The Beehive State is a big place with a lot of stuff in it. Some places in Utah are full of natural beauty. Some are loaded with the rich history of our nation. And of course, some places in Utah are haunted. It happens everywhere. One such place is a former nunnery called St. Anne’s. It’s in Logan Canyon, and it’s been standing there since the 1920s.
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The Terrifying History of St. Anne's Retreat
St. Anne’s is in rough shape these days, but it’s still there.
It’s one of the most frightening places in Utah, sure, but it’s still there.
St. Anne’s today, is essentially in ruins.
Decaying walls and overgrown gardens, the occasional skittering of an animal you can’t quite see.
The former retreat used to be a favorite hangout of local kids and teenagers who spray paint the walls and leave beer cans and garbage strewn about, but not everything that goes on there has such a prosaic explanation.
Ghost hunters love St. Anne’s. Our type is always on the lookout for new places in Utah or elsewhere to ply out trade, and the dark history of St. Anne’s makes it a prime candidate for the paranormal.
Oh, did I not mention what went on at St. Anne’s?
Murder was just the beginning. It’s a bad place, where bad things happened.
Bad things are still happening there, some would say.
Ghosts love a good, bloody story, and so do we.
The Tale of St. Anne’s
Back in the 20s, the Catholic Church owned the land and the building.
St. Anne’s wasn’t a traditional nunnery where sisters would go about their normal duties.
There were other places in Utah for that, places closer to civilization.
St. Anne’s was more of a punishment, or a place for the Church to hide away embarrassments. Nuns who had broken their vows and committed sin were sent here.
Most commonly, that meant the sin of indulging their carnal desires.
In other words, pregnant nuns were shuffled off to St. Anne’s to carry their babies to term out of the public eye.
After birth, the children were quietly put up for adoption at various orphanages and other places in Utah.
This went on for some time without incident, but eventually one of the women decided she couldn’t stand for it.
Holding her newborn infant son in her arms, she knew she had to escape before he was taken away.
Sneaking out in the middle of the night, the nun took off at a dead run through the woods and underbrush.
It wasn’t long before she heard the clamor of pursuers, and the shouts of the head nun.
Overcome with blind rage and fury, the head nun bellowed at the top of her lungs that she would kill both mother and child when she caught them.
The frightened new mother heard this and knew in her heart that the head nun truly meant what she said.
Desperate to protect her child, she hid him under a bush and loudly took off in another direction.
Deliberately making as much noise as possible, she hoped to draw her pursuers away from her precious baby boy.
And it worked, for a time. The head nun and her search party took off after the mother. Eventually, they lost her trail.
She had done it. She had won. She was free.
Or so she thought.
Returning back to the bush where her son lay, the former nun found nothing but a scrap of blanket that had caught on a thorn.
Fearing the worst had happened, she snuck back to St. Anne’s.
Her fears were confirmed. The worst had happened.
Floating face down in a pool just outside the nunnery was the body of her infant son.
Sinking to her knees and crying out in anguish, the mother cursed the head nun, the Church, and the world that had brought her baby to this end.
After a time, she came to a decision. She could not live in such a world.
The young mother grabbed up a handful of poisonous berries from a nearby plant and swallowed them whole. She joined her son in death.
Among the Most Haunted Places in Utah
As any paranormal enthusiast knows, a story like this in a place like this is more than ripe for ghost infestation.
Treading the grounds of St. Anne’s today, one feels the dark energy almost as a physical force.
It pushes down on you, makes you feel heavier, makes it harder to move around.
They congregate in places like St. Anne’s, unable to exert much influence, but hanging around the stronger entities.
Every element of that black story from years ago is still standing. Walking through the grounds itself, you can trace the path of the chase through the woods.
Here is the pool where two innocent souls perished:
Some say that the sheer cruelty of what went on at St. Anne’s makes it a locus for supernatural inhabitation.
That same force that is so palpable to human visitors acts as a magnet for ghosts and spirits around other places in Utah.
It draws them in, binds them, and makes them stronger when they are on the grounds of St. Anne’s.
More than most other places in Utah, St. Anne’s is home to the restless souls of those who died too young.
Wandering the grounds, it’s not uncommon to hit a sudden strange cold spot.
The weather is often quite warm in this part of the state, and it’s all too noticeable to feel a sudden chill.
Some say that these small drops in temperature represent the influence of smaller or weaker spirits.
Using an EVP recorder, it is possible to hear the frantic cries of babies and children.
Late at night during certain times of year, particularly the warmer summer months, and you might even hear them unaided.
There's another strange story...
The story goes that on especially haunted nights, the air surrounding the pool area will be ice cold. That’s ice cold even on a warm summer night in the middle of July.
It makes no sense, and it’s a shock to the senses. Cold as the grave, some might say.
The Haunted Forest
The ghost of the poor mother herself still lingers, too.
Walking through the woods at night, you might hear her terrified, quiet sobs echoing through the trees.
If you’re very lucky, or perhaps unlucky, you’ll hear the barks and snarls of the guard dogs the head nun employed to hunt her.
A feeling of being watched has been reported by many travelers, especially when walking along the riverbank.
Many people experience the urge to look up at the opposite bank, fully expecting to see someone standing there watching.
There’s never anyone there, of course. At least no one visible.
Many people say it’s the ghost of the poor mother, watching out for the search party.
Perhaps staring at you, wondering if you’re there to help her or to bring her back to the cursed St. Anne’s.
It’s downright unsettling, and one only hopes that she can someday find peace.
Most people today choose not to travel to St. Anne’s at night. It’s a little too disturbing, a little too scary.
They go to other places in Utah for their nighttime walks, places where they don’t feel the spirits are on their tail.
Of course, as a reader of this site, you might have a different view of things.
Note: You are responsible for getting the appropriate permissions before exploring any location listed on this site. Always respect private property, no trespassing signs, hours of operation and other local regulations. Those who break the law when exploring areas have been known to get arrested because they failed to contact property owners and/or authorities.