Trailblazing journalist Nellie Bly once feigned severe mental illness to expose abuses at an asylum from the inside.

New York City is now putting up a monument in her honor on the site where the asylum once stood.

The island used to be home to an asylum for people who had, or who the authorities believed had, severe mental illness.

She feigned illness to get inside the asylum and her reporting on the abuses she saw in her 10 days of institutionalization eventually deinstitutionalized the facility.

Bly could have dined out on that one accomplishment for the rest of her career.

But she also exposed abuses of factory workers and medical clinics for poor people.

She even once unveiled a black market for children in New York City by purchasing a baby for ten bucks.

Nellie Bly made herself world famous in 1889, when she decided to do a real life version of the Jules Verne novel Around the World In 80 Days, using steam ships, trains, rickshaws and even donkeys to make her way.

She made the entire trip in 72 days, and, along the way, had tea with Jules Verne himself, who was cheering Bly on.

On the subject of road trips, today is the official birthday of the Trans-Canada Highway, which runs from St. John’s Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia.

It’s around 8,000 kilometers or 5,000 miles long, which if my math is right, you could listen to like 1,600 episodes of this show while traveling.

Journalist Nellie Bly Will Receive a Monument on the Grounds of the Asylum She Helped Close (Hyperallergic)

Trans-Canada Highway (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

Backing Cool Weird Awesome on Patreon would be… monumental! 

Photo: Nellie Bly, circa 1890, via Library of Congress.