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Legends of Helper- Part 1:The White Lady

Updated: Jun 12, 2019

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With the discovery of coal and the consequential building of mines, hundreds of immigrants moved to Carbon County in the early 1900’s. Traditions and superstitions from various cultures followed suit. One such superstition was the belief that women and the mine were a bad combination and bound to bring bad luck. Many miners would go to extremes in order to ensure that women avoided the mines altogether.

From superstitions come legends and stories---whether they have merit or not. One such legend that has withstood the test of 100 years in Carbon County is that of the White Lady. There are many variations of the story, but for the sake of simplification, I will share the story that was recited to me at the Helper Mining and Railroad Museum.

Latuda, Utah was established in 1914. Within a few years, it had become quite the little mining community with a population of around 300 men, women, and children. The Liberty Fuel Company (the company which owned the mine) owned all buildings and homes in Latuda. As miners were hired, they were allowed move their families into the mine-owned homes. When the time came that miners were no longer employed by the mines--whether by force, choice, or death, the families were evicted from the houses.

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The story goes that an unidentified woman and her husband, who was a miner, were living in Latuda. They were expecting their first baby, when disaster struck. The husband was killed in the mine. As a consequence, the mining company tried to evict the woman from her home. She was nearing the end of her pregnancy and begged to be allowed to stay in her home. The mining company refused her protests. The time came for her baby to be born. Near the mining offices was a small stream. Believing all was lost, the woman, homeless and destitute, drowned her baby in the stream. She then put on her wedding dress, climbed the stairs to the mine office, and hung herself.

Immediately after the incident, and many times since, there have been those who have professed to have seen a woman, dressed in white, crying out for her baby and husband.

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Unfortunately, the mining office is no longer there, as it was blown up in the 1970’s by a group of locals. Apparently, the instigator of the explosion professed to be the son of the White Lady. He blew up the building using old dynamite leftover from the mines in hopes of “destroying” his mother’s soul. Other people will tell you that it was just a group of teenagers goofing off. The mining office was near where the current road passes and is no more than a pile of rubble today. There is still a set of stairs that can be seen from the road (if you look carefully) leading, seemingly, to nowhere.

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I was recently speaking with an older woman who was born in Latuda. She, in a hushed and somewhat superstitious tone, swore to me that her own brothers saw the White Lady with their very own eyes.

Myth or fact, locals love the story. Perhaps, in the summer moonlight, you’ll happen upon the wailing, White Lady of Latuda.

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