Is Utah Pioneer Museum haunted?

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2007 12:33 a.m. MDT

This ghostly image of what appears to be a woman's face showed up on a surveillance camera at Utah Pioneer Memorial Museum.

Utah Department of Public Safety

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A ghostly image seen on a surveillance camera has some wondering if Utah's Pioneer Memorial Museum is haunted.

The Utah Department of Public Safety has even been asked to investigate, but museum officials are staying quiet — only adding to the mystery.

"The state prefers that we do not discuss that," Daughters of Utah Pioneers President Bette Barton said when contacted by the Deseret Morning News on Tuesday.

Authorities said the specter of what appears to be a woman's face first appeared in the early morning hours of Oct. 10, when security officers first noticed motion on the video monitors. The Utah Highway Patrol, whose troopers provide security for the state Capitol, went to investigate.

"We saw it on our security cameras," UHP Sgt. Jeff Nigbur said.

The DUP said in a statement that the image lingered in front of the surveillance camera for about five minutes, but as soon as an officer arrived to investigate, the image vanished. The trooper found no sign of life in the museum.

Since then, the UHP said the ghostly face has re-appeared several times.

"We did see it three or four nights out of a seven- or eight-day period," Nigbur said. "We have made efforts to go check this out. We've moved things around."

They've also cleaned the camera's lens and checked to make sure it's functioning properly.

The image only comes at night, when the room is dark. Some speculate it's a reflection, because there's a lot of glass in the gift shop. It recently disappeared again when more items were moved around, troopers said.

The Utah Pioneer Memorial Museum is not the only local building that's supposedly haunted. Web sites for Utah-based ghost hunters say the pioneer village of Old Deseret is haunted by one of Brigham Young's wives, Fort Douglas has been haunted by a ghost nicknamed "Clem" and a raven-haired woman in blue stalks the Rio Grande Depot.

The State Capitol Preservation Board, which oversees the museum, said it would not talk about any ghosts.

"Whether it's a ghost or a reflection, it's a good Halloween story," Nigbur said.


E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com

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