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Posted on: October 31, 2018

"Night at the Museum" Showcases the History and Hauntings of Ogden’s Union Station

Union Station Forward Skew crop

On October 26, the Ogden Union Station hosted its annual “Night at the Museum” paranormal tour fundraiser. This annual event showcases the most haunted locations within the facility and discloses stories that average patrons may be unaware of while visiting during the day. Event tickets sold out within the first week, and the proceeds contributed to the ongoing restoration and maintenance of the 150-year-old historic building.

The Paranormal Investigation Team of Utah (PITU) conducted the 2018 tours and have been involved with the “Night at the Museum” event since 2007. The director of PITU, Jenny Wright, joined the organization after attending the Union Station’s paranormal tours as a patron and has been active with them since 2009.

“Finding the truth and pulling the past into the present is a big obligation for us,” said Wright, who believes proper scientific and historical research is the biggest responsibility of any paranormal investigator. “If you just walk into a building and start talking when you don’t know anything about it, then you’re not being respectful.”

After closing for railway transportation in 1997, the Union Station is currently the home of four museums and two art galleries that are managed by Ogden City Corporation. The building was an active stop for troop trains during the World War I and World War II eras, a stable job source during the Great Depression, a prominent post office, and was open to passenger travel until the late 1970’s.

Various paranormal investigation teams, including PITU, have visited the Union Station. Evidence in the form of video footage and EVP recordings has been found in multiple areas of the building, and various visitors to the station and staff members have also reported strange occurrences.

The 2018 tour participants were told stories of reported paranormal experiences, historical persons that may have been linked to the claims and the results of the research PITU was able to provide from prior investigations as they explored each location. Several sightings explored on the tour included the following:

  • The body of a 10-year old girl named Frances Williams was discovered inside a trunk by baggage handlers at the Union Station in 1913. Paranormal activity of a young child has been reported around the Utah State Railroad Museum exhibit where the Station’s original baggage scales are on display.
  • The Browning Theater has multiple claims of a shadow man, named “Hooty” by station staff members, being sighted walking outside the theater doors and on the stage. Rumors of a female spirit in the area have been potentially associated with a woman, Glenna Carter, who was tragically shot by a suitor outside of the train platforms in the 1800’s.
  •  An upstairs hallway in the Union Station is rumored to abnormally feature the scent of lilac perfume where a woman in a white dress appears at either end of the hall. Previous staff members have claimed to see the woman, but no historical reports have been found that link the woman to Station.
  • The Old Timer’s Room on the second floor contains claims that the presence of a young lady interacts with males that enter the room. A male guest to one of the previous “Night at the Museum” tours was reported by Wright to run out of the Old Timer’s room mid-tour and afterward claim that something brushed his shoulder while he was standing on the outskirts of the group.

Tracy Ehrig, the Union Station Technician and primary organizer of the event, believes that the Union Station’s role as a transportation sight might attribute to the building’s current amount of paranormal activity. 

“These tours really help to connect the history with the highly emotional experiences that could have occurred here over the years,” said Ehrig. “We’ve been here since 1869, so this building has been a crossroad for millions of people that have passed through.” 

The claims of paranormal activity are not limited to the previous examples, and not all the claims have a historical connection to support them. Wright wants PITU’s paranormal investigations and involvement with the annual fundraiser to help share, clarify and expand the story of Union Station with the Ogden community. Even when PITU’s evidence brings natural explanations to the paranormal rumors, she believes the Station’s historical evolution is interesting enough and should be explored and respected.

“There’s so much going on down here already, and then we just happen to put some paranormal ghost stuff to it,” said Wright. “I think that’s the most important thing, is that people know this is in their own backyard.”

More information on PITU and its services as a non-profit organization can be found on their website. Information on the regular hours, events, museums and galleries hosted by the Union Station can be found on their webpage on the Ogden City website.

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