First things first: It is perfectly legal to sell a house in the state of Utah that is either haunted or has had something brutal happen inside its walls without telling the prospective home buyers..

Home sellers are not legally obligated to disclose reports of apparitions, of past murders, suicides or other nefarious events ("stigmatized properties").

In Utah, "stigmatized properties" are the site of a homicide, felony, suicide, infectious disease or drug contamination.

That's why it's always good to talk to potential neighbors before you make that big financial commitment.


Armed with this knowledge, Zillow asked more than 1,000 prospective home buyers if they would consider buying a house that was generally known to be haunted.

Amazingly, almost 70 percent of respondents answered in the affirmative.


OK, so let's take ghosts out of this, because truthfully some people believe in them and some don't. So let's stick with straight facts.

How many of you would buy a house that was stigmatized -- or more specifically a house in which a high-profile murder had taken place?

That number drops significantly in comparison with the question about haunted houses. Only about 30 percent of those polled said they would buy a house where they knew a murder had taken place.

Of the 30 percent who said they would buy the house anyway, they cited other "check mark" positives as outweighing the thought of the house's past -- things like great location, great yard, looks and convenience.

They also said the house's notorious past may help with negotiations and price.

"I love to negotiate, and you can bet that if the property had ... that issue .. , I would be cutting deep on the price," one persons said.

Another added: "Let the realtor work the past ghost for a discount. Focus on what kind of house you're getting and the condition of the bones, pipes, and appliances."

But even the ones who said they would buy a "murder house," draw the line after a certain point.

"If it would have been a cult murder or someone that hid dead bodies in the house (i.e. a serial killer), then I'd be concerned."

Still, money talks, right? According to, "Data shows 'murder houses' sell for a median 21% less than their previous sale price and 9% less than the list price. These properties also sell for 15% less than comparable houses in the same zip code."

So where's the line for you? If you could get $100,000 off a $500,000 house because a murder had been committed there, would you do it?

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Poof! The Southern Utah Town That Disappeared

Ghost Town in Cody, Wyoming

Utah's history is rich, especially in our corner of the state.

Ghost towns like Grafton and Old Irontown evoke emotions from Utah historians. These places were once vibrant communities that for one reason or another, were abandoned and eventually turned into the ghost towns that they are today.

Was Erastus Hooker related to famous General Joseph "Fightin Joe" Hooker?
Was Erastus Hooker related to famous General Joseph "Fightin Joe" Hooker?

But nobody seems to remember Hookerton. Or perhaps more accurately, nobody wants to remember Hookerton, the town with the sullied reputation and mysterious disappearance.

Located southwest of St. George (historians disagree as to exactly where), Hookerton was a stereotypical Old West watering hole with one big not-so-secret industry.

Hookerton was home to, well, hookers.

Presumably this town was founded by and named after its first resident, Erastus Weinheimer Hooker. The trapper and fur trader passed through these parts in the 1830s, long before the pioneers found their way here.

Hooker moved on, but returned in the latter part of that decade and built a cabin somewhere near (again, we don't know where exactly) the Beaver Dam Wash.

Before long, as we humans like to do, others built near Hooker's ranch and before long a town was established. Hooker, notoriously introverted, objected to the name "Hookerton," but lacked the gumption or savvy to fight it and the town was named after him.

Old Western General Store, USA.

Like any good western town at the time, a saloon was built, featuring several rooms for traveling guests as well as a general store and even a small bank (reportedly one of the first to be robbed by Butch Cassidy!).

As time went by, Hookerton began to attract the "cowboy" and "drifter" type, men looking to avoid the more religious and pious area of St. George and Santa Clara.

With the influx of men and the mix of alcohol and loneliness came the "world's oldest profession."

"Hookers" began to arrive in Hookerton in the 1850s and the town's population grew to the bulging number of 159 citizens.

As far as historians can tell, Hookerton's population stayed in the 160 range for approximately 25 years. In the mid 1880s the town's literal thirst began to take its toll. Without a reliable water source, the population began to dwindle and by 1885 there were less than 65 people left in the town.

And then the strange part. Some time between 1887 and 1891, Hookerton just disappeared.

Poof. It was gone.

Bodie ghost town

Reportedly cowboys would ride out to where they thought the town was located and only find sand, dust and a lonesome hum where the town used to be.

In fact, there were no signs it had ever existed. No abandoned buildings, no worn trails, no wagon ruts, no human waste, not even the signs of a campfire.

For all intents and purposes, Hookerton was wiped from the face of the earth.

The baffling story of Hookerton has historians and scientists grasping for explanations, with one local history buff saying the town must have been purged by God.

"Maybe what was happening in that town created the need for it to be removed ... permanently," said the local historian, who asked that his name not be used in this article. "This area was very religious and ordained by the Creator in a lot of people's eyes. I believe it's possible the locals just 'prayed it away.'"

Other less religious types theorize that a huge flood came through the Beaver Wash area and the mostly abandoned down was wiped away by the rushing water.

What really happened to Hookerton will likely never be known.

And I have a feeling old Erastus W. Hooker would be OK with that.

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Getting Jeeped In Southern Utah! It's A Holiday Thing!


There's a phenomenon happening in Southern Utah and Jeep owners in the area are scrambling to measure up.

The trendsetter is Danielle Thornock, whose Jeep is all decked out for Halloween.

"I really love the spooky season!" she posted on Facebook. "Wait til you see what we do for Christmas. But thank you again so much for appreciating my weirdness and love for holidays!!! We love seeing everyone enjoy it as much as I do!!!"

Thornock's Jeep was featured on a post by Nick Peterson in which he put up several pictures with the caption: "Went to Lowes today and saw these amazing decorations on this Jeep! Whoever owns this Jeep, my hat goes off to you! That is the best thing I've ever freaking seen!! So creative! You need an award for the best decorated vehicle in Southern Utah!!"

After the pix and post, dozens of other social media commenters complimented the Jeep getup, "I saw this the other week and it made me so freaking happy!! Thank you to the owner of this Jeep for making me happy and being creative!," said Liz Knight.

"My kids and I loved seeing your jeep last week! Coolest thing ever. It was so fun! Thank you," said Lexie Draper.

And Brandon Holt posted "That's really cool. I've seen it around and they keep adding to it! The really cool thing is that we still live a wonderful area that people can have this stuff on their vehicle's and no one touches them! Love St. George."

Other Jeep owners have taken up the charge, including this one:


There will likely be plenty of other Jeeped-up vehicles as Halloween hits Tuesday.

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Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures: The 'Nepo-homebuyer'

Coin money and house model on wooden background , Finance and banking concept.

Have you heard of the term "nepo-homebuyer"?

It's quickly becoming a thing in our modern world.

See, the issue many young people are running into is the fact that getting into a $380,000 starter home at eight percent interest has become pretty much impossible for someone making 15-20 bucks an hour

Even if that young couple has both partners working and they both make $20 an hour, the monthly household income is less than $7,000 a month. With no money down that means a starter home (maybe a manufactured home or a condo for that price) would have a payment of $3,000 a month.


That's where a "nepo-homebuyer" becomes necessary.

A 'Nepo-homebuyer' is someone who uses a significant loan or gift from family members (usually parents) to make a large down payment, thus making the house payment affordable.

According to, "An eye-popping 38% of recent homebuyers under age 30 used either a cash gift from a family member or an inheritance in order to afford their down payment.

"First-time homeownership has become increasingly expensive, which has shut the door to homeownership for young people without family money. As a result, a large share of young homeowners can be labeled “nepo-homebuyers,” meaning they received family money to purchase a home."

For instance, taking that same $380,000 home, but applying a $100,000 down payment would bring the house payment down from $3,000 a month to $2,164 a month for a 30 year fixed mortgage at the current 8.55 percent.

While that doesn't make the payment cheap, it often makes the difference between being able to get a home or having to stay in an overpriced rental.

If the couple makes $6,800 a month, the net difference between the two payments is monstrous -- $836 to buy diapers, groceries, clothes or other necessities.

There are a couple of issues with the "nepo-homebuyer" model.

First, the family member or parent has to have a lot of excess money -- and usually kids have no idea how much money their parents have.

Second, there are a bunch of complicated feelings that come with this kind of relationship. Was the money a gift? Do I have to repay it? Do the parents then have a say as to how I raise my kids? Do I have to give them a cut if I sell my house? Can they really afford it? ... and the list goes on.

But even with these potential issues, we've gotten to the point that the only way many young families will ever get a home of their own is with a little bit of help, a little bit of "nepo-homebuyer" help.

man hand giving 100 dollar bills isolated on white background
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Is Daylight Savings Time About To Get Canceled In Utah?

change time clock dice text word - 3d rendering

When we fall back next month, will it be the final time New Yorkers have to change their clocks?

Daylight Saving Time ends on November 5 this year, with the majority of the United States moving their clocks back an hour.

But this may be one of the final times we have to do that thanks to rare bipartisan support to end the practice once and for all.

Last year, the Senate voted unanimously to end the bi-annual practice of changing the clocks. The legislation, called the Sunshine Protection Act, would have locked the clocks at daylight saving, which would mean brighter afternoons for all.

The bill failed in the House of Representatives.

Getty Images

Getty Images

Now the legislation is back - and is back in limbo.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio re-introduced a permanent daylight saving time bill, which was sponsored by a bipartisan group of 12 senators.

Of course, this is creating confusion for the average American. All we want to know if we have to keep changing our clocks.

Which begs the question: When will our lawmakers get their act together?


Well, it's a little bit complicated. Signed into law in 2020, Utah's move to permanent daylight saving time is contingent on two things:

  1. Congressional approval.
  2. At least four other western states must make the move -- meaning Utah doesn't want to go it alone. The good news is Arizona has already decided to ban the clock-changing, but right now stays on Mountain Standard Time. Three other states would also have to make the move out of these nine: California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington or Wyoming.

According to the website

At least 45 states have considered or passed legislation to shift to permanent daylight saving time or permanent standard time. In 2022, the Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act, which would move the US to permanent daylight saving time. But the bill has not received a vote in the House of Representatives.

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So Thirsty ... Will Southern Utah Have Enough Water To Survive?


Zach Renstrom does a lot of worrying --- so we don't have to.

Renstrom, the general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, knows his job is perhaps the most critical job in this desert county and he and his staff have put together a plan so that Southern Utah will have water 20 years from now and beyond.

"I think about it constantly," said Renstrom on his monthly visit to the Andy Griffin Show. "I think about it when I'm out running, up on the trails. It's something I'm never not thinking about."

The "It" he thinks about is the unquenchable thirst Washington County has for water. The high desert has blossomed with trees, grass and humans, and the need for water is relentless.

So Renstrom and his staff recently presented a 20-year plan to officials of the county and local cities, including local mayors, county commissioners and city councils.

In the plan, Renstrom, lays out for the local leaders how Washington County can continue to be sated in this time of tremendous growth. He listed several key areas:

  1. Water conservation -- Amazingly, even with the extreme growth in recent times, conservation has made up for the new population so the net water usage has not gone up. In addition, the county is offering cash rebates for homeowners who swap out grass for more desert friendly landscaping, and new houses have strict grass requirements.
  2. Regional reuse system --  Through the construction of new treatment facilities, pipelines, and storage reservoirs (like the potential Warner valley Reservoir) to capture reuse water and put it to use for agricultural and irrigation purposes, freeing up water for drinking. Renstrom says the reuse systems will provide extremely clean water.
  3. Potable water development projects -- These projects include the new Toquer Reservoir, expansion of the Sullivan/Cottom Wells, Cove Reservoir in Kane County, redevelopment of the Ence Wells, and a well in Diamond Valley.
  4. Municipal groundwater optimization -- Renstrom said many cities aren't using all their water rights -- potential wells and aquifers that could lead to a bounty of new water.
  5. Agricultural conversion -- As farmers decide to sell their land for development, Renstrom said the County could buy the water rights from these farmers and ranchers.

Most of us don't spend much time thinking about water and where it comes from, but Renstrom knows that water is the lifeblood that keeps Dixie pumping.

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St. George City Council Candidates To Debate Nov. 1 At Utah Tech

Debate concept
Brad Calkins

In collaboration with community partners, Utah Tech University’s Institute of Politics is set to host a St. George City Council debate as well as a forum featuring the two major party candidates for the open seat in U.S. Congress in Utah's Second District.

Sponsored by the Washington County Debate Coalition, the St. George City Council debate will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 1 in the Mainstage Theatre of Eccles Fine Arts Center on the Utah Tech campus. A candidate meet and greet will precede the debate at 6 p.m.

The following week, the Institute of Politics will partner with the St. George Area Chamber of Commerce to host the congressional forum at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 7 in the M.K. Cox Performing Arts Center, also on the Utah Tech campus.

Both events, which are being held ahead of Washington County’s Nov. 21 Special and Municipal General Election, are open to the community and free to attend.

Three seats are open for the St. George City Council, and candidates for the positions include Brad Bennett, Jimmie B. Hughes, Steve Kemp, Dannielle Larkin and Paula Smith. The Washington County Debate Coalition, which is comprised of Utah Tech’s Institute of Politics, local media companies, the major political parties, interest groups and local academics, is sponsoring the debate to help inform local voters.

“When we first started the coalition, with help from all of our members, my desire was to bring spirited debate to Washington County,” said Vince Brown, chair of the Washington County Debate Coalition. “We want our voters to be as informed as possible when making their voting decisions. Several years later, it thrills me to see these debates as a staple of political life in Washington County.”

Across campus the following week, Celeste Maloy (R) and Kathleen Riebe (D), who are running for Utah's Second District congressional seat vacated by Congressman Chris Stewart, will participate in a forum.

“We are excited for a forum to be held in Southern Utah,” said Lesa Sandberg, Washington County Republican Party chairperson. “In Congressional District 2, Washington County represents nearly one-third of the voters eligible to vote in this special election. It is highly likely that we will be the deciding factor in the race. We are glad that the candidates recognize the importance of education and campaigning to voters in our area. We are pleased to welcome Republican Candidate Celeste Maloy back to St. George, where she resided prior to serving with Congressman Chris Stewart the last four years. Celeste has the experience, knowledge and service record to represent Southern Utah and CD2!”

Held in a discussion format, the forum will be moderated by Brown, who will have one-on-one conversations with each candidate about the issues that matter to the residents of Southern Utah. He also will solicit questions from the public.

“Get ready, Utah! We are extremely excited to attend an upcoming forum featuring Kathleen Riebe, candidate for Congressional District 2,” Chuck Goode, Washington County Democratic Party chairperson, said. “With a proven track record in the Utah State Senate and a relentless dedication to education and community growth, Kathleen Riebe is ready to take her passion and determination to the national stage.”

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Grown-up Trick-or-Treating? Yep, It's A Thing (You Should Try It)

attachment-Untitled design (17)

Every year, Santa Clara's Travis and Sandy put on Monster Mash or Werewolves of London, dress up in full costumes and head out for some grown-up Trick-or-Treating.

Sandy, who grew up in the 1980s, said it is fun, exciting and helps her feel young again. She said she remembers a time when going around the neighborhood was innocent, there were no worries about predators or drugged candy and everyone was happy to enjoy the harmless fun of Halloween.

That's why Sandy and her husband do it today, with a few little wrinkles.

  • Instead of asking for candy, the couple brings treat bags to their neighbors.
  • They're always ready to do a trick -- usually a song or dance or even a silly skit. Their neighbors have come to expect the "trick" and usually ask for it by name. Even with the trick, neighbors still get the treat. It's Trick-and-Treat.
  • Sandy usually wears something cute or funny, but Travis loves to go the scary route. He's dressed as the headless horseman, a zombie and a killer clown. Last year, Travis donned the Freddy Kreuger look.
  • One year, Sandy and Travis's neighborhood agreed to do an ice cream Trick-or-Treat  After the kids were back safe, all the adults walked around the neighborhood with waffle cones and collected scoops from their friends.
  • When it gets later in the evening, the couple changes their modus operandi, turning into Service Demons, opting to clean up people's yards, trim their hedges or sweep their sidewalks. The real thrill, says Sandy, is to not get caught.
  • At the end of the evening, they'll make sure to have as many neighbors as are interested over for chili dogs (homemade chili, of course), cheese plates and fairy cakes (fancy cupcakes).

"Who says you have to stop having fun just because you're all grown up," Sandy said.

Because Sandy is a breast cancer survivor and October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, she said she always gives out plenty of candy and each treat bag contains a pink ribbon.

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Hunters Everywhere? Not Anymore in Utah

Old gone hunting sign.

We're just about to start the deer hunt in the state of Utah, with the general hunt running from Oct. 21 through Oct. 29 (and early-season hunt already underway).

When I first moved to this great state back in 1980 (I know, I know, I'm old), I remember riding on a school bus (I was in the ninth grade), and being from Texas, I figured I knew a little bit about wildlife and hunting.

So I started to opine about hunting facts from Texas and about 20 seconds into the conversation, I realized I was in way over my head.

It seemed that everyone in the immediate area around the seat on my bus (male or female) was a hunter. They regaled me with stories about the deer hunt and spending time in the mountains with their dads and about 6-point, 8-point and even 12-point bucks.

Pretty much every one of these kids had shot a deer, cleaned its carcass and dragged it off of the mountain.

I had done none of these things.

After back-pedaling, I came to the realization that people in Utah were serious about the deer hunt.

Over the next few years, as I progressed through high school, I learned that it was a strong Utah tradition that involved the whole family and "deer camp" up in the mountains for a week or longer.

Heck, Utah even had a "holiday" every year. It wasn't Fall Break or UEA weekend, but rather "Deer Hunt."

But things have changed.

Sure, I still know plenty of hunters and some of my best friends leave for deer hunts every year. But now we have a lottery to even get a tag and the average hunter isn't so average anymore.

Back in the 1980s, nearly 25 percent of Utahns had hunting licenses and tags were handed out (with no lottery) to thousands of men and women statewide.

But according to statewide statistics, Utah has 249,765 active hunting licenses -- just 7.9 percent of the state's population. The state has issued 73,075 tags, and while the number of total tags is up, the percentage is way down from 40 years ago.

Utah, once a hotbed of hunting, is ranked 21st on the nation for number of hunters per capita.

Still, hunting will always be a part of Utah's DNA.

“We’re really fortunate because hunting has a big heritage in Utah,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources spokesman Faith Jolley told

But there's no hiding the fact that with the tremendous growth we've experienced and the aging population of our hunting demographic (60 percent of all hunters are over the age of 45), hunting may eventually be a thing of the past in Utah.

Hunter With Open Shotgun On Shoulder
Hunter at sunset.

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

Gallery Credit: Meagan Drillinger

LOOK: How Halloween has changed in the past 100 years

Stacker compiled a list of ways that Halloween has changed over the last 100 years, from how we celebrate it on the day to the costumes we wear trick-or-treating. We’ve included events, inventions, and trends that changed the ways that Halloween was celebrated over time. Many of these traditions were phased out over time. But just like fake blood in a carpet, every bit of Halloween’s history left an impression we can see traces of today.

Gallery Credit: Brit McGinnis

LOOK: Route 66’s quirkiest and most wonderful attractions state by state

Stacker compiled a list of 50 attractions--state by state--to see along the drive, drawing on information from historic sites, news stories, Roadside America, and the National Park Service. Keep reading to discover where travelers can get their kicks on Route 66.

Gallery Credit: Kery Wiginton

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