The “Sallie House”, built in 1890, has become famous amongst the local residents and paranormal enthusiasts because of its reportedly unsettling history.
Located at 508 N 2nd St, Atchison, KS this seemingly ordinary residence once belonged to Dr. Charles Finney. Finney was a physician who conducted his medical practice, including surgeries and examinations, in the basement of the house. As a result of Dr. Finney’s practice, legend has it that a 6-year-old girl named Sallie haunts the house to this day.
Sallie’s mother brought her to Finney seeking relief for Sallie who was suffering from intense abdominal pain. Dr. Finney diagnosed Sallie with appendicitis and began to operate on her as quickly as possible. It is reported that Finney began to operate on Sallie before her anesthesia was able to take full effect. Sallie passed away on the operating table that night. It is believed that Sallie was under the impression that Finney was torturing her because of the excruciating pain she had endured.
For many years after, the house was just another house on the block, until 1992 when a young couple decided to rent the property. The couple thought they were renting a quaint historical house until they were supposedly introduced to the spirit of Sallie.
Deborah and Tony Pickman discussed their experience living in the house in a TV interview with Zak Bangas from Ghost Adventures. “The first month or two, not much happened. After that we started noticing little things,” Tony said.
“The lights started turning off and on by themselves. We would come downstairs in the morning and our photos on the wall were turned upside down and one of them was shattered,” Tony said.
Their dog often growled and barked at what is believed to be unseen entities around the house. The spooky encounters began to take a physical and personal turn when fires started breaking out within the house and attacks targeting Tony, leaving him with unexplained scratches on his body. The Pickmans explain the first time Tony was scratched. “It felt like a sharp sting in my back. Deborah lifted my shirt, and she turned white as a ghost when she saw the scratches,” Tony said.
“I couldn’t believe that a ghost, that we had identified at that point, could do physical harm. It was really shocking,” Deborah said.
Many paranormal enthusiasts have been drawn to the house, attempting to debunk the mystery that lies inside the walls of the home. Zak Bangas visited the house in 2015 creating a thrilling episode for his show. Some visitors have embarked on overnight stays to witness the phenomena firsthand, while others have taken self-guided tours lasting one hour, hoping to catch a glimpse into the ongoings of the house.
The Sallie House website states that hundreds of people visit the house each year to get the full experience. A waiver is required to be signed before entry because of the personal attacks on Tony Pickman. However, no personal injuries have been reported since 1993.