Postcard from... Los Angeles

 

Tim Walker
Tuesday 27 May 2014 23:26
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If it weren’t for the arresting sign, this nondescript building on Sunset Boulevard might well go unnoticed. But with a title like “Psychiatry: An Industry of Death”, the small museum is nothing if not intriguing – even to those who don’t know of its links to Scientology.

The museum opened in 2005 and is devoted to denigrating psychiatry. It is clearly well-funded, but its premise is undermined by some preposterous assertions.

Psychiatry, the exhibit suggests, is a historical conspiracy, “an industry driven entirely by profit”, with a long-term “master plan” to bend the world to its will. In one room, made up to resemble a concentration camp gas chamber, it seeks to blame psychiatry for the Holocaust. Elsewhere, psychiatry is named as the cause of school shootings, serial murders and several Hollywood suicides.

The museum is funded by a non-profit organisation, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, set up by the Church of Scientology. The museum’s links to the group are almost unmentioned within the exhibit, but they are well known, and many visitors are likely to be people curious about the Church and its activities. If it’s intended as an advert for Scientology, it’s not an especially attractive one.

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