Entry 802: I See Dead People

Today I’d like to bring you a few lively news stories about dead bodies.

Let us begin in Mississippi, where construction for a parking garage has revealed “as many as 7,000 dead bodies buried under a portion of the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus.” This is good news indeed, because if you’re going to find 7,000 bodies buried on a college campus, you’d really prefer them to be dead.

Still, 7,000 dead bodies isn’t exactly something you want to put in the patient brochure for a medical center.

According to an article, “The remains likely belong to the patients of the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum, the state’s first mental institution that opened in 1855.”

There’s a word in that sentence that really got my attention: “likely.” Likely? You’re not sure? Might there have been another source of 7,000 dead bodies? And this wasn’t just a mound of bones we’re talking about, as if bodies had been dumped into a large pit. These dead bodies were buried in coffins, as opposed to the student body of the University of Mississippi, which is probably buried in debt.

The 7,000 coffins were spread over the campus. “In size, they are fairly uniform,” the school said about the them. “About six feet long but alarmingly narrow, as if each held a pair of stilts instead of a human skeleton.”

A couple of things here:

  1. If the coffins were not even wide enough to hold a skeleton, what sort of bodies did they once contain? I’m guessing the patients at the Mississippi Asylum for the Insane weren’t all that well fed.
  2. How do you not know about 7,000 coffins buried on your property? That’s a lot of coffins. I’ll admit that my wife and I don’t know the location on our property of the well from which we get our water, but I think the electricians might have discovered a coffin or two when they were sinking the wires for the driveway lampposts. “Excuse me, sir. But do you happen to have a large, deceased extended family here with you?”

The University of Mississippi is still trying to figure out what to do with this insane amount of insane bodies. Ironically, at the same time all this is going on, the Medical Center is desperately searching for even more bodies . . . among the living. According to its website:

“The University of Mississippi Medical Center is grateful to those who are interested in donating their body, after death, to medical science.”

Remember, folks, they only want your body after you die. And it might help if you’re really skinny, so they can use their stockpile of coffins.
Now let’s move on to Ohio, where a hunter in Coshocton County found some human remains. This caused an immediate problem for the man, because the Coshocton County human remains hunting season had not yet begun.

Nevertheless, the hunter called the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, who then called in detectives and agents from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, who excavated the bones.

County Coroner Dr. Robert Gwinn determined the bones are about 900 years old and are only of historical interest. Meaning, I suppose, that the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has declined to open a case file to investigate the death.

Authorities have not yet notified the family of the deceased.
Now for some good news: Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin have been found in Switzerland.

They had been missing since they left their home to tend to their cows. In 1942.

Their perfectly preserved bodies were discovered beneath a melting glacier. They were found lying close to each other, with backpacks, a bottle, a book and a watch scattered around them. I don’t know what the title of the book was, but it probably wasn’t something like “How to Survive When Lost in the Swiss Alps During World War II.”

There was no word on what happened to their cows.

To demonstrate that global warming isn’t all bad, melting glaciers have been revealing lots of corpsicles, like two Japanese climbers who had been missing since 1970. So if you go skiing, watch out for moguls. You never know who they might be.

Also, if you happen to be in the Alps, be on the lookout for some steaks thawing out.
Now, if you, personally, are planning to die someday, you might want to do it in Palatine, Illinois so that your funeral can be held at the Ahlgrim Family Funeral Home which has, in its basement, pinball machines, a 9-hole miniature golf course, and various arcade games. Just be sure you die with lots of quarters in your pocket.

Of course, in order to do that, it would help to know exactly when your passing will occur, so you don’t spend the rest of your life jingling. Fortunately, you can visit the internet’s death clock to find out precisely how many seconds you have to live, based on your gender, BMI and nicotine use. I do not know how many people have had fatal heart attacks because the Death Clock informed them that they had 47 seconds to live.

The Death Clock is intended, its creators say, to “remind you just how short life is.”

Which brings me to a sign I saw recently along the Merritt Parkway in Connecticut. “Life is short,” it told drivers. “Slow down.”

If life is short, wouldn’t you want to speed up?

See you soon.

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