The Ghost of Hog Heaven
You may have heard of "Hog's Heaven," but how about "Hog Allen?" This is the story about a man so mean that we're pretty sure he haunts Zion to this day... and why Zion's Hog Heaven might seem more hellish than heavenly.
Many of us go through our days motivated by a sense of duty or dreams of a bright future with our loved ones. Some people, however... some people find something else to cling to. Some people find greed and rage. And sometimes, that kind of motivation can keep people here long after their deaths.
I guess we could start by saying that “Hog” Allen Smith was always a “difficult” man. You see, there was nothing more important to Hog Allen than land.
Legend has it, he once waved his arm over the southern portion of North Creek, and claimed all of the territory from there to Deep Creek as his own—threatening to evict anyone foolish enough to make a stake on his “claim.”
When he wasn’t busy threatening his neighbors, Allen lived a pretty ordinary life. He worked on the neighboring farms, built a cabin with his wife, and raised some of the finest hogs and oxen in all of Zion.
One day, he was repairing a Hauler’s wagon at the Watson family’s sawmill alongside the family’s 16-year-old son. No one knows for sure what happened, but somehow, the wagon came crashing onto Hog Allen’s finger. Allen then chased the boy around the sawmill, brandishing the wagon kingpin. Hearing the commotion, six men rushed over and pulled Allen away.
I bet you’re thinking this is the part where Allen calms down and apologizes, right? Eh, not exactly. Allen, shaking a swollen finger, swore his revenge on the Watson family. He later vowed that he would rid them all from “his” valley, if it was “the last thing he ever did.”
Soon after, Allen happened upon the family patriarch, old Mr. Watson, alone with his sheep. And, like the well-adjusted person Allen was, he beat the defenseless man with his whip, leaving him battered on the side of the road. Mr. Watson survived but suffered terrible injuries. The family pressed charges, but because there were no witnesses, Allen walked away a free man.
Before he could finish scaring off the Watsons, Allen died unexpectedly on a summer evening at the age of 55. And I’d love to say that was the end of trouble for the Watson family. But death, it seems, wouldn’t be enough to stop him from carrying out his revenge.
One year after Allen’s death, the Watson family began to experience inexplicable tragedies. The first year, a young Watson boy was flung from his horse and died. While that could have just been an accident, the next year, another Watson brother died in a mysterious fall—but without any visible injuries. On the third anniversary of Allen’s death, another of the Watson boys suffered a near-fatal accident. Enough was enough.
The family knew the cause of their misfortune–they had been cursed. They all agreed to pack up and escape before the vengeful spirit of Hog Allen could strike again. I guess you could say pushing out the Watsons really was the last thing Hog Allen ever did.
Some of the older residents claim that every now and then, a mist comes down to settle over Hog Allen’s grave. They say it’s his restless spirit, still haunting “Hog’s Heaven” to this day. Between the Narrows and Kolob Terrace is where you’ll find Deep Creek Wilderness, the haunting grounds of Hog Allen. If you’re feeling brave enough, you could test it yourself when you visit. But then again, you don’t really want angry spirits on your trip, do you?
Want to learn more about the legends of Zion National Park? Check out our Zion National Park Tour with hours of stories, folklore and history!