Author: Carole Haber

ENTRY

Chaloner, John Armstrong (1862–1935)

John Armstrong Chaloner was a celebrity and writer known for coining the catchphrase “Who’s looney now?” after his personal trials with psychiatric experimentation and treatment. When his wealthy family learned that he believed he possessed a new sense, which he called the “X-Faculty,” they had him committed to a psychiatric hospital in New York in 1897; a court later declared him insane and ruled he be permanently institutionalized. He escaped the institution and was ultimately deemed sane more than twenty years later. In the meantime, he published about two dozen books on his experiments with psychotherapy and his stay in the insane asylum. His books, such as The Lunacy Law of the World (1906), often attacked the rising power of psychiatric medicine, and his case was controversial particularly among the nation’s leading psychologists, who disagreed about whether he was rational or paranoid. He married and divorced the novelist Amélie Rives, but lived near her Albemarle County home for much of his life.

Sponsors  |  View all