Underneath the city of Provo is a world full of mythological tales. Danny B. Stewart, former UVU humanities professor, is a writer for Utah Stories Magazine and explores these mythological tales on his ghost tours. These stories come from local workers and business owners who have approached him with unexplainable paranormal activity they have experienced. On this tour, Stewart shares all he has learned about the ghosts that he believes live among the citizens of Provo.
Stewart is an ‘anomalogist’, someone who researches folklore and teaches it to others in entertaining ways. Stewart explained that he has been fascinated by the paranormal activity since birth and hopes to keep these stories alive.
“My ghost tour is not about fear. A lot of other ghost tours will want to spook and scare people. I want people to understand that a lot of these things are not evil, they’re not mean, they’re just there,” Stewart said. “If they’re real or not is not important; it’s the fact that the stories make them real, and they’re real to people.”
The ghost tour explores stories such as the ghost of Shaky Jake at City Limits, who has been reported to groan, turn on the jukebox, move glasses and, at one point, threw a glass and shattered it. Other local tales include shadow people, gnomes, vortexes and faeries.
Even the popular costume store Taylormaid has had its experiences with a ghost. The ghost there has the attitude of a trickster, which is fitting for its location. He likes to move things, make a mess, groan and laugh. Workers have reported hearing someone running back and forth late at night. It was speculated that a heavy metal door, difficult for most people to open, was opened and slammed by the ghost.
Stewart shared his own personal story with a phantom clown. According to Stewart, there have been reports of these clowns haunting people since ancient Rome and those reports resurfaced again in 1981. Stewart was driving past Pioneer Park on April 2013 at 1:30 a.m. when he caught a glimpse of a clown in full attire while he was parked at a stop light. As it walked, the clown made eye contact with Stewart, and in mid-stride turned toward him before Stewart sped off in his car.
“I figured that Provo history would be rich with unexplainable phenomenon, but I didn’t realize how rich it is. It’s very fascinating,” attendee Kyle Wiggins said.
Several attendees mentioned memories brought back during the presentation and possible validation of hauntings through stories that witnesses shared with them.
The Ghost Tour only includes 10 percent of all the stories Stewart has collected overtime. The tour features stories that you cannot find anywhere else but from Stewart himself. It will be in full operation every Friday and Saturday until Halloween. To participate in one, meet at the Provo Community Congregational Church of Christ at 8 p.m.
“I may not be a believer in the supernatural, but some of the stories are pretty interesting…. It was fun to see so many people who believe in and pursue the supernatural come together,” UVU sophomore Andrew Howard said.