The spirit of Thomas likes to putter around and visit, making some uneasy…
Entities of Native American children still feel the love.
The original, square-shaped, sandstone mansion was built in 1913, by Flower Nelson, a Tulsa lawyer, who had originally bought the 80 acres of land parcel from the Mackeys, in 1909. The original structure had 9 first floor rooms, and a Verandah. The large master bedroom was on the first floor. The property also had a barn and a garage.
Today, one can visit the Kitchen & Breakfast Room, Butler Pantry, Dining Room, Piano Room, Hallway/Entry, Living Room, Den area, Bathroom in Den area, and a South Bedroom.
In the 1943, the house became a home for orphan Indian children from nearby reservations, until Thomas Gilcrease moved back into the home in 1949. A second floor was added in 1943 with 4 bedrooms, built to accommodate the Indian girls and another building was built for the boys.
Today, the staircase from the first floor leads to the North Hobby Room, the North Bedroom, 3 South Bedrooms, 1 being the main one, which has a bathroom.
When Thomas Gilcrease moved his entire art collection which was quite large at this time, back to Tulsa, he eventually built a museum to house it all on his property, near the mansion, opening it up for the people of Tulsa.
Over the years, Mr. Gilcrease created 23 acres of gardens, which are examples of the types of gardens seen during various times of the American West. The lovely, large gardens were a favorite place for Mr. Gilcrease, who was an avid bird lover.
Thomas Gilcrease, who was born in 1890 and raised a member of the Creek Nation, was allotted 160 acres of Indian land around 1900, which was destined to become part of Oklahoma’s major oil fields. Thomas Gilcrease was a gifted businessman, and at the age of 32, Thomas established the Gilcrease Oil Company, which was the start of his fortune, which he made in the oil business.
Thomas Gilcrease fell in love with this sandstone mansion, and offered the Nelsons a good deal for the house and the 80 acres of land on which it sat. So, the Gilcrease family to move back to the Creek nation homeland. This mansion became The Gilcrease House, where Thomas and his first wife, Belle Harlow, (Osage Tribe member) raised their 2 boys, Thomas Jr. & Barton, and was owned by Gilcrease family from 1914-1962. Except for a few years in the 1920s and 1940s, the family lived in this home.
Though Thomas Gilcrease was a great businessman, and an honest & generous person, he was unlucky at love. He and his first wife divorced in 1926. He married again in 1928 to Norma Smallwood and they had a daughter, Des Cygne. This marriage ended as well in 1933.
Thomas Gilcrease had a passion for art and the history of the American West, and started collecting in 1922, and over the years he added to his collection via seeking out single works and purchasing large amounts from dealers and other collectors. Thomas Gilcrease found himself traveling a lot around Europe in the 1920s and 1930s which inspired him to start his own art museum. He opened his growing collection to the public in San Antonio in 1943, but he moved it all back to Tulsa in 1949 when he decided to go back to his favorite stone mansion, the Gilcrease family home.
In the 1950s, oil prices took a dive. Thomas Gilcrease found it more and more difficult to maintain his collection and was experiencing a building debt. Finally, he thought about selling his entire collection as one unit, in order to keep it together. Well, the people of Tulsa got together and voted 3 to 1 for a bond which paid Gilcrease’s debts.
A very thankful Thomas Gilcrease then deeded his collection to the city of Tulsa, and committed oil revenue money to assist Tulsa in the running and maintenance of the museum, until the bond was paid off. In 1958, the Gilcrease Foundation gave the museum buildings and the grounds to Tulsa as well. When Thomas Gilcrease died in 1962, he bequeathed the final group of art work he had collected in his last years to the museum, and the house and his gardens became part of the museum and grounds.
The apparition of Thomas Gilcrease
He likes to visit his art in the museum buildings, which is why there was a high turnover of security guards, until some people with a tolerance to nighttime visits by an entity who loved his art collection, were found.
Thomas Gilcrease also likes to putter around his house, both floors. His presence has been felt, heard and seen by the living, as he enjoys his eternal retirement in his favorite stone home. He has appeared as a solid apparition usually only once in front of the employees and curators who manage the house and museum over the years, as if to say hello.
Employees have heard footsteps all around the house, have observed doors open and close by themselves and occasionally hear a big bang coming from one of the upstairs rooms.
Thomas Gilcrease has been felt, heard and seen in his extensive gardens as well.
Entities of 7 Native American Children
They once lived here/visited here/lived nearby also call this mansion home. Perhaps they died due to the disease epidemics which periodically swept Tulsa over the years before the life-saving vaccines were a reality. The children also love to play in the vast garden area as well.
Another Unknown Male Entity
This spirit keeps Mr. Gilcrease and the children company in the mansion.
OKCGC/PRG, together with their good friends at Paranormal Investigation Team of Tulsa (PITT) worked together in an all night investigation in Thomas Gilcrease’s mansion. Fox 23 news facilitated the investigation and documented this first visit. April 20th, 2002 – Team members included Teri French, Tina Stevens, Darren Sanchez, Ron Cosgrove and Becky Cosgrove
In both upstairs rooms – North Bedroom 10 & South Bedroom 13, had “odd readings and feelings.” Many “visual anomalies” were filmed in these two areas.
In North Bedroom 10 upstairs – An EVP of a whisper was recorded, after calling out Mr. Gilcrease’s name. Someone gently tugged on a researcher’s hair just outside room 10.
Downstairs, at the entrance to the living room, Darren caught an ‘echo mist’ on film, taken by his 35mm camera.
Paranormal Investigation team of Tulsa PITT came back a second time and the joint was jumpin’ with paranormal activity.
May 11th, 2002 – Team members present: Teri French, Tina Stevens, Darren Sanchez, Cindy Elledge, Valerie Greenshaw and Craig Shackelford with guests Mr. & Mrs. Bartcop along for the ride.
Upstairs North Bedroom – Picked up a great EVP – “Help!”
South Upstairs Bedroom – Very active. Darren asked questions to unseen children entities, asking them to let him find something from long ago. Fifteen minutes later, Darren found an Apport on the floor of the downstairs South Bedroom, an old earpiece. Fifteen minutes later, another rapport was found in this same upstairs bedroom – a broken wooden wagon wheel from a very old toy!
Piano Room downstairs – was extremely active – Picture taken of the room produced a “great glowie photo.” When trying to get a response from the entities in this room, an extremely loud bang was heard from an upstairs bedroom.
During a Sit-down in the Foyer – A rather vocal argument between two male voices was heard coming from the kitchen/butler pantry area which grew in intensity. Words were muffled, but the anger was felt by the team. Terri went to the kitchen window to look outside to see if the guard was arguing with anyone and needed help… Nope, it wasn’t him. As she left through the butler’s pantry, she felt the angry presence of an entity right behind her. She turned around and said, “Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
The team felt they had worn out their welcome with this one entity, and left after apologizing for taking so much time. They left some toys in the closet for the children entities to play with. They are always respectful of the entities’ wishes when they do an investigation.
1400 Gilcrease Museum Road
Tulsa, OK 74127
The museum and 23 acres of thermal gardens provide barrier-free access. Free tours of the museum are offered daily at 2 p.m. Private and special needs tours, as well as garden tours, can be arranged with two weeks prior reservation. Please call (918) 596-2712 for information.
- Paranormal Investigation Team of Tulsa
- Gilcrease Museum Web-Site
- Haunted Highway: The Spirits of Route 66
by Ellen Roson & Dianne Halicki
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr