There is something to be said about big old buildings, especially ones that have lived more than one life, and as in the case of the Fairview Museum of Art & History, are now filled with relics of a different era. However, being old does not automatically mean that a building is haunted. While I don’t spend every weekend running around the state investigating haunted buildings anymore, I still get out for a spooky time every now and then.
Many times, my team would investigate locations that the owners or occupants swore were haunted simply due to strange noises that were heard, mostly at night. But the majority of those investigations quickly ruled out any type of paranormal activity.
We usually went into an investigation with low expectations of finding anything legitimately paranormal, and such was the case of the museum. My friend had been contacted by the curator over a strange recording he captured after leaving a voice recorder running overnight in the building. The curator described the recording as sounding like a bunch of children running up and down the hallways of the building. And, much to our surprise, that’s exactly what the recording sounded like.
The museum’s Heritage building was built in 1900 as the Fairview School. It was abandoned around 1960, when a more modern school was built, and the building would be purchased by Dr. Avard Fairbanks, a noted 20th Century sculptor for use as an art museum. There was no history of anything tragic taking place in the location, including natural or unnatural deaths.
There are a few theories when it comes to why certain buildings may be haunted while others aren’t. One theory is that a tragic event occurred, leaving an imprint on the location. Another, and probably the most fitting for the museum, is that it was a much loved place, and in some ways, those who loved it still hang around. There were no deaths at this location; nothing horrific took place here that could be an explanation for the odd sounds, leaving us with the latter theory.
The museum is full of old items, most notably the Fairbanks sculptures and miniatures handcrafted by one of the men responsible for the museum’s very existence. This man dearly loved the building, had worked as its janitor for many years and took care of the museum until his death. We noticed two large pictures hanging by the front door of the museum, one of each man responsible for the creation of the museum.
Throughout our time at the museum, we didn’t notice anything unusual until it was almost time for us to leave. We didn’t ask the stereotypical EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) questions such as, “Is anyone here with us?” With EVP, the answers are not audible at the time the recording is made but are heard upon playback.
We like to have conversations about the location while the recorder is running, often talking about the history of the place and the people involved. We started talking about kids running through the building, saying that we were sure the principal and other staff would not appreciate it. We then said that we were going to run down the hallway, and we got a very loud, very sharp, “NO!” on our recorder.
It was then we began asking whoever it was to tell us their name, and we captured one of the best EVPs I’ve ever heard. Very clearly, in a somewhat irritated tone, the voice of a man said, ”My name is John.”
We packed up our gear and headed towards the door. As we got ready to leave, we noticed that one of the pictures of the two men hanging near the door was now noticeably askew. When we looked at the nameplate on the frame, it read, John Smith (We were not allowed to use the actual name due to his family still residing in the area).
LISTEN TO THE RECORDING AND TURN UP YOUR VOLUME:
Fairview Museum of Art & History
85 N 100 E, Fairview, UT 84629
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