Sunday, June 29, 2008


Built in 1903 by one of the early leaders of the community, the house is described as "This three-story French chateau-style home is fitted with the original furnishings of the Overholser family, including Brussels lace curtains, English carpets and French stained glass windows". According to a listing on Paranormal Soup "The house is said to be haunted, having doors closing by themselves, bedspreads gaining "impressions" of people lying in them, curtains being pulled back by themselves, and apparitions appearing. The apparition of a woman with no legs, in particular, has been seen. Some believe this to be the ghost of Anna Overholser, Henry's second wife. " When author Cullan Hudson (Strange State: Mysteries and Legends of Oklahoma, 2005, 2007) sought to view and photograph the location for his book he was informed that they did not want to encourage that kind of thing; apprarently in more recent years that attitude changed as several paranormal groups alledge to have conducted research in the mansion. It may that, like many other places across the country, it was discovered that the possibility of a place being haunted does not drive away customers, but rather, it lures them in.

[Photo courtesy of Cullan Hudson]

To learn more:
OK History Society:
OPRA investigated it :

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


According to one researcher: " The legend of the Kitchen Lake Witch is mentioned on several websites, but it appears to date only from about the 1960's. (Note: If anyone knows of any earlier mentions let me know). It appears to be a combination of a huge fire that did occur at the nearby Tinker Air Base depot in the 1950's that sent ash flying for miles - much of it into the area of nearby Kitchen Lake - a rural suburb wanna be that never really took off. Situated so close to the "forbidden zone" of a military enclave, its rural setting, and desires of youth to escape to the lake for "parties" a story of a witch seemed to evolve. There is a land lot with the remains of a chimney and some evidence of fire, but more research is required. It appears to be largely urban legend, as no deaths appear to have occurred there related to a fire (via a search of local newspapers). Today, the lake is a trash rimmed rural water hole that might someday be developed into a nice and appreciated park area that highlights the lovely rolling hills of the area."


The legend goes that a man killed his wife and another man, Enos Parsons, in 1935. The facts are that the remains of stone house of some size is found outside of Copan. A gravestone for a Frank Labadie (1860-1935) and a Samantha Labadie (1857-1935) have been found. There is a Frank Labadie listed on the 1920 census as being 19 and born in Arkansas - but none are listed on Heritage Quest census database for 1930 and no Enos Parsons either! In addition, the Oklahoma City papers did not carry any news of such a crime or event and it is supposed that as is usual bad news would travel. The facts are that numerous people have admitted to using the place as a spot to scare girls, party, or do other recreational activities. So - given the fact that older citizens have said the couple died from smoke in a fire - this is probably another sample of what folklorist call "contemporary legends" (i.e., urban myths).
What is needed: Census or official records stating the people were alive in the area in the time period; some official record (newspaper, funeral records, etc.) of the cause of the death of the man and the woman, some record of the existance of Enos Parsons, and some type of proof of haunitng activity via photos, audio, or other evidence.
Here are some sites that repeat the "story":


In the early 1990's accounts of a "Hatchet House" with accompanying awful murder and porch painted red to hide "all the blood", began to appear in local OKC newspapers. Soon tales of swings moving in the moonlight.....and ghostly voices of children playing..... began to flesh out the vague and lurid premise. Now, every Halloween local haunters flock to the historic district of the Gatewood Neighborhood to find the notorious house with hatchet cutouts...or the red painted porch....or the driveway where 'they found the body.' This seemed like an easy find....track down the dastardly crime....solve the mystery...provide some background for this legend. So far...however, no such crime has come to light. The area only dates back to the 1920's when it boomed along with various other areas of the city. Its classic hometown feel and its historic homes kept it a special place for many decades. There was tragedy as children, go to and coming from the local elementary school (Gatewood Elementary) were struck by automobiles...a few random crimes....and some natural deaths. Findng a grim and ghastly crime worthy of such a horrific legend....has so far drawn a blank. It is similar to the tale in the Don Knotts comedy, "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" with its tale of murder, blood stained organ keys ("and they used Bon-Ami!"), and generally bad reputation. Unless, and until, something definite is discovered this is no doubt another OKC Urban Legend. So, drive through the area and enjoy the neighborhood that is on the national history registry.....but give the folks there a rest because there is really nothing else to see there.


Conflicting stories exist that suggest that the germ of a real event, the kidnapping and murder of Mrs. Katie James in 1905, and a later tall tale/urban myth from university students merged to create a jumble of ghostly tales related to this general area. For more information:
Dead Woman’s Crossing:

Dead Woman’s Bridge – Map:

Prairie Ghosts has a pretty good account of it, except he misnames the detective who help search. Sam Bartell was a wellknown early US Marshall and local police officer and at the time was with the Oklahoma Detective Agency.

For more information on Barter see the entry on him at MYSTORICAL.

If you can find in a library:
Brenner, Susan Woolf. "Dead Woman;s Crossing: The Legacy of a Territorial Murder." Chronicles of Oklahoma: Volume LX (Fall 1982).


As sites were extremes of isolation, boredom, fear, and death were common fare, it is no surprise that most military forts - of whatever age are frequently believed to be haunted. Some are ghosts from WW2 and others stretch back to the dawn of the nation. A good over view, and a link to a book, are found at In Oklahoma, two locations claim their unsettled past. Fort Washita ttp:// and Ft. Gibson . Older and less to see is the old ground of Ft. Towson (with no known hauntings)

Bartllesville Urban Legends

An excellent article shares some of the major legends surrounding this city in the far NE corner of the state. To read about a haunted mansion, a gravity hill and others -