Residents of Oklahoma City are familiar with the stories of the old, decrepit Belle Isle power plant and those that fell to their deaths within the bowels if its ruins. The tragedies helped expedite the process of tearing down the abandoned facility and erecting a shopping center, which is rumored to be haunted by those that died in their plunges. However, narrowing these hauntings to those particular incidents may be a bit short-sighted. Belle Isle, as with many locations has a far deeper history to consider for it’s paranormal activity.
Over one hundred years ago in 1907, the Oklahoma Railway Co. broke ground at Belle Isle Lake to build an electric plant that would generate power for its new streetcar network. An ominous sign was cast over the area when at Halloween 1908, a worker at the railway’s quarry suffered critical injuries from falling rock as a result of defective machinery. This was just the first of many accidental deaths that occurred on the property
For a time, Belle Isle was the place to be. In order to attract more people to use the system prior to World War I, Oklahoma Railway invested in the property by adding a park and bath houses for swimming. In 1922, an amusement park, complete with a classic carousel and roller coaster, was built, prompting Belle Isle to be dubbed “Oklahoma’s Coney Island.” When Oklahoma Gas and Electric bought the power plant in 1928 they promptly closed the amusement park and built a bigger power facility on the land. OG&E did, however, leave open the lake for fishing until the early 1950s. It was in 1980 that the plant finally closed and vandals and adventurous teens began breaking in.
The years from the amusement park’s opening until the late 1930s are of an interesting note for anyone studying paranormal history. It was during this time that some half dozen people perished around the lake in incidents that included amusement park accidents and capsized boats. One woman lost her hat on the park’s roller coaster, reached for it, and was struck by a beam at the side of the track. From there she fell to her death. More common were water-related tragedies out on the lake in which people tumbled in while fishing, switching positions in their boat, and one man even suffered a heart attack.
A completely different type of odd incident occurred at midnight on May 3, 1924, when a “strange light” was seen hovering over the Belle Isle about 1,000 feet in the air. It was described as having a fiery color and was discounted as a weather balloon. This anomalous light has never been seen in the area again.
To this day unusual things happen around the shopping center. Sales machinery has operated on its own, items have been knocked to the floor overnight, and awkward cold spots have been felt in numerous places. If these incidents are paranormal in nature there’s really no telling who may be performing the haunting without further research and investigation. With Belle Isle’s tragic history it could be almost anyone.