Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma
Meeting the people behind Wimgo…
Previously we introduced you to our newest programmer Mike Ricksecker aka ‘The Phantom Programmer’. At the time he was working on his newest book “Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma”. He recently finished and published the book, which was reviewed in Mood, a publication of The Oklahoman. We have the edited review below or you can read the full review here.
The jury is still out for me. I’ve searched many places for ghosts. I’ve felt chills from being in the dark as my mind played tricks on me. But so far, no ghosts, no moving objects and no disembodied voices.
It’s not that I don’t want to believe; I am waiting to believe.
That’s why I so enjoyed “Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma” by Mike Ricksecker, 37, of Yukon.
I met Ricksecker when he came to work with me as a programmer. I was surprised when he mentioned he investigated hauntings with his team, Society of the Haunted.
I found myself asking him likely the same questions he’s heard 100 times before: What have you seen? Scariest incident? He happily answered with a knowing look in his eyes.
A recent transplant to Oklahoma, I know little about the state. That’s why some of my favorite parts of Ricksecker’s book are about Oklahoma’s history. The author includes a history lesson for each place the team researched.
The stories in “Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma” illustrate Oklahoma’s distinct times of prosperity, periods of decline and some of its darker days. Many of those dark times led to the stories and legends of the supernatural that Ricksecker writes about in his book.
Whether you believe is your choice.
Ghosts in Guthrie
The book begins with some fascinating history of Guthrie. I’ve visited Guthrie several times, but the visits were always short because of my limited knowledge of the town’s history.
For example, I didn’t know Guthrie has its own Boot Hill. When I was younger, I thought Boot Hill was one place somewhere out West, but I discovered years ago that it refers to multiple cemeteries throughout the Old West, primarily for gunslingers.
Guthrie’s Boot Hill cemetery is near what was called the Black Jail. Like its name, it’s a place where dark shadows of its former occupants of notorious gangs and outlaws can supposedly be seen by some, still lurking its corridors.
Guthrie also has some bawdy locales such as the Blue Belle Saloon, which Ricksecker writes once included a bordello. The building has changed names and owners many times, and rumor has it that’s because of all the supernatural activity there including apparitions, objects moving on their own and disembodied voices.
Santa Fe Depot and the Harvey House also are fascinating haunts in Guthrie included in the book. One of the haunted locations I’ve been to that is featured in the book is the Logan County Memorial Hospital. I parked on the street out front and stared up at the windows where legend has it you can see the apparition of someone walking around on the third floor.
I also visited the Stone Lion Inn for a murder mystery dinner. The Guthrie bed-and-breakfast allegedly has an unusual amount of supernatural activity, captured not only by Ricksecker’s team but also by a team from the TV show “Ghost Hunters.” It’s been called the most haunted place in Oklahoma. I’m ready to go back and listen for the ghost of the little girl who still walks the halls and asks people to play with her.
The next section of the book is about hauntings in Oklahoma City. It begins with the history of the Overholser Mansion, where it’s said Anna Overholser can occasionally be seen wandering the 11,000-square-foot dwelling. Perhaps she is the one who is said to open and close curtains, leave impressions in the bed and make people feel as if they are being watched.
The ghost of a young woman also reportedly haunts the Skirvin Hilton Hotel in Oklahoma City. The version I heard was of a young woman named Effie who committed suicide by leaping from the one of the windows.
Whoever the Skirvin’s ghostly guests may be, many of its living guests, including pro basketball players, have reported seeing apparitions, being touched by something they couldn’t see and hearing a crying baby.
Elsewhere in state
The book also includes accounts of northeast Oklahoma with stories about people feeling someone or something touching them at the 101 Ranch; a ghostly gunshot; a female apparition at the Constantine Theater in Pawhuska; mysterious equipment failures at the Brady Theater in Tulsa; objects moving at the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa; and voices asking “Who are you?” at the Belvidere Mansion in Claremore.
The book recounts dozens of stories from across the state. People reportedly have seen an apparition of “Aunt Jane” and lights dancing around Fort Washita near Durant.
Some say you might catch a glimpse of the shadow of a long-lost lover at the Ritz Theater in Shawnee, see mannequins move on their own in the dressing room in the Eskridge Hotel in Wynnewood and hear the ghost of a young boy say he’s thirsty at a shop in Shawnee.
Ricksecker recounts stories of a ghost hanging from a noose at Fort Sill and the apparition of a bruised little boy who appears to some at the Riverside Indian School in Anadarko.
The spookiest of all
The scariest of all the book’s stories is near the end. The legend of the former Missionary Baptist Church in Eldorado will remind you of the “The Amityville Horror.” Ricksecker writes that, in this church, which was later used as a family home, there were reports of pets barking at something unseen in the kitchen, people attacked by flies that appeared and then disappeared into thin air, people felt a presence that caused their hair to fall out and others heard menacing growls throughout the house and voices saying “Get Out!”
“Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma” is a great read for those who love history and ghosts stories alike. Ricksecker skillfully weaves bits of history together into a narrative using evidence and tales from eyewitnesses. The book is both fun and at times may make you feel a bit of chill. Perfect for a haunted Halloween eve.
Mike Ricksecker is the author of the Chase Michael DeBarlo mystery series, Ghosts of Maryland, and Ghosts and Legends of Oklahoma. As a paranormal investigator and “ghostorian” with Society of the Haunted he has appeared on Animal Planet’s The Haunted. Descended from settlers of Frederick County, Maryland, Mike has lived in Ohio, Massachusetts, Alaska, Maryland, and Oklahoma. He and his wife have four children and a cat.