Utah March 21, 2017
Most People Don’t Know This Weird Utah Ghost Town Even Existed
Utah has some really cool ghost towns. We wrote about
six Utah ghost towns in this article, and we even created a road trip to take you to several of Southern Utah’s ghost towns. Here’s a ghost town you’ve probably never heard of. It’s located near Monticello, and it has quite a history. Take a look!
Just 15 miles north of Monticello, a forgotten ghost town sits in the desert.
Home of Truth was founded in 1933. By 1937, the town was mostly a ghost town, though a few people stayed on until the mid 1970s.
Marie Ogden was a spiritualist from New Jersey who founded The School Of Truth, which sought to communicate with the dead.
Marie Ogden believed that she could receive revelation through automatic writing on her typewriter. She also believed that she could bring the dead back to life.
Marie and her followers needed a remote place where they could create a colony and practice their beliefs. Marie and a group of 22 people purchased this barren, remote property and settled in.
The compound contained three sections: The Outer Portal, The Middle Portal (shown here), and The Inner Portal. Marie taught that the Inner Portal was the center of the Earth's axis, and that anyone living there would be saved during the Second Coming of Christ.
Local residents weren't particularly worried about the cult living in the desert, since they pretty much kept to themselves. Marie purchased the San Juan Record, the the local newspaper, and used it as a forum for her beliefs. At one point, more than 100 people had joined the community.
The members of Home of Truth gave all their possessions to the commune. They did whatever Marie told them, including giving up alcohol, tobacco and meat.
Things were going fairy smoothly for the group until the death of member Edith Peshak, who died of cancer in February, 1935. That's when things started getting really weird.
Marie claimed that she was having conversations with the deceased woman and that she could bring Edith back to life. She kept Edith's body on the commune and even wrote about it in the newspaper. That's when local law enforcement got involved. They arrived to check it out in June, and found that Edith's corpse was well-preserved. They decided that there was no health hazard, and allowed the body to remain on the commune.
Marie's strange accounts of her supposed powers continued in the San Juan Review, and people began to believe that Home of Truth might be a dangerous cult.
As members started to leave, Marie claimed in February of 1937 (two years after Edith's death), that she was finally going to bring Edith back to life. Authorities showed up to insist that Marie sign a death certificate, but she refused. Eventually, it was revealed that Edith's body had been cremated back in 1935. After Marie made that public announcement, all but seven of Home of Truth's members left.
Marie stayed on the compound, offering piano lessons to local children and writing for the newspaper, which she sold in 1949. In 1975, Marie Ogden died in a nursing home in Blanding.
Though it's on private property, Utah State Route 211 goes right past the abandoned buildings. Visitors to Canyonlands National Park Needles District might catch a glimpse if they're paying attention.
Home of Truth ghost town is located on private property and isn’t accessible to the public. However, the current owner is rumored to be preserving some of the buildings and may have plans to open it at some point.