Even small towns need medical services, so a hospital for the mentally insane wasn’t unusual. Desoto Asylum was typical—nurses administered medicine and restrained patients if they became agitated or dangerous. A doctor was in charge of treating patients and determining when—or if—they could ever return to society.
According to a registration log uncovered years after the catastrophe, there were 23 patients admitted at Desoto Asylum and a staff of 8. Under normal circumstances, nothing ever went wrong.
But, in the fall of 1966 residents of Needles began to go missing. Their mangled bodies found by authorities inside Desoto Asylum. Unable to figure out how the patients were escaping the residents panicked and boarded up Desoto Asylum with all the patients and staff still inside, the strong brick structure acting as a prison.
In the weeks that followed, things began to change inside Desoto Asylum. The doctors and nurses ignored the patients in their frantic attempt to save themselves.
Atticus Ravenswood was one of the higher-functioning patients, who’d been committed to Desoto Asylum in 1964 after killing his family with a pitchfork and using their dead bodies for experiments involving electrical cords and blue cheese dressing. When Atticus was no longer subdued by debilitating amounts of brain-numbing sedatives, he overheard the staff planning to escape and leave the patients to die.
Unrestricted by the bounds of human decency, Atticus unleashed years of pent-up rage against the frightened staff and began committing revolting horrors on their live bodies. With the help of other patients, Atticus turned the tables on the former nurses and doctors, drugged them, and subjected them to his own twisted and painful experiments.
Years passed before anyone escaped. Her name was Nurse Betty, and her story was found scribbled in the margins of a book. Most of the entries are smeared with blood. One of them reads: October, 1966. He is coming for us one by one, and I can hear them screaming from the padded cells, can smell the burning flesh each time the lights flicker. I know it is the electric chair. He calls it “shock therapy” but he and the girls are punishing us. I beg Tracy and Holly to remember how well I treated them as patients, but now as Atticus’s nurses, they are brainwashed to enjoy his dreadful experiments. I’m afraid to guess what he’s doing with the dead bodies this time.
Today, hardly anyone remembers the horrors of Desoto Asylum. During the day, its vacant, eerie, crumbling brick structure hardly seems worthy of notoriety. But at night, when the smell of burning flesh permeates the air in a putrid dark cloud, thrill seekers looking for innocent fun are in for the shock of a lifetime.
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