Most avoid the paranormal, while others, like Ogden local Andrew Tims, chase it, record it, and even collect it. Tims is a filmmaker, an abandoned building explorer, and a collector of haunted items. In his home live an array of things many people would never touch, such as a handmade Ouija board carved from a cemetery tree, a cursed candle, graveyard dirt and a demon in a box.
Even without seeking it out, it seems as though the frightful and the paranormal find their way to him. Before moving to his current home, he lived in a house that he says had a surprising life before becoming a residence.
“The basement,” he says, “is really weird. There were all these little storage rooms, but they were metal. I asked the landlord what was up with it, and he said “Oh, it was an old mortuary. I bought it and turned it into a house.”
Ogden has been around a long time. The streets are lined with historic buildings and landmarks, many of which are said to carry spirits of those who once wandered the city. Tims loves to explore, especially places he describes as “frozen in time.”
He and his cousin have been making films for 13 years together, and utilize actual haunted locations as sets or inspiration for their horror films. He says that when exploring, his goal is simply to experience and show others the moment as it stands without causing any harm to the place or its contents.
“We won’t break in. We never damage property. I try to figure out if I can talk to the owners of the buildings before I enter. We won’t go in if there’s not a wide-open entrance,” he explains.
Despite being difficult to scare, The Ogden Exchange Building was a frightening visit for Tims. “It was such a big crowd that I thought, ‘This won’t be scary,’ there are 10 of us.”
The Exchange building has had its fair share of visitors. What was once offices for the stockyard and the railroad, became a trade school, then a mental health clinic, and later, a haunted attraction. Now, what is left of it is entirely abandoned.
There are an abundance of rumors surrounding the building and many visitors have reported paranormal activity. Tims shares that his group visit ended abruptly. “Everyone started getting a bad feeling … It started getting really sketchy. It was cold and people started feeling sick to their stomach, so a lot of people just got up and left and they went to climb out.”
Nonetheless, his friend and himself, being very superstitious, refused to leave without saying goodbye to the spirits. While bidding the afterlife adieu, Tims says he and his remaining friend had an experience that had them running for the hills.
“We turned down the hall and heard a noise. We both, at the same time, turned our flashlights on. At the very end of the hall, we saw a pitch-black figure take a step from one side of the hall to the other. We looked at each other and I saw the color of my friend’s skin go straight white, so we booked it out of there.”
Tims highlights the old Lucky Slice building and Union Station (which offers ghost tours in October) as other places he experienced activity from the other side. The Smith and Edwards building and the Ogden Cemetery are also supposedly haunted locations, but he says he’s never experienced anything otherworldly in them.
According to Tims, many buildings on Historic 25th Street are haunted, but he has yet to explore most of them. While Ogden is full of fun for ghost hunters, there is only one place that has ever scared Tims to the point of not wanting to return — St. Anne’s Retreat in Logan. While some places don’t live up to their lore, that one, he says, exceeded it.
The story about St. Anne’s Retreat in Logan coming up soon.
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