When former Gov. Frank Keating moved into the Governor's Mansion in 1995, a member of the staff told him the place was haunted by William " Alfalfa Bill" Murray, one of the state's founders and one of its most colorful political figures.

Keating said he shrugged off the warning that Murray's spirit haunted the third step of the main staircase until his wife slipped and fell on the cursed step. He said the incident wasn't isolated.

"I know it seems odd, but during the next few years we lived there, several other people slipped on that same step," he said.

Keating also said his son, Chip, saw Murray's ghost while watching TV with friends in the mansion's basement.

"They laughed," Keating said. "But they were only around 14 at the time, and you could tell that what they saw had them scared."

Ghost's low profile

Kim Henry addresses what she's heard about the "Alfalfa Bill" Murray ghost story.

First lady Kim Henry has been living in the mansion since 2003, but has yet to have any run-ins with Murray's ghost. She classified herself as a skeptic on the paranormal.

"I don't believe in ghosts," Henry said. "Just because there's something we can't explain doesn't mean it's supernatural."

Henry said her staff and children have reported odd sounds and the occasional light inexplicably coming on and off in the 80-year-old house, but nothing more than that.

"I've never seen or heard any evidence that the Governor's Mansion is haunted," she said. "My staff may tell you differently ... but I've never experienced any of that."

Former Gov. George Nigh, who met Murray as a young politician, lived in the mansion for eight years.

He said he never ran into Murray's ghost.

To placate the ghost, former first lady Cathy Keating commissioned a doll in Murray's likeness and placed it on the third step to keep the spirit company.

And there it remains.

Bob Burke talks about William "Alfalfa Bill" Murray.

Oklahoma City attorney Bob Burke has been a fan of William "Alfalfa Bill" Murray since Burke was a boy growing up in Broken Bow.

Burke, an author of numerous books on Oklahoma and its notable personalities, said Murray lived in Broken Bow for a few years while the former governor tended to his terminally ill wife.

"My aunt used to take him groceries when his wife was sick and she always had stories about 'Alfalfa Bill,'" Burke said.

His aunt told him Murray lived up to his " colorful" reputation, and he rarely appeared in public without his trademark all-white suit, complete with tobacco stains.

But Burke said Murray was more than just a wacky politician. More than just a man who won the 1930 governors' race by handing out cheese and crackers to a starving public.

"'Alflafa Bill' Murray is without question Oklahoma's most colorful political character ever," he said. "As governor, as first speaker of the house, as chairman of the constitutional convention ... he was a very, very smart man but very eccentric."

As for his favorite "Alfalfa Bill" story, Burke said Murray used to keep the chairs in his office chained to the radiator because he didn't want people getting too close to him at his desk.

"The only person 'Alfalfa Bill' would allow to come up close to his desk and talk to him was Will Rogers," Burke said.

Burke plans to write a biography in three or four years using "fresh" material from University of Oklahoma President David Boren, he said.