Peruse the internet for more than 10 minutes and one is likely to be barraged with conspiracy theories like the faked moon landing, dinosaurs aren’t real and, my favorite, that the Earth is flat. These conspiracies give a sense of purpose to those often without a sense of identity.
Cue Oklahoma’s weirdest contribution to the conspiracy carpool. It involves Enid, a hotel, and John Wilkes Booth. This one’s a roller coaster so strap in.
More than 150 years ago, the actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, shooting him just days after the Confederacy surrendered in the Civil War.
History then tell us that Booth was tracked down and killed after he tried to escape. Some however, believe the last part of Booth’s story is not true.
In Enid, there’s a legend that Booth spent his final days in Oklahoma and lived into his 60s.
“He was in Enid a little under two years,” Russ Frazee told KOCO 5. “Moved into what was the relatively new Grand Avenue Hotel.”
There’s something beautiful about an idea so profoundly idiotic. Enid expects us to believe that a man who murdered the U.S. president and injured his leg was able to evade a nationwide search and end up in an Oklahoma hotel? Look, we get it; Enid is the middle child of most Oklahoma towns. You want to hang with the cool kids and have interesting stories to tell.
Here’s more fan-fiction:
Legend has it that a bed still at the now-furniture store was where Booth died, decades after assassinating the United States’ 16th president.
“Came back to his room and administered the strychnine to himself on his bed,” Frazee said.
According to Frazee, other hotel guests could hear Booth struggling to breathe.
“The growls and gurgles of this horrible death by poison,” Frazee said.
Right…you kill the president, don’t brag about it, and kill yourself via poison decades after the deed was done?
The article says he changed his name to David E. George and was able to escape the public. Booth was a famous actor; it’s not like you can Clark Kent the situation with a pair of glasses and a comical mustache.
And one more thing:
Whether this person was actually John Wilkes Booth, the mortician capitalized on the possibility.
“He put it in the back of a funeral parlor and, for a nickel, you could go in and see the body of John Wilkes Booth,” Frazee said.
The body was embalmed with arsenic — essentially mummified. The mortician eventually sold the Booth mummy to the circus.
This is the most Oklahoma thing about this story. For a nickle, you can see the makeshift mummy of a who may have killed the president. I guess seeing a dead body is one of the top 10 things to do in Enid.