Check Out How This Guy Trolled Early St George Settlers
I love a good practical joke. I have pulled a few on the radio over the years. That’s why I like this story about a man named Ithamar Sprague who terrorized St. George in 1865 by making giant footprints in the dirt. Just having the name Ithamar seems like a prank from his parents.
This is from a book by Andrew Karl Larson “Some Folk Tales from Utah’s Dixie.” He tells how this big awkward youth was driving one of his dad’s cows across the Virgin River and noticed one of the hoof marks looked like a giant footprint.
Something caught Ithamar’s imagination, and he decided to make two big feet out of wood and make footprint trails through the dust in town. The kids were first to notice some giant had walked through and when they showed their skeptical parents, people started to wonder.
With more giant footprints showing up every night, people started to get worked up. These being Mormon pioneers, they began to wonder if the tracks were from the Three Nephites or maybe the evil spirits of Gaddianton Robbers, stories from the Book of Mormon.
The Native American’s thought it might be from an old legend of a giant that harassed their ancestors and stole children. Meanwhile, every night Ithamar left more tracks.
At one point, they formed a posse and followed the tracks into the desert. Ithamar took his footprint forms and made tracks that followed the men on horseback. When they were returning and saw the tracks among their own, they decided the giant must be invisible.
In the end, Ithamar let the secret get out and had to face the consequences of getting people riled up. It wasn’t too bad though, as most of them claimed to have known it was a prank from the beginning.
Nice work Ithamar. My prank loving soul salutes you.