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The Dead History

Tombstone Symbolism

I absolutely love tombstone symbolism, the more unusual the better.  Once you start to learn what the different symbols mean, it can actually tell you quite a bit about the person buried there.  The tombstone below is one of my all time favorites.

Moses Cohen

I took this picture a couple of years ago at a cemetery near my house. This cemetery has different areas based on religious backgrounds and this was in the Jewish section. It caught my eye because of what I like to call the Spock hands at the top of the headstone.  Hands like this indicate the symbol of a priestly blessing, otherwise known as a Kohen, which in Judaism indicates a descendant of the biblical high priest Aaron.  In other words, this man was a Jewish priest.

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Mount Ogden Mausoleum

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I drive past this cemetery and mausoleum on an almost daily basis and have always wanted to stop and have a look inside but never have.  Until a few days ago.  What better way to spend Valentine’s Day, eh?

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Goldfield Hotel

A few years ago, I got one of those rare opportunities to investigate a spectacular location that is super difficult to get into, the Goldfield Hotel.  The best part was that this wasn’t some sponsored event with a bunch of people running around, it was just 4 of us.  Even though it was a 9+-hour drive to get there, I jumped at the chance and had one of the best paranormal experiences of my life.  It was also one of the best road trips I’ve ever had. After I quit investigating with my in Utah, I stayed close with my good friend Helmey Kramer.  Even though he’ll never admit it publicly, we’re pretty much BFF’s and we have a blast when we get to go looking for spooky things together.  So when he called me and asked if I wanted to come with him I didn’t hesitate and booked us rooms at the only operational hotel in Goldfield.

Goldfield Hotel

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History of Ogden’s Pest Houses

Today if you heard the term pest house, you would probably think of a house with a serious bug  or rodent infestation.  From the 17th century until the early 1900’s, before the modern hospital was invented, most towns had what was known as the pest house.  These pestilence houses were used for people who had highly contagious diseases such as smallpox, scarlet fever, and typhus, and didn’t have family nearby who could quarantine and care for them in their own house, or those who could not afford the private hospitals if the town even had one. They were often located just outside of the city limits, away from the general population, and many of them had a cemetery nearby to quickly and easily dispose of the dead without exposing the people of the city to disease.

 

History of Ogden's Pest Houses
Example of a Pest House

 

People who were sent to the pest-house remained there until they recovered, or died from their illness. Often times the sick were expected to mostly care for themselves. Some articles stated the people confined there were expected to bring their own clothing, food, and bedding, others said this was all provided by the city.  There was always a caretaker at the pest house, some had no formal medical training, but had previously been exposed to diseases such as smallpox and were, therefore, immune to reinfection.

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Ogden’s Electric Alley

If you’ve ever been to lower 25th Street in Ogden, you might have noticed a parking lot across the street from the Union Station, behind some of the shops between Wall and Lincoln with a street sign that says Electric Alley.

Odd name for a street that runs through a parking lot! However, people who aren’t familiar with 25th Street’s wild history don’t know that it’s a nod to part of Ogden’s wild past; the red light district.

Electric Alley

Electric Alley was actually one block east of the currently named street / parking lot.  The original Electric Alley ran east to west, from Grant Ave to Lincoln Ave, between 24th and 25th Streets.  It was “hidden” behind the respectable businesses lining 25th Street. Heading west on 25th Street you could slip into a narrow, dark walkway between the Davenport Saloon and the London Ice Cream Parlor and exit onto Electric Alley.

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The Lady in The Trunk

Ogden’s Union Station is by far my favorite old building this city has.  The history behind the station is amazing, and there are quite a few tales about its ghostly activity.  I’ve investigated this location numerous times throughout the years, and would normally come away with at least one or two quality EVP’s, more often than not, the voice captured was that of a woman.

So I began (a few years ago) to dig into the past of the station and see what I could find. Honestly, this building is what prompted me to start The Dead History.  I’ve uncovered over 41 deaths that occurred at the Union Station.  Some deaths were due to natural causes and freak accidents, some were due to murder, and some were suicides.  It’s important to remember just how many people passed through this building on a daily basis. At the peak of war traffic in 1946, up to 140 passenger trains were passing through the station each day.

The Union Station didn’t handle just passenger cars, it also dealt with cargo and mail.  Needless to say, it was an incredibly busy place. And Wednesday, March 19th, 1924 was no different. Alexander Brown, who was employed as a baggage handler and electrician for the railway, was busy moving pieces of luggage and cargo off of the train.  After slipping while trying to move a heavy trunk, he realized that he was slipping on a small pool of blood.

dog

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Cry Baby Bridge – Bear River City

The Legend: A mother took her two young children out for a drive because she felt they were possessed by the devil.  She drove off the bridge and into the river below killing everyone in the car.  If you sit on the bridge with your windows rolled down and honk your horn three times you can hear children yelling “Don’t do it, Mother!!”

The History: I’ve heard stories of various cry baby bridges across the United States, but I wasn’t aware Utah had one until I read an article about haunted spots across the state.  Bear River City isn’t too far from where I live, and considering it was Halloween figured it’d be a great day to check it out.

We got to the bridge and realized that it had been closed off some time ago, and a new bridge constructed right next to the old one.  Thankfully, they left the old bridge standing and after climbing through some brush we could see the bridge stretched out in front of us.

Cry Baby Bridge

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Mill Fork Cemetery

Mill Fork Cemetery

Mill Fork Cemetery first caught my eye while coming back from a weekend trip to Moab.  Located in Spanish Fork Canyon, it’s right off the highway, and if you don’t know to watch for it, by the time you see the sign you’ve already passed. A couple of weekends ago we decided to take a drive and explore the cemetery for ourselves.

I hadn’t done any research on the cemetery beforehand, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than it was old.  What we found upon arrival, was unexpected, and quite honestly, it’s the oddest cemetery I’ve visited.

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WWII Hospital Train Car – Ogden

On a recent visit to Ogden’s Union Station, we happened to be in the right place at the right time and got to go inside an old WWII Hospital train car.  When I was still doing paranormal investigations I would’ve loved access to this car, however, they never had it open to investigators.  They are going to be included in this years Night At The Museum – Screaming South Tour, so make sure you check them out this year.

What I find fascinating about this hospital car, is that it was most likely used to transport wounded servicemen to Bushnell Hospital, later known as the Brigham City Indian School.  If you’re familiar with Utah paranormal lore, you’ll know that the Indian School was rumored to be one of the most haunted locations in all of Utah.  Unfortunately, the majority of the buildings were torn down in 2012, but you can check out some of my pictures and a better history of the location.

WWII Train Car

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