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Ghost Towns

Do you believe in ghosts?

I didn't...

Until I came to Grafton...

Walked in the cemetery...

and let the gate slam shut behind me.

The gate was so loud it echoed up the canyon and sent a prickle down my spine.

My husband and son were oblivious.

But I could feel the spirits

I wondered what happened? The birth dates were all different, but the day of death was the same for everyone. Men, women, a baby as young as one. As I walked around and read the signs, I gathered this Reader’s Digest story:

In 1859, 5 pioneer families led a pilgrimage ”To settle“ Grafton... Grafton was already settled by the Paiutes and the Navajos. At first, they tried to get along, but the white man “God gave us dominion” attitude didn’t settle well with the Indians sacred treatment of Mother Earth. The Mormon pioneers chopped down trees and choked off water ways. One of them jacked the other parties sheep. Then someone stole some horses, and soon, the crimes escalated into a massacre. Where I let the gate slam shut... Where I was standing... The burial site of a massacre.

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon in Utah. Just one hour northwest of this cemetery is Mountain Meadows Massacre. Another burial ground, only this time, Mormons dressed up as Indians and murdered a wagon train of prominent prospectors from Arkansas headin west for the gold rush. Today, the heritage of the Mormon pioneers overshadows the sacrifices everyone (not just the pioneers) had to make, to build their idea of Zion.

We decided it was time to go. We left the cemetery and went to the school house. The #1 reason we came here in the first place. As a scout, I wanted to take my family to see this location from Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.

We drove a mile down this dirt road.

And saw a creepy cabin along the way. 1/4” mile further...

We stepped into the basement of the schoolhouse, and the temperature dropped 20 degrees.

It smelled dank, but not the good kind. The moment I crossed the threshold, an insect buzzed by, flew down my shirt, and stung me!

I threw my shirt off and it disappeared. All that remained was a mark on my back.

I put my camera down and said a prayer. I apologized for being an ignorant, unconscious millennial and letting the cemetery gate slam shut. I felt so much in this moment for the Indians, the Mormons, and the misunderstandings. I prayed for peace and I prayed for us all to be forgiven.

As I walked to the stairs, I saw a glow.

It was a sign! Or dust but it did a lot for me. In this moment, I had a revelation that continues to be a motto for life: Everywhere you go, honor the resources and the lives that came before you.

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