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Haunting 101


Gazette staff October 17th, 2012

Should you venture toward Kay County (where Ponca City stands, to you nongeography nuts), you may want to visit the remnants of the famed 101 Ranch. It’s haunted, you see — at least according to the new book Haunted Old West: Phantom Cowboys, Spirit-Filled Saloons, Mystical Mine Camps, and Spectral Indians.

Built on 111,000 acres in 1879 by Col. George W. Miller, the 101 Ranch once hosted one heckuva wild west show that rivaled Buffalo Bill’s. According to author Matthew Mayo, after Miller died in 1903, his three sons took over the sprawling operation, only to see tragedy after tragedy follow.

First, in 1927, Joe Miller, the eldest of the three, succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Two years later, middle bro Zack was killed in an auto accident. Youngest sib George Jr. somehow avoided any Final Destination-esque freak ending, but the Great Depression did its damage to the family fortune, not to mention most of the buildings, which were leveled and sold off.

But Mayo claims that one can still hear hootin’ and hollerin’, and general carrying on of songs and yodels. Could the sounds be from ... gh-gh-gh-ghosts?

“They see shapes fleeting zephyr-like from place to place, out from behind the silos, darting for cover behind nearby sheds,” Mayo wrote. “Overly curious tourists have reported hearing flurries of whispered voice close to their ears as they venture into the dark basement rooms. … Still others report being pinched, their hair stroked from behind.”

Pinching, stroking — what’s the problem? Usually, one has to pay for that.

 
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