When things are investigated, knowledge is extended. When knowledge is extended, the will becomes sincere. When the will is sincere, the mind is correct. When the mind is correct, the self is cultivated. -- Confucius
Politically correct ideals are garbage: true wisdom comes from decades of deep thought and neutral observation. Only a so-called sociopath could ascertain wisdom from this crazy world in a neutral way. Cool thoughts- uncorrupted by modern politics, social norms, or societal ideals- are required for wisdom. Questioning everything, and going against the grain on all universally accepted norms is the path to true intelligence. The Gods notice this.

11/15/10

The Sallie House Hoax

On Halloween morning this year, I started skipping through the radio channels as soon as I woke up, like I usually do, and found that on my least favorite of the presets- Mix 93.3- they were talking about a haunted house in Atchison, KS. I left it on there and suffered through their so-called music off and on for an hour while they interspersed their morning show with an interview of an area ghost hunter about this house. They had a few EVP's that were not too convincing, and audio of a guy getting scared because 'something had tugged his pantleg'. The DJ's did not mention something I found out later, which was that the 'former cop' that was attesting that this guy was scared also happens to be the landlord of said house. One EVP was of no discernible words at all, but one of the DJs decided it was Indians chanting, and so they kept playing it over and over.

Nine days later I happened to notice there is a documentary about this house at the library. I borrow it, anticipating a really interesting film. Especially since it is only about twenty miles from me. I was a little leery, however, when I noticed the description on the back contained the words "acursed", "renownd", and "psycic". Just because the producer can't spell, it doesn't mean this is fake, I hoped. But the large-print sentence on the back got me to wondering:
"THE SCARIEST HOUSE IN THE MOST HAUNTED TOWN IN AMERICA."
I have several large ghost directories and never seen this house listed anywhere, nor anything in Atchison at all.

 I watched it anyway. Here are a few things that jumped out at me:
- the couple who made all this famous are not believable at all, are personal friends with an alleged psychic in California, and contradicted themselves
- was the guy thrown out of both his shoes or just one shoe by a ghost? the story changes more than once.
- the ex-cop who vouches for stuff, as well as another ex-cop, are the house's owner and his best friend.
- the "internationally renowned psychic" is no one I have ever heard of, nor is he mentioned in any reference books I have about psychics. how famous is he really? but the word international sounds impressive anyway, and is true as she is Canadian.
- the EVP 'specialist' plays just a couple recordings from the house, neither of which are clear at all.
- the video and pictures contradict what the narrator is saying, so the film disproves itself:
  a- the candle that 'dripped wax upward' and also 'had never been lit' : 'actual photo' shows  a candle with a black wick, which means it has been lit. wax direction is hard to tell, but it could have been easily held upside down for a few seconds.
  b- the 'spirit sensing dog' finding a spirit: 'actual footage' shows it stopping at a closet but not looking disturbed otherwise. it probably wouldn't go in since it thought it may get stuck (it is a great dane).
  c- the allegation of numerous acts of bricks being thrown at them inside the basement, which supposedly materialized out of thin air : despite camera crews in this basement at the time, not one brick was filmed. we have to imagine it.
  d- the 'actual footage' of scratches appearing on people in the house: it was over a 9 hour period, so you have to take their word for it. sped-up photography did not occur to them. the scratches look like lipstick marks to me. no doctor reports are offered.
  e- the photo of the stuffed bear toy spinning around shows no bear at all- just a blur where the bear is supposed to be.
  f- the landlord was supposedly signing a contract for the show Sightings to film in there, when the paper blew around some. the Sightings camera crew did not manage to film it.
  g- the supposedly shocking actual film of someone getting burned: he did not look surprised or scared at all in the face, and the burned hair was not visible in the closeup they showed. it also could have been pre-burned too easily and hidden with his shirt. why was someone filming the sound guy for so long anyway?
  h- the Canadian psychic is being filmed in the basement, and claims his finger is being pulled by a ghost. it leads him to a corner where he can see orbs. following a straightened finger around is corny to put it mildly. then a picture of an orb is allegedly shown, which just does not show an orb at all.

Besides these photo and film foibles, a few more things about it bothered me.

At one point they showed a black mark on the basement floor, which was supposedly a painted over spot. What was painted over was a "pentagram" as they called it, that they showed. Did someone take a picture of it before they painted over it? I kinda doubt it. But what they did show was a very uneven (sloppy) star with the word "Azazel" below it. They said a witch lived there once and made the markings. How is this relevant, and how does it tie in? They don't say. Besides, witches do not worship the demon Azazel, but there is a movie called Azazel, which is probably where they heard the name to start with. What do witches have to do with ghosts or any of the rest of this anyway? Nothing, but it makes it scarier doesn't it?!

Speaking of movies, there are several odd coincidences with movies here as well. Remember the scenes in the Amityville Horror where they tried to call their priest and the phone was staticy? The landlord had a phone static incident too, and then called his priest. Remember the Exorcist, where they heard scratching noises in the attic? They heard scratching noises in the walls here. Remember in the Amityville Horror the family seen the demon as they were fleeing the house? The guy living there seen the ghost one day too.

The people living there who made all these claims also were there on a lease, and lived there for 22 months. Or was it 30 months? Both are claimed to be the case. They had an infant baby in the house too, and the guy had an urge to stab his wife one day (as in Amityville: psychosis sets in...) {man has urge to stab wife- must be supernatural, indeed...}. Like the idiotic movie Paranormal Activity, they supposedly see all this crazy and endangering stuff go on, but it does not occur to them to leave. Not even for the baby's sake. What would you do?

At one point, they recall the boot incident yet again, where a guy was thrown across the room and either one or both (they can't keep it straight) of his laced up work boots is left in place. While he was lying against an open door, his neck veins were straining and he couldn't move. They say he was held down, but also that he felt like he was hit by "a Mack truck or a train", so he was probably winded is all. At this point, the California psychic comes in and demands he be released "in the name of Jesus!". This releases him. This shows that the so-called psychic is a bible-thumping zealot who is off her rocker, and that science and facts are not of relevance here...Which brings us to the mechanics of the shoe story. Fully laced work boots being left where he stood, despite him being thrown across the room. The laces or boots themselves would have been torn, or the soles somehow glued to the carpet, or he had a glob of grease in his boot(s?). Otherwise this physically could not have happened. They did not say the boot(s?) or their laces were torn or glued down, so did his feet dematerialize momentarily or what?  

Because a girl is rumored to have died during a painful operation there, an urban myth was born. All that was needed was the factoid that a doctor lived in the house once, back in 1906. (This is why the ghost was wearing '1800's clothes'?).  But it is well documented of course. For example, the neighbor says her young boy was scared one night of shadows that were monsters. Imagine that happening. Further evidence is that this mother and her brothers were looking in the windows of the house one day when someone grabbed her hips from behind. Ok.

The scariest claim made by the house's former tenants was that the pull chains on the ceiling fans would move by themselves. This is scary because if that indicates a haunting, then I have lived in many homes that were haunted without even knowing it! And I thought the fan motion was agitating the chain...

I also have never heard of poltergeist activity, ghost haunting, and demonic presences commingling in one structure at one time. They are three totally different phenomena, and one traumatic incident or death will not conjure them all up at once; it just never happens. But all three are claimed in this case. And when a person really is scratched by an invisible demon -without exception as far as I have ever heard- a horrible infection sets in. And they happen instantly- not over nine hours.

By now the misspelling and failure to edit the back cover were the least of my concerns over this video. The producer tried, and I hope this project was a good vehicle for him to get some practice. Maybe nowadays he is making better and more important films. I hope.

But really: most haunted town in America? Or Kansas even? Hardly! For Kansas alone, look up these much more convincing haunted sites:

Komarek home - Great Bend
Sentinel Hill- Hays
Morningside Park houses - Kansas City
Fort Leavenworth buildings- Leavenworth
Purple Masque theater (KSU) - Manhattan
Johnson County Industrial Airport (hangar 43)- Olathe
Gardner House - Topeka
Rockingham Cemetery - Topeka

UPDATE: As last commentor kindly informed us, this house is for sale now. The listing says it is worth $64,148., but it is for sale for A MILLION BUCKS!  After all, it has a "proven track record of $400 per night with word of mouth only."  Which proves this hoax is a business. See ad for it here.
(UPDATE: 4/26/16- price reduced to 750,000.!) 

See also: 


And by the way: this is just a movie review. I never claimed to go into the house and launch a full scale investigation. If you have any answers to the film's inconsistencies, or any real evidence of supernatural activities at this house, please let me know.


P.S.: Only one- ever- comment against my post has been received. It is by one of the purveyors of this fraud. I will not post it since it insults me personally and also mentions other posts I have written on. But suffice it to say that it was off topic, distractive, and answered no concerns I wrote of at all. It is angry distraction, nothing more. Evidence???? Nope.

P.P.S.: please read comments below- most are very interesting and amusing!

see also on this blog:
worst exorcism movie ever
villisca axe murder house
felix-liliger cemetery

(c) james platt

19 comments:

  1. I suppose that I am honored to be the first to comment on your post. I have to start by saying that I am a skeptic, not just of this house in question, but of "hauntings" in general. With that being said I have witnessed first hand and on several occasions the spook light of Seneca Oklahoma and although I have no idea what it was that I saw, I do for a fact know I did indeed see something. As for this house, more to the point the documentary, it has a ton of holes in it. I suppose my biggest issue is the same issue I have with a vast majority of paranormal "investigations". We give complete credibility to these psychics, but yet use no controllable and testable methods to establish that indeed something quantifiable is actually happening. Unfortunately I don't give much credence to EVP's simply because they can (like many other media) be manipulated. I would someday like to go to a famous haunted site with a crew but strictly for the purpose of debunking. I am not interested in raining on anyones parade, but what I mean by "debunking" is to keep methods as impartial as possible. I think that ghost hunters go into a situation wanting so bad to believe that their methods are usually highly biased and don't really do anything with the word "investigation" attached to it justice.

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  2. My favorite part is when they talk about how, "one of them went up stairs", they can't remember who and it is said to be him and the toys are arranged in a circle. Then somehow she remembers, after not knowing who went up stairs, the things she said to him when he came back down about how that isn't possible. If you can't remember who went upstairs, how do you remember what you said to him when he came back down?

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  3. I have investigated in this house with the Pickmans... Here is some video you might enjoy, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvTWYaoKDdo

    Also while I maintain most is fathomed by people, I do have a CLEAR evp from the investigation. I believe there is some activity there but is being embelished and exploited by some people. The evp happened when one member was in the house unpacking. Myself and others are outside talking to the Pickmans. A voice comes over the recorder to say "the basement". Following which I come in to talk to Gene, the investigator.

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  4. good to know im not alone when I say BOLONGA

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  5. This is hilarious.

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  6. This story is featured on two different paranormal shows..One show , "The Haunting" episode by the name of Sallies House and another show, "Paranormal Witness" titled, The Harpy. Both shows feature the Rickmans, husband and wife, telling their story. But the stories told vastly differ in each show. In "Sallies House", it stated the house is haunted by a little 7 year old girl and the girls mother. In " The Harpy", the house is haunted by a demon harpy that was masquerading as a little 7 year old girl named Sallie. Two TOTALLY different stories. If you see the shows, there are many more inconsistencies as well. I believe in the paranormal but I also believe the Rickmans are full of crap!

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    1. I have watched both shows and the episodes you mentioned. I even brought the book by Debra Pickman about the haunting. It was a good reading but I read it with an open mind and the book did not mention a Harpy. It just mentioned toward the end that it turned out to be a demon instead of a little girl. It was a fast, fun reading. I really didn't believe the story at all. I mean, you are in a house, your husband is constantly getting scratched by something invisible, you leave especially if you have a baby. If you do not leave, then more then likely, the "haunting" is a hoax.

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    2. I know, right?

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  7. Oops! Not Rickmans! I meant Pickmans in my above statement!

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  8. Tony and Debra Pickman are nothing but frauds..I find it funny that they were on a recent episode of Ghost Adventures seen re-entering the house, even after they claim they are still being attack by the ghost at there new house. Their story and events have changed so many times over the years that its hard to even keep up. It has talked about that Debra Pickman is a witch and she actually performed rituals down in the basement, and is possibly the main reason for why the hauntings were activated in the house. Oh by the way the house is on the market now for 1million dollars.

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  9. Kennedy Johnson6/29/16, 12:25 AM

    I grew up in this house, lived there from 1974-1983. The rest of my brother's and one sister also lived there until the early-mid 1990s. The house belonged to my grandmother and we lived with her after my parent divorced. During my time in the house, we had heard about Sallie and knew a parts of the story but never put much thought into it. The house was old and drafty. We grew up and moved away - I have lots of found memories of the house and my family there, but never saw a ghost and nothing mysterious ever happened. Sallie was probably happy to have a bunch of kids running around the house - so no haunting. Any stories of the mysterious fire are false, it was myself and my brother's playing with matches. My younger brothers threw the hot matches that went out into the trash, which started the fire. We put the flames out quickly - sorry Mom! I can't say any of the stories are true or false, but I'd call the Ghostbusters if I were still living there. JKJ

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  10. Thank you for posting this! I watched this couple Debra and Tony interviewed on A Haunting, saying it was the ghost of Sallie and she died there and there was a "white man and african american woman" that were haunting the home etc and that they moved out and felt bad for sallie. Yet, on Paranormal witness they are interviewed saying they left because Sallie was in face a dark entity and sallie never existed. It even shows her at the library, saying no sallie every lived there! I noticed the discrepancies right away, I have been searching the net wondering how no one else noticed their lies. Then I came onto your site. Thank you!

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  11. I was a believer of the Sallie House Haunting until I bought the book. The story in the book was different then the stories told on the shows, The Haunting and Paranormal Witness.The book was good. It was an easy read. I am disappointed it is a hoax. I would really like to read about a true house haunting. Anyone know about a real one?

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    1. I lived through a real one and one of the tip offs for me that makes me skeptical of someone's haunting story is when it unfolds like a story. In reality it's more like a laundry list. You can go months and nothing happens and then all hell will break loose for two days. That was why I never had a Group come in to take a look. When you lay out the plot of a real haunting you find that things don't resolve in neat little packages. In our case, we had the opportunity to move and took it.

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  12. I am a believer in the paranormal, but you have to be careful sometimes more of the human side than the supernatural. When your story goes on show after show with totally different plots and then you have a book published, you're not telling your story--you're doing everything you can to milk it. It seems like every paranormal cliche was pulled out in the case of this "Sallie haunting." I am more inclined to listen to people who wish to remain anonymous and just want to forget the whole thing, or at least to appear on a show and state the facts without dramatic music or special effects.

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  13. Oh my, it's like these folks never heard of the term "less is more". They've compiled every little "scary bit" gleaned from movies, books and then added a bit of anemic imagination to build up the most non-believable house haunting. It's almost bad enough to be good, but nope. Over dramatic, unrealistic, opportunistic, as well as words like chicanery and snake oil come to mind. It's like a smorgasbord of supernatural bits thrown at the wall to see what bits might stick ( or drip like blood--you forgot that one guys.) The Pickman's, in my opinion, demonstrate the silliest purveyors of hokum with their "Sallie Story". There's enough bad grammar and spelling and contrived fantasy, it's a wonder that they didn't throw in Big Foot and the chupracabra in for good measure. Just one more outrage: Sallie's Portrait. Really dude? No, I mean really? Put a gold star on it and hang it on the refrigerator. I hate things that ring of organized hoax and then just keep running with it. Shame on y'all. The irony here, is that I believe in ghosts, but I understand why people are skeptical when you continue this lame story.

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constructive comments appreciated. name calling and links deleted.