ATCHISON, Kansas (KMTV) – Mystery defines Atchison, Kansas. It is the birthplace of one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries. Add in the mysterious activities of a few suspected haunted houses and you have the makings of a wonderful day trip or a fun weekend adventure.
Amelia Earhart, whose plane went missing over the South Pacific in 1937, was born in Atchison and spent her childhood there. Atchison is also considered the most haunted city in Kansas, so there are a lot of weird things to do around town.
Located in Northwestern Kansas, Atchison is about a 2.5 hour drive from Omaha.
The Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum anchors the attractions related to the record aviator. She was the first woman to set multiple flight records, including flying nonstop solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Born in Atchison, Earhart and her sister lived with their grandparents while their parents worked in other towns. The childhood home is located on a bluff not far from the Missouri River.
Built in 1861, the Earhart daughters lived in the neo-Gothic cottage, painted white, until Amelia was 12 years old. Then they reunited with their parents, living in Midwestern cities such as Des Moines and Chicago.
The house looks like life in Amelia’s time. However, most of the furniture did not belong to the family. A table used for guests to sign a register belonged to Alfred and Amelia Otis, Earhart’s grandparents. Tours include exhibits in a living room, dining room, kitchen, and office. Models, surprisingly much like Earhart, are located throughout the house, wearing her aviator outfit and other clothing. You will also find busts and photos of Earhart on the ground floor.
The second floor consists of the family bedrooms, with the children’s bedrooms decorated to reflect Earhart’s childhood. The master suite features photos of Earhart and a set of luggage she sponsored during her flying career.
Visit Muriel, a Lockheed Electra-10, at Amelia Earhart Hangar Museum. The plane was donated by a woman who planned to trace and perform Earhart’s last flight before illness affected her plans. The Electra-10 rolled off the same assembly line, shortly before the completion of Earhart’s aircraft.
Although not yet complete, the Hangar Museum is open for tours by appointment. Call 24 hours in advance to schedule your visit.
An Earhart sculpture is located in downtown Atchison. You’ll also want to visit Amelia Earhart’s earthworks at Lake Warnock. An observation deck provides an excellent view of the aviator’s acre portrait, created with permanent plants and other props.
Explore the ghostly attractions of Atchison on foot or by tram. With the city considered to be the most haunted city in Kansas, it seems likely that spirits are occupying several homes. The Sallie House has been named America’s “most haunted” house. A young girl died during the operation, waking up during the operation to see the surgeon working on her. Her ghost is believed to haunt the house, attacking the men because she thinks the doctor was harming her, without trying to save her.
While self-guided tours are offered year-round, I visited the house during a media trip. Our host led a group of about five people into the house one night. The cold that came over me could have been imagined or real. But, when our host’s EMF (electromagnetic force) meter indicated a hostile spirit, we quickly left. Overnight stays can be booked at home, but it is recommended that you reserve a hotel room in case you are not staying overnight in the house.
The 1889 Villa McInteer is another haunted attraction that can send chills down your spine. With surveillance cameras located throughout the house, strange events have been documented. While my visit, EMF pointed to two visitors to a room we were in, each trying to communicate with a friend and me. The EMF reported that one of the spirits said my name, which made it an interesting experience.
Haunted Atchison trolley tours are offered every weekend in October. On our first visit to town Lisa and I took a daylight tour. Our guide recommended a day trip as you can see the classical architecture of houses, mansions and commercial buildings. Guides point to sites that have reported ghostly experiences, including colorful orbs surrounding the “Gargoyle” mansion, a large house with gargoyle carvings on the roof. Orbs are believed to be spirits.
Secondary roads atlas, a notoriously haunted antique store, displays pictures of orbs on its bulletin boards. I took a photo of the glass door where they are kept. When I looked at the photo after my trip, I saw a face looking at me. I called the store, the owner asked me if the face was sticking out my tongue. It was. She asked for a copy of the photo.
âHe likes to do that,â she said. I also had one of the sharpest photos of him they’ve seen, she added.
Atchison is full of ghost stories, hence its title “Kansas’ Most Haunted Town”. Whether you believe in ghosts, spirits, or the afterlife, Haunted Atchison is a fun experience.
The Benedictine College campus is full of magnificent works of art. Start your self-guided tour with a stop at Saint-BenoÃ®t Abbey church. The classic design of the church resembles a ship, with the altar at the stern and the entrance at the bow. Completed in 1957, the church is made of Winona limestone. The interior features Indiana limestone, marble altars, and white oak benches. The church can accommodate 600 people, with room for a choir of 174 members. Mosaic murals are located among the art.
Among the public art on the spacious campus are statues of Jesus Christ and Saint Benedict. A small cave with a waterfall honors Mary.
If the architecture and the beautiful decoration appeals to you, then a visit to the Evah C. Cray Historical House Museum is a must. With 25 rooms, the mansion, built in 1882, features immaculate fireplaces, hand-carved woodwork and impressive furnishings. A gift shop is located in the shed.
The Santa Fe Depot Museum offers a look at the history of the region, from the indigenous peoples to the railroad. Located inside a former depot, you’ll also find locomotives and wagons once used by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railways.
Whether you believe in ghosts, things that happen at night, or just prefer a good scare, Atchison is definitely for you. If you prefer history, architecture and art, Atchison is also for you. Whatever your interests, a road trip to Atchison, Kansas is a fun and adventurous road trip.
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