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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ghostly Tale of Dead Woman's Crossing

C & P Treasures

Halloween is fast approaching so it is a great time to share spooky ghost stories. When I was in college there was a local legend about a bridge just outside of town. The bridge was reportedly haunted by a headless woman searching for her missing baby.

One night several of my friends and I travled to the bridge. Although nothing paranormal happened it is a spooky place that gives you a very uneasy feeling. I was glad to get back into the car and leave.

Several years later I read an article by Susan Woolf Brenner who had actually researched the story. I was surprised to find the legend actually had a basis in fact.

This is the condensed version of the true story.

In 1905 a 29 year old lady named Katie James loaded her 14 month old baby and herself onto a train to travel to her cousin's house. Her father, Henry, saw her off. Katy had filed for divorce from her husband on the grounds of cruelty and was looking to get away.

Katie's father received regular letters from Katie so when the letters stopped coming he became very concerned. He hired a detective, Sam Bartell, to find Katy.

Bartell first searched the town of Clinton to no avail. He then went on to Weatherford. He learned from people in Weatherford that Katie had been staying with a woman she met on the train, Fannie Norton. Norton was a known prostitute in the area. I found this fact very interesting. Did Katie know what kind of woman she had befriended? It seems strange to me considering Katie was a well respected woman with a child. Anyway, they stayed with Fannie Norton's brother in law and Katie was introduced to him as Miss Smith.

The next morning the two women and the child left in a buggy stating they would be gone about 3 hours. Norton returned 2 hours later alone. She left the buggy in the barn and left for Clinton.

Witnesses reported seeing a buggy with 2 women and a baby going into a field. The buggy was in the field for about 45 minutes. When the buggy emerged there was only one woman and a child in the buggy. She drove to a nearby farm and left the baby with a small boy instructing him to give the baby to his mother until she returned. She then drove away tossing a bundle of baby clothes onto the side of the road. The baby's dress and the buggy wheels were covered in blood. Norton fled to Guthrie after the incident.

Bartell tracked Fannie down and began to question her. She became very agitated and vehemently denied that she had harmed Katie. She insisted Katie had met a man on the trail and left with him. Bartell did not buy her story. Later Norton became ill and began to vomit. It was discovered that she had taken poison and died shortly thereafter. Her death was ruled a suicide.

Katie's father and the govenor posted rewards for information on Katie. Later a man came forward claiming he and his sons had found Katie's body while fishing. Although all that remained was a skeleton, Katie's clothes were recognizable and she was still wearing a gold ring on one hand. The skull was not attached. It was 2 feet away and upright. The hat and hair were not attached but lying beside the head.

A revolver was found near the skull which had a bullet hole behind one ear. The gun was identified as Fannie Norton's. Norton had shot Katie while she sat in the buggy and allowed her to fall to the ground. Katie's estranged husband identified the body. Since they were still married at the time of her death, her estate was divided by her husband and her child. Many people suspected the husband of paying Norton to kill Katie in order to get her estate. Although robbery had been sited as the motive, it seemed unlikely since Katie still wore her gold ring.

Ever since there have been reports of people crossing the bridge hearing a woman crying for her child. Underneath the bridge people have heard the sound of wagon wheels crossing a wooden bridge. The old bridge has of course been replaced by a concrete one but the haunting reportedly continues.

Great spooky tale! We have lots of great spooky things at C & P Treasures! Check them out.

Golfer Dog Costume

Black Cat String Lights

Men's Scare Your Pants Off Boxers

Adult Queen of Hearts Costume

Barbie Island Princess Luciana Costume

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