Right away she exposed the ridiculous flaws in the system -- several doctors examined her and declared her, quote, "undoubtedly insane" and a "hopeless case" with no chance for a cure. They were so blatantly relying on blind guesses for their diagnoses that multiple doctors couldn't tell the difference between an insane person and a perfectly sane reporter saying, "Oh yeah, I'm totally crazy. You wouldn't even believe it."
The place they dumped her was called Blackwell's Island, and Bly soon found that the ominous name seemed to encourage the asylum to follow every prison movie cliche in existence. Over 10 days she was stuck in a filthy facility that served gruel, broth and bone-dry bread. Showers were buckets of frigid water dumped on her head. Then you have the rotten meat, and the rats, and the nurses who beat the patients who refused to shut up. Bly's stay was less One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and more Hostel.
Bly found that the conditions weren't just a matter of poor funding or a misunderstanding of mental illness but rose to the level of diabolical torture. She describes being made to sit perfectly still and silent on a wooden bench for 14 straight hours, with nothing to read, no one to talk to and completely cut off from the outside world. She spoke to other patients and came to the conclusion that many were perfectly sane but had been broken by the hellish conditions.