If you’ve never heard of this town before, don’t worry. Most other people haven’t, either. Or if they have, it’s probably because it’s the hometown of the US’ most famous missing person: Amelia Earhart. There’s more to this little town than meets the eye, however. People say it’s the most haunted city in Kansas, if not one of the most haunted cities in the whole of the US. And, seeing as Kansas is one of those states I forget about (sorry, guys! I even drove through you on the way to Michigan! You have a lot of fields!), I thought I’d take a closer look at Atchison and all its spooky offerings.
What goes on here?
Atchison has been around since before the Civil War. They were a stop for wagon trains, and eventually sent out troops to keep themselves from being invaded by Missouri during the war. It’s been a fruitful town from the beginning, and not always a creepy one. But eventually stories grew. These are the ones I could find:
The Gargoyle House. Going into it, this already has a badass name. It almost doesn’t need anything weird going on to be listed on the haunted side. Almost. It’s actually called the Waggener House, and it was built by BP Waggener back in the 1880’s. Legend has it that Waggener sold his soul to the devil, and as a symbol of that, he placed gargoyles on the roof (yes, gargoyles are used to protect against evil spirits, but don’t ruin the legend with silly facts). Legend has it that the house is now cursed, and anyone who tries removing the gargoyles from the roof will meet an untimely doom. This apparently happened to one owner, who fell down the staircase after attempting to get the statues from the roof. While there’s no proof of Waggener selling is soul to the devil, or the house being cursed, it’s a neat legend that’s worth checking out.
Beware when walking along the Missouri River in Atchison. There is a large hill going down Atchison street that leads directly into the Missouri River. It used to be called Ferry Street, because that’s where the locals stopped to catch the ferry across the river. Legend says a woman in a horse and buggy lost control of her horses, sending them one way and her the other. She ended up in the river, and with no way out of her carriage, drowned. Men working along the river at night have heard the voice of a woman beckoning them into the water with her. If that’s not the definition of creepy I don’t know what is.
When I watched Sightings back in the 90’s, I was intrigued by the Sallie House. I saw the scratches and cuts on the owner’s body, but come on. It was on Sightings. I love that show, but back then I had no way of verifying these claims (read: I didn’t know what the internet was yet). But now that I’m doing research on it… this place is downright scary. There seems to be a girl there by the name of Sallie who doesn’t much care for people. She turns electrical devices on and off, moves objects and makes noises.
Holy crap! That cut required stitches?! Even IF it was faked, that’s a hell of a long way to go to fake out a 90’s investigative program. People have been shoved, there have been reports of multiple voices in one conversation… Yeah, this place is haunted.
Jackson Park Looks like a quaint place to have a picnic in the spring, but in Atchison nothing is as it seems. There are two legends about the same girl there in Jackson Park. The first is that she was a young girl coming home from the prom, when she had an argument with her boyfriend and he left her in the park before driving off. The second legend is that Molly was an African-American woman murdered for being her race. Either way, screams and moans can be heard around midnight in the spot called “Molly’s Hollow,” where young couples like to… “park.”
The Glick House was built by George Washington Glick in the 1870’s. Now a bed and breakfast, anyone staying there might just get more than they paid for. The doors open and close by themselves, and footsteps can be heard all over the house. Maybe Mr. Glick and family haven’t quite left their property?
Last, but certainly not the final haunting in this town, is the Theatre Atchison. Now, all theatres claim to have some kind of ghostly activity. It’s not a real theatre without strange noises and dark apparitions creeping in dark hallways. But this one might be able to make the claim of “haunted theatre” better than most. Several people have reported feeling strange presences, as well as noises and footsteps throughout the building. Doors rattle and cold spots dot the interior.
There are at least five other homes Atchison claims as haunted, and at least three other non-residential buildings that boast paranormal activity. That’s a lot for a town of 11,000. Maybe it was destiny that Amerlia Earhart would be from this town and disappear without a trace. However you look at it, Atchison is one haunted place.
If you’d like to know more about any of the hauntings, see the video on the Sallie House below, or check out the links I got all my info from! There’re even ghost tours conducted regularly! Be sure to check out Atchison if you’re in the region, and as always, leave any personal experiences you have in the comments section!