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Sallie House: The History of This Atchison Kansas Haunted House – You Can Tour It!

Sarah Paschall
Sarah Paschall

Featured in almost every paranormal series and documentary in the history of the genre, the Sallie House is considered one of the most (if not the most) haunted house in America. Located in Atchison Kansas – at 508 N. Second Street – the home’s dark, mysterious history has both terrified and fascinated people around the globe. If you’re looking to add a bit of creepy to your day, keep reading as we take an in-depth look at the Sallie home, its reported hauntings, and the history and myths that made this location so famous, or infamous, rather.


The Sallie House

Built in the 1800s, this mid-century home has 3-bedrooms and 2-bathrooms. The 1,200 square foot residence was originally built for Michael Finney and his family, who would live in the home off and on throughout the generations until 1947.

Four members of the Finney family (at different times throughout the years) died of natural causes in the residence. The property had numerous owners after the Finney family, but none would be as memorable as the Pickmans, a young couple who purchased the home in the 90s and began reporting strange, sometimes violent, occurrences in the home that were beyond explanation. In the present day, the home acts as a sort of macabre attraction for those looking for a scare as well as a hub for paranormal investigators looking to catch evidence of spirit activity.

Sallie House Haunting

Almost every form of paranormal activity has reportedly occurred in the Sallie House, which is why it has gained so much media coverage over the last 20+ years. Series such as A Haunting, Most Haunted Town, Unexplained Mysteries, My Ghost Story, Ghost Adventures, and Sightings have all told the story of the Sallie House Atchison Kansas and the paranormal entities that reportedly inhabit it.

The activity has been so severe at times that some believe the hauntings may be demonic in nature or speculate that the Sallie House could be home to a supernatural portal where spirits can enter as they please. Regardless of what the home harbors behind its walls, one thing many can agree on – there are some very odd things going on in this haunted house Kansas City. People have reported seeing full-bodied apparitions (one being that of a young girl), mysteriously burning candles (some with traces of burnt fingerprints on them), and objects moving in thin air, while others have heard disembodied voices of women, men, and children at night as well as scratching on the walls and the sound of furniture being moved around. There have even been reports of physical attacks and possessions.


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Sallie House History

Though the home is referred to in modern times as the Sallie House, there is no factual proof that a young girl named Sally actually lived in the house or died there. There is, however, an endless supply of urban legends surrounding the story of the residence – one of the more famous of them being that Dr. Charles Finney, the owner of the home at the time, was operating his office out of the first floor of the residence and attempted to perform emergency surgery on a little girl (Sallie) which would result in her death.


There are actually two versions of this story – one being that a woman rushed her ailing 6-year-old daughter to the home after the girl complained of severe abdominal pain. When Dr. Charles Finney discovered that the girl’s appendix was on the verge of rupturing, he opted to perform surgery on her at his residence and did not even allow time for the anesthetics to take effect before beginning the procedure. The little girl died on the table.

In another version of events, it is said that Sallie was born as a result of an affair Dr. Finney was having with an African housemaid. When the little girl became ill, the mother brought Sallie to her father, who would not allow for the girl to be taken to a hospital for fear that his extramarital activities would be exposed. Instead, he performed the surgery himself and she died due to the botched procedure.

While it’s true that the tragic story of Sallie could be nothing more than macabre legend, it still doesn’t mean that the Sallie House hasn’t seen its fair share of dark events, since it was discovered in the early 2000s that there was a pentagram drawn on the basement floor of the home as well as evidence of Satanic rituals taking place on the property. There was even a luminol test performed in the home that allegedly highlighted signs of blood spatter in the closet of the master bedroom as well as satanic sigils on the walls. A bloody sweater was also reportedly found in the attic.


The Pickman Family

Tony and Debbie Pickman were a young couple, recently married, and pregnant with their first child when they moved into the home on 508 North 2nd Street in December of 1992. Happy and hopeful that this would be the perfect dream home to start their family, Tony Pickman and his wife had no idea that they were moving into what would turn out to be their worst nightmare.


The activity seemed to start around a month after the couple moved in and was far milder than what was to come. In the earlier days of their time at the house, the couple only recounts small things occurring, such as lights dimming, cold spots, toys playing on their own, and animals acting strangely.

After the birth of their son, the activity seemed to pick up a bit more, even keeping the baby awake at all hours. In fact, the couple discovered from a neighbor that the nursery lights remained on all throughout the night, even after the Pickmans switched them off so the baby could rest. Strange mold had even begun to form on various household items for unexplained reasons.

At one point, the couple even returned home to find that all of the stuffed animals Debbie had organized in the nursery were on the floor, forming a circle. At one point, after a particularly scary evening, the couple decided to spend the night at a family member’s house, but just as they were leaving, Tony Pickman began feeling a burning pain on his back and it was later discovered that he had sustained 3 mysterious scratches down his back.


Shortly after the attack, the Pickmans sought the help of psychic medium Barbara Connors who visited the home in order to get a better idea of what was taking place there. Her conclusion at the time was that a little girl (Sallie) was inhabiting the home and did much of her haunting to get attention from the family.

Upon Connor’s advice, the couple tried their best to embrace Sallie as a sort of ghostly daughter, but as time passed, the activity and the attacks on Tony continued. In one instance, during their child’s birthday party at the home, a doll even caught ablaze. Finally done with living in constant fear, the Pickmans moved out of the home only 2 years after moving in. In recent years, Debbie Pickman has admitted that she now believes Sallie was not the spirit of a lonely little girl, but rather a demon posing as an innocent child in order to gain the trust of the family.

Tony, Debra, and their children still live in Atchison, according to their Facebook pages.


Sallie House Tours

Those daring enough to step foot inside this haunted hotspot will be happy to know that there are various tours available to the public. More details below!

  • Self-Guided Tour: For those looking to catch a scare or two at the Sallie House, there are self-guided tours available every Saturday from September to October for $10 a person. During a self-guided tour, you are allowed to bring cameras and phones, but no ghost hunting equipment is permitted. The tour timeslots are 1pm-3pm and 3pm-5pm.
  • Guided Daytime Tours: Guided daytime tours are available year-round, but that’ll cost you $150 a person. Tours are available Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm, Saturdays from 9am-5pm, and after-hours tours start at 4pm.
  • Overnight Stays: If you were hoping to spend a night at Sallie House, you’re in luck! For $100 a ticket, you can reserve a night at one of the most haunted houses in America. Overnight stays start with a 3pm walkthrough of the residence. Must book in advance for your stay.
  • Supervised Investigations: On select dates in 2019 – September 28 and October 19 & 20 – the home will be hosting paranormal investigations guided by professional investigators. Tickets are $65 a person and guests will be given the opportunity to investigate the home and potentially capture their very paranormal evidence. This is especially recommended for new and aspiring investigators.

Who Owns Sallie House?

This is actually a tricky one since all the information regarding Sallie House seems to be more about its tenants than the owner, but according to the official Sallie House website, Les Smith Jr. has been the actual owner of Sallie House for over 20 years.

Ghost Adventures Sallie House

In the sixth episode of their tenth season, Zak, Aaron, and Nick from the Travel Channel’s popular paranormal series Ghost Adventures investigated the Sallie House with former owners, Tony and Debra Pickman. Some of the strange occurrences that took place during the investigation included Tony Pickman suffering welts on his neck from an unknown source, another guest being scratched on the arm, a guest psychic nearly fainting, the words “scratch Satan pain kept spirits” caught on the Puck device, and a teddy bear rolling on its own.


Sallie House Haunted

It’s impossible to give a Yes or No answer to the validity of spiritual activity in any allegedly haunted location. It really comes down to what you believe – for skeptics, bumps in the night and apparitions may be nothing more than optical illusions and natural sounds within the house, while believers of the paranormal would say its ghosts letting their presence be known. What most can agree on, however, is that there is some pretty compelling evidence that has come from this place. Numerous paranormal investigators have visited the Sallie House in hopes of finding something strange, and they do, more often than not.

If you’re still not convinced by all the evidence, why not book yourself a night at the Sallie House and see if there’s any truth to the stories!



Haunted Houses
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Sarah Paschall
Written by

Sarah Paschall

Sarah has written and edited for numerous media outlets in a variety of different niches – though entertainment is her all-time favorite topic to cover. When she is not hard at work researching and writing about Hollywood’s top talents for Velvet Ropes, Sarah enjoys working on her fiction novels, developing her blog, and gaming. You can follow Sarah on Twitter at: