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Idaho Enterprise

Spooky Night at the Library

Last week, the library hosted its annual Spooky Night, featuring tales of local folklore presented by Elizabeth Kent, and recent tales from author John Olsen.  Kent, who has a degree in Folklore from the University of Aberdeen, discussed many of the local tales that might be familiar to residents of the Malad Valley. 

 John Olsen, who has authored a number of books over the past decade, spoke to the assembled crowd about a number of experiences underlying his most recent work “Stranger Paranormal,” which has recently been named a bestseller on Amazon’s Paranormal book list.

Kent began her discussion by relating the tale of “the man with two headstones.”  The tale, recounted in this year’s “Welcome to Malad” edition, involves Ben Waldron, who lost a leg in a farming accident.  After insisting that his leg be buried under its own headstone, Waldron began to complain that his (missing) leg ached, and was twisted.  After months of attempting to convince others of his sensations, Waldron finally convinced his family to unearth the leg and check its status.  According to legend, the excavators discovered that the leg was indeed twisted.  After having it set straight, he never complained about leg pain again.

Elizabeth Kent then dove into the area’s most persistent legend, the Iron Door.  She began by reading a version of the legend, which most agreed sounded like what they had heard.  Afterward, she revealed that the version she had related was in fact from Oklahoma.  Kent made the point that many legends are known to spread from place to place, and there was at least a chance that the local legend had origins elsewhere, though she wouldn’t swear to it.  Kent also discussed legends of the potentially haunted elementary school, “the man under the lampposts” who follows  drivers through town underneath lightpoles, UFOs in Weston canyon, the “woman in white” in St Johns cemetery, the Bear Lake monster, and of course, Bigfoot.

John Olsen, author of the popular “Stranger Bridgerland” series of books on the paranormal, focused on some of the subjects of his new book.One of the stories Olsen related was of figures he referred to as the “Watchers.”  These are reported by those who have seen them to be large, shadowy figures who keep watch on mountain tops surrounding campsites in the Wyoming and Idaho areas.  

He also told the story of “mimics” which lead people into the woods.  “A lot of times I’ll interview someone and assume that it’s just a one off story.  But then I’ll go on a radio show or somewhere else, and other people will contact me and say ‘I thought I was the only one’,” he said.  This was the case with a story of a camper who had been led up a hill and into the woods by what he thought was his relative, only to find her later on at the campfire having never left.  “It turns out a lot of people have had experiences like this.”  

Olsen ended with a discussion of UFOs.  “Utah and Idaho for whatever reason tend to have a lot of UFOs,” he said.  He then related several of those from local areas, including several potential encounters with figures from vehicles that should not have been able to be in the places they were encountered.

Afterward, the crowd was treated to Halloween baked goods, and given the chance to speak with the presenters and have their books signed.