The Anguished Man
A haunted portrait painted in the blood of a tortured artist.
Years ago, in a small home in Cumbria an artist sat down to paint a self-portrait.
The man was disturbed, his life filled-up with depression and pills, suffering from debilitating mental disorders which had him wailing at night. Drawing inspiration from this life he decided to paint his portrait to reflect his anguish. To ensure he was imbued into the painting, the mixed his own blood into the paint and painted the rough terrifying painting we know today.
After he finished it he sent it to the grandmother of Owen Shawn Robinon. She had requested a painting, and he'd decided to give her his self-portriat. After a few days, he finally committed suicide.
The new proud owner had no wish to hang the painting up in her house and hid it away in the attic until her grandson, Robinson spotted it on one of his excursions into the dusty room. He asked if he could inherit it, and she was only too glad to finally gift the painting to someone else.
Years later, after his grandmother passed, Robinson brought the painting home, only to have it immediately moved to the basement. His wife had no wish to have the thing in her house.
But in 2009 he rediscovered the painting after a flood, brought it out of the dark and hung it up in one of the spare rooms. Although unhappy, his wife let it be. The thing was, at least, out of sight.
But then it started.
Footsteps in the hallway. Doors banging shut for no reason. Items going missing and appearing somewhere else. Overall, the Robinson family chalked it up to imagination, to basic issues with plumbing or drafts in the house. There was nothing to worry about, nothing at all.
But it got worse.
His children began suffering from night terrors.
They would see figures wandering the house at night,
Even encouraging parents to use colectomies as a sort of ‘cure-all’ for children. He had done so with his own children, so he deemed himself an authority on the matter. His peers seemed quite enamoured with Cotton’s theories, and more and more surgeries in America began to apply this ‘Cotton Method’.
But unrest was brewing. Despite his growing fame, his former patients and their families began complaining. Of their uncured disease, mutilations and even deaths of their family members who’d been former patients. Despite the number of unhappy customers though, Cotton seemed untouchable, as the scientific community rallied around him and sung his praises above his detractors.
Cotton would continue to push his theories unabashedly, and this ambition would be his downfall. In his eager chase to ensure that Trenton Hospital became one of the leading medical facilities in America, he inadvertently brought hordes of attention upon his practices. An investigation was launched into the hospital and by extension Cotton’s surgeries.
This was done as part of the Bright Investigation, to identify waste and fraud in the Government. The investigation discovered a slew of unhappy patients, employees and family members, who were described as:
“A parade of disgruntled employees, malicious ex-patients, and their families, testifying in damning detail about brutality, forced and botched surgery, debility and death.”
Trenton Psychiatric hospital still practiced Cotton's method by pulling until in the 1960's.
The intense pressure from the investigation would be too much for Cotton who became erratic and disorganized to the point that he was asked to quietly step down from his position at Trenton. During his recovery, his former mentor, Adolf Meyer, got wind of his practices and sent one of his trusted younger students to investigate the hospital.
Doctor Phyllis Greenacre, headed into the looming Trenton Psychiatric building to see for herself the condition of these patients, and what she discovered was horrific.
Although the origin of the anguished man is a bit of a mystery it's effects on the household is far more mysterious and haunting than its origin.
There is sinister darkness emanating from the screaming man. A face echoing the sheer agony of a life filled up with pain and misery. It may have been painted by a pig-tailed girl, or an sweet aunt with weird tastes, but it still pulses with
Encyclopedia of Asylum Therapeutics, 1750-1950s