From Oklahoma Paranormal (2008):

"Local historian Marilyn A. Hudson presents an intriguing theory concerning the alleged "Effie" ghost of the
old Skirvin Hotel. Having researched stories and interviewed several people who had worked in the old hotel, Hudson suggests that several "ghosts" of the Skirvin were based on incidences occurring much earlier in OKC history. Failing to find many deaths reported in the famous hotel, she was able to find numerous deaths in hotels that once graced the downtown area: The Grand, The Lee, and others. In 1904, there was a "keeper of a bowdy house" on West 2nd Street who was killed by her husband by the name of "Effie Fisher".

Knowing from other research how easy it is for memory to get tangled and distanced from the facts, Hudson suggests that many of the exciting deaths, suicides, strange visitors, and shootings from the other hotels and "houses" (which may not always have survived) may have been assigned later to the more Gothic and imposing Skirvin. After all, she notes, when a place "looks haunted" people expect to be haunted. An article in the Oklahoman (May 1, 1910) pointed out the construction of the new hotel (then called the "Skirvin House") at First and Broadway was a landmark from the earliest days of the city. On that location had stood the Richardson Real Estate office.

Just in case, if you have first hand experience from someone who worked in the pre-renovation Skirvin use the comments to add your tales.

Some facts:
The original name of the hotel, according to newspaper accounts ,was "The Skirvin House" (1910).
In 1911 - the manager committed suicide and it was investigated as suspicious
Later, (1920's?) a workman fell to his death.
Several people committed suicide - as they did in all the local hotels- most by poison and a few by pistol.
The legend that "Effie" was a mistress kept imprisoned in the hotel is also similar to a tale told about the "Gold Hotel" in Nevada - making it more the urban legend than real tale. In that time period, it was more likely he would have sent away - with a payoff - a pregnant mistress or simply paid for an illegal abortion. If an "Effie" did die - perhaps it was a botched abortion rather than some convoluted prisoner in the hotel scenerio.

The Ghost of the Skirvin Strikes Again?

Recent news coverage has brought new noterity to the story of female spirit inhabiting the now renovated Skirvin Hotel.  

The legend:  A maid, aka "Effie", worked at the hotel and became pregant by someone in management.  She was confined in the hotel and was so depressed after the birth she is said to have both her child and herself out a a tenth floor window.   Stories of her appear to always involve men (I do not think I have ever heard a story involving a woman but may be wrong...), fondling in bed or in the shower and the cries of a child.

Cons: (a) No evidence of such a death has been found despite numerous researchers (myself included) combing through at least one major newspaper of the city. (b) Police I spoke with said they had no records of such a suicide related to the hotel. (c) The rather earthy conduct of the spirit seems in conflict with the innocent maid taken advantage of by a black hearted lover. (d) The story is eerily similar to a tale told in Gold, Nevada at an old hotel there.

Pros: (a) A researcher, many years ago, was approached by a woman who said that the maid was her aunt (or other relative) and that researcher is once more trying to track that line of evidence. (b) Records are often tossed out despite the requirements to keep them. Ask any records management officer.   Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence.  If the maid was African-American there is ample historical evidence that news about or involving African-Americans was often swept under the rug unless it served some purpose of stirring up racism or criminal activity (during the 1920's-1930's in OK the KKK was VERY dominant in communities and government).  In unrelated research, I have encountered crimes that were conducted against African-Americans that were under reported or ignored.  Given the combination of power and money it is entirely possible a crime or a suicide might have been unreported or reported in a different manner. An example might be a woman who killed herself by jumping from her lover's office.  She might find her body moved to a railroad crossing or a bridge thus removing her from the neighborhood of her lover and his public image. Searches into newspapers and diaries of local African Americans might be a better means of identifying the woman. (c) The consistency of the reportings may hint at several spirits rather than a single entity. We like to combine things for our convenience.  Given the hotel's long history and the many known suicides that DID occur there, it would be a wonder something did not negatively imprinted on the hotel. (d) The similarity of the tale with others may indicate a common folklore motif or a urban legend used to teach a warning to women "in the business."

Previously on this blog I suggested that Effie might be a confusion with an earlier unsolved murder of a prosititute/madam named Effie Fisher.  She was killed no more than two blocks away from the area of the hotel in 1904.  To my thinking the teasing and provovacative actions of the Skirvin ghost seem better to reflect an Edwardian prostitute than a chamber maid in a hotel.  If there is a ghost at all....

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