Four Cemeteries That Were “Relocated”

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You’re familiar with the scenario from your favorite horror movies: when a family moves into a house inconveniently built on top of a graveyard, ghostly shenanigans and otherworldly horrors ensue. But it’s not just a plot in Poltergeist - cemeteries are relocated more frequently than you might think. We like to think that the bodies make the move along with their headstones, but as you’ll see, that’s not always the case.

1. Are the New Orleans Saints getting penalized by beings other than the refs? When ground was broken for the Superdome back in 1971, crews brought up bones by the backhoe-full. It didn’t take long to determine that they had discovered what was left of the Girod Street Cemetery (pictured), an above-ground burial ground for victims of Yellow Fever and cholera. Though the cemetery was deconsecrated in 1957, not every body buried there was moved. If someone didn’t claim their long-dead relatives, the deceased were just were just left there, coffins and all. Needless to say, many people chalked up the Saints’ losing streak to spirits that were angry about their remains being unceremoniously dug up to make way for a football field. At least two voodoo priestesses tried to remove the so-called curse; so did a nun. None of those attempts worked, but apparently something finally did since the Saints won the Super Bowl in 2010.

2. When the Eisenhower Expressway was built in the late ‘50s, at least 2,000 graves were moved from three different cemeteries in Forest Park, Illinois, to make way.

3. It’s not scheduled to open until 2016, but when the Shanghai Disney Resort does admit its first guests, they might find a real ghost or two lurking in the Haunted Mansion. Hundreds of tombs had to be moved to make way for Mickey’s latest home; families with deceased loved ones being relocated received 300 yuan (about $47) per body. As far as we know, everything was properly moved... I suppose time will tell.

4. Back in about 1843, part of Chicago’s famous Lincoln Park was actually a cemetery. Concerned about cholera, city officials decided to relocate the dead - including about 4,000 Confederate soldiers - to a less central location that might protect the living from disease. When work began on a parking garage in Lincoln Park in 1998, at least 80 bodies were discovered, making it pretty clear that not all of the cemetery’s residents had found their way to the new digs on the south side of Chicago. At least one tomb is obviously still there; you can find the mausoleum of innkeeper Ira Couch located behind the Chicago History Museum.

Do you know of any other relocations that may not have actually been completed? Let us know about it in the comments.

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October 24, 2011 - 8:04pm
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