The Stone Lion Inn

Guthrie, Oklahoma

The Stone Lion Inn

Foul play is afoot.  Guests walk the halls, their inquisitive minds trained of finding a murderer.  Of course, it’s all a game, right?  They signed up for a murder mystery weekend in and old historic inn.  Tensions are high, but the stakes aren’t real.  But then, who was the little girl, lurking on the third floor, one moment there and the next gone?  Or the older gentleman in period dress in the basement?  Surely they are nothing more than hired actors.  No, say the employees.  They are residents of the inn since long before it started taking boarders.  One steeped in tragedy, the other in pain, they remain within, startling guests while making their presence known. 

If there is one thing that paranormal investigators can agree on, it is this:  The past is never truly past.  If it were, there would be nothing to investigate.  Within the walls of a stately inn, history is remembered not just by the staff, but by those who played a part.  Certain buildings retain their memories in the form of memorabilia, relics of the past that present day owners find quaint or fascinating.  Others by taking pride in that past.  Still others find a different way to remember, as the souls of those who walked before dwell within, a reminder of days gone by.

The Stone Lion Inn was built in 1907 by F.E. Houghton as a home for himself and his large family.  He built the house right next door to the one they’d already outgrown.  When he and his wife moved in, they had twelve children, including one daughter named Augusta.  She was a very playful child, whose games and toys were mostly confined to the third floor.  Tragedy struck the Haughton family, however, when the little girl was just eight years old.  She contracted whooping cough that left her bed ridden.  Because medicines of the day were often laced with opium and codeine, the child died of an accidental overdose.  Houghton was devastated by the loss of his little girl. 

The Houghton’s lived in the home for many more years before moving on some time in the 1920’s, when it was leased out as a funeral home.  The house actually stayed in the same family until 1986, when it was purchased by Becky Luker.  With the help of her sons, she was determined to fix the place up and turn it into Guthrie’s first bed and breakfast.  However, things took a strange turn when they began renovations. 

During the night, they could hear the sounds of someone walking around upstairs and up and down the back staircase.  On several occasions, Ms. Luker called the police, but no intruders were ever found.  The large third-floor closet, where her son stored his toys, was routinely ransacked by an unseen presence.  There were other events which the Luker’s found strange, until a visit from F.E. Houghton’s children cleared up some of the mystery.  They told her of their sister, Augusta, and identified the chest in the third-floor closet as one they’d used in their youth to store toys.  They also related that, after their parents had fallen asleep, they would often creep along the back staircase for some late-night playing. 

The Stone Lion Inn

There appear to be several restless souls in this stately mansion, none so famous as the little girl named Augusta.  Though rarely seen, and never by the guests, they do know she still is there.  Several have reported a child-like figure tucking them into bed at night, or touching their faces to wake them up in the mornings.  Some have complained that the child played on their bed while they were trying to sleep.  The most common manifestations of Augusta, however, come in the form of footsteps up and down the back stairs, the sound of giggling, and the sound of a wooden ball being rolled across the third floor. 

Augusta is not alone, however.  Many people claim that F.E. Houghton himself haunts the basement.  Many have seen him, but more have sensed his presence in other ways.  The sudden onset of the scent of pipe tobacco, for example, is one of his common methods of announcing himself.  Though the Stone Lion Inn is a non-smoking establishment, the scent still pops up from time to time, with seemingly no source. Phantom voices are also reported, such as a laughing woman.  While some guests find the phenomena fascinating, others are frightened to the point of leaving. 

Several paranormal investigative groups, including The Oklahoma Paranormal and Research Investigations team and GHOULI (Ghost Haunts of Oklahoma & Urban Legend Investigations), have investigated the house with interesting results.  Among the evidence found have been electronic voice phenomena (EVPs) of a young girl’s voice, as well as that of an older man.  Electromagnetic Field meters have gone off in places with no discernable source, and cold spots have been felt throughout the inn. 

Present Day
Restless souls not withstanding, the Stone Lion Inn has become famous for other reasons:  Murder Mystery Weekend.  During this time, guests can partake in a whodunnit style party in which one of the guests is more than they seem.  Guests can stay in one of six rooms that feature private baths and sitting rooms, claw-footed tubs for two, and a full gourmet breakfast. 

Little Augusta and her father appear to enjoy their house to this day, as events have not slowed down. 

Best Times
If one is looking for a first-class mystery weekend, the best idea is to book a party well in advance.  Although there is never a bad time to stay at the Stone Lion Inn, if one is looking for Augusta, she is most often found sneaking up and down the back staircase between the hours of ten p.m. and 12 a.m.  The laughing woman most often is heard around four a.m.  Mr. Houghton, however, seems to appear at random, keeping to no schedule but his own. 

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Scott A. Johnson

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