"Have you seen the phantom?
No one else has, either, and Farmington historians say story is a mystery"
Byline: Cynthia Thomas
Standard-Examiner Davis Bureau
FARMINGTON -- It's Halloween-a time when you're likely to see ghosts, goblins, other frightfulfigures-or the Farmington Phantom.
The Farmington Phantom? Yes, you read correctly, but the phantom is turning out to be just that-a figure that literally doesn't exist.
A general consensus of local historians, researchers, librarians and others who know much about the history of Farmington are saying the same thing: They've never heard about it.
A publication by author John Burrows (unknown to local historians and researchers) states that this phantom of a ghost was known to haunt parts of east Farmington along an old trail that started west of Old Canyon Road and continued into the outskirts of Pioneer Park on Lagoon property. There reportedly were several sightings of the phantom since the first one was recorded in 1881, when word spread across Davis County that a man by the name of Samuel Morgan allegedly reported seeing this phantom. There were earlier sightings of the phantom, but 1881 was the first recorded one. Subsequent sightings were reported in 1908 and 1935.
According to excerpts from Burrows' story, the phantom could always be heard galloping on a horse, but never clearly seen. One person who allegedly saw the phantom described it as a dark figure that had either no head or a face, rode a horse and always appeared to vanish. In another excerpt, the phantom is described as a man who disappeared on a horse in a flash. If anyone should know about this phantom, it should be Irene Olsen. The 84-year-old has lived in Farmington all her life, and says it simply isn't so. "Someone has a vivid imagination," said Olsen, who lives not far from the trail Olsen is a member of the Helen Mar Miller Camp-Daughters of Utah Pioneers, the group that helped put out the book "My Farmington 1847-1976." The book, by Margaret Steed Hess, makes no mention of such a phantom. "As long as I've lived here, I've never heard of such a thing," she said.
A search by local library staffs in Davis County on numerous books on the history of Utah and Farmington, folklore and superstition so far has turned up fruitless. Dick Andrew, director of marketing at Lagoon Camp, knows nothing about the legend, either. "I've never heard of it, and I've been here a long time." As for how the newspaper got a copy of Burrow's story? It mysteriously appeared Tuesday morning in the mail slot accompanied by an unsigned letter asking a reporter to look into whether or not it was true.