this folklore, ‘ghost tours’ of former psychiatric hospitals have become a popular attraction in which the historical lives of asylum inmates are portrayed as still being present, this time as “ghosts” haunting the grounds. These guided tours of asylum premises are presented as educational and entertainment but are actually exploitative and stigmatizing. Being a patient in a psychiatric facility is not an enjoyable experience. Not in the past. Not today. It is not fun to be feared, laughed at and held up as examples of voyeuristic glares by people because of one's psychiatric history. Yet, this is what happens with “ghost” tours. It encourages precisely this sort of prejudice. Even after previous protests, it is still h