If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who ya gonna call? The University Journal staff.
On a brisk, windy night in October, five staff members and their accompanying plus ones piled in Stanley the minivan for a ghost hunting road trip to Frisco, a small ghost town about an hour north of Cedar.
The abandoned city was developed in 1875 as a rough mining town. According to Utah Outdoor Activities, murders were a daily occurence, creating the state’s biggest cemetery at the time.
Today the town exists by the abandoned ruins of the mine and several structures of what once were homes and charcoal kilns. The cemetery also has several remaining headstones, many of which date back to the late 1800s.
With Halloween around the corner, there was no way we weren’t going to explore in search of the ghosts that still wander their hometown.
As we approached the foreboding path at the base of the mountain the city rests on, we pulled out our highly advanced equipment: four dollar ghost hunting apps on our smartphones. These ranged from an E.V.P. (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) recorder to a spirit box, both of which attempt to pick up voices and words from the surrounding spirits.
After what seemed like a never-ending uphill trek, we reached our first location: the abandoned mines.
Although it was accidental, as we were actually in search of the cemetery, we saw amazingly large and decaying structures. There had obviously been a type of collapse, creating heaps of rusted metal in a ghost of what once was a towering construction.
We decided to turn around due to the smell of gas coming from the mine shafts, but not without a quick E.V.P. recording. As we stood in a circle (partly to huddle for warmth), we pulled out our phones and began asking questions.
“What’s up ghosties? We’re from the University Journal. If there’s any ghosties here, wanna come say hello in a friendly manner?”
Clearly, I was a little nervous.
After establishing that we were definitely not up for being possessed, we asked about their previous life in Frisco. With no luck getting answers, we marched on to find the cemetery.
Along the way, we stumbled onto an old home that was sinking into the ground. This is when the spooky energy finally made its presence known.
While taking a photo opportunity by standing inside of the decaying house, the spirit box suddenly activated. Three words glared on the screen:
“Afraid of you”
We were definitely more afraid of whatever was claiming that statement than it was of us. Nervous laughter and high pitched squeals emerged from our group, although suddenly interrupted by what sounded like a drum in the distance behind us.
After several concentrated looks at our Google map, we finally locked down the location of our initial destination: the Frisco Cemetery. The entrance to the ancient graveyard was marked with a rusted archway that boasts the haunted title of the city.
Within the gates stood dozens of headstones, some crumbling with age, others disturbingly new. Many were for very young children and included shoes and toys placed at their gravesite.
But as creepy as everything looked, no one in our group actually got scary vibes. In fact, everything felt oddly peaceful – a little sad, even. It was a reminder that this decaying ghost town was once a thriving community. Families grew, friendships formed and memories were made.
As we were packing up to leave, the spirit box spat out the name Gianna. Hoping it might belong to a member of the graveyard, we searched frantically, but with no luck.
Maybe the ghost of Gianna was trying to communicate… or maybe our cheap app just has a really good dictionary programmed into it.
As the night came to an end, we stopped by Penny’s Diner for hot chocolate and pie. I asked the two middle-aged women working if they had any ghost encounters from Frisco. Both laughed a little nervously and began telling us the local legends and myths surrounding their town.
Amused and satisfied, we ended the night listening and laughing to our questions from the E.V.P. recordings, ignoring the fact that no one ever answered them. While I can’t necessarily say that our inexpensive phone apps worked, there’s also no proof that they didn’t. Maybe the ghosts of Frisco were just trying to have a nice Wednesday night in.
The next time there’s a local haunting, our crew of mediocre ghost hunters are ready for what the spirit world has to offer. We ain’t afraid of no ghosts.
Story by: Amanda Walton
Photos by: Mitchell Quartz