Haunted attractions incite blood-curdling screams from terrified fear-enthusiasts. But real haunted spaces illicit fear that doesn’t subside at a tour’s conclusion—the stories of these spaces linger in the mind’s caverns waiting to interrupt pleasant dreams with nightmarish imaginings.
Few fictions of Salt Lake City can make one’s heart sink like the murder-suicide story of the haunted Shilo Inn. The location of one of downtown Salt Lake City’s most tragic true tales, the motel holds the spirits of children who lost their young lives there, according to those who have stayed on the eleventh floor.
In August of 1978 the Shilo Inn was named the International Dunes Hotel of Salt Lake City. A mother was staying on the 11th floor of hotel with her seven children (ages 5 to 15) days after her husband committed suicide. Her husband, who was reportedly a cult leader calling himself Immanuel David, was under investigation by the FBI when he drove up a canyon near Salt Lake City and ran a hose from his tailpipe into his truck window.
Accounts of the heart-rending incident report the woman, distraught over the death of their father, threw her children one-by-one from the balcony before flinging herself to the Salt Lake City street below. Other reports claim the mother made the oldest daughter toss her siblings over. Some say she coaxed her children to jump to their death. But only one child survived the incident that shocked Salt Lake City residents.
Since this horrific happening, guests of the 11th floor claim they can hear the haunting laughter of disembodied children in the halls of the Salt Lake City motel. Others hear the murdered children giggling and playing in the pool although no living children are present. The elevator eerily returns to the 11th floor when unoccupied, although it is programmed to remain in the lobby.
Motel staff claim the manifestations of the murderous mother and her children haunt the unoccupied 13th floor that holds the boiler and machinery. The ghosts playfully unscrew light bulbs and move equipment and tools when staff is out of the area. Others Salt Lake City visitors have witnessed the game area’s pinball machine played by a young unseen female presence who laughs at the flashing lights and bouncing ball. The haunting laughter of the mother can be heard near the exit and upper parking lot.
The children may not have been able to cross to the other side, forever paying for the sins of their parents on Earth. The mother may linger in the Salt Lake City motel as punishment for her crime. But, no matter the reason, the David family fails to leave the scene of their untimely deaths.
Are you a fear addict? The Strangling Brothers Haunted House in Salt Lake City, Utah, will test even the strongest of hearts. You may be think you are brave enough to enter, but we can’t promise you will sleep that night…or make it out of the Most Scariest Haunt on Earth…