Four years ago we sent writer Paige Wiren to investigate the most notoriously haunted shop in downtown Salt Lake City—Utah Book and Magazine at 327 S Main Street. The story garnered Pete Marshall, the shop’s owner, a lot of community attention. He signed autographed copies of the story for customers and requested all of our back issues. We were told by several readers that we should write a follow-up.
Pete Marshall has conclusive photographic evidence that ghosts are hovering, teleporting, and using his shop as a portal to the other side. Pete doesn’t believe that any of his (main floor) ghosts have bad intentions and he has no qualms when they attempt to communicate with him. “Sometimes they will start throwing books off the shelf at me, and I’ll just say, ‘hey, I know you are there!’ Then they stop. All they really want is attention,” says Pete, who has no teeth and a gruff exterior, but a very warm demeanor, and whose neighbors and customers adore him.
Pete shows me a collection of small LED light balls that ghosts use to interact with him. “These have all burned out now, but they used to make these light up to communicate.”
Pete says he has identified 24 ghosts in his shop, and he showed me about a dozen convincing photographs. The first series are of “glowing orbs,” which he says are spirit forms that bounce around and can’t be seen with the naked eye. Some are small little points of light, others are huge.
Another is a spooky, blurry, gray tentacle that looks almost like an octopus arm, but in a second photo, the arm is leaping outward. In a third photo, the ghoul is landing on a shelf. Pete says it travels from one end of the room to the other. “Can you tell me what the hell that is?” Pete says he shown it to customers and nobody can guess what it is. Pete says he uses photographs to better understand his ghosts because they can catch much more than he can see with his eyes alone.
He shows me a photo of his adult literature area. There is clearly a form of a little boy at the end of the section. “You see that shape and the face of that boy?” I can see it. “He wasn’t there. I mean, he isn’t real. But he looks clear as day there, doesn’t he?” I have to agree that he does.
Pete’s sister, Helen, works with him daily at the shop. For about fifteen years, Pete operated the shop with his older brother, Skip, and Helen corroborates everything Pete says. “Okay, look at this photo,” he says, pointing to a reflection of a man’s face floating in an aisle. Pete then shows me another photo. “Now look at that face and compare it to this one of me and my brother.” I look, and it’s clearly the same face as his deceased brother, Skip. It’s enough to send chills down my spine. It’s definitely Skip.
One morning at 3am, a pilot in complete uniform walked into the store. Pete assumed the man was real and greeted him with “Good morning.” but the guy said nothing in reply. “He just walks to the back of the store, but he doesn’t come back. I walked back there,” Pete recalls, “and he wasn’t there. When I came in the next morning, he walked right out the back of the store.” According to Helen, they have visitors who appear real, come into the store, but then disappear into thin air.
Pete shows me a photo in which I can faintly make out something that looks like a old door frame at the back of his store above some piles of inventory. “You see that light at the back? He then shows me another photos. Pete asks. “Now in this, can you make out the door?.” There is a faint frame around the door. Pete says that, like the orbs, he only sees that door through photographs.
“It’s a portal to the other side.” Pete says he doesn’t know why so many spirits come to his shop, but he believes it must have something to do with the portal at the back of his shop.
Pete says that none of his ghosts are demonic except for one that lives under the floor in the basement. “But if I don’t bother them, they won’t bother me.” I’m not sure if he’s trying convince me or himself.
Utah Book and Magazine has been in its current location since 1989, but his building is well over 100-years old. Pete has a card that reads, “Mayor of Main Street.” Pete is very popular with his neighbors and customers. They trust him and adore him, and most have given Pete keys to their stores. “I get along with pretty much everyone,” he tells me.
Pete has no problems with the city or the homeless or the changing demographics of Main Street. The first time I met Pete was eleven years ago when most of Main Street was boarded up. The building of the Trax line had killed off dozens of local businesses, but Pete’s shop survived. He attributes his longevity to working from 3:30am to 8pm every day. I’ve never met a shopkeeper who works as much as Pete. Today, Main Street is hopping, and three very busy bars, Bodega, Whiskey Street, and White Horse, are his neighbors, and Pete is friends with them all.
I was hoping to encounter one of Pete’s ghosts during my visit, but for some reason, ghosts don’t like me, and I have yet to encounter a visitor from the other side. But Halloween is coming and I might get lucky.
Watch our video about Pete and his ghosts, and see all of his photographic evidence.