Saturday, April 11, 2015

Saturday Spotting - Unexplained Oklahoma Fires

Published in July of 1922 in the Jonesboro Daily Tribune out of Jonesboro, Arkansas
located this article on 

United Press:
     Norman, Okla., August 16 – Oklahoma’s greatest mystery is as yet unsolved.
     Twelve fires recently broke out in the home of J. L. Waggoner, farmer, living two miles in the country. Window curtains went up in smoke. Bed clothing became mysteriously ignited. Holes were burned in rugs and to cap the climax, a wet rag hanging in the kitchen of the house was consumed as so much excelsior.
     Origin of the blazes has never been determined. Occupants took the first few blazes as a matter of fact, but on the second day, following a night of fighting fires on the roof of the house, in clothes closets and under beds, the blazes were reported to county authorities.
     A guard of heavily armed deputy sheriffs were deployed around the house and kept there for three days. No more fires occurred.
     During the two days of fires, and since, Waggoner refused to move his family from the house, in spite of recommendations of friends and authorities.
     Theories that enemies of the family were trying to burn his home were scoffed at by Waggoner, “If any member of my family ever had an enemy, I do not know about it,” he said.
     Dr. I. H. Godlove, instructor in chemistry at the State University here, declared the fires were not started by chemicals, as was first generally believed.
     The house,  a two-story square frame building, setting back from the road, and in a permanent shadow from surrounding and overthrowing trees, for the past half century has had the reputation among natives as being “haunted.”
     The building was unoccupied or many years, prior to the moving in by the Waggoner family. Waggoner’s corn field was mysterious burned shortly after he moved to the house. Two years later the family awoke to find their barn in ruins, the last flames dying down. 

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