Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"The Unfortunates"

The grave of the "unfortunates" the 40 patients of the Hospital for the Insane who died on April 13, 1918, in a grisly, pre-dawn fire. has been located.  
Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey walks past grave markers near the location of a mass, unmarked gravesite discovered at the IOOF Cemetery in Norman, where the victims of a 1918 fire are believed to be buried.

 Some time ago I wrote about the fire that occurred at the Griffin Memorial Hospital (as it is now called). You can read it here.  At that time they did not know exactly where the grave was located.  But the Oklahoma Archeological Society used ultra-sound and other technology to locate the exact location of the mass grave.  Thirty-nine patients were buried together in a single, unmarked grave.

Now, almost a century later, the grave of "the unfortunates" as they were referred to in 1918, has been located, and hospital officials say they want to rectify what was a grievous oversight.

"The patients deserve to be named, to have their grave site noted."

Curiosity in 1980 spurred the search for the unmarked grave.  

Money is now being raised to purchase a marker for the grave where the names of those who perished can be inscribed.  

This is an example of how people viewed the mentally ill a hundred years ago.  They were put away and forgotten.  

The only thing different today is there is no where for anyone to go for treatment.  But they are being forgotten all the same.

1 comment:

kenju said...

That is horrible and I am pleased to know that their graves are properly marked at last. It is indeed sad that services for the mentally ill are not much better today than they were back then.

Thanks for the visit and the suggestion of a leather slipcover for the car. I had not thought of that and it is a great idea. I really appreciate it.