Voltando para casa

Barbacena

The hospital, at its peak, housed about 5000 patients. They would come from all over the country, packed in a train that stopped in front of the pavilions. This sinister and terrible vehicle was known as"The Madman Train".

Most patients would never leave hospital. Many patients were children that would never see their families again: boys that had been considered by their parents and teachers as disobedient; girls that were a disgrace to their families, because they had lost their virginity or got pregnant without being married. Also political prisoners and all sorts of "undesirable" people with illnesses like TB and syphilis.

Patients lived totally abandoned. They would go about the pavilions naked, barefoot and were forced to eat raw food served in hogs without any tableware settings.

Since hospital accommodations were insufficient for so many people, beds had been removed and replaced by hay on the floor. This practice was recommended to other psychiatric hospitals of the region. Patients would sleep together on the floor covered with hay. They also had the company of rats that would bite them and leave their urine and excrements. Dozens of patients died of diarrhea, dehydration and many other occasional illnesses. We believe that around 60.000 patients died just in this hospital. There were 60 weekly deaths and 700 a year.

Many former patients tell the story of a tea that was often served around midnight and "strangely" the next day, many patients would be found dead. They would be piled up in corridors and courtyards.