When psychiatrists talk slightingly of the old-time methods of caring for the insane, it is well to recall that, considering the conditions and limitations of scientific knowledge, they seem to have done very well in those times. It has been the custom of critics to hold up to ridicule that insane patients were sometimes taken to special shrines in order that their ills might be cured by the direct interposition of Heaven; or that the devil supposed to possess them, might be driven out. It must not be forgotten, however, that such procedures were of supreme utility in mild cases viewed merely from the human standpoint, and without any appeal to the supernatural. The journey to a favorite shrine, undertaken under conditions that gave variety to life and new interests, together with the hope aroused while there, were sufficient to help the patient physically and, not infrequently, mentally.
James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)