Although it might sound like a horror movie plot, there are around 7,000 bodies buried beneath the Mississippi University campus. The place where the Mississippi Medical Center Campus now stands first belonged to a mental institution named the Insane Asylum. Seeing as medicine in the 19th century wasn’t as evolved as it is today, the institution had its very own cemetery.
Over 35,000 Patients Were Treated in the Insane Asylum
Between 1855 and 1935 more than 35,000 people were admitted to this institution. Some of the patients died while receiving treatment here. Seeing as it was the only mental hospital in the state, the dead were buried in the asylum’s cemetery. After 80 years of activity, the Insane Asylum was relocated, the space now belonging to the Mississippi University.
In 2013, construction workers uncovered 66 coffins while digging on campus. The discovery was just the tip of the iceberg. After a year, they found more than 1,000 coffins. Now, current estimations show the university is home to the remains of around 7,000 insane asylum patients.
Seeing as campus officials can’t simply leave the bodies there, they decided to exhume and rebury them. The problem is that the costs of this process can reach a staggering $28.5 million. In consequence, they have come up with a cost-efficient backup plan.
The Insane Asylum Patients Will Receive a Memorial
The University of Mississippi decided to create a memorial to commemorate the deceased mental patients. Even more, a specialized and one-of-a-kind lab will be built, researchers receiving all equipment necessary to analyze the clothing, coffins, and bodies of the 19th-century insane asylum residents. By doing this, they will learn more about pre-modern mental health care.
With the help of the newly-founded Asylum Hill Research Consortium – a group that reunites renowned archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists – the University of Mississippi will be able to uncover the deep dark secrets of the 66 patients that were unearthed 4 years ago.
The rest of the bodies will remain untouched, the institution preferring to build its adjacent bodies in other locations, leaving the dead rest. As a bonus, tourists will be able to visit the location to pay their respects to the deceased.
Image source: Wikipedia