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St. Anne Nunnery's has a history of haunting

Published: Friday, October 29, 2004

Updated: Monday, August 9, 2010 14:08

The legends are whispered.

Some Logan residents have heard of the former nunnery that resides in Logan Canyon and the urban legends that surround it - making the nunnery the source of curiosity and ambiguity it is today.

Local filmmakers, Burke and Rhett Lewis, said they have studied the retreat for a film they are making based on the actual events that occurred there in 1997, which will be called, "The Nunnery."

Rhett said, "['The Nunnery' is] really not that scary, but if you go there wanting to get freaked out, you will." He said it's scary because no one really knows what happened there.

Burke and Rhett said there have been many made-up stories about the nunnery - none of which are verifiable.

The 1997 Horror

According to a story in the Herald Journal, in October 1997, about 30 teenagers were ambushed, shot at, handcuffed, tied together by their necks and threatened with their lives by three men who claimed to be security guards at the area formerly known as St. Anne's Retreat, in Logan Canyon.

Groups of teenagers in separate increments went to the old nunnery that night, and as each group arrived the three men surrounded them with guns, tied them up and forced them into the empty swimming pool that resides on the property, according to the Herald Journal.

The hostages were strapped together by ropes around their necks which the guards told them were linked to explosives and would, "blow their heads off," if they tried to get free, according to the Herald Journal.

According to the article, one boy was butted by a shot gun, several girls were sexually molested and all of the kids had wrist marks from plastic, store-bought handcuffs.

The guards shouted obscenities at the teenagers, according to the article, and told them if they tried to run they would, "shoot off their legs."

According to the article, after several hours of holding the teenagers captive, the guards called the cops on the kids for trespassing. When the cops arrived, they replaced the plastic cuffs with real ones and escorted them to the sheriff's office where they were cited for trespassing and then released.

When the victims' parents found out what happened, the trespassing charges were dropped and the guards went to jail for several months.

Urban Legend?

The Legend of the former nunnery that makes it such an intriguing place, Burke said, is the reason the kids were drawn there that night.

The nunnery was built during the 1920s, Burke said, by an architect named Boyd Hatch.

Burke said it wasn't originally owned by the Catholic church and was actually used by movie stars as a hotel during its early years. When the Catholics bought the property, they named it St. Anne's Retreat and used it as a summer retreat for nuns and priests to practice and study their religion.

Jacob Jensen, a physical education major, has researched the legends that encompass the old nunnery.

According to the legend, Jensen said murders took place in the '40s on the property.

The nunnery is located about a quarter mile past Preston Valley campground in Logan Canyon. The property is run-down and consists of seven small, separate cabins that circle around the main lodge, which stands slightly bigger than the other cabins.

The pool on the property is now empty. Currently, there are security guards who patrol the area for trespassers who are consequently ticketed, Jensen said.

Rhett said the "freakiest" thing about the nunnery is the children's playhouse hung on the wall next to the stone fireplace in the main lodge.

Many are skeptical of the stories of the nunnery and believe it is no more than a mere legend - but others disagree.

"Hauntings occur when injustice has taken place," Jensen said. "What people don't know is that places are marked by experiences that happen. Those impressions leave a permanent stain if something wrong has occurred there, and that place will forever bear record of the things that have happened there. Particularly, when evil is conjured up by ill intention and conspiring thought, it potently resonates wherever it eventually transpires. That place becomes its birth place, there is virtually no cure and it can potentially infect anyone who encounters it."

-kap@cc.usu.edu

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