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Richard Smith has been hospitalized as a mental patient at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, New York for 47 of his 67 years. In 1989 he joined the Living Museum, an art asylum created out of an abandoned building on the grounds of Creedmoor, under the direction of clinical psychologist Janos Marton.
For 20 years, from 1947 to 1967, a man by the name of Forrest Bess ran a bait camp on a tiny spit of land 100 feet offshore Chinquapin Bayou on the Gulf Coast of Texas. By day, he trawled for shrimp and sold them to fishermen for bait.