Hangman’s Shack

The Souris Valley Mental Health Hospital was a prominent institution founded in 1921 in Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Orginally, patients worked in outdoors on farms on the grounds providing relief for various cognitive problems. Later, and perhaps more well-known, was the infamous work of Dr. Humphrey Osmond and Abram Hoffer. The pair introduced shock therapy, LSD, and lobotomies in the 1950s and 1960s.

Another well known part of the hospital grounds was a small building labeled by locals as “Hangman’s Shack”. This structure was not far from the hospital near the river. It was approximately five feet by seven feet in area and maybe seven feet in height. The centre of the shack featured a bed-like slab of cement. Most likely it was used for solitary confinement. It is believed that patients committed suicide here due to the conveniently located thick beam above the slab, giving the building its grim nickname Hangman’s Shack.

Below are a few pictures I took in the summer of 2008 the year before the hospital was demolished:

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