I used this particular case as inspiration for a GS Question of the Week and thought I would share the enigma. Lilly E. Gray from Salt Lake City, Utah died on November 14, 1958 from supposedly natural causes at the age of 77. On her headstone, the words "Victim of the Beast 666" are inscribed. Most headstones are inscribed with "Devoted Mother" or "Beloved Husband". This one definitely raises questions.
Some people have taken the time to investigate this mystery further. As a result, many theories have developed. Some say the phrase is based on religion. "The Beast" and "666" both have become synonymous with Satan and Antichrist. So, it is possible. I have heard speculations that she was a victim of an exorcism gone bad or connected with Aleister Crowley who had been known to call himself "The Beast 666".
Another theory states that she may have died of a virus that mimicked one we known all too well today, AIDS. I believe it may have been referred to as "The Beast" or something like that back in the 1950s. Another possibility.
Richelle Hawks from Cemetery Legends has probably done more research on the subject than most and she uncovered a few interesting ideas. One discrepancy has to do with her first name and birth date. On her grave marker, it shows that her name has two L's instead of one and her birth year being 1881 instead of 1880. Could be just a mistake made by the engraver or it possibly has actual meaning.
Another interesting theory has to do with her husband. Lilly married Elmer Lewis Gray when she was 72 years old. Elmer was possibly incarcerated for stealing an umbrella and sentenced to five days on the rock pile. There is no real proof that this is the same Elmer Gray but age and date seem to fit. It could also be proof that Elmer may have not been a nice guy and might be the "beast" of which she fell victim to. His grave is located in the same cemetery but far from his wife's.
The last possibility may have to do with the famous "Devil's Highway". Route 666 runs through Utah in the four corners area. There's a chance that she may have had an accident or a strange incident that was worthy of a mention on her tombstone. Skinwalkers, demons and accidents are all part of the highway's legend. It's an intriguing coincidence. More on the "Devil's Highway" in another post.
If you would like to follow Richelle's investigation or have information concerning this mystery you can contact her through her blog The Devil and Lilly E. Gray. Don't forget to check out my renter's blog too: Women Diary.
Source: http://paranormal.about.com/ and Cemetery Legends
Photo: Deseret News