Assembly: John Baptiste, A Utah Ghost Story

Today in Assembly there wasn’t any work so we watched “Let’s Make a Deal,” did current events and watched educational movies about individual rights.

Morning. Monday mornings, unless there is contract work, is “Let’s Make a Deal” day. It used to be “The Price Is Right,” but that now comes on later in the day, so were stuck with the best game-show on at 9am. Given a choice, everyone would rather watch “The Price is Right” with Drew Carey, but sadly no more (dirty TV programmers). Everyone really got into “The Price Is Right,” cheering and commiserating as the show goes on. I don’t think the clients/trainees in Assembly quite get “Let’s Make a Deal.” Sometimes they cheer, but most of the time there is silence. Now I like the host, Wayne Brady. I think he is incredibly talented, but I think Brady’s talent and charisma is lost on the Assembly audience.

Mid-Morning. If there is no contract work for Assembly to work on, we do current events. Not everyone likes it, but it can be interesting enough for most people. Today we focused on a local ghost story: John Baptiste. I had never heard the story, so was very interested in it. I was asked to read. My voice is quite loud and projects, so it is good for reading out-loud in big spaces.

The program manager, had been reading other news items and telling very bad Halloween jokes downloaded from the internet (not so bad the client/trainees didn’t laugh, however) and was a little tired so I was asked to read the two John Baptiste stories. Innocently asked, I’m sure. In 1862 Salt Lake City, John Baptiste is a grave digger suspected of necrophilia, grave robbing and desecrating the deceased. Baptiste, narrowly avoids lynching, is branded on the forehead (quote: “Branded For Robbing The Dead”) and exiled to tiny Fremont Island in the middle of the Great Salt Lake. He eventually disappears and now locals and tourists say they see a moaning ghost wandering the shores of the Great Salt Lake carrying a load of laundry.

The story is fascinating, but the first account I was asked to read was ‘R’ rated. I skipped four or five paragraphs eventually refusing to continue and then read most of the second account, still skipping some of that as well. I am linking you above to a version of the story that is not as salacious as the two I was asked to read. It is definitely much more appropriate and much more professionally written. When we do current events, we are supposed to keep it ‘PG.’ We can’t even read the obituaries. And here I am asked to read a story about a cadaver-rapist. Lovely.

I guess I blushed. I didn’t expect to get a story about necrophilia thrust at me to read out loud. Especially not in a semi-educational setting.

Afternoon. In the afternoon, we watched a series of short videos intended for elementary school and middle-school aged kids about individual rights and civil liberties. I was pretty distracted. The story of John Baptiste and how I was asked to read about a necrophiliac filled my head.


4 thoughts on “Assembly: John Baptiste, A Utah Ghost Story

  1. Ha ha ha!!! Ya but the stories are coming from the program manager!!! I am surprised you were shocked. Hey I read the obituaries all the time! Who told you we couldn’t? Good times!!! Thanks for helping us out Aaron. By the way your voice booms!! That’s a good thing I think.

    • Knowing the program manager, I shouldn’t be shocked. And it was the PM who said the obits are a no-no. I am glad I didn’t read all the stories pel-mel, seniors would be shocked since they’d be able to hear me over the wall! That was one of the best current events sessions ever!!!

  2. There is a not bad low budget western movie called Redemption which I just recently saw on the John Baptiste story. I was surprised by how well it was done since a lot of the people who worked on it were students.

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