I will not go to Atchison, Kansas without Scott. The town is haunted.
Atchison is not a far drive from Kansas City. It is the birthplace of Amelia Earhart. It is a town with old mansions at every corner. It’s a cute river town with red brick roads. The locals know very well they could be living with a ghost. At the very least, they definitely know who does. TV crews with paranormal investigators running around are not uncommon. It is known as one of the most haunted towns in America.
Scott doesn’t believe in “ghosts”. And that is exactly why I begged him to join me with our friends Kathy and Hunter on a “Haunted Atchison Tour”.
First of all – the second we drive into Atchison, my cell phone started to roam and I had absolutely no service. How was I supposed to check-in on Facebook to let people know where to find us after we stepped into the demon portal to hell?
The first half of the tour was on a bus. I could handle listening to the haunted house stories from the safe distance of a diesel fueled bus. Scott’s snickers and eye rolling helped too. Kathy grew up in Atchison. She would whisper the stories she heard growing up. She pointed out the houses she used to play in as a little girl, knowing they were “haunted”. If Kathy could run around Atchison as a little girl, then surely its not that scary. This place wasn’t bad at all. Kinda cute.
We stopped for dinner at a tiny coffee/sandwich shop. Our three hosts showed us the back storage room, where apparently strange things have been known to happen. Several paranormal investigators have said this storage room is a gateway to another world. It was filled with Christmas storage for the shop next door. I don’t know, I was pretty comfortable with decorative mini Christmas trees and cheerful Frosty the Snowman mugs surrounding me. Are they sure it isn’t a gateway to heaven? I found myself humming jingle bells.
Our group sat down and waited for our food. I had to use the bathroom. I open the door and step completely inside. I shut the door until it clicks.
I am not kidding you – the effing lights go out.
I reached for the door handle. I shook the thing but couldn’t pull myself together to push it open. All I could hear was my heart beating. I was a split second away from screaming (and becoming that girl the rest of the night) before the door gave in into the restaurant lights.
Holy shit. Where’s the Tylenol?
I flipped the light switch. The lights returned on. I have never pushed pee out so fast in my life. I’m surprised I didn’t pop a blood vessel in my eye. I ran out without washing my hands. I sat down and whispered to Scott, Kathy and Hunter what happened. They laughed. This was no laughing matter. Scott had to use the bathroom next. When he returned I asked if the lights went out.
“No, but I’m pretty sure I clogged the toilet up. It wouldn’t flush.”
The remaining part of the tour was touring actual houses. The first house wasn’t bad. There was hardly any movement on the ghost surveillance gadgets. We were free to use our cameras or phone to take pictures. Scott took a picture on his phone. His face was dead serious. He whispered to me, “You need to look at this picture of Kathy.”
The next house we walked through was The Sallie House. This is Atchison’s most famous haunted house. It has appeared on nearly every paranormal show ever filmed. It became famous after a young couple rented the house in the 90s. They voluntarily left after the husband started to get scratches on his body out of nowhere. This old house has the works: whispers, toys moving, strange smells, strange dreams to those that stay overnight…a sketchy history.
Whelp. We stood in the basement with the lights off. The little, cold, stoned-walled, basement. The ceiling was inches above my head. Anyone with claustrophobia would not be comfortable.
Our host spread her little gadgets out and killed the lights. I wanted to cry. Her little gadgets started going nuts after she would ask questions like:
Are you female? Are you male? Are you lonely? Are you ok with visitors?
Then our host asked if anyone had a problem with being touched.
Wait, what does she mean does anyone have a problem with being touched? Why did I sign up for this?!
I scooted as close to Scott as I could get. My eyes were shut tight. I was ready to scream at any touch.
Would you please touch someone to let us know you’re here?
The girl next to me jumped and asked if her boyfriend/husband pulled her hair. He said no.
I stepped away from Scott and scooted myself next to Hunter and Kathy instead. Hunter and Kathy chuckled at me for moving. I have never talked to God so loudly in my head in my life. I thanked the good sweet baby Jesus when our host moved us upstairs and out of the house. The tour was over.
Scott and I drove home the next morning. We were home by the time K-State played. I was much more relaxed while watching football in my own living room. Just for fun, I downloaded a free “ghost” app where it spits out words after you ask a question. Surely, our own house doesn’t have ghosts. I didn’t even ask the thing a question. I watched all the needles go back and forth.
First word to pop up: coach.
COACH SNYDER?!?! How did it know?!?!