Growing up in Layton I heard all sorts of spooky stories about the mysterious Kay's Cross in Kaysville and the urban legends that surrounded the cross-shaped stone monument in the thickly forested hollow below the town cemetery.
Some of the stories included ghostly images of a woman wandering the area, axe-wielding murderers stalking their new prey, protective "dog men" seeking to scare away potential vandals, and even devil-worshipping groups who were drawn to the odd memorial.
Those great stories, myths and legends are the perfect setting for Halloween hauntings. It's no wonder Kay's Cross is now the newest haunted house in Utah.
Researching other local urban legends and ghost stories, I ran across a great website, Shadowlands.net, full of Utah locations known for ghostly spirits, mysterious noises, paranormal activity and more.
While these haunts are fun to read about, please take caution before heading out to these locales. Many of these spots are on private- or business-owned properties and require permission before exploring.
American Fork Canyon
Legend has it that if you do three circles in your car at the top of the Tibble Fork parking lot, when you exit the canyon a hearse will follow you and chase you with its red lights.
In the late '70s, a 6-year-old boy drowned in the old Arrowhead Swimming Resort pool and some family members of the owner and guests have said they have seen the shadow of a boy as well as a green mist on the stairs of the resort.
There is also an old pump house in Benjamin, too, that is known to be haunted. Once used to regulate irrigation to the farmers, legend says there was a tragic accident that killed two workers who were both caught in the machinery. While the electricity has long been disconnected from the pump house, it has been noted that people driving by after dark will often see lights shining through the cracks in the boarded-up windows. Upon closer inspection, voices and music are often heard as well.
At the cemetery in Highland there is a chair made of rock. Legend has it that if you sit in the chair at night the souls of people who are buried there will whisper things. It is said that a breeze will pick up for no reason and the trees will start talking as well.
The old Lehi Hospital, while no longer standing, was the setting of a rumored grisly murder, the ghostly remains of which were reportedly spotted throughout the years in the form of a nurse hanging from a flagpole, the victim of a doctor gone mad.
Another spirit spotting has happened at Porter's Place restaurant in Lehi. Apart from various items that often go missing, one employee reported seeing a man in dark brown leather boots walk into the restaurant through a solid wood wall. When the employee turned around to see who it was, the person was gone.
Since the Geneva Steel factory has been abandoned, there have been several groups of people who have had strange experiences in the locker room, hearing footsteps and being spooked by showers turning on by themselves.
The SCERA Theater is said to be haunted by a ghost named "Eleanor," a middle-aged woman, often glowing either green or blue, who is seen wandering the basement and other older parts of the theater. Usually appearing on Wednesdays, some think she was a former employee who worked the mid-week shift, but died one day before her shift. Not knowing she's dead, she still goes to work every Wednesday.
In the reading room of the music section of BYU's Harold B. Lee Library there have been reports of moaning noises that often sound like voices. The room, too, is always either extremely cold or extremely hot. In another part of the Music Library, the Harp Room, there is a mysterious "ghost chair" that will appear out of nowhere.
The Family Tree Restaurant in Santaquin is said to be haunted by a little boy who drowned in the canal that ran behind the building. People report hearing and seeing strange things on a regular basis. Ghostly sightings also include a woman dressed in blue walking into the backrooms of the restaurant. If you are lucky you might hear or even see a pot slam into a wall.
The Spanish Fork Cemetery is home to a beautifully carved gravestone that is in the shape of a young woman. Known as the Weeping Widow, the woman is crouched down with one arm extended and the other near her face. If you visit the grave after dark it is said that she will actually cry, tears streaming down her face, for her baby. During the day the water stains on her face are clearly visible.
Spanish Fork High School's Little Theater is rumored to be haunted by a custodian who used to work at the school. After the school was first built and the theater finished, the custodian was standing on the catwalk above the stage installing lightbulbs. When he slipped and fell, since he was alone at the time, he died. If you enter the theater by yourself, it is said the stage curtain will rise or fall by itself, sound effects will start playing, and stage lights will flicker off and on.
The ghost of a former Grant Elementary School teacher, who died in a car accident on the way to school, is sometimes heard playing the piano in the auditorium.
What are your favorite local urban legends? Share them with us by emailing them to me at email@example.com. We'll be sure and post them on our website and our social media pages, too.