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I don’t exactly believe in ghosts. But I don’t rule out the possibility that they exist. After all, it’s hard to prove a negative.
So I tried to take on the assignment of writing about possible hauntings in various Salt Lake City locations with an open mind.
Spirit of Fort Douglas?
Hauntings at Fort Douglas are the subject of Brian Jackson Fetzer’s film “The Ghostly Guardians,” which will be screened at the Salt Lake Freedom Film and Storytelling Festival on Saturday, Nov. 10, at 3:30 p.m. in the Fort Douglas Post Theater, 245 South Fort Douglas Blvd., U. campus, Salt Lake City.
One reader, commenting on the story about ghost sightings at Salt Lake City Hall, proclaimed it "Lame. People will see what they want to see where they want to see it."
Which was pretty much my attitude as I began the story. But when perfectly rational people told me they’ve seen drawers opening and closing on their own in the Capitol Theatre or they’ve heard children laughing and playing in the empty halls of the Salt Lake City Hall, their stories were enough to shake my skepticism.
Our Halloween season "Ghosts in the city" story, published in The Mix section on Oct. 26, prompted emails and comments from readers who do believe. Here’s a sampling:
• "I was house-sitting on 400 south just east of State St. At night, I would hear a creaking sound from the attic area. I checked, no wind. The creaking was in regular intervals, like footsteps across the joist of the attic. I felt no fear, so I accepted it.
"Before moving to Salt Lake City, I had an auto shop on west Center [in Provo]. At night, I never felt alone. In fact, when away, I was always drawn back. I figured it was a ghost, so I began to talk to him. He was very interested as I explained the operation of a rotary engine (Mazda). I told my partner about it, and he said ‘I’m always talking to somebody when I work in that corner.’ "
• "My brother lives in a very old house in northern New Hampshire ... and the first few years they lived there, there was definitely a presence in the house, manifested usually by strange electrical occurrences — phones and doorbells ringing when there was no one there — and occasional drafts of cold air. A couple of people who visited said they felt as if someone was lying on top of them when they slept, which used to give me the willies when I visited. Evidently the old woman who lived there before the house was pretty much abandoned had died in the house. My sister-in-law once brought a psychic friend in without telling her anything, and the woman said, ‘There is someone sitting at your kitchen table.’ My brother and sister-in-law are the last people to believe in ghosts, but they came to be believers."
• "I was told many years ago about Circleville Canyon (in Southern Utah). If you will travel it at night, you will get a flat tire. Out of nowhere, a large, black man will come and change it for you without saying a word.
• "Slate Canyon in Provo has a demon which comes out at the full moon. I dated a girl who had seen it. This was about 45 years ago. I was parked just below that canyon at night in my truck. There was some gravel sliding down a hill. Seemed OK, but then some of it was hitting my truck, about 25 yards away! I spotlighted the area as I was leaving and saw no person or animal around."
• "Hobble Creek Canyon (outside of Provo) is supposed to have a person who travels it — bearded, in [a] Civil War-type uniform. Also at times ... a girl screaming and crying. The story was of a prospector finding his daughter brutally murdered at his camp."
• "I’ve hiked through old Indian ruins alone, deep in Canyonlands, and felt things that I can’t explain. I only know I wasn’t frightened but felt alive and wishing I knew what was really around me. It wasn’t a bad thing, but it sure felt like it was something. There is so much we don’t know about the universe."
• "The Pleasant Green Cemetery in Magna, Utah. Glows in the dark ... literally! It is due to mineral phosphorescence but it doesn’t make it any less creepy."
• "When I was a teenager (when you could actually drive into [Memory] Grove), I swear I saw the ghost in the middle of the road. Still freaks me out."
• You guys should honestly check out Grafton in southern Utah. I believe the old ghost town is one of the most frightening places I’ve ever been.
• "Carlson Hall on the U of U campus is another one — the ghost is a woman who slashed her wrists there in the 1930s, when it was a women’s dorm."
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