The grave of Lilly E. Gray stands in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. It’s a simple, plain flat stone that lists here birth date and death date (June 6, 1881 and November 14, 1958). It’s what’s written next to these figures than makes this stone legendary: Victim of the Beast 666.
That’s all that is carved on Lilly E. Gray’s grave, except for a few flowers (primroses, to be exact, which are often referred to as “The Devil’s Lantern.”) According to hospital records, she died of natural causes. Her short obituary listed nothing extraordinary. In other words, there are no records or hints to explain this mysterious message.
Heightening the mystery is the fact that Lilly’s husband, Elmer Gray, is buried in the same cemetery, but far away from Lilly in a different section. This has led to much speculation that he was the beast in question in Lilly’s life. Was he responsible for her death? Did one of Lilly’s friends or relatives intend the inscription to condemn Elmer? Or was this, as some people seem to think, a reference to occultist Aleister Crowley, who liked to call himself The Beast 666? If so, how was he connected to Lilly?
Nobody knows the answers. Only the bare facts remain. Lilly moved to the area in 1950, only eight years before her death, and her grave has grown into a local Salt Lake City legend. And this strange epitaph deserves its prominent place in Utah folklore.
Lilly: Victim of THAT Beast?
In the northeast corner of the Salt Lake City cemetery, there’s a small, unassuming headstone for a woman named Lilly E. Gray. Her epitaph reads: “Victim Of The Beast 666.” I’ve done some research, and no one seems to know what this means. I’ve been there several times, and I get a bit of a chill every time I read it. Once, a friend of mine stepped on the marker and a few minutes later, a car door inexplicably slammed shut on her hand. It wasn’t windy outside at all. Pretty scary stuff. –Mike Reed