Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Jane Thornton is my younger sister at 17 years old. She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and has lived there all her life until she moved to Logan to attend Utah State University. We are roommates and great friends. She is always thinking of others and is very perceptive. Skiing is one of her hobbies, as well as pickle-ball and volunteering. She is studying to be a social worker and loves spending time with our dog, Huckleberry.
Jane and I sat down at our dining room table with an unusual formality. Our dog, Huckleberry, scrambled up onto Jane’s lap and she patted his head affectionately. He could hardly sit still because he could smell the chili cooking on the stove. Piles of school papers hid the table underneath. The sun was setting and blinding Jane with its light. She remembers when we lived in Salt Lake City, we would drive past “Suicide Rock” nearly every day. A vivid memory exists of the first time she heard this legend. One of our neighbors explained it to her while they were driving past. Jane began the story after I started recording.
So, on the entrance to the freeway you drive for like five seconds and then you see like this big chasm with this huge rock sticking out of it and it’s all spray-painted and graffitied but there is a story behind it, we call it Suicide Rock. Um, [laughter] so the legend is that um there were these two lovers, Native Americans, um a long time ago who were completely in love with each other and the guy had to go off and like fight in a battle or something and then the girl gets word that her, the guy has died in battle and she was mort- um she was completely heartbroken and so she went and jumped off the huge rock and committed suicide and then the guy actually didn’t die at war and he came back and found out that she had jumped off the rock to be with him and so he went and jumped off the same rock to be with her. And so that’s why we call it suicide rock um and now ever- couples come to suicide rock and they write um their initials on it or something to signify their love for each other and to, they write it in spray paint, [pause] and um yeah and to like remember the people who jumped off and started suicide rock. And now every time like we drive past it, we like look at it and we see the new graffiti on it and I don’t know I guess and then one day hopefully I’ll find a love great enough to write on suicide rock [laughter].
At the beginning, Jane seemed timid and uncomfortable with the phone recording on the table; she kept glancing at it unconsciously. Once she got deeper into the legend, she became relaxed and quite casual. She was forthcoming with the information, but not energetic. There was a light attitude in the room and she was not serious. She was speaking quickly, but not excited. It seemed that she believed this event was possible.
Semester and year
G7: Place Names
Thornton, Emma, "Suicide Rock" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 443.