Myths that Went too Far

Daniella Rivera, Co-Editor in Chief

Was it a murder by her husband? Or an accident?  Was she cruising down Route 666? No one has a clue where Lilly E. Gray had gone on the night of November 14, 1958 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Is it that they have no clue, or that their only clues lead to many different conspiracies?

Throwing it back to the jukebox jives and the poodle skirt era, one of the most haunting mysteries in Utah has continued to live, only to slowly be forgotten as a mishap to one of the happiest decades in history. Lilly E. Gray is the owner of the infamous grave containing the words, “Victim of the Beast. 666.” This engraving led to the creation of the legend, the Beast 666.  No one knows how Gray’s life ended, but there are a few agreed-on conspiracies. One of the most popular being that her life was taken by her husband, Elmer, who had trouble with the government in previous criminal cases, making Utahns believe that the Beast 666 was her husband or the government. “Interestingly, Elmer is buried in the same cemetery, though in a plot far from Lilly’s,” said investigator on the case, Cherie Roberts.  No matter if we can’t figure out what happened to young Gray, her story and myths about her death were still taken too far. On her grave it says that Lilly Gray was born on June 4th, 1880, yet her headstone says otherwise reading: June 6th, 1881. Many believe that it may read this to add to the spookiness of her mishap, because being born on the 6th day of the 6th month is much more exciting to the meaning of 666, than her original birthday. The changes made to Gray’s grave and story can take a toll on her ancestors, and make the whole issue seem trivial. Though Lilly E. Gray’s story wasn’t the only one taken the extra mile to please their audience.  

Heading East across the states, a more well-known story lies deep in Wisconsin about the mythical creature named Slenderman.  In short, three 12-year old best friends, were having a sleepover when Payton Leutner was stabbed my her two friends 19 times. “They left Leutner for dead but she crawled out of the woods and got help from a passing bicyclist,” according to an article published in The Guardian. The guilt drive? The girls repeated that they were trying to impress Slenderman, the fictional internet creature. Stories and myths go to the extremes in the sake of keeping to what is true, and keeping others safe.

As generations pass, so do stories. Old stories build off each other to create complete new ones. Many of you may agree that when telling a simple story to a friend about a recent event in your life, you may make the situation more dramatic, just because it seems ‘cooler’. This mindset is what creates the myths, or the stories that lead you away from the truth. In Gray’s case, Salt Lake City peers wanted her story to live on with a little twist to her birth date to make it seem ‘cooler’ to new generations; just a fabrication if you look deeper. Sometimes, even our own thoughts and ideas are shadowed by our elders, peers, and friends, not allowing own opinions to stand. In, Leutner’s case, her best friend Anissa Weier made the other 12-year-old girl, Morgan Geyser, believe that they had to impress the mythical creature, because it would be ‘cool’. The world is shadowed by this idea of being ‘cool’ that we stray away as much as we can from the truth. This only feeds the myths the fire they need to burn the truth, and can lead to hurting innocent people.  

So, maybe the real Beast 666 isn’t the one who killed Lilly E. Gray, but the one who takes over our brains and makes us do things that you know..make us look ‘cool’.