Mindy McGinnis

Mindy McGinnis

LOUDONVILLE — The Cleo Redd Fisher Museum’s Fall Speaker Series continues this month as author Mindy McGinnis shares the research behind her Edgar Award-Winning Gothic historical thriller, "A Madness so Discreet."

McGinnis will discuss how doctors treated brain injuries in the 1890's and the different aspects of care for the mentally ill (for better or for worse) including the infamous psychosurgery known as a lobotomy. McGinnis will also delve into a brief history of the Athens Lunatic Asylum, the setting for the novel.

The lobotomy was a Nobel Prize-winning form of neurosurgical treatment severing connections in the brain for treating mental disorders and other conditions, with tens of thousands of

Americans lobotomized in the ensuing decades. However, the treatment was also widely criticized as violent, inhumane, and largely ineffective. The Athens Lunatic Asylum, in Athens, Ohio, operated as a mental hospital from 1874 to 1933. At its peak, the hospital housed over 1,800 patients over 78 buildings, on a 1,019-acre campus — but today, is best known as one of Ohio’s most haunted landmarks.

McGinnis is a Young Adult author and former school librarian. A ninth-generation farmer, she attributes much of her character to growing up on an Ohio farm, learning the value of physical labor, and the harshness of the natural world early in life.

Much of her writing reflects small-town living and aspects of rural poverty. Her debut novel, Not A Drop to Drink, a post- apocalyptic survival story set in a world with very little freshwater, has been optioned for film by Stephenie Meyer's Fickle Fish Films. Books will be available to purchase from the author for $15 (hardcover) and $10 (soft back), following the program.

The event will be held on Monday, Oct. 18 at the Cleo Redd Fisher Museum. The event is free and open to the public, with doors opening at 6:30 pm and the event beginning at 7 p.m. The museum is located at 203 E. Main Street in Loudonville. This program is made possible, in part, by Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The museum’s Fall Speaker Series will wrap up on Nov. 15 with Alan Fitzpatrick of the Fort Henry Days and a discussion of the History and Material Culture of Native Americans in the Upper Ohio Valley. Those interested in learning about the museum or upcoming events should call the museum at 419 994-4050 or visit www.crfmuseum.com for more information.

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