- Ghostly footsteps have been heard in the home’s upper floors
- Disembodied voices are often reported
- Lights are said to flicker in areas without electricity
- Sudden temperature changes have been encountered
- Shadow figures have reportedly been seen in windows
- A rocking chair is said to rock back and forth without known cause
- Visitors report the sensation of being watched
McInteer Villa’s Storied Past
Standing proudly at the corner of 13th Street and Kansas Avenue in Atchison, Kansas is one of the most opulent manors in town. McInteer Villa has greeted many owners, from prominent business to eccentric violinists, and seen numerous uses for more than 130 years.
But, beneath its well-decorated exterior, legends tell of ghostly secrets lurking inside the stately mansion. The allure of ghost stories has brought many tourists and ghost hunters to the villa.
It seems there must be something special about McInteer Villa that leaves spirits reluctant to go and the living itching to come to Atchison.
Timeline of McInteer Villa's History
Swipe or use timeline points to see McInteer Villa through the years
Built in 1889, McInteer Villa was commissioned by wealthy local businessman John McInteer. McInteer started life as a poor Irish immigrant, but made a fortune in Kansas selling saddles and horse harnesses to families traveling west in the later 1800s. McInteer Villa was a capstone to John’s long history of success.
But, not long after moving in, tragedy struck the McInteer family when John’s wife, Alice, died in 1892. John remarried in 1895 to widower Anna Conlon, who had three children from her previous marriage.
John, Anna, and the children lived well in McInteer Villa until John’s death in 1902. After that, Anna kept the home lively with a revolving door of Conlon relatives coming and going from the mansion, including many children.
The home stayed full of Conlon relatives until Anna’s death in 1916, after which Charles Conlon, Anna’s brother, made it a home just for him and his immediate family. During Conlon’s ownership his nephew, Charles Donovan, committed suicide on the second floor of the villa.
McInteer Villa stayed in the Conlon family until 1925, when it was converted into a rooming house. For over twenty five years, the mansion hosted many boarders and travelers. But, in 1952, the manor transitioned back to single-family home when Isobel Altus, a retired professional violinist, bought the home hoping to fully restore it.
Alas, Altus lacked the funds to achieve her dream, and sold it shortly before her death in 1969. Though she was able to remain at McInteer until she died.
Altus sold the home to George Gerardy, who finally began restoration work. McInteer Villa was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, and has seen a great resurgence in recent years thanks to that recognition and the tireless restoration work. In the 2010s, McInteer Villa was purchased by the Neal family, who opened the home up to tours.
Soon after, tourists began leaving the manor with tales of ghostly encounters. That’s led some to call McInteer Villa Kansas’ most haunted mansion.
Ghostly Sounds of McInteer Villa
Strange noises and disembodied voices are some of the most common reports of paranormal activity at McInteer Villa. Loud footsteps have often been heard in the home’s second floor hallway and are sometimes said to pace back and forth down the hall. Similarly loud footsteps have also been reported in the attic.
These loud noises are often attributed to the ghost of Charles Donovan, still lingering in the upstairs area where he died.
Others claim to hear disembodied voices in the villa. The voice reports range from far off calls that are impossible to make out, to whispered compliments right over people’s shoulders.
Tower Terror at McInteer Villa
Paranormal activity has even been reported by people walking by the villa from outside.
One oft-mentioned report of activity stems from the home’s tall tower, which is often seen with the lights flickering on-and-off from within. Curiously, the tower of McInteer Villa has no electricity.
McInteer Villa’s Watchful Apparitions
Additionally, shadow figures have been seen moving around upper floors through windows, while others have stood still at the front windows watching people pass by.
Back inside, visitors often report being watched, as if the shadows from the windows are still keeping an eye on people even indoors.
McInteer Villa: Atchison’s
McInteer Villa isn’t the only haunted house in Atchison, with the other being the infamous Sallie House, but the haunted old brick mansion makes itself a unique experience nonetheless. The villa is currently available for both daytime tours and overnight stays throughout the year, and books for those visits remain especially popular.
In recent years, McInteer Villa has been featured on news programs and paranormal television programs like Nick Groff’s Death Walker, further building the home’s ghostly reputation. So, if you’re planning a visit to McInteer Villa, be sure to plan ahead. And while you’re visiting, watch where you sit, the rocking chair just might already be taken.