This Story is the definitive primer for a Utah ghost aficionado
Dozens of haunted hot spots, stories from paranormal experts,
Our “Who you gonna call?” directory to the supernatural and info on haunted
cemeteries, theaters and more. Believer or not, by the end of this story, you’ll be ready to do a little paranormal digging of your own into
Utah’s ghostly legends. If you dare.
By Jaime Winston
Park City Ghost Tours takes guests on strolls around Park City’s historic Main Street and Park Avenue, telling the stories of the dead and the places they haunt. It starts across the street from Bistro 412.
How it started Erik Hutchins and Rob Newey originally set out to write a book or film a documentary about Park City ghosts, but eventually decided on a tour instead. They researched old issues of the Park Record and relied heavily on Gary Kimball’s book, Death and Dying in Old Park City, a time about people who died in Park City with no official death records or location of their graves.
The Costumes The duo leads tours in period dress from the early twentieth century. “It adds to the experience,” says Hutchins. “You want it to be entertaining and dramatic.”
Equipment A satchet full of super natural gadgets, including a gaussmeter to measure magnetic fields; a plumb-bob, which ghosts can supposedly moved to communicate; and, of course, a magical, portable credit card machine.
Ghosts you might meet Lizzy was a prostitute, but her husband didn’t know it. When he found Lizzy at the Imperial Hotel with another man, he shot them both. She is said to still flirt with men, especially those sporting beards. So, make sure your man is clean shaven—or away from Room 8, where Lizzy was reportedly slain.
Our favorite ghost on the tour Black Jack Murphy killed a miner who stumbled onto his property back in the late 1800’s. The miners, neighbors and friends formed a mob, broke Murphy out of his Coalville jail cell and hanged him—right about where the Kimball Arts Center’s kilm pipe is today. Hutchins says guests might see Murphy still, well, hanging around.
The Park Record September 17-20, 2011
OTHER (WORLDLY) RESIDENTS
Ghost Tours blend Park City’s history with Hauntings
By Scott Iwasaki
Park City has a lot of restless ghosts. Apparition sightings have been reported at the Egyptian Theatre, the historic Washington School Inn and Daly Canyon, to name a few. Others have been rumored to make their presence known in various businesses up and down Main Street.
The Man in the Yellow Slicker and Edwina, of the Egyptian Theatre, come to mind when people talk about Old-Town’s spirits.
Lela Newey, who co-founded Park City Ghost Tours with her husband Rob and business partner Erik Hutchins, said the city’s history could have something to do with all these reports. “Park City was a rough place to live during the mining days,” Newey told the Park Record. “Many young men from England, Ireland, Croatia and all over Europe had come to work in the mines, and found the conditions horrible. The air was black the water was brown. They had to stay in the mines for a week at a time or more and not be allowed to leave, so they would actually live in the mines.” Most of the miners were living well below the poverty level and couldn’t afford medical attention. Newey said. If someone died in a mining accident, there was a good chance they didn’t have enough money to have a proper burial. “We found in some cases, people buried the deceased in their attics or in their own backyards, “Newey said. “The average age of the deceased was 33 and younger, and 70 percent were male.”
During the research, the Neweys and Hutchins took a lot of notes, which eventually turned into a script for the first Park city Ghost Tour on July 15, 2010.
“We thought there weren’t a lot of unique family activities at night where people could enjoy Main Street for an hour or so,” Newey said. “So we put together the ghost tours.” The tours have a two-fold mission. One is to give a Park City history lesson and the other is to thrill and chill the patrons, Newey said. The tours meet at Miners Park every night at 8p.m. and zig-zag up and down Main Street, before ending at the Kimball Art Center. “We have five guides in Western-period costumes and can pt on extra tours as we need them, “she said. “My husband and I are former school teachers for the Jordan School District and got into this because we loved telling stories.”
Hutchins, a documentary filmmaker, got involved because of his interest in the paranormal. “I was hired two summers ago to go to England for two weeks and film crop circles,” he said. “during that time, I hung out with guys who are some of the top paranormal researchers in the world, and I learned that while paranormal activities are hard to prove, if you take scientific methods and apply them to the research, you can get answers that make sense. “ I like when something happens and the only way you can try to explain it is through the supernatural”. “You hear stories time and time again about experiences people have that don’t make any sense, and the only way you can make sense out of them is if you introduce something otherworldly.”
Hutchins has seen people’s opinions about Park City’s haunting change while on the tour. “We have nonbelievers show up and some of them, by the time the tour ends, are scratching their heads and thinking otherwise,” he said. Usually the ghosts don’t make their presence known during the tours, but there have been times when a random photograph will capture a strange
distorted image, Hutchins said. “We have people take a lot of pictures on the tour and we get crazy things that show up, so we pause the tour to show everyone these amazing things,“ he said. Sometimes the group will report seeing an actual spirit.
“Last week one of our guides was giving a tour in front of the Washington School and while she was telling the story, the group saw a woman standing in the front window,” Hutchins said. “At first people thought the apparition was part of the tour, and then realized she wasn’t.” Some of the more recent stories told on the tour are (told) from stories from people who own businesses or work on Main Street, Hutchins said. “The stories all come from successful business people who aren’t crazy and have their feet firmly on the ground, and we have taken some of these seemingly crazy
Stories and research them in the city archives or new items in the Park Record back in the 1800’s or early 1900’s and they start to make sense,” he said.
Ranked #2 Ghost Tour in the U.S. October 2010 TripAdvisor, according to TripAdvisor travelers.