The photo at the right is alleged to be that of "Sallie", the famed "Heartland Ghost" who appeared on the television show Sightings in the mid-1990's. The location of the house was long kept secret by the program... but we know today that it is in Atchison, Kansas.
Photo copyrighted by Sightings
UPDATE: Shortly after this section was posted to the web page, I was fortunate enough to come into contact with the actual people involved in this case. They saw the web page and contacted me about clearing up some of the misconceptions in the story and some of the damage that had been done by "Sightings". Not surprising to many of us, the case that "Sightings" aired on their program was not completely accurate. What follows this section is the REAL STORY... told by those who lived it and whose names will remain confidential.
One of the most famous cases to ever appear on the paranormal television program, Sightings, was that of the "Heartland Ghost". This violent and mysterious creature wreaked havoc on a Midwestern family and even attacked one family member while the Sightings cameras rolled. But what were the facts behind the story? Where was the haunted house.... a location that the program tried very hard to keep secret? As time has passed now, many questions have risen about the validity of the case and just how much was done by the television crew to "enhance" the drama... but regardless, it remains a fascinating modern case of the paranormal!
The house that Sallie haunted was a turn-of-the-century home located near the Missouri River bluffs in Atchison, Kansas. It was on the northeast side of the city and was originally the home of a Atchison doctor who practiced from his house. The doctor and his family lived on the upper floor while his office, surgery and examinations rooms were located downstairs. According to local lore, Sallie was a young girl of about six years of age who was brought into the office one day suffering from a serious illness. Apparently, two different versions of the story tell what happen next.
In one story, Sallie had been up all night with a stomach ache that suddenly became severe. The doctor realized that she was suffering from appendicitis and prepared to operate on her. The little girl panicked when she saw the surgical tools and the doctor was forced to hold her down while he tried to give her ether. She fought with him and was not all of the way under the gas when he made the first incision. She screamed but the doctor was afraid to stop for fear that her appendix would burst. Unfortunately, she died on the operating table... her last memories of a man whom she believed was torturing her!
In the other version of the story, Sallie came to the doctor around 1905 or 1906 with severe respiratory problems. When she was brought in, the doctor was negligent and overlooked how serious the condition really was. A short time later, she died from pneumonia and the doctor moved away from the house a few months after her death.
Reports of Sallie's return to the house began in 1993 when the place was rented to a young couple. A short time after they moved in, they realized that things were not quite right in the house. The family dog began to bark and growl at seemingly nothing, especially around the nursery on the second floor; lights would dim and brighten on their own; appliances would turn off an on; pictures would be found hanging upside-down on the walls; and one night, the family returned from a night out to find all of the toys in the nursery arranged in circle in the middle of the floor.
After that, the harmless pranks began to take a violent turn. It was reported that several fires broke out in the house and a series of attacks began against the young husband. The first attack occurred when he walked into the room that was once used as the doctor's surgery. He suddenly experienced a feeling of terrible cold and then on his arm, a number of long, bloody scratches appeared!
The attacks would continue and would leave him with welts and scratches on his arms, back, chest and stomach. The scratches were often so bad, they would bleed profusely. Always before the attack, he would report a severe drop in temperature, followed by the pain of Sallie's phantom nails.
Sallie never attacked the wife of the baby, only the husband, and some have suggested that she was punishing the young man for the wrong she felt had been done to her by the doctor.... also a man.
Later, it was also reported that the husband actual saw Sallie's ghost on two different occasions. Strange photographs taken by the couple show streaks and shapes that are hard to explain and appear to be genuine. There are also photos of the marks on the young man's body and even a video tape of them actually appearing on his skin! During a day of filming by the Sightings crew, the husband reported a drop in temperature and then the cameras filmed long, red claw marks streaking down his back.
The family lived in the house for about a year and then could take it no more. They moved out but yet the man still reported welts and scratches appearing on his body in their new home. Eventually though, the attacks became less and less and then stopped altogether.
Another family moved into the house and so far, Sallie has failed to make an appearance.
Was the case genuine... or the subject of television hype? We will , of course, never know for sure, but it would certainly be difficult to fake the scratches which appeared on the man in front of a video camera! Could it have been a case of mind over matter? Possibly, as it did have many of the characteristics of a poltergeist-phenomena case.... but we will really never know for sure.
UPDATE ON THE CASE FROM THE PARTICIPANTS INVOLVED:
What follows is a portion of the contact that I have had with the folks involved in this case. They are very nice, kind people and are very upset by some of the publicity and the slant that was placed on the case by "Sightings". I got the feeling that they were relieved to try and put set some of the record straight. I was happy to offer them this section to do that."To bring a bit of first hand experience to your research, I can tell you that the television crew, at the time of each taping, at our house DID NOT "enhance" the drama. The mere presence of the Sightings crew seemed to bring forth a "show" from the ghosts, and that is one of the reasons we put a stop to their investigation. We moved afterward because the activity got a bit worse even without them being there. For example, the last straw, that determined our need to move, was when my husband felt a strong shove from behind and his feet left the floor. The push left him flying in the direction of the railing at the top of the stairs. To this day he doesn't know how he didn't go over the railing and tumble head over heals down the stairs.
I can't go as far to verify or not either of the two stories you had posted at your web site. I had never heard either of them through the investigation Sightings or I had done. No concrete evidence or witness' or true word of mouth stories handed down through generations were ever found. Although I was once told that an elderly man who resides in this town does know the real story, he apparently won't speak of it to anyone. Why I don't know..... This leaves a lot of room for stories of pure speculation. Yes, much of the information you have, regarding the actual goings on during taping, were inaccurate. the fires that broke out were very small, localized, and often mysteriously put out before we even knew it. Regarding the scratches: my husband rarely ever felt pain along with them. He would just feel a coldness go through a part of his body and upon looking he'd surprisingly discover scratches. I believe that he only felt actual pain on 3 occasions. The scratches really never bled very much, except the 3 severe ones (which he actually felt) and even those didn't bleed tremendously. My husband only saw Sallie once. The film footage logged with Sightings camera of actual scratches forming were on his stomach not his back. We had lived in the house for 22 months. One point I will make, that Sightings neglected to make known, was the fact that there were 2 spirits in action at the house. Sallie was the child and for the most part a prankster. She was not the one creating severe scratches. There was a woman in her mid 30's who Sallie did not like and who blamed her for many of the things that occurred in the house (much of this information we received through a physic interpreter who was able to communicate, rather well, with Sallie.) The woman was, to say the least, very fond of my husband, and tried to get close to him and put great strife between our husband/wife bond. As reported to me in recent years, by my husband he said that at that time he was having horrible and uncontrollable thoughts of hating the mere sight of me as well as physically hurting to the point that I would no longer be a part of his life. These type of thoughts were very outrageous for my husband as I have never known anyone who could love and cherish his wife more. Another point to ponder about is "possession". Laying on the couch in a deep sleep one afternoon, he sat up, looked directly at me (sitting at the other end of the couch) and in a strange voice, seemingly not of his own, said, "He's mine!".Then he laid back down. When he woke 20 minutes later he could remember nothing of what had transpired .
I believe that several things were actually going one in the house. Of course none that can actually be proven. And a lot of falsehoods have been generated on behalf of the investigations done."
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor
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