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OKLAHOMA MYSTERIES: Her tombstone reads: "Murdered by human wolves"

M. J. Alexander / Special to Red Dirt Report
Katherine Ann Cross' gravestone.
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LOGUST GROVE, Okla. – Some say her body was found in pieces. Some say she was killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Some say she was murdered by werewolves. Most of the tales are unrecorded--gone.

But after one look at her tombstone, you'll wonder why the epitaph reads, "Murdered by human wolves."

What is known is that she did exist. Katherine Ann Cross was born in 1899 and died 18 years later. She, her parents, and seven siblings moved during the Great War to Konawa, a small town that takes its name from a Seminole word meaning "string of beads." It is situated in southwestern Seminole County.

Oklahoma native, Steven E. Wedel, strings the facts together in his short book Murdered by Human Wolves, published in 2004. Since little is known about Cross, the story is based on newspaper articles, legends, and real and imagined characters. It ends with findings from paranormal researcher Mary Franklin.

"By all accounts, Katherine Cross died an unnecessary and likely very painful death at a young age," states Wedel in the forward to his book.

Wedel has written several werewolf sagas. In this novella a werewolf family entices friends, Elise Stone and Cross, into their mesmerizing world. Both girls become pregnant. Both die at the hands of a teacher and doctor.

The book ends with an interview with Franklin. Franklin describes using electronic voice phenomena (EVP) recordings in the Konowa cemetery. She relates that she asked suspected Cross killer in an EVP recording if he had killed Cross and if werewolves lived in Konowa.

"I got a one-word answer that is very plain: 'Several,'" states Franklin.

News articles of 1917 reveal details of world events and brief details of the Cross and Stone murders.

Front-page stories in The Shawnee Daily-News Herald, Oct. 18, 1917, issue include an account of the death of John Reed whose horse was startled by the Rock Island passenger train. Thrown upon a fence, Reed was crushed. Also, Chicago White Sox baseball players received their winnings as victors in the World Series--$3,669 to each. And snow fell in Amarillo, Texas, for three hours that day.

But the most startling story is of young, beautiful Katherine Cross and the stormy upshot of her death brought on by the supposed ghastly doings of Dr. A. H. Yates.

"For the second time within sixty days, Dr A. H. Yates, a Konowa physician, is accused of performing a criminal operation," states the story.

Two months previously, Yates and school teacher Fred O'Neal, were charged with a similar crime that resulted in the death of teacher, Elise Stone. It is believed that Stone had become pregnant after an affair with O'Neal.

Stone's body was exhumed after Konowa citizens insisted. An autopsy was performed at the cemetery, and the resulting cause of death is listed as a "criminal operation," according to the Oklahoma Times, published Aug. 29, 1917.

Stone was confined in Yates's office for four days, and O'Neal carried meals to her. Yates claimed she died, thereafter, of a "congestive chill."

"According to County Attorney A. G. Nichols, the girl would have become a mother within the next four months."

Two months later Cross died; an investigation into her death began.

"The girl would have become a mother within the next six months. Yates, it is alleged, attempted to prevent that result," states the Herald.

Suspicion of Yates was described by Cross's parents in a meeting with the County Attorney Nichols.

"The parents of the dead girl have told the whole awful story and are ready to testify to the facts on the stand."

Yates was later acquitted of the Stone murder. He was first charged with first-degree murder of Cross, then first-degree manslaughter, then acquitted. It is believed that O'Neal was acquitted in Stone's death and that neither man served a sentence.

Were there "several" victims of the doctor? It is unknown. To those who believe he was the killer of Cross, and maybe others, they believe Yates's sentence was carried out after death. He is buried in Konowa Cemetery within viewing distance of Cross's haunting epitaph.

Most of Cross's story is forgotten, but not gone. It is said her parents made sure that the horror was etched in stone.

Notes gathered later on

In an email from Wedel, he told Red Dirt Report that some of the survivng family of Cross had accused him of connecting them with the occult.

"I pointed out that the epitaph the family had put on the gravestone had made Katherine a public figure," Wedel said.

Wedel was also contacted by a movie producer. 

"He wanted to set the story in modern times, opening in California, with a 'buff female cop in a gunfight,' as he said. Then she'd somehow find out she was the daughter of Katherine after coming to Oklahoma. It was ridiculous and I refused to do the rewrite," Wedel said.

Wedel said he heard that the family replaced the stone, but was not sure.

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About the Author

Roxann Perkins Yates

Roxann Perkins is a teacher, writer, poet, and an amateur smartphone photographer. She lives in...

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