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Discovery Of Former Lunatic Asylum Mass Grave Halts University Building Progress

Travelers Today       By    Ashley Sneddon

Updated: Feb 11, 2014 11:45 AM EST

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asylum, lunatic asylum, mass graves halt university building, Mississippi
Depicted Patients of an 1800s Asylum
Patients were often buried in mass, unmarked graves.

The University of Mississippi have been forced to halt construction on a parking garage after the discovery of a mass grave holding at least 1000 bodies.  

The bodies have not been identified, but are thought to have been former patients of the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum, which closed about 80 years ago.  

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Though it may seem shocking, the discovery did not come as a surprise to university spokesman, Jack Mazurak.  "The property the the University of Mississippi Medical Centre is located on was once the location of the state insane asylum, which operated from 1855 until 1935.  Historically, we knew that there were a lot of graves, most of which are not marked.  In the 90s, we took a handful of other graves we found and interred them in a proper cemetery." 

"As we've constructed the campus, we've occasionally run across a coffin.  When we were extending a road for an intersection in 2002, we came across a row of about 66 graves." 

Mazurak said the university couldn't build on the site, due to both respect and the cost to move and rebury the bodies, which would have added another $3 million on top of the existing cost of the garage.

Officials are currently deciding an alternative place to build the parking garage, as well as other parking lots planned for the university. 

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