What’s a trip to Southern California without a visit to a theme park?Â
Coming a close second to Ken Ham’s Creation Museum in the list of pseudoscientific anti-museums, this is a ‘museum’ where the curators try to convert you…
Founded by fringe psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, the Industry of Death museum is owned and operated by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR); a front group for the rabid anti-psychiatry Scientologists and their cult-cure Dianetics.
I was in LA over the weekend, and decided to check it out. The museum is located in a prime spot on 6616 Sunset Boulevard (just delete that “1”), with the Hollywood sign to one side of you, and the Los Angeles Church of Scientology in the backdrop.
Yes, this is Hollywood’s cult.
Admission to the museum and tours are free, but who would pay to be exposed to such nonsense? However, for those suckered in, the real costs come on later…
You’ll be greeted by the image of a terrified little girl beside a cup of tablets, no doubt to ‘cure’ her of her supposed ADHD; her parents devious attempts to control her and stifle her creativity.
On the inside, this is a museum of propaganda, a sensationalist campaign against psychiatry. Psychiatry is a global conspiracyÂ – doctors, insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry are in cahoots to turn us into zombies. Psychiatry is behind eugenics, all acts of genocide, the Holocaust, and terrorism.
There are enormous posters of patients in restraints, and models of evil doctors weilding their implements of torture. Patients are portrayed as lunatics, and hospitals as asylums. Psychiatrists are presented as sadists, titillated by torture and mind control. Most of the exhibits condemn treatments that haven’t even been used for decades.
This is science (fiction) L. Ron Hubbard style. The Dianetics/Scientology/CCHR ideology is that psychiatry is obsolete. Followers believe that mental illness is psychosomatic, and that conditions such as schizophrenia and epilepsy simply don’t exist. They demonize medication for mental illness (especially Prozac and Ritilin) and the “horrors” of “barbaric” treatments such as Electroconvulsive Therapy, better known as ECT.
Those who perceive these treatments as “horrors” are unfamiliar with the true horrors of mental illness.
Someone close to me recently underwent ECT. This person was suffering from severe depression and anxiety and as a result he ceased eating and sleeping, and developed kidney failure. He was nonresponsive to medication, and undergoing ECT literally became a matter of life or death. Fortunately, he responded to the treatment immediately, and made rapid and significant improvements over the following weeks. ECT is a controversial procedure, with a history of misuse, but today, no credible doctor can deny its efficacy for some patients.
Overall, the field is still in its infancy, and attempting to head towards Science-Based Psychiatry. But better drugs with unpronounceable names than Scientology’s alternatives: Narconon, e-meter readings and audits, “purification rundowns” and useless vitamins; leading to the tragic experiences of Lisa McPherson and others as chronicled at What’s the Harm?
If you want to visit a bone fide exhibit, the Glore Psychiatric Museum in St. Joseph, Missouri, documents the factual history of psychiatry, and endeavors to raise awareness of mental illness.
The Church of Scientology, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights and the Psychiatry: Industry of Death museum are irresponsible and discriminatory organizations that further marginalize people with mental illness, add to the ignorance, shame and fear surrounding these conditions, and ensure that these patients will not only continue to be stigmatized for their illness, but also stigmatized for their treatment.
In the delicious irony that is life, it’s the paranoid, delusional and brainwashed followers of Scientology who could use modern psychiatry the most…