Haunted Kansas title

Visit the 13 most spooky places in creepy, haunted Kansas

Do you want to wander to spooky, haunted places? Then, this list of 13-plus of the most haunted places in Kansas is for you. These places are perfect for a Halloween excursion or to visit whenever a creepy itch for ghost stories scratches your back.

Of course, the scratch may be literal if you’re a man visiting Atchison’s popular stop, the haunted Sallie House. So, let’s search for paranormal activity in the Sunflower State because paranormal enthusiasts will find much to see in haunted Kansas.

Some of these destinations have hosted me, but all opinions are mine. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.

Table of contents: Fort Leavenworth | Fort Scott | Ellis Railroad Museum | Hutchinson Public Library | St. Jacob’s Well | Brown Mansion | Osawatomie State Hospital and Burial Ground | Underground Ellinwood | Baxter Springs’s murderous madam | Haunted Atchison | Old Cowtown and Kansas Aviation Museum | Haunted Lucas | Sentinel Hill | Haunted Abilene | Midland Railroad Hotel

Read the book Haunted Kansas (ad).

1. Fort Leavenworth, the first fort of haunted Kansas

Fort Leavenworth opened in 1827. So, no one should be surprised that the oldest Euroamerican settlement in Kansas is one of the nation’s most haunted forts.

Catherine Rich haunts Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery because her children, Mary and Ethan, fell into the Missouri River, which swept them away. Searchers failed to find them, but Catherine refused to believe the children had drowned. Instead, she searched everywhere while calling their names. At night, she carried a lantern. Eventually, she contracted pneumonia and died. 

Her widowed husband Hiram returned to Indiana. But then a miracle occurred. The friendly Fox Indians had discovered the children during their winter migration, and then they returned to the fort the following spring. The excellent news reunited the family, but Catherine still searches for her lost children. She mainly searches near the cemetery, sometimes carrying a lantern.

The Rookery, part of the Kansas Territorial Capital Trail
The Rookery has the nickname, “The State’s Oldest Bachelor Pad,” because unmarried officers live there.

The spooky Rookery in haunted Kansas

The Rookery is the post’s oldest building and its most haunted. The Lady in White is a young woman with unkempt hair and long fingernails. She flies through the structure wearing a long white gown. At 16-18 Sumner, next door, the Lady in Black helps around the house. However, she does not like babysitters and grandmothers. After an exorcism, she floated into the place next door.

Every year, the Friends of the Frontier Army conducts its Haunted Tour. It lasts about 2 hours, and guests walk about a mile. 

Roxie’s reliable report: Follow the security procedures to enter the fort. Before you visit the fort, eat the bacon-wrapped meatloaf at The depot 1887 restaurant. The former Santa Fe depot is haunted, too.

Related: Explore Fort Leavenworth, the Best Hometown in the Army.

White gazebo above the well at Fort Scott National Historic Site with officers quarters in the background
The gazebo over Fort Scott’s well with officers’ quarters in the background.

Bonus: Visit spooky Fort Scott

Fort Scott is also one of the nation’s most haunted military forts. Visitors have viewed shadowy apparitions issuing from an officer’s quarters chimney.

According to local legend, an officer shot himself while showing off for his wife. She held him in her arms as he died. The woman allegedly haunts their quarters. Moreover, an orphanage later used the barracks. Staff members and guests have heard ghostly children playing in the buildings.

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Ellis Railroad Museum, haunted Kansas
Earl Perkins drowned in the current Ellis Railroad Museum.

2. Ellis Railroad Museum, Ellis

The Ellis Railroad Museum contains four rooms of railroad memorabilia, including an outstanding model railroad, on its first floor. Its upper floor houses more than 1,200 dolls. If all those dolls aren’t creepy enough, the museum also has a house ghost, Earl Perkins. 

Perkins, 42, had been working in Russell but became ill. He asked Ellis police for shelter on Sunday, June 16, 1957. However, state law required that the city house Perkins in jail. His jail cell was in Memorial Hall’s basement, now home to the museum. That night, eight feet of water crashed into his cell and drowned him. 

The officers who held the cell key were trapped and could not rescue Perkins. Other rescuers could do nothing. His only relative, a sister in Iowa, refused to accept his body.

Denied his rest in Iowa, Perkins haunts Kansas. His cell is not open to the public. However, staff members and visitors hear strange noises from the basement or watch a ghostly figure move past the windows or on the grounds. 

The haunted Hutchinson Public Library

Bonus: Longtime librarian Ida Day Holzapfel haunts the Hutchinson Public Library. She hasn’t been seen for many years, but she used to roam the basement of the library.

After 17 years serving library patrons, Holzapfel moved to Tulare County, California, where she died in a tragic car accident. The former librarian’s restless spirit returned to the Hutchinson library where she sparked bizarre occurrences.

St. Jacobs Well, haunted Kansas
A spectral horse and cowboy disappeared into St. Jacobs Well.

3. St. Jacobs Well, Ashland

St. Jacobs Well has never run dry, but the 84-foot wide and 58-foot deep pool has allegedly swallowed some people. 

On October 27, 1924, the Dodge City Daily Globe ran a story about a vanished horse and rider. Daddy Walters went outside at 1 a.m. to smoke his pipe. He saw a man on horseback riding up to St. Jacob’s edge.

When the horse and rider disappeared, Walters thought the horse was getting a drink. But then he heard a terrible, blood-curdling sound, the cries of a dying horse. He rushed to see what had happened but never saw either horse or rider again.

Brown Mansion, haunted Kansas
Four ghosts are said to haunt the Brown Mansion in Coffeyville.

4. Brown Mansion, Coffeyville

William Pitzer (W.P.) Brown made his fortune in natural gas. He showed off his prosperity with a 16-room Neoclassic mansion atop a Coffeyville hill.

However, Brown’s wealth was no shield against grief. Only one of W.P. and Nancy Brown’s children, Violet, survived to adulthood. One son died at birth. William died of pneumonia when he was only 4.

Type 1 diabetes claimed 11-year-old Donald in 1911, 11 years before insulin’s injection into humans. He died in his third-floor bedroom. His mother sealed the room after his death.

William and Nancy died two months apart in 1934. Violet inherited the house, where she liked to dance alone on the third floor.

Eventually, Violet could not maintain the mansion. She sold it to the Coffeyville Historical Society and moved into a nursing home, where she died in 1973.

The house retains the Browns’ furniture and decorations. Perhaps that’s why they haven’t stopped haunting Kansas.

Violet sometimes dances on the third floor while Donald plays there. However, Nancy sometimes cries outside his bedroom. W.P. smokes his pipe in the living room and the library. Sometimes, his ghost is visible, but sometimes, only the pipe’s aroma is apparent. Finally, their servant Charlie sits in his basement bedroom or stands by the front door.

The five Brown family ghosts make the Brown Mansion a prime Kansas haunted house.

Asylum Bridge, haunted Kansas
The Asylum Bridge was some people’s last time in the world beyond Osawatomie State Hospital.

5. Osawatomie State Mental Hospital

Don’t drive the road to Asylum Bridge in the dark. So many old bricks have washed away, and the potholes are hard to navigate even in daylight. And who knows what haunted Kansas beings may lurk around the spooky old mental asylum.

Asylum Bridge inspires horror even in the daytime. Many asylum patients never again crossed the bridge over the Marais des Cygnes River into the outer world. The 219-foot Reverse Parker Truss bridge is the only one in the world.

The state tore down the asylum’s Old Main building long ago, but other buildings are still visible from the road.

Osawatomie State Hospital burial ground, haunted Kansas
The graves in Osawatomie State Hospital’s burial ground are numbered from the first to the last body buried there.

Haunted Kansas at the Osawatomie State Hospital’s burial ground

Col. John Wesley Horner died in the asylum on August 16, 1874. He was the Chetopa Advance’s editor when the asylum admitted him. Chetopa citizens asked the asylum to send them his body. The telegram arrived too late because the asylum had already buried Horner in an unmarked grave. In consequence, the Chetopans held Horner’s funeral without his body. Later, the asylum moved the headstones to another site and erected the Adair Building over the bodies.

Unclaimed remains, including Horner’s, rest in the hospital’s burial ground. Their markers are concrete stones bearing only a number. A few families have added their loved ones’ names to the grave, but most remain anonymous.

Related: Ride with history in Osawatomie.

Speakeasy below The Wolf Hotel
Return to Prohibition in Underground Ellinwood’s speakeasy.

6. Haunted Kansas in Underground Ellinwood

Three spirits haunt the Historic Wolf Hotel and its underground tunnels. First, “sundown laws” required Black people to leave the jurisdictions before sundown. Ellinwood was a sundowner jurisdiction, and police shot a Black man for failing to observe curfew. Legend says that this man is angry and harasses guests. However, no record of this death exists.

Bernard I. Millet's reserved place at the Sunflower Room table includes a plate, silverware, candle, photo, blazer, and an article explaining his death.
Millet’s permanent place at the Sunflower Room table.

The second ghost is Bernard I. Millet, who shot himself in the hotel dining room. The hotel reserves Millet’s space at the table below the gunshot hole he left in the ceiling.

The third spirit who haunts this part of Kansas enjoys practical jokes. The unknown woman likes to conceal items beneath the guests’ pillows.

Related: Underground Ellinwood is in my book Secret Kansas: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure. Buy an autographed copy in our store.

Bank of Ellinwood sign
Bank of Ellinwood sign at The Wolf Hotel

Haunted Kansas and the Bank of Ellinwood

The building was part of another tragedy when the Bank of Ellinwood rented part of the hotel. In 1908, police arrested Cashier W. Leo Bockemohle for embezzlement, and he died by suicide in their custody.

Roxie’s reliable recommendation: Enjoy a haunted hotel tour.

Related: Explore neighboring Great Bend.

Maybe Ma Staffleback's house
Some people say this house was murderous madam Ma Staffleback’s brothel.

7. The murderous madam, Baxter Springs

A stained-glass window on Galena’s Main Street depicts the back of a reclining nude woman. The house may be Nancy “Ma” Staffleback’s brothel. More likely, the Stafflebacks lived in a crowded shack on Galena’s west side. The Stafflebacks were notorious serial killers.

Their downfall came when they murdered miner Frank Galbraith. After the gang murdered him, they shoved him into a mine shaft. A passerby discovered his body, and police raids in Galena and Joplin, Mo., hauled them into jail. Eventually, Ma, her husband Charles Wilson, and her sons Ed and George were convicted of his murder. George’s wife Cora accused the family of additional killings. They may have robbed and murdered dozens.

The house was an attraction for a while, but now it’s private property. Whether the house was the Staffleback’s bordello or not, reports say it is a haunted part of Kansas. But the reclining nude keeps her secrets.

Related: The house is across the street from the Cars character Tow Mater, one of the top attractions along Kansas Route 66.

8. Sallie House, Atchison, one of Kansas’ most haunted cities

Stay overnight at the Sallie House – if you dare. A mother brought her 6-year-old daughter Sallie to Dr. Charles Finney’s office with severe appendicitis in 1906. Finney believed he had no time to wait for the anesthetic to take effect. She died with her last memories of a torturer.

Sallie never left the local doctor’s office, and she dislikes men. Then, in 1993, a young couple, Tony and Debra Pickman, rented the house. Fires mysteriously started. Sallie moved objects near Tony, and she scratched him. But Sallie never hurt Debra or baby Taylor.

She still scratches and bruises male visitors. Service animals avoid the nursery, and video cameras mysteriously stop working.

1322 Maple Street House of the Dead

Atchison moved its old cemetery in the early 1900s, but the movers didn’t exhume all the graves. Therefore, 100 bodies remain below ground around 1322 Maple St., the House of the Dead.

Experiences include the Haunted Doll Room. Gertrud, called Dirty Gerty, is the room’s chief denizen. Family lore says Nazi Field Marshal Herman Goering’s staff obtained the doll from Holocaust victims.

The owner’s grandfather, a translator, traded the doll for cigarettes after the war. The homeowner eventually received the doll from his grandmother, and strange things happened. Now, glass encases Gerty, and she has protective items around her.

Face your fears in more places: the Haunted Deprivation Chamber, the Psychomanteum, Faces of the Dead Room, and the Sci-Fi Drive-In.

The Haunted 1889 McInteer Villa

Local legend says that Nellie McInteer died in the McInteer Villa. Apparently, her spirit never left the house. Visitors report cold spots, flickering lights, and the uncanny feeling of unseen watching eyes. Brave people may stay at the villa. Book one of the villa’s self-guided tours.

Roxie’s reliable recommendation: Explore Haunted Atchison on the Haunted Trolley Tour each October because Atchison is one of Kansas’ most haunted cities.

Related: Atchison has some of Northeast Kansas’ most interesting attractions.

Murdock and one and a half story house, Old Cowtown Museum
Jessie Murdock haunts Eaglehurst (left) and its neighbors in the Old Cowtown Museum.

9. Eaglehurst, Old Cowtown, Wichita

Wichita Eagle Publisher Marshall Murdock lost his 4-year-old daughter Jessie to spinal meningitis in 1867. When the Old Cowtown Museum acquired the Murdock family home, “Eaglehurst,” Jessie came with it. She plays around the house and haunts other Cowtown buildings. Watch for apparitions and listen for ghostly footsteps in this haunted Kansas location.

Related: Old Cowtown is one of Wichita’s nine best places to visit.

Red and white Stearman airplane with Texaco branding at the Kansas Aviation Museum, Wichita
Texaco company pilot Duke Jernagin’s ghost came with his restored Stearman plane.

Bonus: Kansas Aviation Museum

Wichita’s initial commercial airport later became the Kansas Aviation Museum. Some resident ghosts originated in the airport, but some came with museum artifacts. Paranormal investigators said some restored planes brought their deceased pilots with them, including J.D. “Duke” Jernagin and his Stearman.

Cold spots, knocking and other odd noises, and children playing are mysterious circumstances that indicate ghostly emanations.

Garden of Eden mausoleum
S.P. Dinsmoor’s mausoleum in the Garden of Eden. Dinsmoor’s corpse is visible.

10. Garden of Eden and House of Isis, Lucas

Samuel Dinsmoor doesn’t haunt Lucas, but guests can view his decaying corpse in the mausoleum he constructed. His Garden of Eden is eerie enough without Dinsmoor’s corpse. Instead, he cast his Populist vision into concrete to make the Garden of Eden. Creepy elements include humanity crucified, a devil, and a snake.

Related: Explore more Lucas grassroots art destinations.

The house of creepy dolls haunts Kansas

If Dirty Gerty and the dolls in the Ellis Railroad Museum didn’t creep you out, then the dolls in the House of Isis will. First, artist Mri Pilar papered the walls with silver insulation. Then, she decorated them with doll bodies, kitchen utensils, computer parts, and many other objects.

The tortured toys reminded us of Sid Phillips from Toy Story (ad). The haunted Kansas toys gave us the creeps for years.

Roxie’s reliable recommendation: Grassroots Art Center admission includes The Garden of Isis and Florence Deeble’s Rock Garden behind the Isis house.

Related: Lucas is one of our 12 best places in Kansas.

Elizabeth Polly Park, Hays
Elizabeth Polly, the Blue Light Lady, walks in Elizabeth Polly Park, Hays.

11. Sentinel Hill, Hays

Elizabeth Polly moved to Fort Hays with her husband Ephraim, a hospital steward, in 1867. Unfortunately, the couple arrived just in time for a cholera outbreak. The steward’s wife usually became the hospital matron, and Polly nursed the sick soldiers. Then, when she needed a break, she walked around Sentinel Hill. Before she died, she requested burial atop the hill.

The grieving soldiers gave her a military funeral. They dressed her body in a blue dress and a white bonnet. They tried to fulfill her burial wishes, but the hill was too rocky. So instead, they buried her at the hill’s base and surrounded it with four limestone post rocks.

Thieves later stole the stones. They all died violently in gunfights, carriage accidents, and a train crash.

Polly rested easy until 1917, the year the United States entered World War I. That year, farmer John Schmidt saw a woman wearing a blue dress walk into one of his outbuildings. When he looked inside, no one was there. Since 1917, people sometimes have seen Polly walking, surrounded by a hazy blue light.

In 1967, Hays erected an obelisk above her grave. The city erected a Pete Felten statue of her at Elizabeth Polly Park in 1982.

Roxie’s reliable report: Sentinel Hill is on private property, but Polly’s marker is visible from the road. Use these directions: Go south on 240th St. from Old Hwy. 40 to the mile road, then turn west on Spring Hill Rd. Travel west 1.7 miles. Monument is visible to the north as you drive. The burial is on private property.

Related: Enjoy a long weekend in Hays.

models at Old Abilene Town
The models at Old Abilene Town depict the violence that afflicted Abilene, Queen of the Cattle Towns.

12. Old Abilene Town and Lebold Mansion, Abilene

The great cattle drives are done, but ghostly, lonesome cowboys with jingling spurs still walk the streets of Old Abilene Town. Male spirits argue near the old-time saloon. The Lebold Mansion looks like the Addams Family house, and legends say that at least one spirit haunts its Kansas halls.

Ad: Watch the Addams Family and Addams Family Values.

Roxie’s reliable report: Look for spooky events in Abilene. 

Related: Abilene is the home of President Dwight Eisenhower. His library, museum, and boyhood home are among the best things to do in North Central Kansas.

Midland Railroad Hotel, Wilson
The haunted Midland Railroad Hotel, Wilson

13. Midland Railroad Hotel, Wilson

Every day is Halloween at the Midland Railroad Hotel. An orphaned little girl haunts the Kansas hotel’s third floor. She runs down the hallway and knocks on guest room doors. Guests might see little footprints left when the floor’s ghost has jumped on the bed. Legend says Sheriff Bart was lynched in a third-floor room. Whether the legend is true or not, the master key does not always work in that room’s door.

Ghostly occurrences aren’t limited to the third floor. The kitchen has seen hauntings, too. Once, a spray bottle spontaneously flew 7 feet through the air as staff watched.

Related: Explore 11 ways to enjoy Wilson, Kansas. Plus, Colonel Eldridge uses Room 506 as his favorite haunt in Lawrence’s Eldridge Hotel.

When that ghostly itch scratches, maybe it’s a Kansas ghost haunting you. 

Haunted Kansas Pinterest title, a national cemetery at sunset

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