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FOUND: 1958 Video In a Psychiatric Hospital’s Time Capsule

The footage (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube)

Most people who put together a time capsule pack in some newspapers of the day, maybe a few letters to the future, and some other small fragments of the present. Psychiatrists at the Bahr Treatment Center, a psychiatric hospital built in Indianapolis in 1958, made a video for the time capsule they buried at the cornerstone-laying ceremony. With its mentions of electroshock therapy and speculative talk about “psychiatrists of the future,” it’s pretty haunting: 

As Matt Novak writes at Paleofuture, this time capsule was found by construction crews working to prepare the same spot for a business and residential development. The Bahr Treatment Center closed in 1992—although in the film, the two men are careful to say that “we have developed a building that’s completely flexible to to keep up with the changing pace of the mental health program,” at some point the building became obsolete. 

Most of the sound is gone from these videos (and a couple of others posted at Paleofuture). It seems like these men had a strong enough sense of the importance of the work they were doing that they wanted to document it for the future. Whatever they were aiming for, though, only a shadow got through. 

Bonus finds: The Jersey Devil, a glass speara naturally mummified cat

Every day, we highlight one newly lost or found object, curiosity or wonder. Discover something unusual or amazing? Tell us about it! Send your finds to sarah.laskow@atlasobscura.com.