Claremore Daily Progress


November 15, 2010

Murder, mayhem and dancing in the streets

CLAREMORE — My interest in the macabre sets in every year about this time.

I suppose it starts with All Hallows Eve, that time when ghosts and spirits are said to walk the earth unfettered. Otherwise known as Halloween, we put on masks, dress up, and let our alter egos take over for a few hours.

Interest in the macabre was high during the Victorian era.

While the social mores were very restrictive for acceptable folk at that time, there was also a strong shadow side to Victorian culture. It was a mysterious and ofttimes grisly era for literature.

From Bram Stokers, “Dracula” and Robert Louis Steven’s “the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” to the works of American writers such as Washington Irving’s, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and works by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allen Poe, Victorian writers terrorize us with ghostly legends, examine the dark side of human nature, and challenge the mores of their times.

No one explored human nature more thoroughly or told a better ghost story than Charles Dickens.

A man after my own heart, in most cases Dickens serialized his work by publishing it one chapter at a time in the newspapers of the day.

On that note, Claremore’s annual Dickens on the Boulevard is coming up and the timing is perfect.

I’m looking foreward to the fun and games, gun fights in the street, artisian demonstrations, and, most of all, the titillating thrills and chills of Tales from the Top where local and regional actors use a dose of imagination to make the history of Claremore’s Main Street come alive.

There will be Victorian street dancing, wagon rides, music and ghost stories, all from the bygone days of the Dickens era with a northeastern Oklahoma twist.

There will be food and fun and mystery.

I love a good mystery on a chill winter’s evening. As a reporter, I’ve learned the most chilling and provocative stories are often true crime stories, particularly unsolved mysteries and cold case murders of past decades.

This week a pal of my dear friend, Coke Myers, stopped by. His name is Dale Lewis.

Folks in northeastern Oklahoma know him as “Buffalo Dale.”

Buffalo Dale is planning to go public with new information about “one of the nation’s most notorious unsolved murders.”

Dale says he has discovered “what happened 40 years ago when E.C. Mullendore III, heir to a 300,000-acre Oklahoma ranching empire, was brutally beaten and gunned down at the family’s sprawling estate.”

Earlier reports and a best-selling book on the topic named no assailants according to Dale.

Dale has been interviewing an eye-witness for the past four-and-a-half years and will use the website,, to unfold the story.

Damon “Chub” Anderson was a ranch hand and the personal body guard who was with the victim on the night of the Sept. 26, 1970 murder, said Dale.

Posting the story in serialized form online is an unusual and exciting venue Charles Dickens would have loved.

This week Dale started posting weekly excerpts from his videotaped interviews with Anderson and what he describes as other key figures in the “Mullendore murder saga.”

I can’t wait to watch the story unfold.

Like Dickens’ famous tales, the entire story will eventually be bound into a book.

I’m also excited about Dickens on the Boulevard and the chance to explore all those old buildings.

While I wait, I think I’ll pop across the street to Boarding House Books and see if I can pick up a couple of good mysteries.

What’s more fun on a chill evening than curling up with a mug of hot chocolate, a good book, and a loving dog on your lap? 

Text Only
  • Debra Carpenter MOTHER INTERRUPTED: Mom’s frantic Easter Egg hunt

    Normally, I like to think I’m pretty organized. I know where everything in the house is whether it belongs to me or not, which is a good thing when my husband can’t find his favorite t-shirt (It’s folded up on top of the dresser) or when my daughter is having a meltdown because her Lalaloopsy doll is apparently “gone forever” (It’s on her bed). But in life, and in organization, you win some and you lose some. This is the story of me “losing some”-okay, a lot. 

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Smooth or Chunky?

    When it comes to preparing a meal cooks are called on to make multiple decisions.  Even after deciding what items will be on the upcoming menu, more choices must be made.
    For example will it be fried or scrambled eggs for breakfast?  At lunch time will it be chili with or without beans?  Which will go better with the dinner steak, French fries or baked potato?

    September 29, 2011

  • Words to the wise: Stay away from Highway 66 in Verdigris

    For the ones of you who have been involved in the mess already will know what I am talking about.  For the rest of you, please take warning.  The following could probably save a lot of stress.

    September 13, 2011

  • Picture 3.png Boathouse Jail

    It seemed to be a simple request and an interesting one to boot.

    August 3, 2011 3 Photos

  • Larkin, Larry.tif Special Moments

    It seems like several local residents are keeping a constant watch as workmen have starting tearing down the old original high school building.  

    July 23, 2011 1 Photo

  • Larkin, Larry.tif Moving Into New Century

    It appears my family has been successful while dragging me into the 21st Century.  After must urging and a few light threats, I finally gave in this past week and became a “Facebook” member.

    July 16, 2011 1 Photo

  • Larkin, Larry.tif Here’s to the Girls

    I have a question for someone who knows.  It is not an earth-shaking question, but I would like to know the answer for no particular reason.

    July 5, 2011 1 Photo

  • bumblebee.png REVIEW: New ‘Transformers’ is loud, clunky, but visually impressive

    Optimus Prime is having a bad day.

    July 5, 2011 1 Photo

  • sherrer,-Ben-2007-0105.jpg What’s up with fuel prices?

    For many Oklahomans the cost of gasoline makes up a large part of their monthly budget. When gas prices go up, it often means families must rearrange their priorities so that they can simply fill their cars with fuel. 

    June 24, 2011 1 Photo

  • greenlantern.png REVIEW: ‘Green Lantern’ is not the character’s ‘brightest day’

    Humorist Frank Gelett Burgess is often credited as having said “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.”

    June 21, 2011 1 Photo