Saturday, June 9, 2012


Sometimes local legends are merely that.  The product of fevered imaginations with too much time on their hands?

The Legend:  In the early 1990's accounts of a "Hatchet House" with accompanying awful murder and porch and/or driveway painted red to hide "all the blood", began to appear in local OKC newspapers and in rumors. Soon tales of swings moving in the moonlight.....and ghostly voices of children playing..... began to flesh out the vague and lurid premise. 

Now, every Halloween local haunters flock to the historic district of the Gatewood Neighborhood to find the notorious house with hatchet cutouts...or the red painted porch....or the driveway where 'they found the body.' 

The Investigation: 
This seemed like an easy find....track down the dastardly crime....solve the mystery...provide some background for this legend. So far...however, no such crime has come to light. The area only dates back to the 1920's when it boomed along with various other areas of the city. Its classic hometown feel and its historic homes kept it a special place for many decades. 

There was one tragedy as children, going to and coming from the local elementary school (Gatewood Elementary) were struck by automobiles...a few random crimes....and some natural deaths. Finding a grim and ghastly crime worthy of such a horrific legend....has so far drawn a blank. No murder stained drive way. No body buried beneath local swing set. 

Conclusion: The story is similar to the tale in the Don Knotts comedy, "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" with its tale of murder, blood stained organ keys ("and they used Bon-Ami!"), and generally bad reputation associated with a stereotypical locale.  No doubt the unusual selection of hatchets sparked the origins of this urban legend. They had to mean something, right? A story of a young girl who was frightened one night in the  park near Eugene Field Elementary (at the time in the 1980's a drug infested and very scary place) bears a strong resemblance to the other story and may reflect confluence of story elements. Drug dealers have been known to start and circulate scary stories to keep the nosy away from areas of 'business.'

Unless, and until, something definite is discovered this is no doubt another OKC Urban Legend. So, drive through the area and enjoy the neighborhood that is on the national history registry.....but give the folks there a rest because there is really nothing else to see there.

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