There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.
Thu, 07 Nov 2019 11:00
Part Two: The Bastard Who Invented The Lobotomy
Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. In the 1980s and 90s, a psychopath terrorized the country of Belgium. A serial killer and kidnapper was abducting children in the bright light of day. From Tenderfoot TV in iHeartRadio this is La Monstra, a story of abomination and conspiracy. The story about the man who's simply become known as. Lamaster. Listen for free on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Want to say I don't know less? Listen to stuff you should know more. Join host Josh and Chuck on the podcast packed with fascinating discussions about science, history, pop culture, and more episodes. Dive into topics like was the lost city of Atlantis Real? And how does pizza work? Say goodbye to I don't know, because after listening to stuff, you should know you will. Listen to stuff you should know on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. What? Grease and madore knobs. I'm Robert Evans, host of behind the ******** for part two of our episode on the inventor of lobotomy and the the door to the recording studio has been greased with olive oil, which I'm informing listeners of so that they can truly get into the behind the ******* spirit by greasing their own doors with olive oil. So, so everybody play along at home. Grease, grease, something near you up with olive oil. I'll wait. Alright, now I'm here as with in part one with Daniel Van Kirk. Daniel, how are you? How are you? How are you? How are you? How are you doing today? I am great. I am so glad to be back for the conclusion of this story about a horrific man who justified his means. Yep, he he's a bad man. And Speaking of bad men, we're about to talk about a president, although a president most people like. So I may be ******* some people off. John and Robert Kennedy are probably the two most famous brothers in American history. One was the president until he got shot. Another would have been the President if he hadn't been shot. Both men have come to symbolize, fairly or unfairly, an era of just indecent governance in the United States of America, one that will probably never come again. But. The Kennedy brothers had a sister, as well as another brother named Ted, who we don't talk about much because of that Lady he drunkenly killed. Yep, this woman's name was Rosemary Kennedy and her life was stolen by Doctor Watts, doctor Freeman, and Wild unchecked misogyny. Now, Rosemary's birth was, in the words of the Irish Times, complicated by medical misadventure. Depending on which source you read, you will hear different things about the exact extent of her intellectual disabilities. Some articles I've read say she was severely mentally handicapped and unable to lead a normal life. Others argue she had learning disabilities but was otherwise bright and capable. I'm not a doctor, but I did teach special Ed once, and it seems fair for me to say whatever the precise extent of her issues, Rosemary Kennedy would have been capable of living a relatively independent life with some specific help. Now, you get very different versions of Rosemary Story depending on which write up you read. For example, here's people. As Rosemary entered her late teens, her parents saw less of the affectionate, dutiful, and eager to please young woman they knew and loved, and more of her violent outbursts. She began screaming and yelling and throwing things. It was violent and throwing vases across the room, she was out of control, one person says now. That article paints Rosemary as a deeply disturbed young woman, and her lobotomy is tragic but purely the result of her parents not having better options to care for such a disabled child in a more primitive era. Another Irish Times article I found, which interviewed one of her biographers, a man named Irvine, takes a different route. Irvine has a more filled out picture in his head. He sees her as stunningly beautiful. It was often said she was the most beautiful of the Kennedys, beautiful and poetic. She did have learning disabilities. It's hard to say how much, but she wrote letters, she kept a diary, she became a Montessori teacher for a while, and she taught young children. Her favorite book was Winnie the Pooh, and she could read that to children. Me too. So yeah, yeah, it's a great book. He has the sense of a fairly normal, deeply loving young woman. Every letter that she wrote is showed drenched in this one. For her father to acknowledge her and love her. Every one of those letters is heartbreaking. It's all about I'm doing my best and I hope this pleases you. She would send reports about her weight because weight was a huge thing in the Kennedy family, monitoring the weight of all the children. There's so much correspondence where Joe and Rose are just talking about the weight of their children. Oh, so yeah. Meanwhile, an Irish central article I found on her describes her this way by kindergarten. Rosemary was called ******** in the lingo of the Times, and such children were considered defective. For Joe Kennedy, obsessed with the family image, it was a disaster. Rosemary never proceeded mentally beyond 3rd or 4th grade intelligence, and she was packed off to a boarding school for Misfits. From there, she wrote her father a heartbreaking letter. Darling Daddy, I hate to disappoint you in any way. Come to see me very soon. They get very lonesome every day. Now Rosemary finally caught a break when her father became ambassador to Britain and she thrived in a London convent school. But back in the states, Rosemary, who again was very attractive, began attracting admirers. At 20, she was a picturesque young woman, a snow Princess with flushed cheeks, gleaming smile, plump figure in a sweetly ingratiating manner to almost everyone she met. And of course, as Larson writes, her parents found her sexuality dangerous. And I think this gets to the core of Kennedy family issues with Rosemary. More than anything. And it seems to me, based on what I've read, that the the argument that she was mentally ******** is very oversold. I think she had learning disabilities. I think she was someone who had difficulty thriving in a normal school, but I think she was basically, it seems like she was basically a functional, intelligent person. Who was a young, attractive woman and people wanted to **** her and she wanted to **** them. And this was not OK with Joe Kennedy. So I think that's the core of the issue, right? The Kennedys were a powerful, wealthy, high society family. Just to stay in line in that family, you got to stay in line in line. She has some learning disabilities and she's promiscuous and a woman. We can't that we gotta, can't take out this part of it too. Yeah. Yeah. She may be having some mood disorders. So maybe she like flies off the handle and gets, like, yelling and stuff, right. And like that they'd assume, like, well, she's not happy in the family, so she must be broken. Yeah, that's. And she's a woman. She's here to disregard her. Exactly. Like that's going to carry on the name. Yeah, exactly. I think she was a strong willed young woman who wanted to live a life that would have been inconvenient to the family goals. And it's my opinion that this, more than anything else, sealed. Of fate. And before we go any further, I want you to take a look at this picture of Rosemary. It'll be on our website too. So if you can, you show that to Daniel. She looks like fun. Yeah, she looks fun. She looks like a normal, healthy young woman. Uh. I would describe her as looking playful and lively and coy, like a willful young woman with a spirit behind her. Yeah, she does. Beautiful falls into a like fun girl winter. Yeah, fun girl fall. Yep. Now, within mere months of this photograph, she would be reduced to a shambling ruin of herself by the treatments of doctors Freeman and Watts. But the final decision on whether or not to perform the lobotomy on Rosemary? Was up to the family Patriarch Joseph, from people quote, without his wife's knowledge. He took Rosemary to see Doctor Walter Freeman, a controversial neurologist, psychiatrist, and professor at George Washington University who had gained fame for popularizing lobotomies in America. He took her to the best at the time. And at the time, time Readers Digest, Newsweek, everybody was touting the best thing for mental illness. The lobotomy. It was the cure. All people were so eager for some help that they just grabbed onto it to see. That's Friedman from the last one. Just playing into the press. He did. He he'd gotten this ****. Into the press and ******* Joe Kennedy reads this in a Newsweek as he's sipping ******* Manhattans and his uh his his Kennebunkport retreat, or wherever the **** it is. And if you need to wonder about how much Joe Kennedy cared about the like agency or. Like agency. She's a girl. Exactly, writes of a woman. Not only is he taking his daughter to get her brain carved out, he's not telling his own wife that he's doing it. No. Why would he? Right? Exactly. Yeah, this is all double or double. It's a double smack. Now, Freeman diagnosed Rosemary with agitated depression and promised Joe that a lobotomy would put an end to her rages and render her happy and content. What did he diagnose her with? Sorry, agitated depression. This sounds like that **** where they're like, oh, you. What do you want me to call it? What do you want here, Joe? Yeah, she's not. She's not happy, and that's a problem. That means she's broken, right? But the agitated is why we have to do something about it, because it's just getting worse. The families got money and she's not happy. So the only thing to do is to break a brain. OK, sorry, yeah. In the fall of 1941, Doctor Freeman, assisted by Doctor James Watts, performed a prefrontal lobotomy on Rosemary at George Washington University Hospital. Rather than curing her, the lobotomy essentially erased Rosemary Kennedy. The procedure itself literally involved doctor Watts scraping away at her brain tissue while Doctor Freeman asked her to repeat stories from her childhood and list the month of the year when she could no longer answer. The procedure was pronounced. A success. Wow. Yeah. Tell us when we've taken enough. You tell us. Yeah, tell us when you don't remember who you are. Right. And then we'll be like, part. We got it. Perfect. All we got her. Because I wondered that, too. Like if somebody got their lobotomy right, and then they were still like the in the last episode, the Doctor Who went out and got drunk still like what they like? Well, we got to go in and dig a little deeper. I guess they often did that. Yeah, not always. We'll talk about some other cases later. But yeah, that was not uncommon for this one. They're like, let's get it all. Just keep talking, let's get it all. Just get the whole girl out of there. Yeah, just make her a shell. Now, Rosemary spent the rest of her life completely dependent on a small handful of caretakers. Until her father stroke, she lived isolated and hidden from the rest of the family at Saint Coletta's, a Catholic facility in Wisconsin for inconveniently disabled members of rich families. When Joe finally stroked out, her nieces and nephews attempted to reintegrate her back into the family, but any hope she'd ever had of an independent life, of forging an existence for herself was obliterated by doctors Freeman and Watts. Eunice Kennedy would eventually create the Special Olympics in honor of Rosemary. In the 1987 story in the Saturday Evening Post brought the whole sordid tale to light, but that was far too late to stop the career of Walter Freeman from reaping an unspeakable toll in human lives. By 1945, at the end of Freeman and Watts's collaboration, around 150 lobotomies were being performed annually nationwide. But in 1946 Walter Freeman introduced his revolutionary transorbital lobotomy technique and started teaching it to surgeons and non surgeons all around this glorious land. By 1949, some 5000 lobotomies. Are being performed annually, so that's great. Many of those were performed by Doctor Freeman himself, who started traveling the nation, showing off his skills to rooms full of doctors in the press. And I'm going to quote now from the book the Lobotomist. In 1948, Patricia Darian, a student nurse at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, watched Freeman perform a transorbital lobotomy at a nearby state hospital. Freeman selected the patients for operation she reported by twisting their joints to determine their flexibility, not by reading or taking histories. After a special luncheon honor of the occasion of his visit, he occupied a conference room and had each patient shocked and photographed. When all was ready, he would plunge the lutom in, Darien noted. He wore no gown, mask, or gloves. Afterwards, he would sit the patients up and have them walked out of the room. He was very proud of the fact that the people walked in and walked out. None had to be carried, although one or two of them sagged badly on the way out, she remembered. After several operations, Freeman enlivened the demonstration by cutting nerve fibers on both sides of the brain simultaneously. Then he looked up at US, smiling. I thought I was seeing a circus act. He moved both hands back and forth in unison, cutting the brain identically behind each eye. It astonished me that he was so gay, so high, so up, Darian recalled the sequence of events as a living nightmare, a deeply disturbing performance. He's reached his final form. Yeah. Now, Frank Freeman, Walter's son, was occasionally enlisted to help his father in these lobotomy exhibitions. They would spend weeks at a time on the road, crossing thousands of miles, visiting numerous hospitals and lobotomizing huge numbers of people. In 1952, Frank helped his father perform a lobotomy. The process started when Walter immobilized the patient with a series of powerful Electro shocks. And then, as Frank recalled, I was there to hold the person's legs down. We all went for a ride when he threw the switch. When the patient stopped seizing, Walter would lift the eyelid, jam his ice pick inside. To shatter the bone that separated it from the brain, he would carefully hammer away at Gray matter until both sides of the frontal lobe had been disconnected, Frank recalled. I was kind of impressed he made it look so easy. That's good, right? Well, yeah. I mean, yeah, it's so easy because he loves it. He's so he, you know, like, like you were saying, do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life of hammering into people's brains with an ice pick. But he also seems obsessed with the celebrity of it. Like, he wants to, like, be the guy and come to your town and put on his brain show. He wants to put on a show. He wants to do it with both hands, that you're really impressed. And right. See, they all walked out of here. Did you see them all walk out like, well? Need to be carried. Yeah, well, that people ******** himself. But yeah, he was lazy when he came in, yeah. Now, over the course of a very long career, Walter would perform more than 3439 lobotomies, in 55 hospitals in 23 states. The entire time he believed himself to be something of a heroic medical radical, pulling his discipline forward into the future. His motto was, lobotomy gets them home, which meant in effect, that lobotomizing people allowed them to exist comfortably and without complaint. In American Society. It is impossible to know how many of Freeman's patients truly benefited from his treatment. The summaries of his results were always very biased, and it's never possible to analyze them outside of the lens of his own opinions. Objective scientific analysis of the results of lobotomies in this. Are essentially impossible to find. We know that at least 490 of his patients died as a result of his services. We also know that lobotomizing human beings was not simply a matter of medical necessity. The longer Freeman worked as a solo lobotomist, the more he leaned into the performance art side of the field. And I'm going to quote from the Washington Post now. Shocking. Colleagues, for instance, grew into a great source of pleasure once during a lobotomy demonstration at a nursing home in Baltimore, before a group of surgeons who replaced his surgical hammer with a carpenters mallet. He delighted in reporting how other lobotomy demonstrations made a Columbia University professor emeritus of neurology weakened with faintness, sickened students in England, and so outraged a German neurologist that Freeman said I almost had to push him out of the way in order to perform the operation. Several times he showed off his virtuosity with the Luca tone by performing two handed lobotomies, working both eye sockets simultaneously. On people, that's the people forget that there's only one person on the other end of this hammer and pic. Yeah, yeah, yeah. His cross country trips in pursuit of lobotomy patients and his self appointment as the Transorbital Procedures International ambassador only heightened Freeman sense of professional solitude and caused him to commit serious errors of judgment. More than once, he worked the Luke tomb it forcefully enough to break it inside a patient's brain. At Cherokee State Hospital in Iowa, he accidentally killed a patient when he stepped back to take a photo. During the surgery. And allowed the lunatone to sink deep into the patient's midbrain. Ohhh, that's all from Jack Alhaji. Yeah. That's pretty ****** ** huh? Yeah. Yeah. So we don't know what his scale is. It still might have been deemed a success by him. The guy's not complaining anymore. Now, many of Walters patients were unable to walk away or really think after his ministrations, but this caused less of an issue than you might think. The bulk of his clientele were inmates at asylums, and the folks paying for surgeries didn't so much want those folks healed as they wanted them quieter people in charge of hospitals often welcomed Freeman into their institutions because the lobotomized patients, some of them you know, would go home because they'd actually be helped by the procedure, and the others were generally easier to manage. Freeman himself wrote the noise. Level of the ward went down incidents where fewer cooperation improved and the ward could be brightened when curtains and flower pots were no longer in danger of being used as weapons. So it made them easier to deal with. Yeah, no more biting. No more biting, no more problems at all because they can't do anything anymore. Because he just erased them, basically. And nobody in a lot of cases. And we don't have to, like, technically say we killed them. Yeah, yeah. I mean, hundreds of people were improved by his work. Hundreds more. It's less clear and of course hundreds and hundreds died, but so it's in part one. It's almost seems like though they're using the exception to prove the rule. Yeah. So it's like it's there's some people this benefited. So we should do this for everyone we think needs it. Well, like what exactly they don't those numbers don't really match up if, if 95% of the people are benefited from me like, well, five of these people, 5%, it might not work out for. I'm still not in favor for it, but I get what your logic is but being like, oh, a few percentage of people. This really small group, this really helps. Well, then that doesn't mean we should be doing it for everyone also. And yeah, I keep thinking I was like, I'm sure this happened to people who are autistic, right? Oh, God, yeah. Yeah. Because. But that wasn't even, like, they didn't even know it was autism even diagnosed in the 70s. No, no, no, no. I don't think at this point. I think it was even after that that they really had a handle on it. But like, it's possible that's what was going on with Rosemary. She may have had, like, Asperger's or something like that. I really don't know. I don't think anybody does. Right. I'm gonna guess a lot of his patients were autistic and they just got written down as imbeciles or ******** which is like the lingo they would have used at the time. And, you know, because they required different means to like REACH and teach and, like, work with, you know, because they had a different sort of brain. They just sort of hammered into their brain until they weren't a problem anymore. Right. How many women. Yep. Wouldn't have gotten a lobotomy if they hadn't been married? That's a scary question because they probably was a man. Saying, well, you're the problem. You aren't making the food. You fight with me. You have your own thoughts, which I'm sick of hearing and but if they had just never, if they had become A to use it the lingo of the of the era a spinster they would have never gotten a lobotomy because they wouldn't have had an oppressive man in their life to be like I'm sick of you. Yep, marriage doomed them. Yeah, that's fair to say. Probably hundreds of cases at least. Yeah. Now, Freeman had plenty of problems with oh, actually, before. Before we get into Freeman's problems, you know what's not a problem? Are advertisers great? You know who won't lobotomize their wives? Who the products and services that advertise on this show? Great, then I then I want to hear about them, because now I'm interested. Products. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. 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At Mint Mobilcom, behind my name is Erica Kelly and I am the host and creator of Southern Freight true crime. There are so many people that just have no idea about some injustices in the world and if you can give a voice to them, you can create change. To be able to do it within podcasting is just such a gift. I believe it was 18 months after I got on with Spreaker that I was making enough that I could quit my day job. It was incredible. Always felt like an ambassador. First speaker, but that's because I'm passionate about podcasting. It's really easy to use. I always tell people I am so not tech. Took me 5 minutes to get comfortable with spreaker, and when I find a new friend that has an incredible show, I want them to make money. I want them to be able to do what I did. Follow your podcasting dreams. Let's break your handle. The hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. You get paid to talk about the things you love with spreaker from iheart. Hey y'all. This is Caroline Hobby, the host of get real with Caroline Hobby honest women honest talk. I love podcasting. It is so much fun because I have the most in-depth, spiritual, soulful, real, honest conversations with women who are mothers, who are entrepreneurs, who have started their own businesses, who are married to celebrities, who are celebrities themselves. These women are juggling motherhood, being a career woman. Starting their own businesses, taking leaps, knowing when to jump. These women are incredible and the conversations are so real it will hit every nerve in your body. As a woman, a little bit about myself, I was a country music artist and a trio. I traveled the country open for every celebrity you can imagine in country music. I've also been on The Amazing Race twice, and I'm married to Michael Hobby, who is the lead singer of 1000 horses. And we have our precious daughter Sonny, who's two listen to new episodes of get Real with Caroline Hobby every Monday on the Nashville podcast network, available on the iHeartRadio. At Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcast. We're back, and we're talking about Walter Freeman and, of course, the issues that came as a result of him hammering ice picks into the brains of thousands of people. In 1947, Freeman operated on a Washington cop after the brain ice picking. Said cop hemorrhaged on both sides of his brain and, in Freeman's words, was never able to do more than the simplest tasks around the house. Even so, Freeman did a brisk business in Washington state. In the late 1940s, he met the actress Frances Farmer at Western State Hospital. She'd been a patient there for five years. Largely as a result of behavior her parents considered wild and unconventional. But we today would probably just call being a human. We don't know for sure if Freeman lobotomized her, but some reports say he did, and Frank Freeman says his father did. There's a picture that is almost certainly of Miss Farmer's operation. It shows a man, Walter, in a sleeveless shirt with hairy arms and ungloved hams hammering a lutom the surgical device he invented to replace his ice pick into a woman's eye as a crowd watches. And there goes what would have been my Halloween costume. Yep, Yep. Tragic sleeveless hairy ice pick. By 1954, tranquilizers like chlorpromazine replaced lobotomies as the preferred treatment for agitated people in asylums. Freeman left Washington for Los Altos, CA, and for the next 18 years he split his time between Lobotomizing people and hiking. Actual medical science gradually left him behind, but Freeman continued his research on transorbital lobotomies because he loves it, he loves it, he loves it. In 1964, he conducted an experiment on 14 disturbed mental defectives, mostly young schizophrenics, and a letter to a colleague. He explained that this experiment. Tested the efficacy of injecting hot water into the brain after stabbing it with an ice pick. I was prepared to accept 2 fatalities, but fortunately, all the patients survived, and I have been invited to return next May. What is he knew tide. He's just trying to come. He's like, Oh well, but now we do this thing, like, you know, just shoot some water in there. Oh my God. I don't see how any of these patients could improve, but at least one can now be cared for at home again. His his concern is that they be easy to care for now that they get better. Really? Umm, if we you know what else? You remove the whole head. You can do whatever you want with that body. Real ******* easy to do. Real easy. They don't complain, there's you don't even have to feed them. Now, since Walter worked at a variety of different hospitals during this. He enlisted a number of different nurses to help him in his thousands of procedures. One of these people was Helen Colmer, a nurse in West Virginia for 34 years. I found her account in an article written by Story Corps in 1954. I assisted Dr Freeman in doing a transorbital lobotomy. I was a new nurse at the time, and I was drafted to work in there with him. Had no idea about what I was getting into, but I was curious, and I wanted to see it, and I saw it. Oh my. The room was full of people. Everyone wanted to see what was going on. People. In town and everywhere else came up to witness the occasion. He came and I held the patient's head and he did the lobotomy. He had an instrument. To me it looked like a nail, a great big nail. It had a sharp point and he inserted this in the corner of the individual's eye and banged it with a mallet, I guess it was. And then he pulled from one side and pulled to the other. It wasn't easy. It wasn't easy to watch. I know that day we lost one patient because they couldn't stop the bleeding and I can't remember if any others died. It wasn't what I thought it might be. To me. It was cruel, but that was just my opinion. I was just doing the job I was employed to do. Remember? I've seen all kinds of things in my lineup. So if I stopped and dwelled on each little thing, I'd be hurting. I remember he was relaxed. He was very calm while he was operating. He made it look easy to do. I think he just had an extremely high, self confident personality. He didn't have any qualms. He wanted to prove that he was right. He was convinced that he was right. I thought, how can a man be relaxed just going blindly into a brain? But of course I didn't have the authority to say stop that. These patients were not young ones. I think they were all about 30 or 40 years old. I knew two of them. After the operation, I found that they had changed in their personality. My impression, which I remember still, was that they didn't ask any questions. Expression of deep turmoil in their heart or in their soul was subdued. There was something missing. Emotions, I would say. You know, if you were to converse with somebody, there's always emotion with it. Just take all of your emotion out of a conversation with somebody and what's left? Yeah, when they're like, oh, I can't believe you just kept doing it and how I felt, I mean. And I know you've probably covered this, just the amount of people who had some sort of like. Like they were a sociopath and the medical field gave them that outlet. I mean, it happens in the military. I I I feel like Freeman might have been a sociopath. Yeah. Like, he's he's described as having a lot of difficulty, like connecting to people as shallow affect, like trophies. Yeah, he kept trophies. Like, I do think he thought he was helping people, but I think his understanding of what helping people was was helping the people who had to care for these folks. I don't think he actually cared about the patients because he knows how. So anyway, you just don't care. You just don't give a ****. You lack empathy, yeah? If anything, you do these things to people to like sponge off of their emotion and their feelings and their reaction. Yeah, yeah. Now, the most common diagnosis for which Freeman prescribed brain scraping was schizophrenia. This does not mean that most of his patients were actually schizophrenic, just that he hastily declared them to be schizophrenic before jamming an ice pick through based on how well they could bend their joints. Yeah, yeah. Other common ailments treated via ice picking were chronic pain and suicidal depression. A 1937 New York Times article listed the various symptoms for which lobotomies were often prescribed. Tension, apprehension. Anxiety, depression, insomnia, suicidal ideas, delusions, hallucinations, crying spells, melancholia obsessions, panic states, disorientation, cycloplegia, pains of psychic origin, nervous indigestion, and hysterical paralysis. Nervous indigestion? Yeah. Now, if you know anything about the 50s and 60s CIA, you know that nobody ****** around with human brains and new and exciting ways without drawing their attention. In 1952, the agency hired Henley Laughlin, a psychiatrist. The report on the potential of lobotomies to help the God fearing American government disable communists. I'm going to quote from the book Lobotomist again in his classified report titled some areas of psychiatric interest. Laughlin commented that the procedure would be adaptable to intelligence work, and noted that he watched Doctor Freeman perform 22 transorbital lobotomies with an average of about 6 minutes per operation. This included time for before and after photographs, as well as the keeping of notes and records. From an empiric standpoint, the operative procedure is relatively simple and could be learned in a brief period of time. Almost any intelligent person. In addition, he wrote, there is not great outward evidence of injury or damage to the patient. Besides the behavior changes in the black eyes. The average pathologist performing an autopsy would have to be a keen and careful observer to detect changes in the brain substance made by the operator. Because I felt unable to disclose to Doctor Freeman the real basis of my interest, Laughlin notes. He could not solicit the lobotomy experts opinions as to how the procedure might be modified for use by the CIA. Laughlin, who also professed an interest in the possibilities of taking hypnotic control of patients during the period of unconsciousness. Following electroshock therapy formed his own opinions on the potential lobotomy presented as an intelligence tool. To date, there has been considerable discussion relative to the possible use of the lobotomy type operation by this agency as a neutralizing weapon, Laughlin wrote, and prefacing his conclusions, he described the role of the frontal lobes as one that allowed a person to pursue A cause and feel devotion to it. Certainly, any crusading spirit is apt to be quenched, he reported. Community, enterprise and activities in the way of social uplift, leadership and executive abilities and activities are apt to be lessened after operation. On this basis, a zealous and fanatic communist, if lobotomized, might retain his interest in communism, but his Dr Zeal and ability to organize or direct would be substantially reduced. So that's good you take out the fight, baby. Also, I wondered if her interrogation used like the CIA would be like, well, there's so much more agreeable they'll tell you anything. We should lobotomize them, then interview him. I will say the good news is that even the CIA in this. Had too many scruples to lobotomize people as a method of social control. What? What? What are what? Are we in the 60s by now? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, the 60s. They're ******* with LSD, right? Isn't it? Yeah, they're they're ghosting strangers with acid. Yeah, like, like gangbusters. Yeah. But Laughlin wound up recommending against lobotomies as a way to disable Communists, and his his main reason for doing so is that it would look really bad to scramble the opinions of people whose opinions differed from the US government. Like, if that got out, it would be bad. So it is here that I should note that on at least one point, Walter Freeman was on the somewhat defensible side of medical history. As I previously stated, there was a time when mental health professionals believed that all mental issues stemmed. Essentially, from repressed memories and traumas and other things that a therapist could work out, Freeman was on the vanguard of doctors who argued that many brain problems were physical or chemical in nature and based more on circumstances of biology than things that had happened to the patient. And Freeman and his fellows wound up being right. We know today that many mental health issues do stem from hormonal or chemical imbalances, things that can be corrected with medication or, in rare cases, surgery. Walter identified the problem in mainstream medicine rather correctly. He was just very wrong about its solution. Because he was such an advocate for his solitary practice of lobotomizing people, he failed miserably to advance his theory of mental illness with the times. In 1960 he treated 1 Howard Dully, an 11 year old boy, with what I would describe as mild to moderate behavioral issues. Howard fought with his brother, lied to his parents, and occasionally stole Candy. He was rather withdrawn and antisocial, but certainly not someone a reasonable person would diagnose as in need of major brain surgery. His behavioral issues, such as they were, stemmed from understandable. Causes his mother had died of cancer when he was five. His father had remarried a cold and demanding stepmother who hated him. Howard was emotionally abused by her and ignored in favor of his stepmother's biological children. So he acted out more and more as he grew. That's it. He's acting out he wants attention. Someone. Exactly. Caring. Parenting? Yeah. And as he acted out, his stepmother responded by beating him and forcing him to eat alone. This made his behavioral problems worse. And his stepmother decided that meant there was something wrong with him. She started talking to psychiatrists and eventually wound up referred to Doctor Walter Freeman. Now, by this point, Walter was a thoroughly fringed figure. Lobotomy was still practiced far too widely, but most medical professionals no longer believed it was anything but a deeply flawed last resort measure. But Howard's stepmother didn't care about that. When Walter interviewed her stepson, he saw evidence of profound disturbance. Quote he is clever at stealing, but always leave something behind to show what he's done. Freeman recorded his notes from October 1960. He's he's at. Yeah. Yeah. If it's a banana, he throws the peel at the window. If it's a candy bar, he leaves the wrapper around someplace. He does a good deal of daydreaming, and when asked about it, he says, I don't know, he is defiant at times. You tell me to do this and I'll do that. He is a vicious expression on his face some of the time. Now. Based on a brief interview, Doctor Freeman declared Howard to be schizophrenic and prescribed 1 dose of scrambled brain for the young boy. When he met the famous Doctor, Howard was struck by his round glasses, his suit, and his stylish goatee and made him look a little like a beatnik. He was warm, personable, and easy to get along with. Was I fearful? No, I had no idea what he was going to do with me. I'm going to quote next from a write up in the Guardian. When Julia awoke the next day, his eyes were swollen and bruised, and he was running a high fever. He recalls a severe pain in his head and the discomfort of his hospital gown, which gaped open at the back. He had no idea of what had happened. I was in a mental fog, Dolly says. I was like a zombie. I had no awareness of what Freeman had done. Eight weeks after the doctor first saw him, Dolly came around from his operation in a state of numbed confusion. Of the hospital report stated that he had been given a transorbital lobotomy. A sharp. Instrument was thrust through the orbital roof on both sides and moved so as to sever the brain pathways in the frontal lobes. Dr Freeman's bill came to $200.00. Dolly was his youngest ever patient. Extraordinarily, he survived now. Howard would go on to live a full life eventually, but first he suffered through years of homelessness and mental illness and a deep confusion. As a result of the damage done to him, he would grow into a school bus driving trainer and a living monument to the resilience of the human brain. But one cannot help but read his story and wonder how much less painful his life. Might have been if a **** healed Dr hadn't driven an ice pick into his ******* brain. Gleefully. Yeah, gleefully with with panache and also the like. Seems like schizophrenia to me. That works. So it's schizophrenia. I can definitely do this. And they stole a candy bar. Classic schizophrenia. And that ***** that ***** of a step mom was like, whatever, I don't care. I just brought him here to get his brain taken out. So yeah, and she's probably mad or long ******* dead, hopefully. But she's mad that it seems to have been on the air, like the side of things where somebody didn't lose all capacity for life. Yeah, he was still a person, unfortunately for her, much to her I'm sure. Dismay. Wow. Yeah. Now you know what won't declare you a schizophrenic for stealing a candy bar and scramble your brains with an ice pick. Tell me. The products and services that support this show. Oh, then I want to know about them. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Here we go. Mint Mobile offers premium wireless starting at just 15 bucks a month. And now for the plot twist. Nope, there isn't one. Mint Mobile just has premium wireless from 15 bucks a month. There's no trapping you into a two year contract. You're opening the bill to find all these nuts fees. 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Wherever you listen to podcast. And we're back. We're talking about Walter Freeman in the twilight of his career, you know, the 60s and ****. As medical science starts to pull away from Freeman's practices and towards more humane methods of treating the mentally ill and I I guess more humane methods includes literally everything that doesn't involve an ice pick. So while this was all going on in his field, Walter doubled and tripled down on his claim to fame. He spent increasing amounts of time doing what he called shrink baiting, essentially trying to trigger more respectable. Positions and writing limericks about his professional enemies, he was known to declare that he would rather be wrong than boring. That's so true. That's on his tombstone. That's on his tombstone. Now, this desire to buck tradition led him to his shoe other basic aspects of professional medical niceties from the Guardian. He had a buccaneering disregard for the usual medical formalities. He chewed gum while he operated and displayed him patients with what he called all that germ crap, routinely failing to sterilize his hands or wear rubber gloves. Despite a 14% fatality rate, Freeman performed 3439 lobotomies in his lifetime. And we haven't talked about any malpractice suits at all. No, not in the 60s band. OK. You know, in case you weren't aware, a 14% fatality rate is essentially criminal. Yeah, any modern surgeon who killed that many patients with what they consider to be a routine operation would be investigated on the suspicion that they were some sort of serial killer. But of course, Walter Freeman was not really a surgeon. He was just a Doctor Who found a lazier way to perform brain surgery using a tool from his kitchen. *** **** it, Walter's personal life was no prettier than his career. In 1946, he watched his 11 year old son, the namesake of his. Grandfather die horribly in Yosemite National Park. The boy was filling up a canteen in a stream when he fell over and was dashed to death upon the rocks. Walter's wife Marjorie was a chronic alcoholic, which is not surprising, and the doctor cheated on her constantly. Still, his remaining children considered him to have been a good father and defend his legacy today as a medical trailblazer. I found this quote from his son Frank, now a retired security guard, and I think it was meant to sound positive, but it's just unintentionally horrifying to me. He is a friendly giant of a man. This is talking about Frank. He's a friendly giant of a man dressed smartly in a double breasted dark blue suit and a burgundy tie, kept in place by a thin gold clip. He was a marvelous father, Frank said, sitting in a room filled with crossword dictionaries and **** Francis novels. He loved his children and always made time for us out of his busy schedule, taking us camping every summer all across the country. Frank recalls being invited to observe a lobotomy when he was 21, and vividly remembers having a little crack as the orbital plate fractured. It only took about 6:00 or 7 minutes, and dad kept up a running commentary, indeed, the original ice pick. Used for the first transorbital lobotomy came from the Freeman family kitchen drawer. We had several of them, says Frank cheerfully. We using the punch holes in our belts when we got bigger and enormously proud of my father. I do think he's been unfairly treated. He was an interventionalists surgeon, a pioneer, and that took guts. Apple tree fall. Yeah, for him to like, oh, you know, he did a good a good thing and isn't that great? Look here. Look here. I got a nice pic in my kitchen right now. We could go poke anybody's eye. We we used it to poke holes in our belts and my dad used to poke holes in brains. This is fine. Yeah, this is fine. This is fine. Yeah. Now, thankfully, he wound up a security guard rather than a brain surgeon, which I think would have been a better career for his dad too. In retrospect, 100% a 100% his dad. More when he was when his dad was sick all the time. Yeah, yeah, he really should have stayed that way now. In 1967, Freeman was visited by Helen Mortensen, one of his earliest patients. She had received 2 lobotomies from Freeman, one in 1946 and one in 1956. After a relapse in 1967, she relapsed again, likely as a result of her brain repairing itself, and she went into Walter for a third lobotomy. This was conducted at Herrick Memorial Hospital in Berkeley, CA, and unfortunately for Helen, Walter severed a blood vessel in her brain. She died three days later from the operation and Freeman. Surgical privileges were revoked. He lived for five more years, during which he performed no additional lobotomies. He died from cancer on May 31st, 1972, at the ripe old age of 76. Between 1936 and the late 1950s, the wave of lobotomies Walter ignited led to more than 40,000 lobotomies and perhaps more than 50,000. Some aspects of the techniques Dr Freeman pioneered are still in use, but only on a profoundly limited scale. Less than 20 brain operations per year, on average, are performed in the US to treat. Psychiatric disorders. Most of these use lasers or radiation to lesion off small sections of a particular chunk of the brain, primarily to treat obsessive compulsive disorder or Parkinson's. Transorbital lobotomies are no longer practiced, and most of the young men and women doctor Walter Freeman, I expect, have long since followed him to the grave. And that's the episode. Wow. So they're still dumb, but I'm sure nowadays somebody washes their hands beforehand. No, they're not sort of brains. Yeah. Any sort of like brain surgery to deal with any sort of psychosis. Some of the things he like pioneered are performed on a very limited basis or are part of more humane treatments. But again, like 20 people a year received something vaguely similar, and they're not even that similar. It's just that they they remove similar parts of the brain because it does help certain people. But again, you look at how many thousands of operations he performed. And the actual need seems to be somewhere like maybe a couple dozen people a year benefit really vague form of what he did. He he liked it, right? It's like when you take good at it to get an oil change and you can tell they just want to change brakes, they're like, Oh yeah, new brakes do you really? Well, that's what we do here is break. So. That's what we're gonna say. You need. I I think a lot of it was that he he was he was good at performing a lobotomy, and most people weren't. Most people couldn't do that sort of work without, like, breaking down because it was just horrifying to a normal human being to shut an ice pick into a skull. Yes. And Freeman didn't give a **** and he didn't like working with other people, so he was able to do this alone, and he was the best at it. And that's all he wanted from his career. So that's the only thing he really did, right? And he didn't grow up with much of an affinity for the female gender. So, yeah, it was more than happy to shut up a wife? Oh yeah, your wife's talking sounds like schizophrenia. Yeah, that's wild. That's horrific. Yeah, it's pretty bad, dude. The the fact. When do you think? So it probably should have really ended by like 65. Yeah, I mean, he stopped 67 was his last one. I think it probably should have stopped by the 50s. OK, 50s, like. Yeah, I guess you could argue. It's understandable. You know, she was like the late 40s. I think she was. That's right. I keep thinking I was thinking of the person that was in 62, but yeah, she was in the 40s. That's right. They started in the late 30s. You could argue that there was maybe a decade there where just if you assume medical science is going to have some really rough patches just because it's hard to figure **** out. Maybe a decade where people would have done this. We're realizing, oh, this actually is just turning people off and not fixing any problems. But it went on for a long and most doctors by the 50s certainly were aware that, like, this is not the thing you do for everybody who's got a mental illness, there's better treatments. But he kept right on rolling almost to the 70s, like he damn near made it to disco. Well, thank God for that. Yeah, thank God that we stopped it before disco. Yeah, yeah. That would have really tarnished America's brightest. Also, I love when we get to give the CIA credit for things they didn't do. Yeah, the CIA was like, whoa, this seems real ****** **. Which should tell you all you need to know. We're just going to abduct people off the street and give them toxic doses of LSD. That seems like the humane option. Ohh, man. Like, in between assassinating democratically elected leaders and running death squads, the the CIA looks back at this, and it's like, whoo, boy, that's gonna **** people off. If we do this, that's gonna that's gonna really look bad. We're not looking to get into that ice pick game. Yeah, we don't want to. We don't want to be monsters. No. And it's too much evidence. Yeah, LSD wears off. Yeah. Yeah. So. Daniel yeah. How you feeling? Well, I'll educated, first of all, so I appreciate that. I'm so surprised that some people went on to live normal lives. I love that Howard went on to. Yeah. To actually like kind of be OK yeah. Yeah. That's a Horror Story, man. There's so many horror stories in this man's life. Yeah. He's a living, like a living monument to how resilient human beings can be. He had like a family he, like, lived. It seems to have been a pretty happy life after he got, you know, over some things. And was like, you know, training school bus drivers. That's not an easy job. That's an important job. He was apparently good at it. So, like, but it's like you said, that's amazing. The brain repair can repair itself. Yeah. And it probably did the best it could. Geez, yeah, it it seems like it did great. In his case, it did Watts having to, like, really end up distancing himself, then, from Friedman? No, I think he, you know, he had some major arguments with the man, but he always regarded him as a brilliant, pioneering Dr, just somebody who he think took things a little too far and was a little bit too cavalier. But, like, he really respected him, it seems. I'm not an expert on watts. No? No. Yeah. So. You feel happy after this? I mean, I'm happier that I'm living in a better medical time, but you feel like we're not doing anything right now medically that we're going to look. But I'm sure somebody's gonna be like, actually, and then I'm like, Oh no, I think we're doing lots of **** that we're gonna look back on. It's horribly ****** **. Oh yeah, man. I think we're doing a ton of stuff that is going to be looked back on as deeply problematic. Not as I don't think we're doing anything on a mass scale that's nearly as bad as the mass lobotomies that were being performed back then. But I think we're doing a lot of ****** ** **** I think. Particularly, what's going to be looked at in the future as as bad as as lobotomies are on that level is how we deal with people who have. There's evidence that a lot of violent criminals, like people who are in prison for violent crimes, have head injuries. CTE. Yeah. Yeah. They looked at that Aaron Hernandez case and that the Boston Globe did. The spotlight team profoundly damaged. Yeah, yeah. I I think we're going to look at our treatment of prisoners as an. Essentially rooted in our inability to recognize or our desire to not give a **** about a lot of types of mental illness and not treat it and just lock it up. And I think that that is something that will be viewed on the same scale as lobotomies are today. Yeah, I would agree with all that. I think I was trying to like a specific procedure that were like, oh, you never do that anymore. But yeah, no, that's that's all that's you're. You're right on the nose with that stuff, I think. I think there might. I don't think it compares in terms of the scale, but I think like one of the things. A lot of people with autism complain about with groups like Autism Speaks is that their goal is to like eradicate autism. And a lot of people will argue like, well, but wait, I'm perfectly happy. I just have a different kind of brain and I think about the world differently. And your desire to eradicate me is kind of like eugenics and a horrible. And I do think that we will increasingly recognize that, like trying to wipe out autism is incredibly ****** ** and that instead we should be focusing on like, helping these people integrate with everyone else. Like, yeah. But I I don't think the scale of that and I don't think like, that's not it's a sliding scale. I think it's worse to jam ice picks into people's brains. I just keep thinking of the show than Nick, did you watch the neck? No. Highly recommended Clive Owen, Chris Sullivan, who's now on the show. This Is Us. I think it's Soderbergh. But it was on Showtime and it's all about like the medical advancements in the like teens and 20s and just seeing. Like what they were trying to figure out and the chances they were taking that ended up working. And like the advancements they would find just even how to like do a transfusion and stuff like that. So I just kept thinking of that because my whole thing is like when something very delicate and very tricky, maybe that's redundant but ends up being like common. I always wonder how many times, what was the trial and error process. It's kind of scares me. Like what was the trial and error error. Process for Walter Jackson Friedman and whatever. And those people are gone. I mean and and those companies are gone. It's, you know, there's an extent to which we were going to try lobotomies. Of course it was it was it was going to happen. And it's not bad. You know, even though some people were going to be horribly affected by it, it had to happen for medical science to advance. It didn't have to happen on this scale, right? It's like we were going to realize that, like, Ritalin could be helpful in treating certain kinds of, like ADHD, it didn't have to be wildly overprescribed to children at the level it was in the 1990s. That's life, right? Not that I don't think. Obviously, I don't think giving Riddle into kids is nearly as bad as thousands of lobotomies with ice picks and unwashed hands. But there's always going to be some sort of, like, we figured out this new thing. It helps some people let's massively over apply it. That's kind of how human beings are. But if, like, that's part of why the scientific method is supposed to work the way it's supposed to work, where scientists are supposed to kind of pull their ego out of it and look at like, OK, well now we have data saying we're actually doing this way too much. And we should stop. But then you get a guy like Freeman who bases his whole identity on the fact that he's the best at this thing that we shouldn't really be doing. Mm-hmm. And then it doesn't stop. So it's this kind of problem where in an ideal world, if we treated science the way we're always supposed to treat it, somebody would have walked up to Freeman in, like, the late 40s or early 50s and been like, actually, this is being done way too much. And he would be like, ah, damn. OK, well, let's figure out something better. But instead, he doesn't because he just wants to do that. Wants to do this thing. He wants to **** with people's brain. He likes it. And so yeah, exactly. Also are you are you a song of Ice and fire guy at all or. Oh yeah, I love it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Big Fan also makes me think of Clybourne. Yeah, the character. Because there's always that, too, in medical history where there's like, because I look at it and there's more, I'm sure. But just in the sake of this conversation, like, I look at like there's people who learn what medicine works and they dedicate their life to helping people. And then there's the. Other type of person who has no problem just poking around, putting things together and then seeing what comes of it. And a lot of times you get advancements out of that or you find out something that works. Yeah, but they might not necessarily be the same type of traditional Doctor Who wants to help someone. They're just very curious and have the ability to just dig around in people's innards to see what can work where. And that always creeps me out too. Yeah, it's not great. Yeah, you wanna plug your plegables, Daniel? I do. People should go to danielvankirk.com. There you can see all of my dates and where I'm going to be. I've got December 2nd. I'm doing a show at Largo. On November 22nd I will be headlining in Petaluma, CA and other tour dates and things as well. But most importantly you can get my album Thanks Diane. It drops on November 15th. It's if you're hearing this before then you can pre buy the album at the Apple Store app in your phone or go to danielvankirk.com and you can click through to there. When you do that you'll get an instant track called don't be * **** which I'm proud of, but you'll get the whole album. On 11:15 November 15th and go to danielvankirk.com for all that, or listen to me on my podcast dumb people town, which I do with the Sklar brothers or pen pals, which I do with Rory Scovel. Cool. Yeah, well, I am Robert Evans. You can find me on the Internet at behindthebastards.com, where the sources for this episode will be including Jackal. He's wonderful book lobotomist. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram at ******** pod. You can find me on Twitter at I write. OK, and you can find love in your heart as long as you're willing to put an ice pick into your brain. So again, this is my encouragement to all of our listeners to grab an ice pick and start lobotomizing. Be a hero like Doctor Freeman. Do not. Sophie, can we can we urge people to to carry out unlicensed surgery? No. But you could plug your other podcast. I have another podcast. I do have another podcast. Yeah. Yeah. The worst year ever with Katie and Cody. From some more news. We we talk about the 2020 election, which will be the worst year ever. So if you want a lobotomy to feel like sweet release, listen to the worst year ever. This week we talk about Tulsi Gabbard. So that one's fun. Nice. Yeah. Well, thanks for having me on this show, man. I love coming back and learning. Yeah, I'm. Thank you for coming, Daniel. Thank you for learning. And thank you for spreading the gospel of the ice pick. Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. 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