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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dead Woman's Crossing

In Weatherford, Oklahoma sits an isolated bridge of Big Deer Creek near a local university. A real death shrouded in a ghost tale. After deciding to divorce her husband on the grounds of cruelty, Katy DeWitt James and her 14-month-old daughter got on a train en route to Payne County from Custer County. She met a prostitute named Fannie Norton while on her journey and agreed to stay with Norton's brother. On July 8th, 1905, the two women and child left in a buggy declaring their return in three hours. Two hours and fifteen minutes later, Norton returned alone.

Katy's father Henry, after weeks of receiving no word from her, hired a private detective to investigate her whereabouts. The detective discovered Fannie Norton took Katy and her daughter supposedly to a town called Hydro. However, their wagon disappeared in a field near Deer Creek for almost an hour. When Norton finally re-emerged, she was alone with the child. No sign of Katy anywhere. She left the child with a boy at a nearby farm and told him to take her to his mother to look after. Then, Norton proceeded to ditch some baby's clothes covered in blood as were the wagon wheels. She fled to Guthrie, enrolling her children in private school and moved on to Shawnee in an effort to disappear.

The detective managed to locate Norton in a local butcher shop in Shawnee. She nervously went in to a rant about Katy meeting a man on their buggy ride and leaving with him, denying killing her. The confrontation caused her to weep uncontrollably. While the detective was speaking to a reporter, Norton committed suicide that night by ingesting poison. Rewards were posted in an effort to find Katy and on August 31, all speculation ended. A Weatherford resident named G. W. Cornell found a body in the creek bed while fishing with his sons.

Only a skeleton remained. The clothing was worn but recognizable. A gold wedding band on its hand. The skull was found two feet away from rest of the remains. A bullet hole was located behind the right ear. However, there was no speculating what kind of gun caused it as a .38 caliber revolver was found along side the skull. Norton's lawyer identified the weapon as belonging to his client. It's believed Norton shot Katy and the body fell out of the buggy in to the creek. While some speculated Katy died while Norton attempted to rob her, a more popular listed Katy's husband William Luther James as the one behind it all. His lack of sorrow and concern along with the $5 gold wedding ring found with Katy's remains brought up many questions. However, Mr. James had a solid alibi resulting in Norton being found guilty of murder.

Other versions of this story include the woman being attacked on the bridge. Her head was cut off and the rest of her body was tied between two trees left on display. She was found several days later. Sometimes during this alleged attack she was with a baby and others, she was alone.

Witnesses reported hearing a woman's scream coming from Dead Woman's Crossing as well as the sound of wagon wheels. Supposedly she is haunting the bridge in search of either her head or her child, perhaps both. Some have seen a woman walking the creek bed with a lantern in hand. Cars also allegedly stall on the bridge. Many have felt a cold spot in the exact location where her body was found. Other stories range from UFO sightings and cattle mutilations to mysterious black robed people performing rituals there at midnight.


This is the first in a web series about the bridge. My computer is bad with videos. So, I'm not certain as to how good this really is. View at your own risk.

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