Utah February 24, 2019
There’s A Creepy Grave In This Utah Cemetery And Its Legend Is Beyond Eerie
Utah is home to dozens of ghost stories, from
the Purple Lady at the Denver & Rio Grande Western Depot to the ghost soldiers at Fort Douglas, and many, many more. It seems that people just can’t get enough spine-chilling tales of paranormal sightings.
There’s a grave at the Salt Lake City Cemetery that’s long been the stuff of eerie legend, though the story has changed over the years. Have you ever visited Emo’s Grave?
The B'nai Israel section of the Salt Lake City Cemetery is as beautiful and peaceful as every other part of the cemetery, with large trees and interesting headstones.
A stroll through this section reveals recent burials as well as gravesites dating all the way back to the 1880s.
You'll find many graves that have small pebbles sitting atop the markers. This is an ancient Jewish tradition that's now spread to even non-Jewish mourners.
The exact origins of the custom aren't known, but placing a stone on the headstone of a loved one is said to perhaps ward away evil spirits, or may be simply a way to count the number of visitors to a grave - one stone for each.
There's one gravesite in this part of the cemetery that doesn't have any small stones - and throughout the years the legend of an evil presence has been perpetuated by teenagers and ghost hunters alike.
For decades, visitors who never knew the man have sought out the burial place of Jacob Moritz - a.k.a. Emo's Grave.
No one is quite sure how this grave got its name. It was originally a small crypt that held the cremated remains of Jacob Moritz - a local businessman who ran a successful brewery in Salt Lake City in the early 20th century.
Moritz was a well-loved local politician who also gave freely to charitable organizations and was respected by both the Jewish community and local Mormon leaders. Just six months after setting out on a European trip with his wife in 1909, Mortiz died of stomach cancer. His wife had his ashes interred at this site.
For decades, local lore said that if you lit a candle, walked around the grave three times chanting, "Emo, Emo, Emo," then peered into the window in the crypt, you would see Emo's glowing red eyes staring back at you.
The large, metal door of the crypt once had a window in it. Visitors could see the vandalized remains of an urn inside, though Mr. Moritz's ashes were removed from this burial site years ago. Today, a piece of rusted sheet metal covers the opening where the window once was.
High school students and ghost hunters seem to have adjusted the legend to fit the current conditions of the gravesite. The new legend is that if you walk three times around the crypt and chant, 'Emo, Emo, Emo,' you'll see a ghost with glowing red eyes appear near the gravesite.
Whether you believe this creepy legend or not, you'll find the original gravesite of Jacob Mortiz in the Salt Lake City Cemetery in the Avenues. The grave is located just north of Fourth Avenue and 990 E.
If you stop by, maybe place a pebble there.
What do you think about this urban legend? Do you have memories of visiting this grave as a teenager?