Salt lake City: Home to ghosts, monsters, crop circles and UFO’s!
Nestled in a valley between Utah’s Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains, Salt Lake City has its share of paranormal phenomena: lake monsters, ghosts, Bigfoot, UFOs, mystery spots and mystic visions. While you’re watching the Olympic hockey games, figure skating or curling events – or if you’re lucky enough to be visiting Salt Lake during the games – keep in mind the many strange goings-on taking place in and around this friendly desert city.
Born of Mystic Experiences
Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 by a group of pioneers led by Brigham Young, leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, more familiarly known as the Mormons. Seeking a place where they could practice their religion free of ridicule and persecution, the Mormons found the valley ideal, and Salt Lake City today remains the headquarters of the church. The foundation of the Mormon religion, like many religions, is steeped in mysticism, miracles and visions. According to Mormon history, in 1820, a 14-year-old boy named Joseph Smith, while praying for spiritual guidance in a grove of trees near his home in Palmyra, New York, beheld a vision of both God and Jesus Christ. In this vision, Smith was told that his destiny was to restore the true church of Jesus Christ. Over the next 10 years, Smith claimed to have been visited by several other “heavenly messengers,” including the angel Moroni, who presented him with golden tablets in a strange, Egyptian-like language that contained the Book of Mormon – “another testament of Jesus Christ.” The Mormon church formally organized in 1830, and today its officials continue to make official church policy through revelations directly from God.
Ghosts and Hauntings
Salt Lake City and surrounding towns have no shortage of ghosts and hauntings:
One legendary ghost story concerns one of the first grave diggers ever employed by Salt Lake City, John Baptiste. Known as a hard worker, Baptiste lived in a small two-room house and was said to live comfortably – perhaps too comfortably for a man of his station. After many years, it was discovered that Baptiste had been stealing the clothing and other affects of the bodies he buried. Tried and convicted, he was branded and exiled to an island on the Great Salt Lake. When officials later visited the island to check on him, Baptiste had vanished. It is unknown whether he took his own life or somehow escaped the island, but stories persist of his ghost being seen on the shores of the lake – clutching a bundle of wet, rotted clothing.
You can find more information about these and other Salt Lake hauntings at:
Loch Ness in Scotland, home of Nessie, and Lake Champlain in the U.S., home of Champ, may be two of the most well-known residences of alleged lake monsters. But the Salt Lake City area has its own legendary sea serpents.
Bear Lake, located northeast of Salt Lake City on the Utah-Idaho border, is a popular recreation spot for boating, fishing and camping. The stunning turquoise-colored lake, known as the “Caribbean of the Rockies,” is also home to large, snake-like monsters that have been spotted for generations. The Shoshoni Indians may have been the first people to see the creature. Describing it as serpentine with short legs, tribe members claimed to have seen the Bear Lake Monster spurt water and to occasionally crawl ashore. It was even seen to snatch unwary swimmers in its jaws and carry them away beneath the surface, according to their stories. The Shoshoni said the monster might have left the lake after the area buffalo disappeared in the 1820s.
Yet, sightings by others persisted:
A more recent sighting was in 1946 when Preston Pond, an executive for the Cache Valley Boy Scout, gave such a highly detailed description of his encounter that it was difficult to dismiss. Hey, scouts don’t lie.
Several attempts have been made to capture the monster. After Budge reported his sighting, Brigham Young enlisted Phineas Cook to devise a plan to catch it. He linked a 300-foot length of one-inch-thick rope to a cable at the end of which he fastened a large barbed hook. A hunk of mutton was skewered on the hook as bait. The lure was then dropped into the lake with a buoy to mark its location. The ploy was attempted several times, and each time the hook was stripped of its bait, the pioneers assumed, by the clever monster. One tall tale blames the monster for crawling ashore and eating 20 of rancher Aquila Nebeker’s sheep… and, possibly, a large roll of barbed wire. The real thief was no doubt grateful for the monster legend.
Yes, Bigfoot stomps around the wilderness areas of Utah, too. In fact there are as many Bigfoot or Sasquatch sightings in Utah as there are in Oregon and Washington. This is just a small sampling of reported sightings:
Bigfoot has been seen so frequently in the Uintah mountains near Ogden that in September, 1977, a search party was organized to search for the creature. The hunt was put together, according to a newspaper account, after “two North Ogden men and six youths reported seeing the gorilla-like creature that ambled off into the timber after seeing them. The party was about one-half mile away on a ridge and watched the creature move off for about a one-half mile before it disappeared.” Unfortunately, the expedition turned up no conclusive evidence. Yet many more sightings in this area have been reported. In fact, one newspaper item “warned” that things could get “hairy” for Olympic skiers at the Snowbasin ski resort because they’ll be “treading on Bigfoot’s turf.”
Some researchers have even wondered if there is a Mormon connection to Bigfoot, which may be associated with “a spirit of ‘intrigue’ with evil and the devil, demons, and evil spirits only invites such influences.”
You can find more information about these and other Utah sightings at:
Utah might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about crop circles, but they’re there:
Utah has a long history of UFO sightings, many of which have been cataloged by About.com’s Guide to UFOs/Aliens, Loy Lawhon:
Utah is also home to the infamous Bigelow Ranch, otherwise known as “Utah’s UFO Ranch.” According to an article in The Deseret News, the owners claimed that the 480-acre ranch was “rife with UFO activity and other bizarre occurrences,” including football field-size UFOs, cattle mutilations, anomalous balls of light (one of which reportedly incinerated a dog), and a doorway or portal – possibly to another dimension – that appeared in mid-air. Millionaire Robert T. Bigelow bought the ranch and brought in a team of researchers and surveillance equipment in hopes of finding out what was going on. Much of the activity has continued.
Utah might also be the site of the “new Area 51,” according to an article in Popular Mechanics. The Green River Complex, Area 6413, at White Sands, Utah, could be the U.S. government’s newest facility for testing top-secret “black projects,” a few of which, some say, could be reverse engineered from crashed alien spacecraft. The base might at least account for some UFO sightings in and around the state.
You can find more information about these and other Utah sightings at:
For more on Utah’s ghosts, mysteries and more, check out these interesting selections to learn more about what Utah has to offer for those wanting adventure:
Restless Spirits: Utah’s Small Town Ghosts. Also check out The Utah UFO Display: A Scientist’s Report for more on the UFO’s sighted there.