It wasn’t a dark or stormy night.
It was a blisteringly hot sunny evening as some friends and I made our way into the Blue Bell Saloon in Guthrie, Oklahoma to attend the OKPRI Ghost Hunt night at the oldest saloon in Oklahoma.
The saloon was much the same as it had been last time I had been there, with the exception of all the chairs having been arranged into rowed seating in front of a video screen that dominated the far end of the bar. Oh and it was HOT. Gotta love Oklahoma in August. As we looked around, waiting to begin the evening we noted the old decor, the bar, the huge mirror behind with three tiers of alcohol below. There were various stuffed and mounted animals around the walls and ceiling and then there were the bullet holes.
Five to be exact, still present and preserved from the days when gunfights were a little more common, well check that, with shootings in some areas these days maybe they’re still as common today, just not automatic weapons.
About ten minutes into the presentation my friend B leans over to me and tells me one of the ghosts is watching us from by the bar. I figured this was a sure sign the night was about to get interesting. B is what some people would call psychic or sensitive. It seems to run in her family, as her teenage daughter has that same uncanny knack B does for being dead on about, well, anything.
After the presentation they split us up into groups and divided us out into the three floors of the saloon: basement, main floor and brothel. Our group started on the main floor and after some brief instruction on taking photos and using the electromagnetic detectors we started our hunt in the unlit saloon. As we walked around one of my friends captured some activity near the bar while I looked back into the shadowy half lit kitchen that “Dog” our OKPRI leader was about to take some people into.
Then one of the shadows moved.
My stomach jumped. For a moment I thought I was seeing things, until Dog came barreling back out of the kitchen yelping “He was right inside the door!”
The ghost on the first floor is a man with a handlebar mustache and old derby hat and a penchant for cursing at patrons and hunters like a sailor. I only saw his shadow, so I can’t confirm that, and he didn’t curse at us, but maybe he knew we had a 17-year-old in the group.
Next stop was the bordello. The second floor was an interesting place, all four of us got sick feelings in our stomachs as we entered the main room and started walking around. People started asking the ghosts to give them a sign, knock etc… B sat down at a table and started telling us that the ghosts were talking to her. Dog came over and started listening to her talk about the ghosts, who they were telling her they were and their history. The more she talked, the more Dog started nodding and listening more intently. Then he told her she was right, their historical research about the people in this place and what she had said matched up perfectly. From that point on Dog kept track of us.
When we moved to Miss Lizzie’s room, the sinking feeling hit again and B told us and Dog that Lizzie was not a good person, only interested in profit etc… and cared about nothing else. Considering she is said to have murdered at least one of the girls under her charge and was known to buy girls from families about to lose their farms to work in the brothel, that wasn’t surprising. The electromagnetic detector kept maxing out in the room while we were there, and I took a shot while there and ended up capturing a swirl of what would best be described as ghostly energy pushing out at someone nearby. As instructed I took a second pic in the same area a moment later, to make sure it wasn’t just a trick of light and there was nothing remotely like that present. I felt a bit victorious in getting a ghost shot, since another of my friends had managed to catch a image of one of the woman ghosts pecking the 17-year-old on the cheek a bit earlier. We filed out of the room and headed to our next sweep area.
When we got to the bottom floor B and another one of my friends were both getting impressions from the ghosts. I made my way back to the storage area where one of the ghosts is said to be buried inside the walls of the old tunnels that are long since sealed. I took some pictures and heard some faint whisper like sounds, but nothing I could make out. After that I made my way out of the back where I heard one of my group had their cell phone knocked out of their hand in the women’s bathroom.
Dog excitedly called our attention to one of the pool tables where a light was swaying back in forth on its own. Checks were made to make sure nothing was acting on it, breeze etc.. Nothing could be found. We stood and watched it, whichever ghost was acting on it had no more to say despite everyone’s repeated attempts to get it to knock, mess with meters etc… It eventually got bored and stopped. The night ended for the majority of the hunters as we all went back upstairs and the OKPRI thanked people for coming, told them about upcoming events and bid everyone farewell. Except us. We were told not to leave.
Christy, the lead investigator and Christian psychic, (which may be a bit of an oxymoron) came over and listened to B’s tales, looked at our photos and verified again everything B had said about the ghosts. She also encouraged her to do more with what abilities she had. They asked us to mail them pictures and gave us all cards to keep in touch with and we departed.
We left Guthrie and I got home about 1:30 in the morning feeling both drained from the long night and energized from the experience. Truth be told, as fun as this had sounded I didn’t really expect to see these ghosts or catch them on film, let alone have them talk to people I know. I figured it would be an entertaining night and there would be little more to the story than us fumbling about and enduring the woman who claimed to be psychic but whose only real ability was to wander into any picture you were taking.
Instead I got an eye opening night of things I believed were out there and confirmation that they were. Seeing is believing and as the bard said:
“And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Hamlet Act 1; Scene 5