Thursday, January 30, 2014


When did psychiatry become synonymous with death? Ever since the "watchdog investigating and exposing psychiatric human rights violations," namely the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (supported by the Church of Scientology) opened their doors in 2005. The outside modern façade and steely signage is enough to piqué one's interest, along with the fiercely pronounced charge against mental sciences. 

That and this is a free self-guided tour. FREE! Of course you'll probably want some refreshments after...

Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Museum

This is a no-strings attached museum, even if it is associated with Scientology (just don't leave your name and contact info on the guest signage sheet). Labeling psychiatry as "an industry of death" may sound a bit uncharitable at the very least but to be fair, the museum is well-appointed with interesting facts, dossiers and devices like strait jackets and electroshock machines in fully developed rooms. The information is also very easy to read, even on a quick jaunt and for those who decide to linger, videos are continually shown amid seating areas.

The huge doors on the left of the atrium greet the visitor as they enter into a padded room—an exact replica taken from a mental institution. Simple but effective, the tour leads visitors through the dark underbelly and questionable beginnings of mental health practices from myths debunked to sordid accounts of patient abuse, unethical experiments and prescription liberties.

Quality cannot be denied from the lighting to the care afforded each room and display. Unlike the Museum of Death, the collection is dramatically effective in the less is more sensibility. There is absolutely no clutter or confusion. It makes for a lovely respite on a hot day in Hollywood at the very minimum. The discoveries and history may even surprise viewers who assume psychiatry is an actual science. This is debatable and the questions posed are perhaps more valuable than the answers the museum tries to provide. Slickly procured, there is little to none to counterbalance the assertions put forth, which becomes a dangerous posit of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Whatever one's beliefs or inclination towards the pseudo-science methodology behind the DSM manuals or prescription drugs, there is plenty to digest.

The self-guided tour can easily be done in less than half an hour, but to appreciate the scope and breadth requires about an hour. The dark history of psychiatry reads like a horror novel, but in the pursuit of science, many people suffered and continue to suffer tremendously. There are discomfiting revelations one cannot ignore when examining the totality of statistics and claims against the proliferation of anti-depressant drugs and its effects on individuals and society.

No matter how one feels about psychiatry going in, this museum provides a carefully demonstrated challenge. It provokes thought. It sparks debate. That is a good thing.

Take advantage of the free admission and then afterwards walk down a couple of blocks to the The Cat & Fiddle pub to revive your psychic harmony. Sit outside and enjoy the verdant atmosphere after a cerebral enterprise.

Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Museum
6616 Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
Hours: Mon-Fri: 10am-9pm
Sat-Sun: 10am-6pm
PH: 800-869-2247
Free admission
Not recommended for younger audiences.

The Cat & Fiddle 6530 West Sunset Blvd Hollywood, CA 90028

AHHHH! Find out what's going on nearby now on the Eye Spy LA Hollywood calendar.

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