Katherine Cross (March 13, 1899 - October 10, 1917) was a young Oklahoma woman whose headstone epitaph, "Murdered by Human wolves" was a source of local legend. Her grave is located in Violet Cemetery in Konawa, Oklahoma.
Cross may have been the victim of a botched abortion. A fictionalized account of her death appears in the novella "Murdered by Human Wolves," by Steven E. Wedel.
Life and legend
Cross was born March 13, 1899, to J.T. and M.K. Cross. She died at the age of 18 on October 10, 1917. The cause of her death wasn't commonly known, leading her grave to become a popular "ghost story" setting and source of legend. Many modern legends pertaining to the unusual epitaph claim that her body was found shredded to pieces, that she was killed by werewolves, or that she was killed by the Ku Klux Klan.
According to the October 25, 1917 Seminole County News, however, Katherine died while under the care of Dr. A.H. Yates and Fredrick O'Neal, a schoolteacher from Konawa who was acting as his assistant. Katherine's death certificate lists the cause of death as a criminal operation and many feel that due to the time period and the location, that this was the result of a botched abortion.
This, according to the news article, was the "Second Charge" against the two gentlemen. Dr. Yates and Fred O'Neal were held in county jail for the death of 18-year-old Elise Stone. Elise was admitted to Dr. Yates office on August 15, 1917 where she remained for four days, at which time she was taken to his home. Her death, according to Dr. Yates, was the result of a "congestive chill." Although most of Konawa was satisfied with Dr. Yates' decision, the few who were suspicious contacted County Attorney A.G. Nichols. Nichols and the county physician, along with an order by M.L. Rascoe, Justice of the Peace, exhumed the body of Elise to perform an autopsy and the findings also listed the cause of her death as a criminal operation.
A fictionalized account of Cross's death appears in a 2004 novella entitled "Murdered by Human Wolves". Published by Scrybe Press, the story contains a family of werewolves, who along with the town doctor, kill Cross. The novella comes with a nonfiction account of the author's interview with Mary Franklin, a paranormal researcher who has studied Cross's life.
- Latham, Michelle, "Murder by human wolves?," Ada Evening News, October 31, 2006 (accessed May 24, 2010).
- StevenWedel.com: Bibliography (accessed May 24, 2010)
- Speer, Cindy Lynn, A review, Science Fiction and Fantasy (accessed May 24, 2010).