In the later part of the nineteenth century, Rhoda Derry spent over forty years at the Adams County Poor Farm, curled in a fetal position in a Utica crib. She had clawed her own eyes out. She had beaten her front teeth in. Her legs had atrophied to the point where she could no longer stand on her own, or even sit in a wheelchair. She had been committed there by her own family when they could no longer care for her at home. She spent decades locked away from the world.
Her crime? Falling in love.
Rhoda suffered a mental breakdown after being "cursed" by the mother of the boy she was engaged to marry. Committed to the almshouse for violent insanity, she was eventually rescued by Dr. George A. Zeller. She was transferred to the Peoria State Hospital, where she spent her remaining days in peace and comfort. Rhoda died in 1906, but her spirit seems to live on ...
The story of Rhoda Derry is one of the great tragedies of mental health care in the state of Illinois, and one of the great success stories of the Peoria State Hospital.
HERE'S WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
"Central Illinois folklorist and author Sylvia Shults has achieved something quite rare in her gripping new historical narrative, 44 YEARS IN DARKNESS -- a terrifying true story rendered with all the heartbreaking emotion of a novel but also steeped in fascinating historical minutiae. The tragic figure of Rhoda Derry is destined to take her place beside all the great mythic martyrs from Lizzy Borden to Joan of Arc. Highly recommended!" -- Jay Bonansinga, the New York Times bestselling author of THE WALKING DEAD: SEARCH AND DESTROY and SELF STORAGE.
"Masterful ...I've never read anything that magnetic. The research is top notch. I loved it! (The) writing just flows!" -- Jerry Ayres, co-host of The Calling, Minnesota's premiere paranormal radio show
"This story will leave readers torn between rushing to the next page and pausing to savor the author’s distinct descriptions and vivid imagery. As a historian, author Sylvia Shults knows how to set the scene, and as an accomplished author, she executes this tale with shocking accuracy and true-to-life realism. This is a fantastic book." -- Tamara Thorne & Alistair Cross, authors of MOTHER and THE GHOSTS OF RAVENCREST
FIND 44 YEARS IN DARKNESS HERE: https://www.amazon.com/44-Years-Darkness-Madness-Shattered-ebook/dp/B01M4IJFNF/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479074859&sr=8-1&keywords=44+Years+in+Darkness
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