7 Paranormal Ghost Stories in Utah
Skiing, Mormons, and red arches. These are generally the first thoughts that come to mind when you hear the word Utah. But the beautiful mountains have their share of dark secrets, and despite the friendly culture, tales of the strange and paranormal are littered throughout the state. Here are some places that Utah natives dare not visit but only whisper about around blazing campfires and behind closed doors.
1. Spanish Fork Weeping Lady
The peaceful city of Spanish Fork hosts a noisy cemetery. In the heart of the cemetery is a beautiful, but quite a unique headstone. Over the graves of Laura and Horace Ferreday is a large statue of a woman who is kneeling and covering her face with her hand. Laura Ferreday passed away in 1929 at a young age of 32, and her grieving husband chose the remarkable statue of the grave marker. That’s all we know about the history of the figure; even the oldest residents of Spanish Fork know nothing further about why such an unusual piece was picked.
But stranger than the statue itself is the ancient legend that surrounds it. Some say that if you walk around the cemetery at night, the figure wails; it weeps and mourns. Others say that when it rains, the statue itself cries, and you can see extra water seeping out of the statue’s hands. The tear streaks remain even after the rain has passed.
2. Bear Lake Ness
Before the LDS settlers came to Utah, the state was divided among dozens of Native American tribes. One of these tribes, the Shoshones, tell of a horrifying creature that lurks in the depths of Bear Lake. They say that some of their braves were carried off by a long serpentine creature with an alligator-shaped head. Since then, the Shoshones forbid their people from sleeping next to the lake, and swimming in the lake is strictly prohibited. The monster has also been seen by many people, including the former president of the LDS Church, John Taylor, and publicity about it began as early as 1886. Although the creature has never been caught, the number of eyewitnesses claiming to see it allow for numerous theories to be built on what it is. The most popular theory holds that it’s a Basilosaurus Cetoides, but those prehistoric animals didn’t live in freshwater. Others hold to a notion that it’s a gigantic alligator or an ancient dinosaur that lives in the depths.
3. Escalante Petrified Forest
It’s reasonably well known that taking items from national parks is not only considered rude, but it’s also against the law. Of course, humans are humans, and dozens of visitors take from National Parks every year. Of these thieves, some unlucky ones choose to steal from the Escalante Petrified Forest. Their deed is promptly followed by a stream of bad luck. Reports vary from car accidents to broken bones, to fires. The rangers at this state park report that they generally get a dozen pieces of petrified wood returned to them each year with notes detailing the accidents and hoping for good luck to return.
4. Lilly E. Gray
When one chooses an inscription for their deceased loved one’s grave, they generally choose phrases such as “beloved brother” or “in loving memory” or even a sweet quote that perhaps is deemed applicable to the life that the person has led. On Lilly E. Gray’s tombstone, located in the Salt Lake Cemetery, the inscription chosen was “Victim of the Beast 666”. What on earth could that mean? It’s not known who chose this inscription for Lilly, but the most popular theory revolves around her husband. But talking to him won’t reveal much of anything, as he was insistent that the government was corrupt, evil, and had kidnapped and murdered his Lilly. Perhaps the inscription was meant as a slight against the government, but we never got a straight answer out of Mr. Gray. Other theories say that the ominous message was a nod to Lilly’s death; although the official records cite natural causes, there’s always an undercurrent of demonic possession that the rumors surrounding the life and death of Lilly E. Gray.
5. Devil’s Highway
In other cultures, unlucky numbers are generally skipped when naming hotel floors or roads. However, Americans decided that Route 666 was a great idea anyways; unsurprisingly, the highway has more ghosts and paranormal events than the entire Courage the Cowardly Dog Show. Nicknamed The Devil’s Highway, stories begin with a frail girl in a white dress who vanishes if you have the foolishness to pull over and ask if she needs help. Someone who does want a ride is a Native American Shaman who appears in your backseat as you’re driving. More aggressive entities that you’re likely to see while driving at night is a pack of ferocious demon dogs with glowing yellow eyes – you’ll want to keep driving past those. Perhaps the most horrifying apparition to appear is a flaming diesel truck that barrels straight down the highway towards you. At this point, Route 666 has been renamed, but the paranormal events keep happening.
6. John Baptiste
When the first settlers came to Utah and created a city on the shore of the Great Salt Lake, they eventually had a problem – people die. Thus, they employed John Baptiste to bury their dead, and the issue was resolved. A few years after John had been working hard at his job, a relative came from the east and requested his brother to be uncovered so he could bury him back east, where the family was. Naturally, his wish was granted, but when the casket was opened, the body was found naked and lying face down. In the outrage, John was suspected, and not too long afterward, someone spotted him wheeling a corpse back into its grave in the dead of night. An arrest was made, and John was exiled, never to be seen again. But legend has it that his spirit returned to the shores of Salt Lake, and he prowls the water’s edge, holding a bundle of nasty clothing.
7. Skinwalker Ranch
The Native American culture is rich in tales of the Skinwalker. It’s no surprise that Utah has its fair share of sightings as well. One of the most popular places for seeing the strange is Sherman Ranch. The ranch sits on the edge of a Ute Indian Reservation, and both the Native Americans and settlers alike have many stories to tell about the land surrounding the farm. Some stories involve a wolf that roams the land, but when ranchers shot at the wolf to drive it away, it did not affect it. Others include balls of lights that appear over the ranch, and lastly, there’s tales of Skinwalkers themselves, half-man, half-beasts that live on the ranch. Whatever is haunting the ranch, the number of animal mutilations and farm animal mischief is proof that some legends may hold fact at the Skinwalker Ranch.