Up to 7,000 bodies are estimated to be buried on the grounds of the University of Mississippi Medical campus in Jackson, Mississippi.
The bodies are those of former patients of a mental institution that occupied the grounds and date back to 1855, according to USA Today.
Underground radar images have revealed coffins stretching across 20 acres of the pristine campus, according to UMMC officials. The school is facing a $21 million bill to exhume and move the bodies.
We have inherited these patients. We want to show them care and respectful management.
— Ralph Didlake – UMMC Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities
The former “insane asylum” on the grounds dates back to before the Civil War and at its peak use had more than 6,000 patients in residence.
The presence of the coffins was not discovered until 2014 when the university began construction of a new parking garage. X-rays of the site revealed more than 1,000 coffins under the new structure.