In 1910 Jacob Moritz, the founder of the Salt Lake Brewery, owner of 36 saloons, and an early Salt Lake City politician, fell ill. Seeking health he returned to his native Germany where he eventually died. Moritz’s ashes interestingly enough were returned to Salt Lake City for his final resting place. The urn was housed in a comparatively good sized tomb. This memorial was clearly marked with Moritz on the eaves of the building. But that was not the end of Jacob Moritz’s story. For some unknown reason during the ensuing years, his plot became known as Emo’s Grave and became the subject of a myriad of legends. Because of an increased number of visitors and the vandalism wrought by many of them, Mr. Moritz’s urn was removed. There are rumours that it was sent back to Germany, but the location of the urn is unknown.
Interestingly enough there are many different legends attached to Emo/Moritz’s grave. We have eight versions of Emo’s grave in the Wilson Folklore Archives and none of them are the same. One legend says that the grave belongs to Frank Emole and glows at night (FA3 18.104.22.168.2.1). The next claims that Emo was a 7 ft. Indian. Supposedly if you walk around his grave several times at night repeating “Rise, Emo, rise,” you will be able to see his eyes peering out of the tomb ( FA 3 22.214.171.124.2). The third story claims that Emo was the first person cremated in the Salt Lake City cemetery. His urn is decorated in an eye pattern and at midnight you can see the eyes shining in the moonlight (FA 3 126.96.36.199.2.3). A story that is similar, although a little scary, agrees that Emo is cremated and his grave holds an urn with his ashes. As you walk around the grave three times and look at the vase, you will see Emo’s eyes staring back at you (Fa 3 188.8.131.52.2.4)
Another tale has more of a back story. It seems, in this version, that Emo was a miner who was killed by an explosion. The blast was engineered by his wife and a partner who were carrying on an affair. In this story if you walk around the grave two times, Emo’s ghost will appear( FA 3 184.108.40.206.2.5). Another story calls it Emil’s grave and states that if you close your eyes and turn around three time while saying his name, that you will see his face looking at you from inside the tomb (FA 3 220.127.116.11.2.6). Another spelling of the name is Eemo. This legend tells of how there is a brick wall around the grave. The number of times that you can walk around the brick wall without falling off indicates the number of years you have left to live (FA 3 18.104.22.168.2.7). Finally in what is probably a more modern version, Emo is painted as the leader of a satanic cult in Salt Lake City. If you go to the grave and look through the window slit, after you say a set chant you will see a pair of glowing red eyes (FA 3 22.214.171.124.2.8). As you can see many of the stories make use of eyes to some degree. Emo’s Grave is another spooky legend that is fun to tell at Halloween time.