The Sallie House

508 North 2nd Street, Atchison, Kansas 66002


Courtesy: Visit Atchison

At first glance, the Sallie House looks haunted — dark windows, peeling paint exposing discolored brick, the ghost of a little girl standing in the window watching you . . . . This house has it all, and that little girl? That’s Sallie.

Built sometime around the turn of the last century, the Sallie House was the home and office of a local doctor. Sallie was about six-years-old when her mother brought her to the home. Sallie was experiencing severe abdominal pain and had collapsed. Her mother was frantic. The doctor diagnosed appendicitis and immediately began prepping for surgery. In his haste, he didn’t wait long enough for the anesthesia to take effect and began cutting Sallie. She awoke screaming and then died on the operating table.

In addition to the tragic story of Sallie, four other people died in the home, although most likely of natural causes. Residents and visitors to the home report all sorts of unexplained activity — disembodied voices, objects floating in mid-air, full body apparitions, and the sound of furniture being moved across the room. There have even been candles mysteriously burning and reports of physical attacks — the most famous of these happening to the Pickman family in the 1990s.

In December 1992, Tony and Debbie Pickman, newly wed and expecting their first child, moved into the Sallie House. The house had long been known to be haunted, and it is unclear if the Pickmans knew the history of the home before moving in. At first, minor things happened — lights flickered, the dogs acted strangely, they felt cold spots — all things that could be chalked up to normal, drafty old house activity, but within a few months, things became more odd.

Mold started growing on objects in the house. The light in the nursery would turn itself back on and stay on all night, and then the weirdest thing happened. The Pickmans went out one evening, and when they returned, Debbie Pickman found all the stuffed animals in the nursery had been moved to the floor and placed in a circle, sitting up, facing each other, with their paws touching.

After one particularly haunted evening, the Pickmans decided they didn’t want to stay in the house that night. As they were leaving, Tony Pickman felt something burning him on his back. Later, the Pickmans saw that he had three long scratches in the place where he’d felt the burn. Tony continued to take the brunt of the physical attacks, and two years after they moved in, the Pickmans left the house for good.

Today, the house is open for self-guided tours and even overnight stays. All visitors are required to sign a waiver before entering because of the potential of personal injury.

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