For Halloween, we’ve gathered a shortlist of some of Utah’s most haunted locations.
Old Tooele Hospital/Asylum 49, Tooele, Utah
There are said to be several demonic and dark presences that haunt the facility, which includes a man in all black, several former residents and workers, and a little girl. In 1873, Samuel F. Lee constructed the building as a home for himself and his family. By 1913, the Lee family moved out and the county turned it into an elderly home. It was referred to as the “County Poor House” and soon became the location for the hospital.
The makeshift hospital opened in 1953 and was called the Tooele Army Depot. There was no proper morgue, but a designated – non-refrigerated – room for the deceased before the local mortuary was able to pick up the bodies.
The Old Tooele Hospital has been featured on 2 episodes of Ghost Adventures.
Rio Grande Depot, Salt Lake City, Utah
If you’ve spent any time around the Rio Grande Depot in Salt Lake City, chances are you’ve probably heard the stories surrounding the infamous Purple Lady.
The Rio Grande Depot was constructed one year after the Union Pacific Depot just up the road, and cost around $750,000 to build. Once a very busy, bustling place but as the legend goes, it was also the site of a horrible tragedy. Near the turn of the 20th Century, a woman and her fiancé got into an intense argument while on the platform. The engagement was called off and either she or her fiancé threw the ring down the tracks. Distraught, she followed the tracks to retrieve her ring, but with no time to get out of the way of the oncoming train she was struck and killed.
Fast forward to now, many guests and employees have claimed to see a woman in a purple dress and large purple hat wandering the depot. Singing is often heard coming from the women’s restroom, along with shuffling footsteps. Lights will go out and doors will lock with no explanation, especially in the basement. There are other spirits said to be inhabiting the building, but none with quite a story like that of The Purple Lady.
The Bigelow Hotel, Ogden, Utah
(formerly Ben Lomond Hotel)
The five-story Reed Hotel opened in 1891 in Ogden, Utah, on the southeast corner of Washington Boulevard and 25th Street. In 1927, the hotel was completely renovated to make it fireproof and meet safety regulations. 11 additional stories were added and it soon became The Bigelow Hotel. During the prohibition era, the hotel was known to house some seedy-characters. During this time, several individuals came together to make an underground tunnel used for smuggling alcohol, the hotel was one of many Ogden locations that had these underground tunnels. Finally, in 1933, Marriner S. Eccles acquired the Bigelow Hotel and it was renamed The Ben Lomond Hotel.
There are many stories surrounding the unexplained happenings within the hotel. Elevators are known to move from floor to floor on their own, opening their doors in the lobby and traveling to different floors with no patterns or passengers. The most famous ghost story out of the hotel is that of a mother and her son. The first incident occurred in Room 1102, the woman was spending her honeymoon at the hotel but tragedy struck the night of her wedding when she drowned in the bathtub. It’s reported that guests who stay in the room have documented water running in the tub when no one had turned it on and physical interactions where they feel as if they’re being pushed.
Shortly after her death, her son came to stay at the hotel to acquire her things and speak with the staff about the incident. He was permitted to stay in the room next door, room 1101. He was distraught and became severely depressed when learning his mother’s fate. That night, he decided to take his own life to be with his mother.
Visitors that stay in these two rooms report voices being heard and physical apparitions appearing before them.
Leslie’s Family Tree Restaurant, Santaquin, UT
Leslie’s Family Tree Restaurant is located in Santaquin, Utah. This family-owned eatery is partially located in a 100-year-old building. The family has owned the space since the mid-80s, but before that, the building had been a post office, dance hall, and arcade; while the basement has a rich history of being used as a boxing ring and illegal gambling hall. It’s believed the ground the restaurant sits on is cursed. In the 1850s, growing tensions between Mormon settlers and Native Americans resulted in The Walker War which took place in this general area of Utah County.
The building has unexplained electrical issues, stairs are stacked on top of tables, and stories of aggressive entities that have attacked patrons and staff. There is known poltergeist activity, shadowy figures are seen and children’s laughs are heard. Most notably, apparitions that appear to be wearing native headdresses are continually seen. It has been featured on shows like, The Dead Files and Ghost Adventures, and is said to be one of Utah’s most haunted restaurants.
Cottonwood Paper Mill, near the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah
Construction began on the mill in 1881 and was completed by 1883, it was constructed by Deseret News and was sold to Granite Paper Co. in 1892. On April 1st, 1893, a fire broke out in the mill in which workers thought the alarms were an April Fool’s joke and didn’t respond until the building was almost entirely destroyed. It sat abandoned until 1927 when it was rebuilt as an open-air club, which served patrons into the 1940s. The building was declared a historic site in 1966.
Throughout the 70s and 80s, the Mill was used as a haunted house attraction during the fall season, shortly after, a second fire consumed the building and it was finally condemned in 2005. Due to safety concerns and ongoing unexplained occurrences the area was abandoned and restricted. Visitors have described objects being moved, doors locking on their own, lights on when there is no electricity, sudden drops of temperature and shadows that move around.
Salt Lake Cemetery – ‘Victim of the Beast 666’ Gravestone, The Avenues, Salt Lake City
Little is known about the grave of Lilly E. Gray and the curious case of the epitaph on the gravestone which reads, ‘Victim of the Beast 666’.
Even more so, little is known about the life of Lilly E. Gray before moving to Utah around 1950. She was born June 4th, 1880 in Manvers, Ontario, Canada – it’s also unknown as to why her birthdate is incorrect on her gravestone. Her death certificate lists the cause of death as pulmonary embolus, a natural cause considering she was 78 at the time of her death. A few years before her death, she married Elmer Gray in Elko, Nevada in 1952. Elmer had a criminal background and had previously been released from prison around 1947.
There are still many theories floating around on why the gravestone inscription may remember Lilly as the victim of the Beast 666. The most likely of the theories seem to point to the mental health struggles of her husband, Elmer.
Allie Russell is the Marketing Coordinator at the Utah Film Commission, based in Salt Lake City. She’s an actress and studied Film and Media Arts at the University of Utah.
For any press and media inquiries, contact the Utah Film Commission at [email protected].