Brand, spanking new shiny version: we’ve updated this post with some creepy new reports from listeners brave enough to venture into these towns. Plus! A bonus scary spot for you to discover! Or, run screaming…whichever.
BONUS SCARINESS: SKINWALKER RANCH, UTAH
Skinwalker Ranch takes its name from the Native American legends of demonic deities able to transform into the bodies of animals. There’s an uncomfortable tangle of occult lore and science fiction–mainly UFO sightings and exposure. Terrifying fireballs of lightning are said to slam down onto the ground and chase hapless wanderers. Other accounts of survivors of alien-based experiments were published in the Deseret News and the Las Vegas Mercury. The ranch borders the Ute Indian Reservation in west Uintah County. There’s even a low-budget horror movie called-obviously-“Skinwalker Ranch” to get you into the mood to explore or get you out of the mood if you’re sensible.
5 Utah Ghost Towns You Simply Must Explore
1. CISCO, UTAH:
(Photo credit: Kent Kanouse)
You’ve seen this creepy burg in multiple movies; Thelma and Louise, Vanishing Point, Don’t Come Knocking and the Johnny Cash song “Cisco Clifton’s Filling Station.” The snake-infested little town is chock full of crumbling buildings and “out of nowhere” gunshot sounds. Modern-day ghost hunters often report fainting, dizziness, and violent shuddering, usually coupled with strong winds that blow out of nowhere.
2. GRAFTON, UTAH:
(Photo credit: Carl Berger)
Grafton is another “movie star” town, featured in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid. Grafton was abandoned in the mid-1800s during the Black Hawk War when residents were terrified of Native American raids. If you listen closely, you can hear the sounds of war drums, and two dogs wander the tiny graveyard, suddenly changing into gigantic crows. Grafton has some of the highest reports of “Skinwalker” apparitions of any spot in the West.
3. THISTLE, UTAH:
(Photo credit: LemonJenny)
Thistle was a pleasant, bustling little town until the landslide in 1983 that damned the Spanish Fork River and flooded the town. Terrified residents fled with whatever they could carry. The town was buried under 100 feet of water and became Thistle Lake. The lake’s been drained since, but the creepy, subterranean remains of the town are bone-chilling. Searchers report seeing mysterious muddy footprints suddenly appearing on walls, and finding muddy water soaking their belongings stacked on dry ground.
4. OSIRIS, UTAH:
(Photo credit: Shawn Bagley)
The Holt Family descended on this little town in 1910 and constructed a huge creamery next to a river in Black Canyon. No one still knows why, but they insisted on naming the town Osiris after the Egyptian God of the Afterlife. The town’s population started dwindling when blackened forms were spotted rambling through the canyon, loping alongside wagons with glowing eyes. Other townsfolk reported wailing and mysterious altars set up in the creamery. Visit during the day, locals say these days the road in and out of town can suddenly become blocked by boulders and fallen trees after dark.
5. FRISCO, UTAH:
(Photo credit: Orientalizing)
The Silver Fever that infested miners in Utah’s San Francisco Mountains in 1875 blew Little Frisco into a wildly busy town, filled with brothels, bars and gambling halls. At its peak, sheriffs reported at least 10 deaths a day from drunken gun battles. Ten years later, a deadly cave-in at the town’s biggest mine nearly emptied the town. Miners struggling to remain were eventually scared off by The Widow in White, a wailing specter looking for her lost love in the mine. Modern-day visitors foolish enough to enter at night report hearing screams and sobbing coming from the old bordello and the smell of gunpowder in the air.
Most importantly: you visit, you SEND US PICTURES!!!! Good luck.
(Cover photo credit: via Flickr)