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“WHO Lies Beneath: The Asylum” Episode 3: Adam Kern

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With the help of voice-actor Chad Kopenski, Adam Kern tells his own story as a German immigrant who came to America and then fought in the Civil War. He became a patient at the old Athens Lunatic Asylum in 1874. Kern was 61 years old when he died and was buried under grave 251. We will hear from Kern’s descendants who found closure after tracking down a missing piece of their family line and worked to get a named marker installed at Kern’s gravesite. Cheri Russo and Doug McCabe will also talk with Ohio University Associate Professor of Social Work Lisa Skeens who is a therapist that specializes in anxiety disorders, grief and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is believed to be the reason Kern was institutionalized.

Have a story about a relative who you believe may be buried under a numbered tombstone at an institutional cemetery anywhere in the country? We’d love to hear from you and see if the work done in Athens might lead you to some answers. Email us at