Ghosts of PHS
by H. C. (Mac) McMullin

When I was a young man, people talked to each other face to face a lot more than today. We didnít have the media flood we have today. No 24 hour news, in fact, no TV. No cell phones, no text messages, no internet. News traveled from clothesline to clothesline, across card tables, and swirled around the benches on the hardware store porch. Back then, we even got together and played yard games. Yes, we played croquet, and liked it! The kids were outside most of the time, playing games of their own. Exercise was how you had fun, not something you were forced to do. It was a much slower and more enjoyable time to be alive. But I wander from the point.

One of the main forms of entertainment was story telling. Some true, some outright lies, and some a mixture of the two. When I came to Cardin/Picher, in 1951, from Cromwell, (near Seminole,) Okla. at the request of Ray Harrell, I heard all the local ghost stories with mixed feelings. Ray was having trouble with some of the rowdier boys disrupting the calm thatís supposed to prevail in high school. Being a veteran, he thought I could enforce a better code of conduct among them. My brother brought me to Picher, as I had no car. After taking one look at the town, he declared that he wasnít staying in this rough town over night, leaving me totally alone in a strange place, and I donít use the word strange lightly. Shortly after I began my questionable career as a hard nosed disciplinarian among some of the toughest people I had ever met, I noticed one of the Senior girls that seemed interested in me. Her name was Grace Sanders, and her folks owned a lumber yard. As our relationship progressed, her family and friends thought that she was out of her head. I believe, in the long run, we proved them all wrong, as she and I have been married now these 54(?) years. But, again, Iím wandering.

The ghost stories, however, were another problem. The fact is, there is a spook light. But, the fact is also that itís not a headless member of the Hoffman family carrying a lantern looking for his head! Obviously, if he was headless, how would a lantern help him out? Then thereís the one about the visions at the Devilís Promenade on nights during the full moon. Yea, right! You can see visions anywhere on a full moon night, but the story of Loverís Leap is romantic, so folks repeat it. The story of the perfect candle flame between two graves in the Howard Cemetery, I listened to with some skepticism. But again, Iím wandering from the subject.

I was told, by reputable sources, that there are ghosts in Picher High School! Of course, the high school wasnít always on "A" street. It was originally one of the "Twin" schools. Thelma (Irwin) Sanders recalls the "Death March" from the twin school to the new building in 1923, when the students helped move to the new school. What later became the auditorium was the gym! Originally, the building was just the center section, being added onto both East and West in later years. Again, I am wandering. I used to wonder a lot, but lately that has changed to wandering. I wonder why that is?

ÖÖ..to be continuedÖ.

All right, quiet down, Iím the teacher, and I say when class is over. And donít come to my class again with that chewing gum!

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Ghost story II