SPOOKY OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma Today|September/October 2020
OKLAHOMA’S WILD HISTORY HAS PRODUCED SOME TRULY CHILLING GHOST STORIES, AND A ROAD TRIP THROUGH THEM IS A PERFECT WAY TO CELEBRATE HALLOWEEN IN A TIME OF SOCIAL DISTANCING. COME OVER TO THE DARK SIDE OF THE SOONER STATE.
MEGAN ROSSMAN

FIGHT INN

A VICTORIAN HOME IN GUTHRIE PLAYS OFF ITS CREEPY REPUTATION TO GIVE VISITORS AN EXPERIENCE THEY WON’T FORGET.

THE HOUSE HAS issues’ is my preferred phrase,” says Rebecca “Becky” Luker, who’s owned the Stone Lion Inn Bed and Breakfast in Guthrie since 1986.

When F.E. Houghton built it for approximately $11,000 in 1907, the three-story-plus-basement, 8,000-square-foot home was the most expensive house in Guthrie. The sprawling white mansion houses luxuries like an oak-paneled dining room, lead-beveled bookshelves, three fireplaces, and a 2,000-square-foot basement. According to Luker—and numerous others who’ve visited— ghosts also are among its strange amenities.

“It’s mostly noises and little things you see out of the corner of your eye,” she says of the ghostly activities. “I’ve seen a little cat walking down the hallway many times. When my housekeeper Michelle did laundry in the basement, she would see a man—Mr. Houghton—at the back of the room smoking a cigar in her peripheral vision.”

After Luker bought the home, she spent months renovating and converting it into what’s become a popular bed and breakfast. As she and her young sons worked on the house, the unexplained occurrences around them became hard to keep up with. Children’s toys, carefully put away the night before, would be scattered all over the floor every morning. When they lived on the third floor, they would hear footsteps come up the staircase followed by the sound of a door opening and closing. The tinkling of a music box coming from the wall was another persistent oddity. To this day, Luker’s sons, now in their forties, refuse to step foot in the house.

But Luker herself says none of the paranormal happenings are ever malevolent. Houghton had twelve children who lived in the house, and by all accounts, they were a happy family, though his seven-year-old daughter did die here when she was accidentally overmedicated for whooping cough. Guests who stay in the Cora Diehl Suite sometimes have mentioned being awakened by a child patting their cheeks. Luker says her son Ral sometimes would see a girl about that age playing upstairs.

Ghosts aside, murder mystery dinners held every Friday and Saturday are Stone Lion Inn’s most popular attraction. Set in the 1920s, ’30s, or ’40s, these dinners let guests dig into a seven-course candlelight dinner that includes dishes like green chile bisque and cornish game hens while sorting out who among them is the hidden killer. For an additional fee, participants can book a room for the night for the full spectral experience.

STONE LION INN › 1016 West Warner Avenue in Guthrie (405) 282-0012 stonelioninn.com

DUNE AND GONE

IS THERE A PORTAL TO ANOTHER UNIVERSE IN THIS PANHANDLE ADVENTURE PARK?

AT FIRST GLANCE, few would take Beaver Dunes Park to be a site of ancient mystical power. The sandy slopes of this northwestern Oklahoma attraction near the town of Beaver appeal primarily to free-wheeling ATV enthusiasts who course its 520 acres of sedimentary sprawl. However, hidden somewhere among its hills is rumored to be an otherworldly passage known as Shaman’s Portal or, alternately, Oklahoma’s Bermuda Triangle.

As the story goes, Native American tribes avoided the area and warned the Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado not to go there when he and his party arrived in the mid-1500s. According to online accounts, Coronado evidently disregarded their advice, because they say he then described in his journal three of his men disappearing at the dunes in a flash of green light. However, scholarly studies of this North American expedition don’t mention the incident—which would have been a spectacular claim to not at least acknowledge. Other accounts claim the park is a UFO crash site, and that government agents were seen investigating there in the 1990s. It’s said those who witnessed the alien-related activity were coerced into silence by the federal government.

For the most part though, Panhandle residents laugh at these tales.

“I’ve lived here all my life, and I didn’t know anything about this until about a year ago,” says Beaver County Sheriff Reuben Parker Jr. “I’ve never heard of any animals or people going missing. There are plenty of wrecks out there though, because of the dune buggies.”

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