The ghost stories of Utah are steeped in tales of tragic and traumatic deaths. From historical to modern tragedies, it's no wonder the state is known for its high level of paranormal activity. Some of the ghosts seem attached to specific places, like railroads, mines, highways, schools, hospitals, and the Great Salt Lake. Ghosts, shadow people, and hellhounds have been seen haunting these and other places in Utah.
The Purple Lady
The tragic story of The Purple Lady is a chilling tale of a distraught young woman who materializes in the women's restroom at the Salt Lake City's Rio Grande Depot. She suddenly appears sitting on the couch in the restroom, startling anyone who happens to be sitting there. Witnesses have also seen her in the depot café. The woman is dressed in a 1900s era purple dress and hat and always appears to be angry.
The legend of The Purple Lady tells of a young married couple arguing on the depot platform. The man shouts he no longer loves the woman and tosses his wedding band onto the railroad tracks. In her despair, the woman climbs down onto the track in search of the ring and is run over by an oncoming train.
Another version tells of an engaged couple and the woman throwing her engagement ring onto the tracks, but she quickly regrets her hasty reaction and tries to retrieve the cherished ring when she is hit by an oncoming train.
Numerous people have claimed to see The Lady in Purple, including security guards and other depot employees. Many of these reports are at night long after the restaurant has closed. Eyewitnesses claim to hear a woman singing, footfalls, and other shadowy spirits moving about the depot.
Ghost School Band Teacher
The Grant Elementary School in Springville is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of the deceased band teacher. One morning on the way to school, the teacher was tragically killed in a car accident. Reports have plagued the school of hearing someone playing the piano in the cafeteria/auditorium when no one is in the room. The ghostly music is attributed to the deceased band teacher.
Phantom Ghost Trains
Ghost towns are left behind from when the railroad was first constructed in Utah, and many people have witnessed odd sounds and visions in these locations. There are even stories of a phantom ghost train zipping through certain Utah locations, in particular near the Golden Spike National Historic Site. Danny B Stewart writes about one such ghost train that is said to be an old steam engine traveling the rails late at night.
Some people claim that the activity witnessed in these areas is a glimpse into the past created by a residue haunting. Others claim to see ghosts of the workers who were killed while constructing the miles of railroad tracks.
Haunting of Burned Miners
Abandoned mines are usually hotbeds of paranormal activity, and the mines in Utah are no exception. Winter Quarters was once a thriving mining town that became the scene of a tragedy when an underground fire in the mine shaft killed nearly 200 miners. Historical accounts claim that due to the magnitude of the tragedy, many of the victims were hastily buried, and their corpses were subsequently misidentified. Combine these elements of sudden, tragic death and misidentification, and there is no surprise that stories of paranormal activity flow from this area. Visitors report ghostly lights moving about the abandoned town, particularly in the cemetery where many of the miners were buried. There are also reports of ghostly voices and moaning heard coming from the mine where so many people perished.
Phantom Theater Custodian Puts on a Show
The late custodian of the Spanish Fork High School Little Theater is said to still be doing his job. When the theater was first built, the custodian slipped and fell from the catwalk to his death. Eyewitnesses have reported entering the theater and the stage lights turning on and off, although no one else is present. Some have reported the stage curtain will rise or fall on its own.
Grave Digger's Ghost Haunts Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is one of the most highly recognized landmarks within the state, and the area is not without its own Utah ghost stories. Legend states that a gravedigger was exiled to one of the lake's islands after it was discovered that he exhumed corpses and stole their clothing and jewelry. His ghost is said to wander the shore of the lake. The story is made even more eerie by the fact that after his exile; he simply disappeared. His body was never found.
Ghosts, Hellhounds, and Evil Hitchhikers of Highway 191
What is now referred to as Highway 191 used to be designated Route 666. There were no demonic connotations intended when this particular stretch of road was named; it was simply the sixth branch of the famed Route 66. Not only are ghosts spotted along this highway, other evil apparitions have been reported as well. Tales are told of ghosts that appear on the side of the road as hitchhikers and then disappear when the motorist pulls over. Even spookier are the stories of ghosts who suddenly appear in the back seat of cars and then disappear. Other stories from this notorious stretch of road include tales of phantom vehicles and ghostly packs of hellhounds that chase cars.
Children Spirits and Shadow People Haunt Old Tooele Hospital
The old Tooele hospital is divided into a retiree residence while the other half is operated as a haunted venue, Asylum 49, that provides ghost hunts and an annual Halloween haunted house. Some of the resident ghosts include a young girl who plays in the former hospital lobby. Shadow people have been seen gliding along the walls of the halls. There have been reports of guests being scratched by ghosts. The website hosts several guest photos of a blue orb commonly seen with the naked eye, unlike other orbs that only show up on photos. A little boy is said to haunt the hospital and his shadow was captured during an EVP session.
The Moving Ghost Chair
The Brigham Young University (BYU) spooky story of the moving ghost chair centers around the Harp Archive Room in the Harold B. Lee Library. One morning the librarians discovered a chair that wasn't supposed to be there. It was a high, straight-backed chair with an upholstered seat, unlike the wood seats of the other chairs. No one could account for where the chair came from or who placed it there. The chair was moved out of the Harp Room and placed in the hall, but the next morning the employees found the chair had been moved back into the room. This happened each time the chair was moved into the hall. What makes this story even spookier is the door to the harp room can only be opened by keying in a numeric code-a code only the staff knows.
Wolfe-Girl Annie Bangs
The urban legend of Annie Bangs is a tale of a young girl raised by wolves over a 100 years ago. Annie is described as having long disheveled hair and wearing a red dress. Everything about her is frightening, from long sharp fingernails to her howling like a wolf. Annie haunts central Utah, and is especially fond of the Gooseberry Campground in Fishlake National Forest, near Salina, Utah. Annie does all kinds of scary things to the kids attending summer camp or lovers parked in an isolated area. Annie is known to scrape her long fingernails along the side of a car or camp cabin.
Curse of the Escalante Petrified Forest
The Escalante Petrified Forest is said to carry a curse for anyone who dares to remove anything from it. According to the legend, those who defy the warning and carry home a piece of the forest live to regret their rash decisions. According to state park officials, they receive a lot of packages and letters from people who took a piece of the forest home with them and suffered bad luck or worse. Some of the things people have suffered include loss of job, and accidents of all kinds.
Don't Enter the Voodoo Caves
A strange tale about a pipe located somewhere in the Beaver Dam Mountains warns you not to enter the pipe. The pipe was dubbed Voodoo Caves, since it's rumored black arts practitioners cast numerous spells and performed rituals inside the pipe. These rituals and spells anchored an evil presence inside the pipe. The evil awaits any prey that enters its domain.
Scary Utah Ghost Stories and Urban Legends
A fairly conservative state, few Utah residents like to talk about the rumored ghosts and other paranormal activities that reportedly occur within the state. On the other hand, it's not surprising that such stories are prevalent in an area that has experienced so much turmoil.