Out of the Snake Pit of Insanity
by Marguerite Morton as told to Muriel Larson
Like the demoniac of Gadara from whom Jesus drove a legion of demons, I tore off my clothes again and again.
"I'm afraid we'll have to put her in the ward for the hopelessly insane," a doctor declared. So I joined about 150 other people who went about naked, day and night.
Since I refused to wash myself, once a week five or six orderlies and nurses forcibly got me into a shower. Frequently I became so wild that they tied me down, wrapped me in sheets and packed me with ice to calm me.
I started having nervous problems and fits during my early teens. My family doctor thought I might have epilepsy. Through the years my condition worsened until at the age of 23, I went stark raving mad. "She has evidently had a nervous breakdown," the doctor said. So my family committed me to the South Carolina State Hospital in Columbia.
Back home in Greenville SC my aunt and two sisters, their families, and their church were praying for me, asking God to help and save me.
I had been in the hopelessly insane ward for about five months when a strange thing happened at about 9:30 one night. Suddenly a personage appeared at the foot of my bed. In my dim perception of reality, I thought it might be another patient. But as I stared at the apparition, it seemed like a spirit, an angel!
"Who are you?" this person asked me.
"Marguerite," I answered.
"Have you ever asked God to heal you?"
I stared at the apparition in amazement. Then jumping out of bed, I fell on my knees. "Oh, God," I cried, "Heal me! Help me!" I couldn't remember what else I said. I only knew that I threw myself completely on God's mercy.
Suddenly a streak of lightning seemed to tear through me from head to foot! Immediately I came to my senses and was in my right mind. I knew God had healed me.
I also knew that Jesus Christ had died on the cross for my sins. I had heard the gospel from my aunt, sisters, and others. Now I knew it was true! As I accepted it, Jesus became real to me as my Savior. Peace such as I had never known before filled my heart.
I also became aware that I was naked and my body was dirty. Getting up, I walked toward the cage in which the night nurse was locked for security. "Will you give me some soap and a washrag and let me take a bath?" I asked the nurse. "I have just been saved and healed by God, and I will never cause trouble again. Please give me clothing, too, for I know I'm naked."
Because of long experience with maniacs, the nurse didn't trust me. "No, go back to bed," she said warily, "and I will let you take a bath in the morning."
I went back to my bed, but I didn't want to sleep. I was so thrilled about what had happened to me that I could hardly believe it. So I just walked the floor the rest of the night singing, "In the Garden." Somehow I knew the words and tune perfectly even though I had seldom been to church. The song held a special meaning for me, for I felt I was walking and talking with my Lord in the garden of His love!
In the morning I stood at the door awaiting the doctor's coming. When he saw me there, he asked, "What's the matter with you?"
"I am healed," I answered. "I am well and in my right mind."
"Are you Marguerite?"
"Yes," I answered, "and the great Physician has healed me. I know you all did your best, but it took Him to heal me. Please tell the nurse to give me some clothes and let me take a bath."
"We'll see about it, " he said. After several minutes I heard him tell the nurse, "Get a towel and washcloth and put her in the shower room and let her bathe. I'll stand in the hallway while she takes a shower."
So I happily bathed myself and put on clothes for the first time in five months.
Two days later I was taken before the board of about 40 doctors where I was questioned. "I have been saved," I testified. "I've been born again. I'm a new person in Jesus Christ." I had heard my aunt and sisters use these expressions and knew that was what had happened to me.
"Tell us more about it, Marguerite," suggested one of the doctors.
"God healed me the other night," I answered. Then I told them what had happened.
"You all have done good work," I continued, "but God is above you. He is the Great Physician, and He can heal anyone. And I know He has healed me."
"How do you know it?" a doctor asked.
"Well, am I not standing here before you a different person?" I asked.
Dr. Williams, the administrator of the hospital said, "I don't know what to think!"
"Why, it's simple!" I exclaimed. "God healed me! I am different. I am talking with good common sense now. Surely you can see that!"
"Well, sure," said another doctor, "but you'll be back here in three months!"
"The fear of God is not in you, sir," I replied. "You ought to be ashamed of yourself for not believing that God can heal someone! No, I will never be back. Man may break his promises, but God keeps His. He has promised me I will never come back here!"
The doctors asked my mother to come to Columbia so that they could discuss my changed condition with me.
"We don't know what's happened to Marguerite, but she is a different person," a doctor told my mother and sisters when they came two days later.
"Well, many of us Christians have been praying for her," my sister Nell said. "Prayer changes things, and God has answered our prayers!"
After further discussion, the doctor said I could go home the following week. During that week I went before the board of doctors several more times, each time giving testimony to what the Lord had done for me.
After I returned home, I joined my sisters' church and was baptized; and shortly after that, my mother also received Christ as Savior.
"Marguerite," my aunt said, "I have prayed for you since you were born, and now God has answered my prayers! He answered your niece Joy's prayers too. About the same time that apparition stood at the foot of your bed, Joy was on her knees fervently praying for you."