University officials believe at least 7,000 bodies could be buried on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus.
According to the University of Mississippi, the bodies are former patients of the state’s first mental institution. Furthermore, they say that underground radar revealed that coffins stretch 20 acres across campus where the school wants to develop.
However, Ole Miss school officials have run into an issue in exhuming the bodies as The Clarion-Call Ledger reported that it could cost $3,000 to exhume and rebury each body, an effort that could cost the university up to $21 million.
Via Clarion-Call Ledger:
Now UMMC is studying the cheaper alternative of handling those exhumations in-house, at a cost of $400,000 a year for at least eight years. It also would create a memorial that would preserve the remains with a visitors center and a lab that could be used to study the remains as well as the remnants of clothing and coffins.
Ralph Didlake, who oversees UMMC’s Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, believes the lab would be the first of its kind in the nation — giving researchers insight into life in the asylum in the 1800s and early 1900s.
The asylum was constructed in 1855. The Clarion-Call Ledger reported that of the 1,376 patients who were admitted between 1855 and 1877, more than one in five patients died.
According to the report, the asylum eventually moved in 1935 to its current location of the State Hospital at Whitfield, Mississippi. Back in 2013, school officials discovered 66 coffins while starting constructing a road on the campus. By 2014, 1,000 more coffins were found when the school was constructing a parking garage.
Ole Miss school officials now believe there are apporixmately 7,000 coffins in the area.