Ghost stories. Every community has a crybaby bridge, a haunted house. Every school has a creepy hall and a legendary death. Hospitals are notorious for hauntings and let’s not even get into old orphanages and insane asylums. Deep in the dark solitude of night, the hint of ghostly spectres can scare the bejesus out of a person. Maybe those things that go bump in the night are the footsteps of a restless spirit. Or, OK, maybe it’s the furnace kicking off. Either way, it’s an adrenaline rush. That is the fun of a ghost story. It is what you make it. And with the right stage, it can become just about anything. We pulled together some of Oklahoma’s most famous stories. Many of these places are private property, condemned or otherwise dangerous to visit. Visiting comes with strict penalties and you can bet this time of year most are guarded by a watchful police officer or two. So it would be best not to enjoy these ghost stories first hand. School spirit: Ghost of OSU Three police officers were patrolling campus one night. One officer was checking out a building where art department offices were. The building was previously the women’s dormitory. Throughout his patrol he heard footsteps on the floor above. Every time he climbed to another floor the footsteps were heard on the next floor up. Until he reached the fourth and top floor of the building, where he had expected to find a cleaning person. The footsteps stopped. Then he heard the footsteps at the end of the hall moving toward him. They came closer and closer until he moved to one side of the hall. With his back to the wall he could see inside a classroom. As he heard the footsteps walk past him he could see the writing on the chalkboard in the classroom flutter as if an object had moved in front of it. He ran from the building and told his two friends. The two other men decided they had to see it for themselves. Unable to talk the first police officer into returning to the building, they went without him. On the fourth floor they heard banging and crashing from an office. They sat on the floor across from the closed door and recorded the thumps and bumps until something hit the door with all “its” might. The men drew their weapons and ran from the building. Dead woman’s crossing: A territorial murder The story goes … July 7, 1905, Katy DeWitt James and her 14-month-old baby were put on a train by her father, Henry, in Custer County to visit a cousin in Payne County. She had filed for divorce the day before on the grounds of cruelty. Katy wrote regularly to her father, so when the letters stopped, Henry hired a detective to find his daughter. The detective searched Clinton and then moved on to Weatherford where he found that Katy had stayed with another woman that she had met on the train. The woman was a known prostitute, named Fannie Norton. Norton’s brother-in-law reported to the detective that the two women and baby had left in the carriage and were to return in three hours. However, two hours and fifteen minutes later, Fannie returned alone and parked the buggy in the barn. Witnesses reported seeing a buggy with two women and a baby disappear into a field and reappear with only one woman and the baby. Fannie drove the buggy to a nearby farm where she found a small boy. She gave the baby, dressed in a bloody gown to the boy and told him to take her to his mother until she came back. The detective caught up with Fannie in Shawnee, where she poisoned herself after being found. After rewards were posted by everyone from Katy’s father to the governor, two men came forward having found a body. The skeletal remains were identified as Katy’s from the clothing, which was still intact, a hat and a gold ring on her finger. Katy’s husband was questioned but had an alibi. The divorce never went through, the husband was awarded custody of the baby and Katy’s estate. The murder was pinned on Fannie whose motive was supposed robbery. Since Katy’s ring was found on her skeletal remains, many people speculate that Katy’s husband paid Fannie to murder her. To this day there is a bridge in Weatherford, that if visited at the haunting hour — presumably midnight — one can hear a woman calling for her baby and wagon wheels rolling across a wooden bridge. Playtime: The Stone Lion Inn The Stone Lion Inn is a charming bed and breakfast located in Guthrie. It was once home to the Houghtons whose daughter Augusta died there at the age of 8. Often footsteps can be heard running up and down the back steps. Toys in a child’s bedroom, which were neatly put away at night, have been reportedly scattered about the bedroom in the morning. Boys will be boys: The Guthrie Masonic Boys Home Everyone knows about the haunted orphanage in Guthrie. But does everyone know why it is haunted? The story goes like this: There was a very mean head mistress, who once was punishing a 6-year-old boy and beat him to death. She buried his body in the basement. When she was questioned, she said that the boy had run off when threatened with punishment. Three years went by and four more boys mysteriously vanished. Then plumbing in the orphanage went out. The head mistress knew that the basement would have to be disturbed to fix the plumbing problem. She began to move the bodies. A custodian got curious about her strange actions. He followed her down to the basement where he saw her digging up the remains of the boys. It is also reported that an employee of the boys home hanged himself in the bell tower. These and other atrocities at the boys home are the apparent cause of the legendary haunting of the Guthrie orphanage. Choctaw Jr. High People have reported hearing little girls playing the courtyard. Central Middle School Central Middle School is apparently home to more than one ghost. A woman in old-fashioned clothes was seen during recent remodeling projects. Also CD players and radios are turned on by another ghost who likes music. And there is a male ghost who can be seen from time to time quietly coming down the hall and going into the restroom. Rumor is, night custodians are hard to keep because of the strange activity in this school. Logan County Jail The Logan County Jail has been housed in the same building since 1898. In that time many inmates have killed themselves. There have been countless reports of apparitions, objects moving on their own and strange noises. Midwest City High School Performing Arts Center Reportedly a janitor hanged himself from the balcony. People have reported shadows in the balcony, cold spots and objects disappearing. Rose State College Student Union In the Auxiliary Service Office a security guard hung himself. At midnight creaking ropes can be heard from the ceiling and at 12:01 a.m. on Labor Day a complete reenactment of the hanging can be heard. Don’t be a crybaby: Crybaby Bridge On 134 east of Sooner a woman and her baby were driving along the road when the car went off the road into a ditch where they both died. The road has since been shut down and the wooden bridge used to reach it is now dilapidated. Apparently, the car is still in the ditch, car seat and all. It is reported that on some evenings when crossing the bridge on the abandoned road you can hear a baby crying. Tornado shield: Norman Legend has it that Norman cannot be struck by a tornado because it was built on an Indian burial ground. So maybe it isn’t a lucky coincidence that Norman was completely missed by the May 3 tornado.
Before it was a barbecue restaurant, the County Line was a Prohibition-era dance hall, gambling establishment, bordello and even hang out to Pretty Boy Floyd. Reportedly employees have heard strange noises especially from the bordello section.
What’s cookin’: Kitchen Lake Bridge
At the end of Air Depot at 119, there used to be a wooden house with a stone chimney where a witch was rumored to live. The house burned down mysteriously and the witch died. The story goes if you go about two miles down the road where it ends at a bridge you can find piles of things the dead witch’s ghost has collected to burn. Apparently she has a pretty nasty temper and burns anything near her property in revenge. Witnesses have reported even seeing piles smoldering objects, cars stalling, headlights failing, footsteps following and a general eerie feeling.
Mount Saint Mary High School
A nun reportedly hanged herself in the old convent. Some people have heard footsteps upstairs even though the convent has been closed for years.
No historic hotel would be worth its weight without at least one ghost story to its credit. The Skirvin definitely has one. It goes like this: Old man Skirvin had an affair with one of the maids, which resulted in a pregnancy. She was locked in a room on the top floor of the hotel to keep it quiet. Even after the baby was born she was kept locked up. Depressed and a little crazed she jumped from the window with the infant. Guests have been rumored to be kept awake at night by a crying infant. The maid’s ghost has been nicknamed Effie. In life she was apparently a person of questionable standards, a trait that followed her in death as many male guests have reported being propositioned by a female voice.
Let’s go to the zoo: The Oklahoma City Zoo
There have been reports of a longhaired woman in the Aquaticus. No one is sure who she is or what she is doing there. Possibly she just likes fish.
Charles in charge: Walls Bargain Center, Shawnee
The story goes a man who had been shot broke into Walls, climbed to the second story and bleed to death. The ghost who rifles through merchandise and clothes has been nicknamed Charlie. He’s also the explanation for strange noises and flapping and ajar doors.
Oh brother: Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity House, Stillwater
In 1977 while working on the homecoming float Randall Logan, Merle George and Kevin Wilson were killed when the scaffolding they were standing on fell into a power line. And proving once a brother always a brother they are rumored to still live in the house making strange noises, moving things around, turning on and off lights and faucets and playing other pranks on their fraternity brothers.
Possibly one of the most eerie ghost sightings was at Puckett’s a wrecker service in Oklahoma City. An apparition was caught on surveillance cameras floating about in a circle. It is believed to be the spirit of Tracy Martin who was killed in a car accident. Her car was stored at the lot and was moved just hours before the image was captured on film.
To see the footage go to www.rockymountainparanormals/puckett.htm
(Source: Ghosts of the Prairie, prairieghosts.com; Legends of America, legendsofamerica.com; The Paranormal Yellowpages,