- ABOUT US
Karlie Tipton, Editorial Assistant
Photo by JOHN JERNIGAN
All Hallows Scream
By Karlie Tipton
October 18, 2012
It’s hard to describe the excitement I feel when the leaves begin to fall, the wind starts to carry a lovely chill, and pumpkins pop up all over the place. Not only is it a magical time because I can walk outside without breaking a sweat, but also because I know that my favorite holiday is coming: Halloween.
When I was three years old, my grandmother bought me a shirt that had Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer knitted on the front. When asked who it was, I proudly responded “Bugs Bunny!” Needless to say, I didn’t have a grasp on many holidays yet, but I knew that once October rolled around, I would get to wear a costume, eat lots of candy, and watch movies about monsters.
I remember watching Hocus Pocus when I was about eight—one of my absolute favorite movies to this day—and wanting to be one of the Sanderson Witches (particularly Winifred, played by Bette Midler, because I too had an overbite at the time).
Back in fifth grade, I vividly remember reading my first short story—which was, naturally, about Halloween—to my 8 and 5-year-old siblings to their slack-jawed delight. The story was about a girl who messes around with witchcraft and accidently causes her dog to become possessed and raise an army of costumed demons.
As I’ve gotten older, my love of spooks and ghouls hasn’t waned; however, it has become a little more difficult to find stories to get myself in the mood. Luckily, my research at Oklahoma Today has led me to some pretty fantastic tales of phantasms—made even scarier by their proximity.
Fort Washita in Durant: This historic site and museum is home to history that dates back to the Civil War, as well as a ghost named Aunt Jane. Jane supposedly lived at the post for many years and was killed, quite brutally, by thieves seeking a quick buck around the early 1860s. Some years later, Jane’s spirit supposedly possessed a local girl named Molly Stalcup. Although Mrs. Stalcup’s prayers chased the spirit away before any real harm was done to Molly, Aunt Jane is rumored to haunt the fort to this day. (okhistory.org/sites/fortwashita or 580/924/6502)
Poncan Theatre in Ponca City: This theatre was briefly mentioned in the January/February 2011 Film issue, but the Poncan ghost is a topic worthy of duplication. While fact-checking the theatre profile, I heard stories from employees of strange occurrences late at night—sometimes just a feeling that someone was lurking behind them, sometimes popcorn being thrown the air when no assailant could be found, and sometimes, a face-to-face encounter with an unnamed theatre patron who died in the Poncan decades ago. (youtube.com/watch?v=VUxX-GXbmKQ or 580/765/0943)
The First National Center in Oklahoma City: Although not a ghost story per se, while working on the Kate Barnard story that will appear in our upcoming issue, I had a frightening incident of my own. Before her sad death in 1930, Kate—a wonderful political figure in Oklahoma history—had fallen into bad times and was the sole occupant of the fifth floor of the building located where the Oklahoma Today offices sit today. Eighty-two years later, I was riding the elevator up to the sixth floor when, for no apparent reason, the elevator stopped on the floor below. When I arrived, I started to step off before realizing that I was not on my level, glanced around to see who had called the car, and saw no one. I pressed the “close door” button as fast as I could, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that, although I was alone, I wasn’t really alone. I’m sure someone could have pressed the button and then decided to take the stairs instead, but I’m not so sure.
Now that I’ve rendered myself afraid to use the elevators, I think I’m properly ready for All Hallows Eve. Whether yours is filled with ghostly things that go bump in the night or just things that are covered in chocolate, I hope your Halloween is one to remember for all eternity.