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Salt Lake City Legend Tripping

Every town has its very own ghost stories and tall tales which can fascinate the adventurous or frighten the timid. Even our very own Salt Lake City has its share. From the vaults of Special Collections you can find one particular collection which describes 16 sites in Northern Utah ideal for the adventurous spirits interested in what the author terms “legend tripping.”

In this context, legend tripping is used to describe a trip where a group seeks out the sites of local legends and visits them to explore, experience, and test the validity of the lore. In the item titled Salt Lake City legend trip sites (Call # FA 1 2274 box 228) by Brent Nielson, 16 local sites are listed and their legends described. A flurry of the fantastic, mysterious, or supernatural surrounds the story of each site. Among them are ghost stories, murders, tragic accidents, witchcraft, and intrigue.

One of the sites mentioned by Nielson is that of the Black Pool in Salt Lake City. Legend tells a story of a wealthy couple with a young daughter. While the story tends to vary, ranging from the mother as murderess to a tragic accident, the common tale is that the small child drowned in the pool outside the family home. From the moment the child died the water turned black and has remained black ever since.

A supernatural story, known as the Lady in White, sets the scene for another mother who lived in Salt Lake City. This is a ghost story in which a desperate mother is unable to save her baby from a burning house. After charging into the flames in an attempt at rescue, she and the child are lost to the flames. This legend prompts the listener to visit the home where now a large tree is prominent. When night falls, one can see an unnatural light descending upon the tree and a ghostly figure of a woman cradling an infant in her arms.

The other intriguing stories include those of the Mafia house, Hobbitland, Gravity Hill and Suicide Rock. Since Nielson visited a number of the sites, pictures are included in the collection. Among them are pictures of the black water of the Black Pool and the old tree of the Lady in White.

To take a look at this collection the call number, title, and author are needed (all of which are provided above). Visitors will be expected to leave their personal belongings in a locker, will be required to fill out paperwork and complete a brief Reading Room Registration interview.

Come visit the L. Tom Perry Special Collections and see what new ghost stories you will find for Halloween.

Image Use courtesy of L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602. (Image call# MSS P 4 #202318; Title: Coffin at grave)

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