This bizarre epitaph in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, Utah, USA is inscribed on the grave of a woman named Lilly Edith Zimmerman Gray. The inscription reads, “VICTIM OF THE BEAST 666.”
Lilly, who was born in Canada, married Elmer Lewis Gray, a man with a history of blaming the government or any form of authority for his troubles, when she was 71 years old. Her obituary printed in the Salt Lake Tribune on 15 November, 1958 stated:
Lily E. Gray
Mrs. Lily Edith Gray, 78, 1216 Pacific Ave., Died Friday, 11:10 a.m., in a Salt Lake hospital of natural causes. Born June 4, 1880, Canada. Salt Lake resident since 1950. Married to Elmer Lewis Gray, July 10, 1952, Elco[sic], NV. Survivors: husband; several nieces and nephews.
The site has become popular with fans of the paranormal and litter is often found near the stone. Because of the inscription, it was commonly believed that she was a Satan worshipper. Her grave is also believed to be cursed.
There are many suggestions as to the meaning of the inscription, of which several have some merit, but in reality, the truth is lost to the annals of history.
- The ‘Beast 666’ is a reference to the Antichrist as described in the book of Revelations.
- Her husband had a history of mental illness and conspiracy theories. ‘Beast 666’ could be his reference to the government, or the medical institution whom he believed had murdered his wife.
- The flower on Lily’s grave has been reported to be an evening primrose, a flower which has a nickname of Devil’s Lantern. This has been created purely to fit in with the Devil theory. I believe the flower is a buttercup with its tri-cut leaf, and a buttercup is symbolic of cheerfulness.
- Although Lilly was Roman Catholic she lived in a Latter Day Saints community. It is thought that perhaps Lilly had psychological problems, or Alzheimers, and the LDS beliefs considered her to be demoniacally possessed.
- It has been suggested that Lilly was a victim of a car wreck on Highway 666, infamous for its name and the high rate of fatal accidents. This is easily disproven with the recorded cause of death on her death certificate: ‘pulmonary embolus, renal insufficiency, and nephrotic syndrome.’
My conclusion after researching this subject is simple. Renal disease and Nephrotic Syndrome cause severe swelling and seizures. Considering Elmer’s mental illness he may have believed these symptoms to be the mark of the Devil. Keeping in mind that Elmer selected the grave marker and the inscription it would seem a logical conclusion.
Elmer Lewis Gray, is also buried in the same cemetery, though nowhere near Lilly.