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The Sallie House: An Infamous Haunted House



A photo of the infamous Sallie House. Photo: US Ghost Adventures

The Sallie House in Atchison, Kansas has a dark history of death and sorrow. Many claim to have experienced paranormal activity while in the house including receiving unexplained injuries and having objects melt for no reason.

The History of the Sallie House

A map of Atchison, Kansas where the Sallie House is located. Image: Wikipedia

The Sallie house is located at 508 N. 2nd Street, Atchison, Kansas.

Built in the mid-1800s, the Sallie House was commissioned by the Finney family and served as a residence for Dr. Charles Finney who utilized the lower floor as a medical office, with a designated room for examination and surgery.

The family occupied the upper floor until they eventually moved out due to insufficient space.

This historic house was listed for sale on Zillow at a price of $1 million in February 2016, later reducing to $499,000 in August of the same year, and eventually being removed from the market in November 2017. It seems likely the Sallie House’s reputation had something to do with this.

The Story of Sallie

The floor plan of the Sallie House. Photo: Astonishing Legends

The Sallie House got its name from the story of a young girl called Sallie who died in the house, according to the legend.

The Sallie House was once the residence of a physician from Atchison, Dr. Charles Finney. One fateful day, Sallie, a three year old girl with intense stomach pain, arrived at the house with her mother, seeking medical assistance.

Believing that Sallie was suffering from appendicitis, the doctor began operating on her without waiting for the anesthesia to take full effect. Sallie let out several pained screams before passing away on the operating table.

There is little evidence to back up the claim that a little girl called Sallie died in the Sallie house. Medical records were not kept as rigorously as they are nowadays. Being a doctor’s surgery however means that the house will have been filled with pain and suffering at various times and no doubt would have been a place where several people died.

Paranormal Encounters in the Sallie House

The Pickman Family’s Experience

The initial account of the haunting at the Sallie House was documented by a young couple named Deborah and Tony Pickman. In 1992, the newlywed couple, anticipating the arrival of their first child, decided to make the house their home on New Year’s Eve.

From the exterior, the white brick house with blue trim and a charming little porch seemed like the perfect place to start their new family. The house consisted of two stories and three bedrooms, one of which was converted into a nursery after they moved in.

Initially, they did not observe anything unusual, but gradually, strange occurrences began to take place. Light bulbs flickered and buzzed even when turned off, while the cordless phone intermittently lost and regained power.

After a few months, the Pickmans had almost forgotten about the strange occurrences until the birth of their son Taylor in June.

One evening, after visiting Tony’s family, they returned home to find something quite unexpected in the nursery. All the stuffed animals were arranged in a circle on the floor with their hands touching, leading them to assume that Tony’s sister-in-law had left the arrangement for them.

When they contacted her, she denied having left any such display, claiming she only went to the nursery to admire the decoration. She also confessed to sensing an eerie draft or cold breeze while in the house. As she climbed the stairs, something unsettling seemed to engulf her, prompting her to pull out her gun for protection.

After returning all the stuffed animals to their original positions and turning off the lights, they proceeded downstairs.

Upon reaching the ground floor, they noticed that the light in the nursery had been turned back on. They went back upstairs to investigate and discovered that one of the teddy bears was now on the floor, which unnerved them.

Despite searching all the rooms in the house, including upstairs, downstairs, and the basement, they were unable to find anything unusual.

They returned the bear to its original position on the chair by the door and turned off the lights. They then went back downstairs and waited to see if anything would happen. After around thirty minutes, Deborah went upstairs to use the bathroom, and to her dismay, she discovered that the teddy bear was on the floor once more in the nursery. Filled with fear, they decided to contact Tony’s brother, Larry.

Larry put the Pickman’s in touch with a psychic named Barbara who told them that the spirit was a little girl named Sallie who had died in the house. Barbara told them she meant no harm and not to be afraid of her.

The Pickman’s weren’t convinced and decided to leave the house for the night. On the way out to the car Tony Pickman felt a sharp pain on his back out of nowhere. He didn’t stop to look until later when Deborah lifted up his shirt to reveal 3 long scratch marks.

The Pickmans were terrified and decided to rent another home to live in until they could figure out what was going on in their home.

In 1994 a tv show called “Sightings” came to film the strange activity occurring in the Sallie House. During his interview, he was once again scratched on his stomach. The film crew continued to film him for nine straight minutes as the scratches materialized before their eyes without any apparent cause.

In another terrifying incident, Pickmans recalled not being able to find their TV remote in their rental property. They searched everywhere but were not able to find it. The next time they were in the Sallie house they found their tv remote sitting on the kitchen counter, covered in scorch marks and partially melted.

The Sallie House and Astonishing Legends

The infamous “File 10” DR60 recording from the Sallie House by Astonishing Legends podcast.

The Astonishing Legends team went to the Sallie House to investigate and do some research for their paranormal podcast.

While using a DR60 recorder to try and pick up EVPs, the team were astonished with what was picked up. The recording answered the crews questions with an unearthly growling sound. It sounded very aggressive and angry.

Scott, one of the podcast’s hosts was so unnerved by the recording that he claims it has been a milestone in his paranormal journey. Before the Sallie House he was quite skeptical about all things paranormal, but the DR60 recording made him a believer.

If you listen to the Sallie House podcast episodes by Astonishing Legends you might even catch a certain paranormal website writer as one of the listener segues. 🙂

Have you ever visited the Sallie House in Atchison, Kansas? Let us know in the comments!

If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the story of the demon hag of Detroit or how the spirit of Teresita Basa solved her own murder case.

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Crisis Apparitions




Can we communicate with our loved ones telepathically during times of crisis?

In the early 1800s, Pastor John Frederick Oberlin moved to the town of Bande-la-Roche, France, hoping to educate the residents and relieve them of their superstitions. In the end it was Oberlin who was educated, becoming convinced that the apparitions residents saw in times of crisis were real.

Pastor John Frederick Oberlin and the Crisis Apparitions of Bande-la-Roche

John Frederick Oberlin, a well-known pastor, teacher, and philanthropist from the 18th and 19th centuries, completely changed the way of life in the Bande-la-Roche valley in the Vosges Mountains of Alsace. When he arrived in the area, he didn’t like the superstitions of the locals, especially their stories about seeing their dying family members appearing to them in spirit form before their deaths. Despite his efforts to educate them and speak against these beliefs, the reports of such sightings continued.

A significant turning point in Oberlin’s attitude towards the apparitions occurred in 1806 when a devastating avalanche struck Rossberg, burying several villages in its wake. The aftermath of this catastrophic event was marked not only by the physical destruction but also by an increase in the number of villagers claiming to have witnessed visions of their deceased loved ones.

As these accounts multiplied, Oberlin, the steadfast clergyman, found himself grappling with a growing sense of doubt. The sheer volume of testimonies and the intensity of the experiences described by the locals led him to reconsider his earlier dismissal of the supernatural. The tragic circumstances surrounding the avalanche seemed to challenge his previously held orthodox views.

In the face of mounting evidence and the profound impact of the disaster on the community, Oberlin began to believe that the villagers were indeed be perceiving spirits of the departed.

What are Crisis Apparitions?

In most supernatural encounters, the spirits involved are usually belonging to people who have passed away. Sometimes, however, the spirit seen is belonging to someone still living. What does this mean?

One idea regarding crisis apparitions suggests that when a person dies, their soul is released from their body. This liberated soul can then move freely across space and time. The belief is that the individual’s soul might want to make a final visit to say goodbye or provide comfort to loved ones.

In some cases, crisis apparitions involve a person who is still alive. For instance, someone might hear the voice of a loved one delivering a message or warning during a vision. According to a theory, when a person is in physical pain or danger due to illness, they might unconsciously project psychic energy to their loved ones. This projection could happen without the person being aware of it, driven by the challenging situation they are facing.

This type of crisis apparition resembles visions of those who have passed away. As the energy is sent to the receiver, their brain interprets it as an image of the sender. Researchers believe that some individuals may be more sensitive to this energy, increasing their likelihood of having paranormal experiences.

Other Notable Examples of Crisis Apparitions

A woman having an out of body experience is seen by her husband who was hundreds of miles away

According to Rosemary Ellen Guiley’s book, The Encyclopedia of Ghosts and Spirits, (affiliate link) in 1863, a man named S. R. Wilmot and his sister, Eliza, sailed from England to New York. They faced a severe storm that lasted nine days. Wilmot, feeling seasick, stayed in his sleeping area for several days and nights. On the eighth night, after the storm eased, he dreamt that his wife, Mrs. Wilmot, visited him in a white nightgown, kissed and caressed him, and then left.

The next morning, William J. Tait, who shared quarters with Wilmot, mentioned seeing a lady visitor. Wilmot was surprised because Tait’s description matched exactly what he had dreamt. When asked, Eliza denied being the visitor.

Later, Mrs. Wilmot asked her husband about his dream, describing her own experience of going out during the storm, finding the ship, going to the stern, and entering the cabin. She hesitated at first when she saw Tait but eventually kissed and caressed Wilmot, just like in his dream. Mrs. Wilmot shared this vivid experience with her mother, insisting it felt too real to be just a dream and that she believed she had actually been on the ship.

A Man Sees His Wife’s Dying Sister-in-Law

“In the higher part of the door was a glass window, and I all at once, in the darkness, saw a face looking through that window. The face was very well known to me, though for the instant I did not associate it with the original, as she was 300 miles away. I instantly opened the door, found nobody there, and then searched the ivy with which the porch and house are covered. Finding nothing, and knowing it was impossible anyone could have got away. … I at once knew the face was that of a married sister-in-law of my wife’s. I told all our family of the circumstance directly I got home, and judge of our dismay when we had a letter to say she died at the very hour I saw her. Monday was the evening I saw the face, and on Wednesday, when we were at dinner, the letter came.”

W. Goodyear.

Apparitions of the Living Vol 1 p. 523

A Man Sees His Brother During a Near Death Experience

“It was either in 1874 or 1875. My brother was third mate on board one of Wigram’s large ships. I knew he was somewhere on the coast of Australia  …  I looked up, and, to my astonishment, saw my brother coming towards me from the outside door of the kitchen. … I noticed he was in his sailor uniform with a monkey jacket on, and the wet was shining on his jacket and cap. I exclaimed, ‘Miles, where have you come from?’ He answered in his natural ‘For God’s sake, don’t say I’m here.’ This was all over in a few seconds and as I jumped towards him he was gone. I was very much frightened, for I had really thought it was my brother himself; and it was only when he vanished that I realised it was only an appearance. … About three months afterwards my brother came home, and….I asked him in a casual manner if he had had any adventures, and he said, ‘I was nearly drowned at Melbourne.’ He then told me he was ashore without leave, and on returning to the ship, after midnight, he slipped off the gangway between the side of the ship and the dock. There was very little space, and if he had not been hauled up at once, he must have been drowned. He remembered thinking he was drowning, and then became unconscious. His absence without leave was not found out, so he escaped the punishment he expected. I then told him of how he had appeared to me, and I asked him the date. He was able to fix it exactly. … He had no recollection of thinking specially of me at the time, but he was much struck by the coincidence, and often referred to it. He did not like it, and often when he went away said, ‘Well, I hope I shan’t go dodging about as I did that time.”

Apparitions of the Living, Vol 2, p. 141

Billie Holiday Sees Her Mother at the Time She Died

Billie Holiday wrote in her memoir of a strange incident occurring at the time of her mother’s death. Her mom was very young when she had her, and they were close. In the middle of the book, Billie talks about a strange moment in a hotel room with her boyfriend after a show:

“I don’t believe in ghosts, but something weird happened that night… We were just sitting there when suddenly I felt my mother behind me, touching my shoulders. And I knew she was dead. I told Joe, ‘Mom just left, and she’s dead.’

‘You’re crazy,’ he said. ‘You must be losing it.’

‘Listen to me,’ I said, ‘you better be good to me because you’re all I’ve got now.’

Her mom wasn’t sick, and she was only 38, so nobody expected her to die. The next day, people acted strangely around Billie. She went up to the road manager and “told him Mama was dead and what time she died the night before…He blew his top, raised hell with everybody backstage. He swore somebody must have told me. But nobody had told me nothing.” The crew knew about Billie’s Mom but didn’t want her to know as it might impact her performance.

Knock Once for Yes Podcast covers the topic of Crisis Apparitions

Have you ever had a crisis apparition experience? Tell us about it in the comments. If you enjoyed this article you might also be interested in the phenomenon of paranormal apathy or twin telepathy.

Interested in Talking to Spirits? Try one of our paranormal communication apps!

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MacKenzie Family Omens




The MacKenzie family received various omens to warn them of death that was about to occur in the family.

In the early 1900s, the MacKenzie family line in Scotland experienced several different paranormal omens, warning them about deaths that would soon occur in the family.

These stories have been gathered from 1934 book “Family Ghosts and Ghostly Phenomena,” by Elliott O’Donnell.

The Prophecy of the Face

One evening, young Sylvia MacKenzie was alone in her small house, sitting in the living room. She heard a tapping sound at a window facing a small garden. When she looked, she saw a strange face with a long, narrow nose and no nose at all. The eyes were very pale, set at an angle, and far apart. The face seemed to be looking at her in a menacing way. As Sylvia stared, scared and unable to move, the face slowly disappeared. When her parents came home, she told them about the scary vision. They were really upset because, as they explained, their family believed this ghostly face showed up only when something bad was about to happen.

The next day, Sylvia’s brother Robert, who was in the Canadian forces during World War I (between 1914-1918), was killed on the Western front.

Miss MacKenzie and the Ghostly Arm

One morning, another, unamed member of the Mackenzie family went upstairs to get something from her bedroom. While leaving, she heard something fall behind her. When she turned around, she saw an old-fashioned silver candlestick on the floor next to the chest of drawers. Curious, she went to pick it up and noticed a “beautifully round” arm, from the elbow up, coming out of the wall beside the drawers. The skin was very white, and the hand had long, slender fingers and filbert nails, like a woman’s hand. As she watched, the arm slowly faded away and disappeared.

After it was gone, she remembered her family’s stories about a phantom omen—a strange hand seen only by family members that predicted death and misfortune. She worried that her vision foretold her mother’s death, who was very sick at that time. Fortunately, her mother recovered fully. A few days later, the family received news that a cousin had died tragically. It made the young woman wonder if her vision had predicted this sad event.

Mr MacKenzie and the Cold hand

One night, Mr. and Mrs. MacKenzie were at a cinema in Glasgow. While watching the movie, Mr. MacKenzie suddenly felt a cold hand touch his cheek. Annoyed, he thought it was the people around him playing a prank. A little later, he felt the cold hand on the back of his own hand and got really scared. He knew his family believed in a ghostly hand that showed up before someone’s death. Unable to enjoy the movie, they left right away.

When they tried to sleep that night, Mr. MacKenzie felt someone moving in the room. He lit the gas to check, but the room was empty, and the door was locked. As he went back to bed, the cold hand touched his forehead. He grabbed the arm, describing it as soft and slender, and felt it up to the elbow where it suddenly disappeared. The next day, they got a telegram telling them that one of Mr. MacKenzie’s sisters had died during the night.

Here is another gripping ghost story recounted by Scotish author Elliot O’Donnell

Have you had any similar experiences with in your family? Tell us about it in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article you might be interested in other omen phenomena such as Our Lady of Fatima or Katherine Hobbs predicting her own death

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