Haunted Homestead Starts Tonight In Cedar City
You don't have to go very far or wait very long to get in to the season of spookiness here in Cedar City. The first night of activities of the Haunted Homestead, at the Frontier Homestead State Park is tonight.
Free cemetery tours start this evening at 6 p.m. These will be directed by tour guides and will take you through some of the more prominent people who have contributed to the history of our city. There's also some interesting side tales to be heard.
One grave-site in the cemetery is that of George Wood. Wood is very connected to the history of Cedar City. He had a cabin (which is now on display at the Frontier Homestead State Park) that was used by people traveling to the west. It is said that some 24 children were born in that cabin.
Wood was also instrumental in building what would become Southern Utah University. He rallied the community to build the institution so that everyone in Cedar City would have access to higher education. You can see that story through the “Back Up The Mountain” feature on the SUU website.
But, according to information from the cemetery tour document from the Frontier Homestead State Park, there was also a darker side to Wood. Records were found that he killed a woman.
The story goes that he found out his 18 year old son was having relations with a 13 year old girl in town, and rather than punish his son for his promiscuity he decided it was the girl that was at fault and needed punishment.
He went to her house with a loaded pistol; intending to kill her. When he got to the house he incidentally shot the mother to death through the living room wall, and shot the young girl in the leg. His gun then malfunctioned and at that point he chose to pistol whip the girl to death.
Believing the girl to be dead he left and immediately confessed his crime to the local bishop walking down the road saying “I have killed two women in that house and they need to be buried.” The girl actually survived, but suffered from so many medical ailments that she died at a young age. Wood only served two years in jail for the crime. To find out why, check out the tour.
And there is the story of Mary Jane McCune. She came to be known as Coyote Girl. She was married to a teamster who was gone for extended periods of time. On one occasion when her husband was away, Mary decided to stay with a friend.
During the night, they hear sounds coming from the chicken coop, and the entire family goes out to investigate. They discover a coyote in the coop. Without warning, the coyote jumps up and bites Mary in the neck.
The father of Mary's friend can't shoot the animal because of the possibility of hitting Mary, so he grabs the coyote by the neck and strangles it. Mary soon thereafter starts showing signs of having rabies. Unsure if he also contacted rabies, the father chains himself to the basement to keep the family safe.
He ends up not getting rabies, but Mary does indeed contract the disease.
She ends up going crazy and is tied to a bed in the basement of the friends family. It’s said she would try and trick the residents of the house to “come give her a kiss” only to snap at them when they got too close. To find out Mary's fate, you should take the cemetery tour.
Those tours will be offered tonight, Thursday and Friday, and again they are free. Meet at the caboose at the park at 6 p.m.
The tours aren't the only thing going on this week. Tomorrow (Wednesday) night, festivities will shift to the Department of Natural Resources office at 646 N. Main. In conjunction with the Iron County Historical Society, volunteers will be telling local ghost stories. That starts at 7 p.m.
And then, Saturday will be the Haunted Homestead Halloween Carnival back at the Frontier Homestead State Park. The carnival will start at 4 p.m. and will have carnival style Halloween themed games, face painting along with other surprises. You can get more information by going to the Frontier Homestead State Park Facebook page.
Be sure to keep up with the weather as temperatures are forecast to cool this week. And bringing good running shoes might be a good idea if you come in contact with any unfriendly spirits.