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Over 7,000 could be buried beneath Mississippi University

A recent investigation uncovered that over 7,000 bodies may be buried beneath the Mississippi University’s medical center campus. The 20 acres are was the former site of the states’s first mental institution, according to a Clarion Ledger report.

Over 35,000 patients were admitted to the Insane Asylum during 1855-1935, with many of those dying being buried at the facility’s cemetery. Although the the Asylum was relocated over 80 years ago, and the grounds belong to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

In 1935, the Insane Asylum was moved to its current location of the State Hospital at Whitfield.


In 2013, over 66 coffins were uncovered by construction workers. In 2014, another 1,000 coffins were revealed by a radar. Subsequent surveys revealed a total of 2,000 coffins. Current estimates now place the total number of coffins buried beneath the campus at approximately 7,000.

Now the university officials are faced with task of exhuming and reburying each body with estimated costs racking up to $21 million.

A memorial would be created to commemorate the remains, along with a visitor’s center and a lab where the bodies, clothing, and coffins will be analysed. Should the science lab be built, it’ll be the first facility of its kind in the

United States.

“It would be a unique resource for Mississippi,” said UM anthropologist Molly Zuckerman in The Clarion Ledger. “It would make Mississippi a national center on historical records relating to health in the pre-modern period, particularly those being institutionalised.”

Alexa Stewart