Q: Tourism tends to pick up in Atchison in the weeks leading up to Halloween. That's because the northeast Kansas community is not only beautiful to see in the fall, it's also a little bit spooky. Indeed, the Atchison Chamber of Commerce markets the community as the most haunted town in Kansas. What's the name of Atchsion's most famous haunted house?
A: the Sallie House
Atchison is said to have many haunted houses but none are as famous as the so-called "Sallie House." Unlike the numerous stately mansions for which the town is famous, the Sallie House is a plain, simple and nondescript home built around the turn of the 20th Century. According to legend, a doctor who once lived in the home performed an appendectomy on a young girl named Sallie but began the surgery before the anesthesia took full effect. Sallie screamed and soon died on the operating table. Read the full story here. Supposedly, Sallie has been haunting the house ever since.
Atchison is one of the oldest communities in Kansas, a river town blessed with an amazing number of magnificent homes. Gaze down the beautiful brick streets – lined with trees – and it's easy to believe that this town was once home to more millionaires per capita than any community in the nation (some say as many as 57 millionaires lived in Atchison at one time!). There is, however, a darker side to the architectural beauty of these magnificent old homes. Some are believed to contain otherworldly inhabitants. Whether you believe in such ghostly tales or not, you can see many of these homes by taking a “Haunted Trolley Tour” of Atchison, where you get to drive by many mansions and other spooky places. Visitors can purchase tickets through the Atchison Chamber and at the Santa Fe Depot.
Before you plan a trip to Atchison, you might want to check out the book Haunted Kansas, written by Topeka author Lisa Hefner-Heitz and published in October 1998. This well-researched book makes the claim that Atchison is “the most haunted town in Kansas”… and many residents agree. Find more details here.