A few years ago at an event a local woman approached me and shared a story of her own which was indeed strange.  She lived in southeast Oklahoma where the hills grow steep and thickly wooded.  She was of Native American descent and so shared many of her own beliefs about the more unusual things encountered in life and through history.  Then she shared a story from her small corner of the world. 

It was the early 1960's and there was a small gas station hugging a small narrow road amid hairpin turns and surrounded by the thick forests and steep shadowed hillsides.  The woman and her new husband stopped one day for gas and the elderly woman came out and filled the tank until the younger man stepped in to do it.  The woman struck up a conversation with the younger woman as she sat in the old pickup. 

The conversation went something like this:
'You got any kids? I got me a boy and a girl inside. They have to stay in there. They can't come out. Not safe for them at all. You wanna come see?'

The younger woman stepped out to be polite and followed as the woman tottered over to the door into the house at the side of the station.  The smell caught her attention first. It was strong and smelled like wet dog and worse.  Sorry she had gotten out she tried to excuse herself but the old woman dragged her forward. Inside, there was a cage in a corner of the room with a small creature sitting in it covered with hair.  A similar creature sat in front of a small screened television showing a grainy cartoon.  This one was wearing a t-shirt and jeans too short in the legs.  His big hairy feet were without shoes.

"I found 'em in the trees up yonder a winter ago. I'd seen them before in the forests and down by the river. The mama, well she was a human but the daddy was just like them.  He disappeared. The mama was dead and they were starving. So, I brought 'em home. I expect I'll send them back there pretty soon; I'm getting pretty old you know..."

The couple drove off after that.  Sure enough, the old woman did die soon and the house, according to people the young woman asked, was found empty of any other living creatures...just an empty cage in the corner of the room and a pile of old children's clothing.

I thought of that story when watching a documentary on History that suggested what we call Bigfoot might be a lingering species of something similar to a Homo Hidelbergensis - a species known to have been still in Asia when the crossing of the Bering Strait were made.  Thus, making it possible they too make that trek into North America.  This opened up the possibility of widespread native tales of interbreeding with the creatures might be based on real events.  Closer to humans, mating could happen with those incredibly tall humanoids. 

Although the tale may be a tall one crafted by a woman pulling the leg of a visiting author of the arcane, it might be mis-identification of someone suffering from a medical condition known to produce long hair over the body or it might - just maybe - have a kernel of truth in it hinting at something truly amazing and incredibly strange.


Early SE Oklahoma Explosive

Between mining disasters, gas line breaks, industrial accidents and oil field happenings, Southeastern Oklahoma was pretty explosive.

In the 1920's alone there were numerous reports of explosions related to one, all, or a combination of the elements in a minimum of six locations and the pages of newspapers were filled with similar accidents from other states.

In Poteau in Sept. of 1929 an explosion rocked a mine jetting workers out the opening and horribly mangling those who remained inside. Those killed included  Jeff Shelton, William Cates. Seven others were listed as missing, a Herman Cureton, Willoughby Wells, Bob Hanson (Jenny Lind, Ark), --Howard, -- Smith, and two unidentified miners.  In 1906 this same area had been devastated by a similar incident.

In Tulsa, an explosion at a plant, rocked the entire city and frayed nerves. Several oil derricks exploded usually with no loss of life. 

In Bristow, in March an explosion killed  Patrick James Hurley (or James Patrick Hurley) in the 28 Mar 1929 Coalgate Record Register reported:  "James Patrick Harley, formerly of Lehigh, was killed in an explosion at Bristow, Oklahoma, last Friday night and the body shipped to Lehigh for burial. Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon and interment in the Lehigh cemetery. No particulars of the tragic accident are available."   He was the son of Scottish immigrant Patrick Hurley who owned the Shamrock Mine in LeHigh.   

Also in Bristow, but that August, Jess Hudson, (38) \, an employ of the Southwest Pipeline company was working on a Sunday on a city gas line near the entrance to city park at  West 8th street. The line exploded sending a piece of steel into him and knocked him some fifteen feet.  He died shortly after being taken to the Bristow Hospital. He left a widow, two sons, and a step-son (who was also a member of the crew that day and saw the accident). (Bursting Gas Main Kills Jess Hudson, Tulsa World, 12 August 1929, pg. 2)



A large and very nice memorial stands in the now open area of the cemtery. Gone are the fences and gates and many of the headstones. Most appear to be older adults and may some of the elderly brought there to live in the 1920's. The fact so many died in the 1920's is a combination of natural age and disease which ran rampant through OKC in that time. Other news accounts verify many deaths in the era. On the nice memorial at the center of the area are etched the following names:

Cosati, Angela 1916- 1931

Ayres, Robert 1939- 1943

Brice, James G. 1846- 1923

Burke, Pat 1844-1932

Camthorn, Ann 1879 -1939

Cawley, Mike 1876 -1943

Cozrat, Augustine 1915- 1927

Downey, Ellen L. 1849 -1922

Gard, Paul (Rev.) 1922

Giebel, Ernestine M. 1864- 1939

Hardin, Dorothy 1932- 1943

Hardisty, Frank 1867 -1931

Jacobe, Franickovick 1836- 1933

Keller, Anna (Mrs.) 1849 -1921

Lacey, John 1847 1933 -

Lynam, Michael (Rev.) 1871 -1921

Malone, John Edward 1869 -1939

Morrison, Mary Ann 1853- 1939

Murray, Mrs. K. C. 1873- 1921

Richter, Charles 1861- 1942

Rose, Pearl (Mrs.) 1924-

Stine, John 1857 -1936

Sullivan, Cornelius R. 1868- 1950

Sweeney 1930 -

Teyssier, Fredric L. (Rev.) 1884 -1919

Tracey, M. Joseph 1852 -1929

Triennekens, Wm. (Rev.) 1923 -

Wagner, Joseph 1927 -

Wegner, Edward A. 1904 1922

Wegner, Michael 1860- 1930

Weichart, Theresia L. 1896 -1924

Wooden, David 1934- 1945

The inscription reads:

St. Joseph Orphanage Cemetery
Bethany, Oklahoma
In Memory of All Decedents and God's Cherished Infants and Children
We Offer Special Homage to Them For This Is Sacred Ground The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

Also seen at - http://genealogytrails.com/oka/oklahoma/st_joseph_orphanage_cemetery.htm (Includes nice picture of the memorial itself)

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