Miner Who Supposedly Haunts AF Canyon a Lesser-Told Utah Ghost Story
Nov 1, 2018, 12:10 AM
AMERICAN FORK CANYON, Utah – Campers are always cautioned to beware of bears, but the faint rustling sometimes heard in these woods may not be a bear at all.
It may just be a ghost — the “ghost of the canyon.”
Canyon historian Jay Allen said the spirit of miner Edward Hines, also referred to as the “hermit of American Fork Canyon,” has been storied to create a stir at campsites in the area.
“They still claim to this day that his ghost still haunts the canyon,” Allen said. “If you’re ever around one of the campgrounds and hear rattling of a garbage can and that — no fear, it’s just Ed out looking for something to eat.”
Allen said Hines lived a solitary life in Forest City, now a ghost town high up in American Fork Canyon above Tibblefork Reservoir.
“In the 1870s when there was a lot of mining going on further up the canyon, there were as many as 780 mines,” Allen said. “He’s a miner that was up in the mining district probably longer and spent more time working claims up there than anyone.”
Winters were harsh and food could be scarce, but it was when food was in plentiful supply that apparently proved to be a problem for Hines.
“One time, two miners came along and checked him and poor Ed was on the brink of death, so they encouraged him to come up to their cabin and they fixed him a real good feed, and he ate and ate and ate and ate and he insisted he go back to his cabin to stay,” Allen recalled of the tale. “A couple days later, these guys hadn’t heard or seen anything of Ed, and so they went down to check him out and guess what — they found him dead. Apparently he had eaten so much he died of a bloated stomach.”
Though the story sounds almost too fantastic to be true, it does have roots in reality, firmly grounded at American Fork Cemetery.
Hines’ final resting place is marked by a headstone there.
“Born May 10, 1850 and died May 23, 1923,” said Allen, reading from the marker. “If you look on the headstone, it says, ‘gone back to Forest City’— so now it means more to you!”
The miner’s gravesite had apparently been unmarked for some time, but donations ultimately came together to get him a headstone, Allen said.
“He may leave the cemetery here and go right up the canyon looking for what he was familiar with,” Allen speculated.
Other local lore refers to a ghostly hitchhiker in the canyon.
Allen said he believes the legend of the notoriously hungry Hines potentially plays into several other haunting stories associated with the area.
“Eating was his thing,” Allen said. “Maybe, as this story goes, he haunts the canyon looking for food in garbage cans or wherever he can find it.”