Spooky stories for Halloween
HOMINY — It's a Drummond Home tradition to have one night of spooky storytelling. This year on the evening of Oct. 27 there were storytellers from Bartlesville, Skiatook, Sperry, Wynona and Hominy who told their stories — well known, made up and some that were true.
One well-known and well-documented story shared by two storytellers was about the spook light that appears along a lonely stretch of gravel road in Oklahoma near the Missouri line. Here is a bit of background.
According to the Joplin, Mo. website, the spook light, is also called the Joplin Spook Light or the Tri-State Spook Light. The website https://www.joplinmo.org/states that the light is located in Oklahoma near the town of Quapaw. “However, it is most often seen from the east, which is why it has been 'attached' to the tiny hamlet of Hornet, Mo., and the larger, better-known town of Joplin,” the website said.
Some say the spook light was first seen by Indians along the infamous Trail of Tears in 1836. Then in 1881 it was also referred to in a publication called Ozark Spook Light.
The website states that “the orange fire-like ball has reportedly been appearing nightly for well over 100 years. … Though many paranormal and scientific investigators have studied the light, including the Army Corps of Engineers, no one has been able to provide a conclusive answer as to the origin of the light.”
Storyteller Shelia Smith from Sperry said that she had experienced the spook light first hand as a child. Her family took her there from first grade through junior high, she said.
“My folks used to take us to see it. I have a sister and it used to be kind of a family thing. Sometimes it was several bouncing balls of fire and sometimes it was just one. One time it even came on our car hood. It was on a dirt road.
“In fact my mom and dad's best friend, Ted, remembered going to see it in a covered wagon, back before there were a lot of cars and stuff. It's just never been explained.
“There was a little guy at the end of the road named Spooky that had a little Spook Light Museum. He even had telescopes, and I got to see it one time through the telescope. It was one ball of fire, and then it became five and then it just kind of faded out.
“Researchers have tried to investigate it and it was not conclusive,” Smith said.
Bartlesville storyteller Diane Fallis also had a story about the spook light. Her grandparents had gone on a picnic at the location in the 1940s and the spook light appeared. This scared her grandmother who jumped up and ran to the Model-T, Fallis said. When they got to the car, her grandfather got in and the couple watched as the ball of light sat on the hood of the car. Her grandfather then proposed to her and the ball of light disappeared. Fallis said she had heard the spook light often appeared to couples — especially preceding a proposal.
Fallis, who had been part of the Bartlesville Tallgrass Storytellers group until it disbanded, also told a story of an experience that actually happened to her when she was with her husband on old State Highway 60 between Bartlesville going toward Ochelata and Ramona one summer.
“I saw this girl that looked like she needed a ride. We picked her up, and she was cold so I offered her my sweater. … I said, 'where do you want to go,' and she said 'I want to go home. She told us where it was, and she walked up the stairs. We didn't think twice about it,” Fallis said.
They left and then Fallis remembered her sweater. So, they returned to the house and knocked on the door.
“I said to the woman who answered the door, 'we just dropped off your daughter. She had borrowed my sweater. Is there any chance I could get it back?' She said, 'No, my daughter's been dead for years, and this is the anniversary. Every year somebody picks her up and brings her home. I bet if you go to the graveyard you'll find your sweater.' So, we went to the graveyard [a family graveyard near the house], and there was the sweater sitting right there,” Smith said.
Another storyteller, Kenda Woodburn from Skiatook told a fictional story using Drummond family members as the characters. “The Drummonds were from Scotland and there are many stories there like there are for the Irish about the leprechans,” Woodburn said.
She created a fictional cousin for Cecil and Gentner Drummond who she described as very kind. He was hunting in the woods one day with his dog when he met a tall man with a red beard who offered him a drink. He accepted the refreshment, which tasted of cinnamon and cloves. Soon, he felt sleepy and laid down. When he awoke his gun was rusted and his dog was gone. He found his way back home only to discover he had been asleep for 20 years and Cecil and Gentner were away at college. Their mother, Addie, recognized him and welcomed him home. The moral of the story was not to accept food or drink from a stranger because you never know if it is safe.
Other storytellers were Carolyn Christy, a member of the Hominy City Council, Drummond Home Manager Beverly Whitcombe, Lacy Ratliff and Roseanne McKee. Four children dressed as twin ghosts, a pirate and a genie also volunteered.