In 1795, James Tilly Matthews was thrown into Bethlem Hospital for accusing the Prime Minister of treason. While there, he started to believe that a terrorist gang was playing with his brain using magnetic waves, which they used to affect his physical and emotional health. Over 10 years, he explained this device, called an Air Loom, to John Haslam, the hospital apothecary. What emerged was the very first book-length record of mental illness- even though some people didn’t even think Matthews was insane to begin with.

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