Are truth sera real

Did Ratched really exist? The real, crazy story behind the hit Netflix series

"Ratched" has been at the top of the internal Netflix charts worldwide for almost two weeks. The story of a nurse with a darker side who started working at a psychiatric clinic in 1947 is currently Netflix's biggest series hit - also in Germany.

Opinions are divided on whether an explanation of the sadistic figure was really needed, which Louise Fletcher once embodied in the classic movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" so excellently that she should not be missing on any list of legendary film horrors.

But “Ratched” has a lot of fans - and some wonder if the person didn't really exist. We have the slightly more complicated answer.

A CIA drug experiment to start with

As I said, “Ratched” is the prequel for the film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest”. But even with the cinema masterpiece, which among other things managed the rare feat of winning all five main prizes at the Oscars, the story did not begin. The novel of the same name by the action artist Ken Kesey was published 13 years before the film was made, and it has rightly become one of the classics of literary history. Then there was the award-winning Broadway theater adaptation with Kirk Douglas for many years, before his son Michael Douglas then launched the film with Jack Nicholson and director Milos Forman ten years late.

"One flew over the cuckoo's nest" became a celebrated masterpiece as a novel, as a play and as a film - it all started with a CIA drug experiment. Because in order to get some money, Ken Kesey signed up for a study for which he had to throw himself into psychoactive drugs. As it turned out later, he was part of a CIA program called MKULTRA, which caused many discussions and investigations after being blown up and which has not yet been fully clarified.

But what about a secret CIA program that was about enabling mind control and finding a truth serum, and that also influenced films like "Shutter Island", with the classic film "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and Netflix -Series "Ratched" to do? This is how author Kesey found his ratched.

A real example of the "Ratched" inventor

Because the study took place in a veterans hospital in Menlo Park, California, where Kesey soon took a night job as a temporary worker in the clinic's psychiatric facility. His experiences with the drug experiment and his job as a carer inspired him to write “One flew over the cuckoo's nest” - and to process many of his own experiences there, such as his experiences with a certain head nurse.

This is how Sister Ratched came into being, who many years later was voted fifth on an all-time Villain list by the renowned American Film Institute behind Hannibal Lecter, Norman Bates, Darth Vader and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Keseys Ratched is not a 1: 1 implementation of the real head nursehe had to work with. But for many years the author, who, by the way, vehemently rejected the film version his entire life (without having seen it), made it clear again and again that Ratched, who exerts its control so sadistically, is based on a character with a different name but real, which he is repented only shortly before his death.

That's why the author regretted Ratched

Shortly before his death in 2001, Kesey told the New York Timesthat he met the real Ratched again by chance many years later, when the book and film were already world successes. She came up to him and asked him: “Do you remember me? Sister Ratched? "

When he saw a woman who was “much smaller and, above all, much more human” than in his memory, he was aware that he had probably exaggerated her diabolical drawing (Perhaps also a side effect of the high level of drug consumption that the author also did beyond the study mentioned above).

He was pretty speechless at the time and didn't know whether to apologize. Afterwards, however, it was a great relief that she did not hold it against him for having provided the template for a rather nasty film character.

"Ratched" on Netflix: Season 2 seems certain

The answer to the question of whether the main character from the Netflix series "Ratched" really existed is not that simple in the end: There was a real role model, but author Ken Kesey (probably under the influence of drugs) has strayed from it quite unconsciously.

"Ratched" is currently running on Netflix, "One flew over the cuckoo's nest" the streaming provider has not yet been able to include in its program, but the classic movie is available for purchase on DVD, Blu-ray and as a stream, among others. at Amazon. *

* The link to the Amazon offer is a so-called affiliate link. If you buy via this link, we receive a commission.