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Mormon Ghost Stories


Cover Image for Rockwell
Moroni's Ghost
By: Moroni's Ghost

“I never killed anyone who didn't need killing.”

Orrin Porter Rockwell

A small stream of blood ran down my face. I swore, inspecting the nick I had just given myself along my cheek while shaving. The red swirled around the drain, stalking it like an animal stalks its prey until finally it slid into the abyss below. I ran over and grabbed a piece of toilet paper and patted a small piece of it onto the cut. I finished up shaving my face, then worked on smoothing out my bald head. After that, I grabbed my aftershave. It burned slightly as I applied it to the pores of my freshly shaven skin.

I grabbed a freshly pressed sheriff’s uniform and finished getting ready, topping it off by strapping my glock 22 so it was resting just below my right hip. Then hopped in the car to get on my way.

I always stopped at old Jerry’s to grab a breakfast burrito before starting my morning shift. He was just opening up as always when I walked into his store.

“How are ya Jerry,” I asked, tipping my hat, “have yourself a good weekend?”

“Oh you know, is how it is. I ain’t ever gettin up to nothing anyhows.” Jerry responded. “How about yourself Sheriff Harden?” He grabbed a burrito behind the counter as he spoke. He knew which kind I liked.

“I had the kids for the weekend, but had to take them back to Carol’s last night so I could start good and early today. We went out to that corn maze they have down in Strasburg. Kids had a good time, so I can’t complain about that.”

“Never been, never will. But I’m glad you had a good time.” He rang up the food and I handed him some cash. “See you tomorrow Sheriff.”

“See you then.” I waved as I turned around and left the store.


As I drove up to the office, I saw there was someone already waiting for me at the entrance. That was unusual, so I hopped out of my truck and made my way to the door.

“Can I help you, miss?” I asked. She turned around. She was a middle aged woman, about 45 to 50 I reckoned. She had a pair of pearly whites that she flashed at me as she turned around. They knocked me off my feet when I saw them. Once I saw the pair of green gleaming eyes up above them, well, that was a one two punch combo that just about knocked me out cold. Her lips were covered in a deep red lipstick and her blond hair was tied up in a neat bun. She had one or two gray streaks that she didn’t seem to bother hiding. I liked that.

“Heya Sheriff… Harden, right?”

“That’s me, but I don’t mind if you just call me Jeff. What can I do ya for, Mrs…”

“Shetfield, Ms. Shetfield. But you can call me Cathy. I’m here because, well, I want to report a crime.”

“What kind of crime?”

“Well... I need to report a murder.”


I sat in my chair as Cathy relayed to me the details of her report.

“I was driving down on Mill Street last night when I saw it happen. It was about 10pm. There was a man, he had long, long hair. Down to his waist almost. And he had this large unkempt beard. He was wearing old timey clothes, you know, like a cowboy almost. And then there was this other man. He was running away when suddenly, the man, the one with the long hair, reached for his gun and shot him before you could even blink. The man fell to the ground. It was in the middle of the street, right on the other side of the road. Heck if I had been driving the other way I could’ve been shot.”

“And why didn’t you report this last night, right after you saw it?” I asked.

“Well here’s the weird thing. I drive by, see this awful scene but there is a median in the road. I made a u-turn as fast as I could to go back and see if the man who had been shot was ok. It wasn’t more than a minute or two before I was turned around and going the other way. I get back to the same spot I was at and both of them are gone. The shooter and the victim. I got out of my car and looked around. I could still see a blood stain on the asphalt. And I found a small lock of hair on the ground as well." She pulled a small ziploc bag out of her purse and handed it to me. "It's got a very distinct smell lingering on it. But nothing else was there besides this. So, I didn’t know what to report. I thought for a minute maybe I imagined it and that maybe this hair came from a dog or something. But it bothered me all night long, so, well, here I am.”

“That is rather odd, I’ll give you that." I said, placing the small bag on my desk. "Do you think you could take me to the spot you saw this happen?”

“Of course, I can take you there right now.”


I followed her car down to Mill Street at the spot she had seen the shooting. We stepped out of the car and when the coast was clear, into the road. Sure enough, there was a large red bloodstain there in the middle of the street.

I took pictures, then thanked her and told her I would let her know if I found anything out. I even suggested I could follow up with her during dinner that evening if she wanted. It had been a long time since I had had a proper date. But those pearly whites had convinced my mouth to ask her out before my brain knew what it was doing.

“Well, I suppose I could do that.” she said.

“Great, I’ll pick you up at 7.” I replied

I drove back to the station and pulled up my computer. I searched our archives for mentions of any men with long hair and beards. Of course there were a few, but one stood out in particular. His name was Miles Henderson. He was a previous offender who had been brought up on charges for having an unregistered firearm. He was out on parole, but the description was close enough I decided it might be worth paying him a visit. Then I would at least have something interesting to tell Cathy over dinner.


I drove up the dusty road to a house that was back a quarter mile from the road. It was a rickety old place, with not much more going on around it except for a small corn field that was back behind the house.

I knocked on the door and waited. No one answered. I knocked again then spoke up.

“This is Sheriff Harden, I’m looking for Miles. I just have a few questions for you is all, about where you were last night.”

I was greeted by more silence until finally an older woman slowly opened the door.

“Miles isn’t here right now, he just left.”

“Where to?”

“He... didn’t say.”

“Well, do you mind if I come in and ask you a few questions real quick?”

“Oh…of course, Sheriff, come right in.”

I followed her into the messy home. There were magazines and old fast food cartons piled high in various spots of the room. Along with other knick knacks and piles of trash. She sat down on a couch covered with stains. I opted to stay standing.

“Do you know where Miles was last night?”

“He was out… with friends. I think they saw a movie.”

“And what time was he back home?”

“Oh, it was late. I didn’t hear him come in. But he was here when I woke up. He always makes sure to have breakfast waiting for me.”

“Do you know which friends he was with?”

“I’m sorry, I don’t know much else. Is he… in trouble or something?”

“No, not at all. There was just an incident last night, that's all. I just thought he might be able to help me. Do you happen to know if he would have been on Mill street at all?”

As soon as the words Mill Street left my mouth, a crashing sound rang from the kitchen and a back door slammed.

I ran around the corner and out the back door. I saw the figure of a man disappear into the cornfield. I followed him into the long stalks. I could hear his footsteps not too far ahead of me. He tripped in his haste and I managed to catch up to him and pin him down on the ground. I turned him over so I could look at his face. He was clean shaven with a short haircut sprouting out of his head.

“Hey, when did you last cut your hair?” I shouted.

He looked confused. “A few weeks ago…why are you here? I didn’t do nothing!”

“Why’d you run when I mentioned Mill Street.”

“I just, I was there last night. I didn’t do nothing I swear though. But I heard some gunshots, right around 10 o’clock. Me and my buddies had just finished a movie and were heading for a bite to eat. We were walking into that Mexican place off Mill and 2nd. That’s when we heard the shots. With my parole, I hurried inside the restaurant. I don’t want to be part of that noise, you feel me?”

I let go of his shirt and let him rest on the ground.

“All you heard was a gunshot? Nothing else?”

“Well, I heard this car. It sounded like it peeled out or something a few seconds later. But that’s all I swear.”

I helped him up, apologized for the inconvenience and made my way back to my car. As I sat down, a voice came on the radio.

“Sheriff Harden, do you copy, Sheriff Harden.”

I picked up the receiver and spoke back. “Sheriff Harden here, what’s up?”

“Sheriff, we need you over on 4th and Shilling. Someone’s reported a body sir.”

“On my way.” I said, hanging up and buckling my seatbelt.


I looked at the body which had a single gunshot wound to the heart. He’d been found in a laundry mat dumpster by one of the workers when they took out the trash. He smelled something awful already, sitting in all that trash.

“Any ID on the body yet?” I asked my deputy. He’d been the first to respond to the call.

“Yeah, looks like it is Warren Smith, 28 years old. He’s got some priors. Did some time but has been out for 6 months. All his recent check-ins have been good though.”

“What were his charges?”

“Says he was a sex offender sir.”

“Any weapon found nearby?”

“No sir, not yet. We will keep looking through the dumpster, though I don’t imagine we will find much. Whoever shot him had good aim. Probably not sloppy enough to leave their weapon lying around.”

“Let me know what the coroner says.” I said.


I picked Cathy up at 7pm for dinner. We chatted about the case. I told her about Miles and that we had found Warren’s body. So what she had seen had really happened. Then we moved on to talking about kids, life, all the other things. Things were going well enough that I invited her to come share a drink with me back at my place. I was shocked when she said yes.

We walked into my house and I took her coat. We sat on the couch and chatted some more. She told me about her grandson who had just turned 1. She’d divorced as well. We connected on that. She told me all about how her ex had been abusive. How she’d taken so long to notice it. I told her hopefully she’d notice it sooner next time. We talked about the church. Neither of us went anymore, but we’d both grown up in it. And our exes were both still involved. It turns out we had a lot more in common than I had realized.

Before we knew what was happening, we were in my bedroom sharing more than either of us thought we would be when I picked her up that night. After we’d finished, I got up to use the bathroom and she lay in my sheets. It was a perfect night. I washed my hands when my phone rang. It was my deputy.

“Hey, what you got for me?” I asked.

“Got the ballistics on the gun used on Warren back. Looks like it was a glock 22. Same as our standard issue handguns.”

“Huh, ain’t that something. Well, we will keep investigating it in the morning. Thanks, have yourself a good night.”

I hung up when I heard Cathy from the other room.

“What is this you have here?” she asked playfully. “You aren’t into cosplaying are you?”

I rushed out of the room to see that she was holding one of my long wigs.

“Oh, that, well, you know all those old stories about Porter Rockwell? My kids thought it’d be fun if I dressed up like him for Halloween this year. So they got me one of those wigs.”

“Oh, I’ve heard the name. But I don’t know much about him really.”

“Well, he defended Joseph Smith. Protected him like a bodyguard. He killed quite a few folks. He had this famous quote, John Wayne used it in one of his movies. ‘I never killed anyone who didn't need killing.’ he said. He was… wild, but he was a remarkable fellow really. Stories about him are what inspired me to join the force actually. Hearing how he spent his life protecting people. He’s actually in my family history way way back.”

“Oh, yeah I think I heard a little about that now that you mention it. Well, guess he must be cool if John Wayne quoted him.” She tossed the wig at me. “Put it on, I want to see what you look like! I can let you know if your Halloween costume is up to snuff.”

I caught the wig as she threw it and reluctantly put it on. She laughed at me. “Wait, let me see the rest of it. This is too good.”

“I think this is enough.” I chuckled, pulling the wig off.

“No wait, here it is,” she had been fishing around my nightstand drawers. “Oh perfect, your beard. At least let me see you with the hair and the beard. I’m sure you look…”

She froze in place, then slowly looked down at the beard, as she took a big whiff through her nose. She looked back up at me, her eyes locking onto the gun I now held between my hands. I had it pointed directly at her head.

“That smell…” she said to herself. “That’s the same smell I smelled last night, right after the…”

“I’d put that down if I were you.” I said. “I don’t want to hurt you.”

“You, I saw… you...”

“We can work this out.” I said. “I like you, I really do. I just need you to know, I never killed anyone who didn't need killing. Just like Rockwell. He wasn’t a bad guy. He was a hero.”

“That man last night?”

“A pedophile.” I spat on the ground. “He was out of prison, he was gonna hurt someone else. Our system isn’t good at keeping guys like that out of trouble. Someone’s gotta make sure this town is safe. That’s my job. I was doing my job last night.”

“This… this isn’t ok. You can’t just kill someone and get away with it!”

“I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again. But I don’t want to do it right now. This can be our secret.”

“...ok, ok. Yeah, this can be our secret.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

“Yes, absolutely. But I… I need some time to process. Can you please let me go home? Just to, wrap my mind around all this.”

“Of course, I know this is a lot. Take the time you need. But keep it to yourself.”

I watched carefully as she gathered her things. Then I walked her back to her car.

She sat down in the driver’s seat and I motioned for her to roll down her window. She did so. I leaned in for a kiss. She hesitated, then obliged. As she pulled away from my lips, I pulled the trigger in the gun I had lifted up to her head.


My wig and beard itched as I parked her car in a parking lot on the other side of town. Then I started the long trek home. I couldn’t risk getting a taxi, so I had to go on foot the whole way back. It took me nearly half the night. I kept my outfit on for the first half of the trip, but once I was an hour from home I took them off and stuffed them into my bag.

It was nearly 4am once I had made it all the way back. I walked into my bathroom and threw my aftershave in the trash. If it hadn’t been for its smell lingering on my fake beard, I might have had another date lined up for tonight.

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