The Batman universe is filled with an incredible number of villains, Bat-Family members, and even different versions of the iconic hero. Most people know that Batman lives and fights crime in the city of Gotham, a town whose name is synonymous with the Dark Knight and Bruce Wayne. But another iconic location in Batman comics, movies, and video games is Arkham Asylum.
Arkham Asylum is obviously where Batman's criminally insane foes are incarcerated and supposedly treated after their capture; however, the mental hospital has a dark and complicated past that goes beyond the number of times the Joker has broken out or how often it makes its inmates even crazier. It began with the name Gotham House of Madness and Ill Humors and has been home to the insane both as visitors and employees. Cults, experiments, destruction, different locations, and more are a part of Arkham Asylum, the Batman constant most fans know the least about.
It Was Built In The 19th Century By Original Owner Jason Blood, An Occult Expert Who Experimented On The Mentally Ill
Prior to its role as Arkham ancestral home and asylum, the building was erected by Jason Blood in the 1800s. In the sixth century, the wizard Merlin chose Blood to bear the burden of having his soul tied to the demon Etrigan. This led to a long life of killing for money, allowing Blood to live in luxury.
According to Arkham Asylum: Living Hell, Blood called the house he built Gotham House of Madness and Ill Humors. His occult background and abilities allowed him to attempt exorcisms on the poor and mentally ill inmates. Blood starved and murdered his patients and then closed off the basement holding their corpses. Perhaps this is why the asylum seems cursed to many people.
- Photo: Batman: The Animated Series / Fox Kids
Its Full Name Is 'The Elizabeth Arkham Asylum For The Criminally Insane'
Founded by Amadeus Arkham in November 1921, the mental health facility is named after his mother.
Elizabeth Arkham suffered from mental illnesses herself, and, after killing his mother in 1920, Amadeus decided to assist the criminally insane with their suffering. Amadeus began work on transforming his inherited family home into the asylum.
- Photo: DC Comics
After Construction Was Complete, Amadeus's Patient 'Mad Dog' Hawkins Attacked The Arkham Family
Amadeus Arkham decided on life as a psychiatrist after his mother's mercy killing. One of the men he hoped to assist upon Arkham Asylum's completion was Martin "Mad Dog" Hawkins. Amadeus worked with Hawkins in Metropolis and felt Arkham should be tailored to people like him, suffering from mental ailments but committing heinous criminal offenses.
As construction on the asylum took place, Amadeus, his wife, and their daughter resided in the home. Hawkins stalked them from Metropolis and broke in one night to sexually assault and murder Constance and Harriet while Amadeus wasn't home. Hawkins was the first patient to enter the corridors of Arkham Asylum.
- Photo: Batman: Arkham Asylum / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
In 1929, Amadeus Became A Patient Of His Own Hospital
After the loss of his wife and daughter, Amadeus treated "Mad Dog" at Arkham for months without any trouble. However, on the April anniversary of his family's death, he pretended to administer electroshock therapy to "Mad Dog" and murdered him in revenge.
The always-useful Gotham Police ruled the demise of "Mad Dog" an accident, and Amadeus continued to spiral into madness. It wasn't until 1929 that he was finally held accountable for the killing of his stockbroker. His sentence? Incarceration in his own asylum.