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Meanwhile in Chicago: Grave Robbing 101

You've done handgun classes, carbine classes, and a medical class. You're waiting now for an opportunity to do something in vehicles, or possibly in the shoothouse. What do you do in the meantime?

How about Grave Robbing 101? Prep the LZ for Halloween maybe?

Atlas Obscura is advising an event bearing that name begins tomorrow in Chicago. A knowledgable local guide will be taking participants through part of Chicago once covered in cemeteries and frequented by grave robbers. Nowadays they just call it Lincoln Park.

Meanwhile in Chicago: Grave Robbing 101

Back in the early 1900s, Chicago's dead, including many thousands of the unnamed or unidentified, were laid to rest where the souther portion of Lincoln Park is today. This lasted until the mid-19th century, when cemeteries were moved outside of the city and bodies — allegedly — were disinterred and moved. Historians tend to agree, however, that hundreds or even thousands of them remain beneath the park and surrounding areas today. Only a handful of people were assigned the task of moving the dead to begin with, and the process was interrupted by the Chicago Fire. Less than 20 years ago nearly a hundred skeletons were disturbed when part of the park was dug up to build a parking facility for the Chicago History Museum.

“When the area now known as Lincoln Park was City Cemetery in the 1840s-60s, it was a regular smorgasbord for grave robbers – medical schools tended to have a ‘no questions asked' policy, and a fresh cadaver could pay as much as a month in the coal mines.” Atlas Obscura

The walking tour costs $20 and will focus on the “body snatching” so commonly practiced by medical schools at the time. (Hey, you have to get cadavers somewhere.)

Read more about the tour or get tickets here.

Feature photo courtesy of LakeView Historical Chronicles.

 


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