For decades, legends swirled around the odd Salt Lake Cemetery tombstone for Lilly E. Gray, “Victim of the Beast 666”. One such tale told that she had died during an exorcism, but her death certificate states that she died of natural causes, or simply that several of her internal organs gave in. Another yet surmised that Aleister Crowley, The Great Beast 666 himself, was responsible for her demise. This theory simply has no legs, since Crowley had passed away in 1947, nine years before Lilly.
As it turns out, the real explanation is probably more banal than the curious thousands who have visited the spooky gravestone would have wanted it to be. Lilly E. Gray was married to a kook. Indeed, in an application to the Utah State Board of Pardons dated March 15, 1947 her husband and lone survivor, Elmer L. Gray, proves himself to be either hilarious or one paranoid son of a gun. Throughout this document, he refers to himself as being “kidnaped, a bum” and mentions several times that he has been kidnapped “by democrats.” One can only assume that good ol’ Elmer either believed his spouse had her soul manipulated by Satan himself, or just thought it would make a funny tagline for her to carry on into eternity. There you have it, mystery solved.
—Alix / @alixmcalpine