The legend, a synopsis: In the Salt Lake City Cemetery, there is a gravestone for a woman named Lilly E. Gray with an inscription that reads, “VICTIM OF THE BEAST 666.” Many people have attempted to research this stone and Lilly, but strangely always hit a brick wall, as there is no information aside from her obituary, which states only that she died in a local hospital from natural causes.
Within the sublime Salt Lake City Cemetery, there is indeed a gravestone which has aroused interest and curiosity over the years, and has recently, with the advent of the internet, become the object of intrigue and fascination, amateur and oftentimes apathetic sleuthery. The stone is modest- a small, flat marker; the inscription is anything but: “VICTIM OF THE BEAST 666”
Cemetery legends abound. These stories, more often than not, especially when pertaining to specific gravestones and their inhabitants, tend to take on the attributes of the urban legend, mirroring societal fears, horror, and capitalizing on mystery; they usually have an associated thread of religious intrigue, including ‘devil worship’. The legends also tend to arise from the most benign origins.
Part of the fascination with the Lilly E. Gray mystery could be due to its “legend in reverse” quality. The impetus is its blatant-ness, its in-your-face refence to satan, then an unravelling reveals “nothing”. The strange lack of any story associated with Lily Gray’s gravestone is its biggest mystery and also the not very festive centerpiece its own developing, unique legend. The stone’s astonishing, provocative inscription begs for interpretation and meaning; where are all the suppositions? They are few, certainly. There are a couple websites that allude to the use of stone’s image within a report by investigators of satanic ritual abuse hysteria.
I think it is a typo. In 1958 the United States detonated seventy-seven atomic tests, more than any other year prior or since (officially). It should has said, Victim of the BLAST …. no, here is a better explanation: Her crazy husband did it. This is from Richelle Hawks who lives in Salt Lake City:
… Behold: Elmer L. Gray’s Criminal Pardons Application is now available online via the Utah State Archives. What a character. Reading his answers in the form questionnaire, a definite sense of his personality can be detected, which includes sarcasm (“Woodrowe Lamb, a bum,”) irony, and exaggeration. He seems quite eccentric, and probably more than a bit cantankerous.
In the document, he has typed a line that has an affinity with and shares a spirit with the one on Lilly’s stone. On the line that asks for “Address of parents,” Mr. Gray has written, “Booth dead. Died of grief when kidnapers murdered my Wife.” Later, he refers to his arresting officers and prison officials as “Democrat officials,” and “kidnapers.”
So, whatever the real circumstances concerning these family deaths, it can be concluded that Elmer Gray blamed the law for the death of his previous wife and clearly considered her a victim. (Remember, Lilly was a subsequent wife-they married in 1950, three years after this document was filed.)
Elmer Gray’s view of the government and law is clear-a criminal, evil organization hell-bent on kidnapping, imprisoning and murdering innocent citizens without cause or provocation.
With all the conspiracy, anti-government, sentiments of victimization within, it is difficult and perhaps foolish not to come to one conclusion-that Elmer L. Gray was responsible for placing the outrageous phrase, “Victim of the Beast 666” on his second wife Lilly’s gravestone, and that it refers simply to the government, law enforcement and officials, with whom he likely tangled with his entire adult life*, and the dynamics and beliefs based on his experiences.
So, after reading the Criminal Pardons Application, and considering his references to victimhood and murder at the hands of the law; also that he was Lilly’s only known survivor, who likely made all her funeral arrangements, including ordering her stone-what are the chances that the inscription has nothing to do with his extreme belief system? – ufodigest