Russian Man Dug Up 29 Bodies, Dressed Them For Apartment Display

Police say a Russian man dug up 29 female bodies and brought them to his apartment, where he dressed them in women's clothes and put them on display.

On Monday, law enforcement officials released a video of the man's apartment, which he shared with his parents in the city of Nizhny Novgorod. It shows a grisly scene, including what police say are mummified remains, their faces wrapped in cloth, wearing bright dresses and headscarves.

Police described the figures as a life-size doll collection, and even found instructions for doll-making at the scene. The video has footage of old-fashioned plastic dolls in dresses also laying about his apartment.

Russian media reports identify the man as Anatoly Moskvin, a 45-year-old historian who specializes in the history of Nizhny Novgorod. He is also a linguistic expert and speaks 13 languages. He was considered the leading expert on cemeteries in the city. Moskvin reportedly claimed that from 2005-2007 he inspected 752 cemeteries across the region, often traveling 20 miles a day on foot, drinking from puddles, and spending the nights in haystacks or farms.

He once even slept in a coffin.

According to authorities, Moskin has apparently always been open about his fascination with the dead, and enthusiastically described how he loved to rummage through graveyards, studying grave stones and uncovering the life stories of those whose names he found inscribed. In a 2007 interview, Moskvin said he began wandering through cemeteries when he was in seventh grade.

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"I don't think anyone in the city knows them better than I do," he said.

Police said he had taken photographs of grave sites and had nameplates, which could help in identifying the remains.

There have been conflicting reports by Russian media on how Moskvin was discovered and arrested. One newspaper said he was detained at a cemetery, carrying a bag of bones. Another publication said investigators found the bodies when they visited Moskvin at his home to ask him about the desecration of graves, for which police spokeswoman Svetlana Kovylina said a long-running investigation was underway.

Alexei Yesin, the editor of a local paper, told the Associated Press that he was shocked by the news. Yesin said had worked with Moskvin, who wrote several articles about cemeteries and historic sites in the region. He said Moskvin had "certain quirks," but didn't appear to be up to anything particularly strange. "I saw no signs of that while working with him," he said.

Moskvin traces his interest in the dead back to a funeral procession he attended at age 12. Someone involved apparently made him kiss the face of an 11-year-old dead girl.