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The Research


            On October 8, 1862, the biggest Civil War battle in Kentucky took place at Perryville.  Over 40,000 men, Union and Confederate, fought in the battle.  Of those 40,000, over 7,500 men died.  The town of Perryville was turned into a giant infirmary to treat the sick and wounded.  Many buildings were taken over to meet the need for treatment centers. One place, the Elmwood Inn, has become infamous in Perryville.        

            The Elmwood Inn received many soldiers from the battle.  So many soldiers were sent there that there was not sufficient time for diagnosis.  Doctors knew that once a soldier was shot in an appendage, they would more than likely lose their limb. This resulted in multitudes of amputations.  The limbs were thrown out the window and eventually the pile was as high as the windowsill on the first floor.

            The limbs were later buried somewhere within the town, but no one knew the whereabouts of the appendages.  These remains went undiscovered until a college anthropology class serendipitously came upon the limbs.  The townspeople requested that they not remove the limbs from the area, but the college class took the pieces for further examination anyway.

The research was going well until one night an over-achieving student stayed late for some detailed analysis.  It was getting late into the night when the student thought he saw a finger move.  He wiped his eyes and waved the phenomenon off as figment of his imagination.  Moments later he looked back and saw that the hand was gone.

            The student looked under the table, thinking he had accidentally knocked the hand off, but he did not see it.  Fervently, he looked around the room and found nothing.  Dismissing the disappearance of the hand as a prank by his fraternity, he went back to work.

The night eventually reached the early hours of the morning and the student fell asleep over his work.

            The next morning, the professor entered the classroom and discovered the bloody remains of the student.  The student’s hand was missing, and clasped around his neck was one of the soldiers’ bony hands.  Aghast by the horrific display, the professor left the room screaming.  As the professor ran out, he saw that the limbs were arranged to spell out DO NOT DISTURB THE DEAD.



Adam Wooldridge

Adair County High School