Is Sallie House Haunted?

Sallie House

Sallie House is reportedly haunted by a playful and potentially demonic little girl ghost

Ghost Stories of
Sallie House

  • Objects in the home are reportedly moved by unseen forces
  • Sallie’s apparition has been seen by visitors and former tenants
  • Sounds of knocks and disembodied voices have been reported
  • Mysterious fires are said to be started by the home’s ghosts
  • Visitors and past tenants have claimed to be scratched and burned by ghosts in the home
  • Footsteps have been heard running up and down the stairs
  • Electrical malfunctions and drained batteries are said to be common in the home
  • Investigators have reported being touched and grabbed by unseen entities

Sallie House’s Haunting History

Stuck in the middle of a residential block in Atchison, Kansas, Sallie House might not look any different from other homes on the block. The home’s relatively compact size and painted brick construction helps it blend in with its neighbors, but don’t let that fool you – Sallie House is said to be one of Kansas’ most haunted places.

While former tenants have been sent running by the paranormal activity experienced there, paranormal investigators now line up for their chance to spend a night in the home. But, just what is it that makes Sallie House the spookiest spot on the block?

The Sallie House sits innocently on an Atchinson, Kansas street, potential harboring demons

Timeline of Sallie House's History

Swipe or use timeline points to see Sallie House through the years

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First built around 1871, Sallie House’s early story is quite similar to its current one: that of a modest and unassuming brick house. Before it was known as Sallie House, the home was commissioned by the Finney family.

Headed by local physician Charles Finney, the new home would serve both as the family’s residence and Dr. Finney’s office, as at the time, Atchison was small enough for one house-calling doctor to tend to their community.

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The haunting side of Sallie House’s history began around 1905, when Dr. Finney treated a young girl named Sallie for a serious infection. According to legend, Finney believed Sallie was suffering from a serious case of appendicitis and decided to operate lest the girl’s appendix burst before she could be properly treated.

Finney was reportedly in such a rush that he started operating without anesthesia, and Sallie soon died of shock. But, despite her death, the ghost stories around Sallie’s spirit took many years to develop.

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The first claims of Sallie’s presence came in the form of imaginary friends. Tenants after the Finney’s often noted their children talked about an invisible girl named Sallie. Most tenants believed this to be childlike imagination…until Debra and Tony Pickman moved into the Sallie House in 1992, and it turned into a full-blown haunting.

Sallie’s spirit reportedly began attacking the family, especially Tony. The Pickmans moved out in 1994 as the activity remained unrelenting. And, from there, Sallie House’s ghostly lore only grew.

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As of 2022, Sallie House is now open to the public and available for booking tours and overnight stays, in response to the high levels of interest seen following the Pickmans’ claims of activity. Sallie House has quickly become one of Atchison’s biggest tourism draws as ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts all hope to encounter Sallie’s ghost.

But, just what can one expect when looking for ghosts at Sallie House?

Sallie House’s First Paranormal Reports

The most specific claims of paranormal activity come from the Pickmans and their experiences in the 1990s. At first, activity in the home was described as playful, with objects being moved around and others being taken to a specific bedroom upstairs, now believed to be the room where Sallie died.

But the activity quickly turned malevolent…

The Namesake Ghost of Sallie House

Sallie’s apparition reportedly appeared at startling times and soon began accosting the home’s residents. Tony Pickman reported being scratched and pulled out of bed by Sallie one night. And, after that incident, he reported mysterious burns appearing on his body.

Other aggressive paranormal reports in this time included Sallie biting people and pinning them up against walls.

Fire Starting Phantoms
at Sallie House

In the years after the Pickmans left Sallie House, paranormal claims from other visitors quickly piled up. Perhaps the most striking early claim was that Sallie’s ghost would try, and sometimes succeed, at starting fires around the house.

But, while some visitors have encountered burns and fire at Sallie House, others have found the opposite. Cold spots and other strange temperature drops have been reported by visitors to Sallie House as well.

Sallie House’s Playful Ghost

Over time, visitors to Sallie House have left behind many toys, dolls, and stuffed animals in the upstairs bedroom where Sallie reportedly died. Similar to the Pickmans original claims, many visitors now report these toys moving around, sometimes being stacked in a large pile in the middle of the room. Sallie’s ghost is said to enjoy this room the most, despite reportedly haunting the whole home.

She’s also said to enjoy the stairwell and upstairs hall, with her frolicking footsteps sometimes being heard running up and down the stairs and hall.

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The Mysterious Soundsof Sallie House

As the namesake of the Sallie House, Sallie is understandably the most well-known phantom residing there, but some activity in the home has led some to believe she isn’t the only one. Common reports include the sounds of knocking all throughout the house. Some have heard it in the walls while others claim it sounds like a door slam reverberating through the halls.

Additionally, investigators have reported hearing disembodied voices that sound adult, or at least not of Sallie’s young age.

Ghostly Oddities at Sallie House

Over the countless paranormal investigations that have been performed at Sallie House, investigators have reported and recorded numerous other potentially paranormal encounters.

The Sallie House's innocuous looking living room

Many purported EVPs have been collected from investigations of the home, and strange electrical malfunctions with equipment and battery draining incidents have been claimed by investigation teams. Others have reported being touched by unseen entities in the home, though not to the aggressive degree the Pickmans once experienced.

Sallie House is a
Popular Local Haunt

While the ghost stories of Sallie House may seem scary to some, it leaves others clamoring for a chance to spend the night there. Even though it’s not the only purportedly haunted house in Atchison, with McInteer Villa just a short drive away, Sallie House stays an in-demand haunted location. Both daytime tours and overnight investigations are offered today, and remain some of the most popular ghost tours in Kansas.

As Sallie House’s hauntings are featured in more and more news stories, Halloween specials, and paranormal programs, visitors come from far and wide to get a first-hand experience with Sallie’s ghost. So if you’re planning your own Sallie House adventure, don’t underestimate the home’s namesake spirit, she can be a real fire starter.