Spooky Stories | Urban Living
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Spooky Stories



There are sooooo many cemeteries in Utah, I don't think I can count them all. For example, Cache County has 20, Garfield County has 14, Salt Lake County has 41 and Washington County has 34. Many are hard to find, several are abandoned but all have stories to tell.

My friend Linda Hilton wrote The Famous and Infamous: A Guide to the Salt Lake City Cemetery, a map of stories you can find at The King's English, Frost or Weller bookstores. I love to trade stories with her, especially since I was made an official docent of the Mercur graveyard just south of Tooele.

Hilton has many favorite graves at the Mount Calvary Cemetery and the Salt Lake City Cemetery, which is also the largest municipally owned cemetery in the country, taking up 120 acres. The first burial at the Salt Lake cemetery was in 1848, for the young daughter of a recently arrived pioneer by the name of George Wallace. He became the first sexton overseeing the grounds, burial records, maintenance and staff.

Hilton's three favorite graves are the "666 Lady," "Emo's Grave" and "The Oreo Guy." The 666 Lady is Lilly Gray who lived fromJune 6, 1881, to Nov. 14, 1958. Hilton says that Gray married a man named Elmer who was about 70 years old, and then she subsequently died of natural causes. Elmer was reportedly crazy as a loon and had "Victim of the Beast 666" etched into her gravestone. At one point, he was jailed in Salt Lake (unrelated to the death of his wife), and he claimed he was in jail "because Democrats kidnapped him" and he wanted out so he could "kill more Democrats!"

Emo's grave is so popular that Salt Lake Police guard the cemetery during Halloween. It's actually a mausoleum holding the ashes of one Jacob Moritz. His name is emblazoned above the door, so it's easy to find in the Jewish section of the cemetery. But there is no "Emo" name anywhere.

Moritz owned the Salt Lake City Brewing Co., and the building still stands at the curve of 400/500 South around 1000 East. Soon after his remains were interred, rumors about "Emo's grave" started up. Hilton says the urban legend states that if you walk backward three times around the mausoleum, light a match and talk to the door, Moritz might appear and/or talk back to you. Some ghost hunters claim it is one of the "10 most haunted sites" in the world.

Finally, at the nearby Mount Calvary Cemetery, Hilton says to look for the gravestone with the Oreo cookie on top. William Turnier worked at the National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) and designed the grass on the bottom of the Barnum's Animals Crackers box and the modern-day (well, circa 1952) distinctive Oreo cookie design of a shallow outside ring with 90 radial lines encircling 12 four-leaf clovers and a central, antenna-topped oval. His son said he always ate one Oreo before going to bed.

Happy haunting, kids. And stay out of cemeteries on Halloween—the cops and the ghosts will be watching you. Remember, cemeteries are always closed at night.