– We're on our way to the Winchester.
– [Shane] This is a ghost town.
– We're in Mexico.
Terrifying Island of the Dolls.
It's gonna be our showdown with the demon to end the trip.
What the fuck was that? (man screams) (Shane laughs) Today on Buzzfeed Unsolved, we cover multiple cases and visits, some of the most haunted, horrifying places in the world in an effort to answer some questions that I've always been curious about.
Are ghosts and demons real, and if they are real, can they manipulate, harm, and perhaps even kill the living? Right now, we're in San Jose, California at Sacred Heart Church to talk to Father Gary Thomas.
In 2005, Father Thomas was sent all the way to Rome to the Vatican to learn the right of exorcism.
A movie was actually based on his experiences in Rome starring Anthony Hopkins.
Basically, this dude's the real deal.
We're gonna be happy that we talked to him and had his guidance when we go to some of these places.
– Yeah, I think so, we better stock up on some knowledge here otherwise we're gonna get murdered by ghosts.
– You're gonna be thankful that we're meeting this guy later, I promise you, I promise you, you will regret that statement.
(organ music) First off, thank you for meeting with us, Father Thomas.
– I've read a lot about you. – Oh, thanks.
– We really appreciate it.
– Thank you.
– How many exorcisms have you preformed over your career? – Formal exorcisms, I've probably performed 50 to 75 in 10 years.
– What is the difference between a ghost and a demon? – A ghost would refer to a disembodied human soul.
A demon is a preternatural angelic creature that rebelled against God.
– It's not human.
– No it's not, their life form is dying.
They have been dying since the moment they rebelled.
And so they are attracted to human beings for two reasons.
One, because they are a parasitic and they feed off our life form, but secondly, their goal is to take as many of us to hell with them as possible, because they already know they've lost.
I'm not trying to– – Oh, no, I just got a shiver down my spine.
So can't a ghost and a demon both possess or maybe influence the living? – Yes, and I've had those cases.
Where are these homes you're going into? – One of them is nearby here.
The Winchester Mystery House.
Essentially it's a haunted mansion.
And then the next one is a haunted doll island in Mexico City, the last place is perhaps the scariest, it's a house infested with a demon.
Do you have any advice for us going into some of these places where we may come into contact with not so nice spirits? – Are we still on camera? – Yeah.
– Okay, if these places you're going claim to have spiritual attachments, I would do nothing to invite them into any kind of conversation.
I would do nothing to invite them to somehow show them self or taunt them in any way.
You don't want to create a tie with them.
– So treat it like a fine art museum.
– I would.
– Would it be possible for you to perhaps bless some water or something for me to carry? – Yes, do you have something? – It's literally just a water bottle.
– That's fine, I can bless it.
In the name of the father and of the son and of the holy spirit, in your kindness hear our prayers and pour down the blessing into this element so that the health obtained by calling upon your holy name will be made secure against all attack through Christ our lord, amen.
– Thank you. – Sure.
– Thank you for sitting down with us and thank you for– – Sure.
Was this helpful? – Fascinating.
– This was super helpful and I feel a lot better about what's about to happen.
– Good, good.
– I just feel so comforted right now and where we're about to go, it's gonna be the exact opposite, so.
– [Shane] Yeah.
– You're not worried about that at all? – [Shane] No.
– Why are we doing this? I don't know if we got this on camera, but he told me, do not be afraid.
I mean, I won't lie, I'm very scared, but.
Do not be afraid.
– If anything happens, just do not be afraid.
That's all you have to keep repeating.
He said it a bunch of times in the Bible.
– [Shane] Jesus said chill.
– (laughs) Jesus said chill, yeah, sure.
Alright, right now we're on our way to the Winchester.
Just met with the pastor.
– Got our holy water, got our tips, our demon tips.
(ominous tones) – Uhh.
– This looks like Disney Land.
I wouldn't be surprised if they got cotton candy in there.
– Yuk it up, man, yuk it up, you're really enjoying this, but when the lights go off, this may be a little different.
– [Shane] This is beautiful! – Ah, man.
You are full of shit if you do not feel strange right now.
– [Shane] No, I don't.
– You're such a fuckin' shyster dude.
The hair on the back of my neck is standing up, man, this is crazy.
Right now, we're sitting in the bedroom of Sarah Winchester who built this mansion as the result of a terrible tragedy.
Sarah actually passed away in this very room in that bed right there.
– Hell of a bed, I assure you in like half of the places you've been, people have died there.
People have probably died in the Chipotle we just ate at.
– Let's just get into it.
– [Ryan] Sarah Pardee was born around 1840 to a very wealthy family.
In 1862 in her early 20's, Sarah married William Winchester whose father, Oliver Winchester founded the company that made the Winchester repeating rifle, a rifle that will become the ultimate weapon of death in the wars to come.
In 1866, Sarah and William had their first child, Annie Pardee Winchester, but unfortunately their daughter would die from a disease called marasmus only a month and a half later.
In 1880, William's father, Oliver Winchester passed away leaving the company to William, but William contracted tuberculosis shortly after and tragically died in March 1881 only a few months after his father.
– [Shane] Ugh.
– [Ryan] That was the most disingenuous– – [Shane] (laughs) No, that was– – [Ryan] (laughs) I don't know what– – [Shane] That was real! – [Ryan] Okay, now that we've laid down the facts, let's get into the legend.
William's death was almost unbearable for Sarah, who according to legend, reached out to spiritualists and mediums in Boston to help her understand the deaths of her daughter and husband.
Many believe that it was one fateful visit to a particular medium that would change her life.
The medium told Sarah that her family was being haunted by the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle, and that her family members' deaths were retribution.
The medium said Sarah's family was cursed, and that the only way to lift the curse was to move west and build a house and never stop building.
– [Shane] Well, I think I know the end of this story.
– [Ryan] The good spirits would guide her on what to build and if she continued building, she could live forever.
But if she stopped, the evil spirits that were victims of the Winchester rifle would haunt Sarah forever.
– [Shane] If you can live forever, great.
But if you have to continue to build a house that entire time, unless you're having fun, which I don't think she was.
– [Ryan] Well, she wasn't like, putting on a hard hat and like physically making the house herself.
She was delegating.
– [Shane] Well then that's why she didn't live forever! (Ryan laughs) 'Cause she found a loophole! – [Ryan] I won't argue that your logic is flawed.
I just hate it because it's detrimental to my argument.
– [Shane] It's fine.
– [Ryan] Needless to say, Sarah followed the medium's advice and moved west where she built an eight room farm house in San Jose.
It is estimated that 500 to 600 rooms were built, but due to her constant remodeling, only 161 rooms remain, one of which was newly discovered in October 2016.
– [Shane] You think the ghost just checked in every like (Ryan laughs) Three to five years. – Checked her time card.
– [Shane] Like, we should see if she's still building that otherwise, we gotta kill her.
(Ryan laughs) – However, what makes this mansion famous isn't the size or amount of rooms.
It's the odd and peculiar nature in which they were constructed.
It was built this way in an effort to confuse the evil spirits that were haunting and following Sarah.
The walkways are narrow and twist and turn around the mansion, there are stairs that lead to the ceiling, and doors that open into brick walls.
And in one instance, a door known as the door to nowhere that opens to a sheer drop on the outside of the house from the second floor.
I can't imagine a ghost would get foiled into falling into these bushes down here, but the thought is nice.
(both laugh) Alright, now that we've established the legend, let's discuss some possible alternate theories as to why Sarah built the way she did.
One theory that explains some unfinished aspects of the house is Sarah's arthritis that affected her late in her life.
One area, called the hall of fires is a hallway lined with fireplaces.
Its purpose to perhaps aid Sarah's arthritis.
This could provide a reason for an unfinished staircase as she possibly saw no reason to complete it.
But I struggle to see how this explains a door to nowhere.
– [Shane] Nobody is building a house like this because they have arthritis.
– [Ryan] It's a, I'm saying– – [Shane] That is not a, that is not a– – [Ryan] This is, this is a theory.
I'm just stating a theory.
– [Shane] No one says, oh, my knuckles feel a little funny.
I'm going to build a house with 500 rooms.
– [Ryan] I hear ya man, I hear ya, I agree with ya.
I'm just sayin', this is a theory that people believe, and I'm relaying the theory.
– [Shane] Those people are idiots.
– [Ryan] I mean, you know what the doctor says.
Nothing's better for arthritis than a two story drop to the floor down below, right? – [Shane] (laughs) Right, yeah.
– [Ryan] Another theory is that Sarah needed a change of scenery and continued to build to keep her mind occupied and off her grief.
– [Shane] Now that, yeah.
– [Ryan] So– – [Shane] Maybe she just wasn't very good at planning.
– [Ryan] And she did that for her entire life until– – [Shane] Yeah, for her entire life.
– Okay. – Hey, we all need hobbies.
– [Ryan] Another theory comes from historian Mary Jo Ignoffo who investigated Sarah Winchester.
Ignoffo believes Sarah was devoted to building because she was interested in architecture.
Ignoffo reports that Sarah's own letters reveal that construction stopped at months at a time despite what legend would suggest.
Ignoffo also explains the unfinished state of rooms as a result of an earthquake in 1906 that caused damage to the house theorizing that Sarah simply shut down that area of the house rather than attempting repairs.
And finally she also could not find evidence that Sarah communicated with spirits.
Although, I will say, I can't imagine communicating with spirits produces any kind of receipt.
– [Shane] No, nobody has evidence of that.
– [Ryan] Okay, I'm just saying, I call bullshit on that.
– [Shane] That'd be, yeah, I agree with your calling of bullshit. – Good.
I'm glad we agree on something for once.
– [Shane] Yeah, yeah, we've done it.
– [Ryan] Okay, we, we've done it, let's go home now.
(Shane laughs) But enough conjecture, let's look at some of the spiritually active areas of this very unsettling house.
Oh, this room looks like a nightmare, that's fun.
– There's a few rooms in this house that strike me as okay, this is a ghost town, this could be it.
(dark tones) – Oh, the way the shadows play with your, with your mind.
– Well, I didn't see something, I heard something.
I heard a noise right up there, came from up there.
– [Shane] Probably bats.
– That's also a concern I mean, but– – [Shane] Oh, bats are normal.
– Ugh, this fuckin' guy.
One room that is particularly important is a room called the blue room, or as some know it, the seance room.
A room where Sarah would allegedly communicate with the good spirits on a nightly basis for building guidance.
The room has three entrances and one door that is like a trap door dropping into the kitchen down below.
And not surprisingly, this is one of the most active rooms in the house with reports of organ music being heard, cold spots, and people experiencing dizziness.
– What is this thing doing, it's making noises.
– What is? (beeps) I just took out a brand new battery, I just took off the plastic from it and put it in, and it drained it all the way to zero.
– This is highly unusual, I've never seen it do this before.
– I'm just gonna ignore you and fix the issue.
– I'm gonna lock myself in here with a ghost.
I turned my flashlight off.
This is horrifying, I bet Ryan wouldn't do this.
(door shuts) – Oh fucking come on, man.
(knocking) Goddammit, I knew he was gonna do that, it still scared me, fuck you.
(Shane laughs) The house as a whole has reports of hearing people breathing footsteps, hearing screws being unscrewed and dropped to the floor, full body apparitions of servants with the most famous spirit being Sarah herself often seen in her bedroom.
Naturally, one of the creepiest and most active places in the entire house is the basement where guests and workers often claimed to see the ghost of a caretaker named Clyde pushing a wheel barrow.
(footsteps) Why I'm walking here by my fucking self is beyond me.
Ah fuck, I'm so scared.
Alright, apparently this is where a recurring ghost is seen.
(voice whispers) Ah! Oh God! – What are you, ca, hey man, calm down (laughs).
– You piece of shit, Shane.
– My mic went out, and then I was looking for you.
– He's crouching in here like some kind of cave creature.
– And then all I did was I went, ahh, I was just– – Oh yeah! – Comin' in here to say hello to you! – [Ryan] You're looking for me while grunting like a zombie.
– You almost scared me to death.
I'm never gonna forgive you for that.
Hope you're fuckin' proud of yourself.
– I thought you saw me.
– Bullshit, you thought I saw you.
– I really didn't think it was gonna work.
– [Ryan] Sarah seemingly lived a life of solitude.
She reportedly wore a dark veil at almost all times to mask her appearance, and in 1922, Sarah died at the age of 83.
In the end, the questions remain.
Was this just the result of a woman filled with grief? Or, were the evil spirits that haunted Sarah Winchester so horrifying that they drove her and perhaps possessed her to build until her death? – She probably believed that spirits did say this to her.
Whether or not that's a thing that actually happened, you know.
– So you're saying, it's more along the lines of grief.
– Yeah. – That produced, perhaps.
– I mean, she went through some pretty harrowing stuff.
– Let me just ask you straight out, do you believe ghosts are real right now? – Uh, no.
– Why do you not believe ghosts are real? – I've never seen one.
– Okay, I mean, there's a lot of things that you can't see that you, are real, I feel like.
– What can't I see? – You can't see gravity, that's real.
– Yeah, I can drop an apple.
(Shane laughs) I guess you will just, you'll just never believe me until something happens.
– Look, hey, this entire trip, I'm ready.
Hey, ghosts, tussle my hair! – I would do nothing to invite them to somehow show them self or taunt them in any way.
– Uhh, gimme, gimme a little purple nerple or something, let's have some fun.
– (laughs) Purple nerple.
– Here I am.
– [Ryan] Regardless, the real reason behind the creation of the Winchester Mystery House will remain unsolved.
– I'm so proud of her for doing this, by the way.
It's really something.
– You're the worst.
– No, I genuine, like this is neat.
– If I have to spend one more moment sitting in this chair looking at that silly face, I think I may murder you myself (laughs).
Alright, we're getting out of here.
– [Shane] Okay.
– Yeah, let's leave this house.
Checkin' outta San Jose.
– Onward! – [Ryan] Onward to uh, Mexico.
– Yeah, why not? (upbeat music) – So we're in Mexico, so that's pretty cool.
Uh, we don't have to go to our next horrible place until tomorrow, so I think we're gonna enjoy the city a little bit tonight.
Alright, alright alright.
– I don't know if this is a sign, but I'm in the bathroom at this bar, and this mirror literally has blood dripping from it.
But I'm gonna go order another beer, so we're good.
– [Group] Salud, salud! – We're getting a drink in Mexico, and we ran into the Grim from Harry Potter.
(woman laughs) This is crazy! Mexico City is such a nice city.
– [Shane] Yeah, it is.
– Shame we're on our way to a nightmare.
– [Shane] You're on your way to a nightmare.
I'm on my way to a nice retreat.
– Okay, we'll see.
(intense tones) – Right now, we're uh, we're being carted over to the dock.
We were just sort of put on here, I don't know.
– I guess that's how easy it is to trick us.
(both laugh) Get on, get on, get on! Okay! Oh fuck! That was almost a two bike trolley collision right there.
So uh, I'm actually not quite sure where we are right now.
– No, it's fine, just go with the flow Ryan.
– That's what people usually say on the way to their death.
So we survived our little trolley over here.
We're joined by Pepe from BuzzFeed Mexico.
– Hola amigos.
– Right now, we're on the outskirts of Mexico City in the ancient Aztec canals of Xochimilco heading to our next location, the terrifying Island of the Dolls.
(dramatic tones) This was mistake, oh yeah there's also a thunderstorm about to roll in, so that's fine.
– He looks fine, look at, the kid's fine.
And I feel like a big weiny.
– You are a big weiny.
(ominous tones) – It's been said that people don't like these canals due to the bad energy.
Those who navigate the canals claim the dolls lure them to the island.
One trajinera operator claims that he was even possessed for multiple days when approaching the island.
This is the beginning of a horror movie right now.
We're here and it's raining.
Shall we? – Yup.
– You go, you go first.
– Oh, I go first? (Ryan laughs) Oh, okay.
An ominous cloud in the sky.
Some very, very atmospheric thunder.
– Well this seems all horrible and awful in general.
– So this is, so, wow.
– (laughs) Speechless.
– Someone committed their life to this.
– [Ryan] Look, there's spiders everywhere, so that's nice.
– See, I'm more concerned about the spiders than the ghosts.
– Is that right? – [Shane] Yeah.
– This island is not as pleasant at night.
– So Pepe, you're telling me you don't come here every weekend? – Yeah, where is Pepe? – No, I this is not one of my favorite places.
(guys laugh) – [Ryan] In the 1950s in Mexico, Don Julian Santana Barrera was persecuted for being overzealous in his religious beliefs.
After that, for reasons unclear, Julian abandoned his wife and child and moved to the island we're at tonight in the Xochimilco canals in the outskirts of Mexico City.
The island we're sitting on is a chinampa, a man made floating garden engineered by the Aztecs centuries ago.
– I'm sure they'd be thrilled with what it's become.
– You think this is what they had in mind? – Oh yeah, definitely.
– Oh, monkey! – Monkey? – Nah, I thought I got bit in the ass cheeks by a spider.
There's a lot of spiders here.
– Ah, they're huge.
– Julian lived on this island in isolation.
And the story goes that he discovered the body of a young girl off the shore of the island.
Julian was reportedly overcome with grief due to the fact that he could not save this little girl.
Legend has it that shortly after her body emerged, a doll appeared where her body was.
I don't even know how deep this water is.
Like if someone were to drown in this, I feel like, it looks like it's shallow, but I guess it's deceiving.
– Ah, this place is creepy.
(ominous tones) Oh, look, a teddy bear.
(laughs) Oh, fuck, a spider (laughs).
– [Ryan] Julian thought that the doll probably belonged to the girl and he hung it up on a tree on the island.
His reasons for doing this vary, depending on who is telling the story.
Some believe he did this to honor the little girl's spirit.
Others believed he did this to appease the spirit and protect himself and the island.
Another variation is that Julian hung the doll to protect the girl's spirit from demons in the afterlife.
Whatever the reason is, the girl's existence has never been officially confirmed.
– Okay, wait the dead girl wasn't? – The dead girl was not confirmed.
– Well, what happened to her body? – I don't know, this was a long time ago.
– What'd he do with it? – I don't know, we're in the canals of Mexico, this is like, I don't know how things work, is that how things work? – I thought it was the 1950s.
– Probably spiders ate her.
(Shane and Ryan laugh) – [Ryan] However, Julian didn't stop at one doll.
Instead he began to amass perhaps the creepiest collection in the history of collections.
Perhaps he felt the more dolls he hung up, the more protected he would be from the spirit.
– [Shane] He'd get along well with ol' Sarah Winchester.
– [Ryan] One could say that.
– [Shane] He has a lifelong mission to appease the ghosts.
– [Ryan] I think it's more a protection thing.
He just doesn't want to die.
– [Shane] He is wearin' a Kevlar vest in that case.
(guys laugh) – [Ryan] He would hunt for the lost dolls from the canals and trash near the island, stringing them up in whatever dilapidated condition he found them, and as his island grew, so did the island's reputation.
Drawing new visitors that would trade dolls for produce grown on the island, consequently creating an extraordinarily bizarre barter system.
– [Pepe] He probably fucks the dolls, can I say that? – [Shane] Wha who, I thought you would have like some respect for this place, but– – [Ryan] Nope, went in straight with he fucks the dolls.
– [Shane] Yeah, yeah, I'm with Pepe on this.
– [Ryan] This is getting way off track.
– [Shane] (laughs) Sorry, okay.
– [Ryan] The compulsion to collect and hang these dolls were so extreme that those close to him believed that he was driven by an unseen force that changed him forever, a force that many believed was the spirit of the young girl haunting, or perhaps possessing him to hang the dolls for 50 straight years in isolation on this island.
Though he initially seemed to hang the dolls out of respect and a desire for protection, close friends claimed that Julian eventually began to believe the dolls were possessed.
– [Shane] Anytime I get even remotely spooked, I just look to the monkey with the sunglasses.
(Ryan laughs) Let's get a great shot of that thing.
– [Ryan] Those 50 years bring us to 2001, when the collecting of dolls came to an abrupt end.
Julian's nephew Anastasio, came to the island to help Julian plant pumpkins.
According to Anastasio, he left to work on the garden, and when he returned, he discovered the body of his uncle floating in the canal.
What's notably chilling is the fact that Julian's body was found drowned in the same spot the girl was found.
This is where it went down, this is where he drowned right here.
– Cool cool cool cool cool.
– [Ryan] Anastasio, who moved to the island after Julian's death claims the dolls quote, "Move their heads and whisper to each other," end quote.
– [Shane] They've got dolls that piss themselves.
– [Ryan] The, I mean, do you think these dolls look like they have remotely any kind of technological capability? – [Shane] There was a Mickey Mouse over there with a little pull string.
– [Ryan] Did it work? – [Shane] I don't know, I didn't touch it.
– [Ryan] I feel though that you touched it.
– Hi kids.
I did touch it, oh God (laughs).
– Who do you think haunts this island? (Pepe translates) – Is that a bed? – Is that a guy? – [Ryan] Wait, what? – [Pepe] Should we poke it with a stick? – How about you Shane, you poke him with a stick.
(dramatic tones) – There's no one there.
This a dream come true for you Ryan? – I can't say that.
Don Julian Santana Barrera was 80 at the time of his death.
Some people think that the dolls or the spirits that inhabit them might have killed Julian.
– Uhh, sure.
(Ryan laughs) If that's what it's gonna take to get us out of here, then yes, I believe in all of this.
Put it on Wikipedia, and let's leave.
– But to finish this off, let's visit the area that has the most heightened activity on the island.
It's a shrine that Julian built inside a shed for his favorite dolls, including the original doll that Julian found all those years ago.
This is the shed where he kept his shrine, and there's candles inside, great.
I did bring a little doll of my own.
This seems like a good spot to leave it, right? Or should I put it in the lap of the original? – [Shane] This is a fuckin' nightmare.
– Aw, man.
There's the original right here.
– [Shane] What, where? – The one that looks.
(rumbles) – Oh fuck! – What he fuck was that? Holy shit balls! I was just about to put the offering on the original doll, and then– – Holy shit, look at the spider coming out of it.
– Oh my God. – Oh, fuck.
– Yeah, these are fuckin' huge, let's go.
– [Ryan] This is also his favorite doll right here.
– [Shane] Okay, I don't care what his favorite, fuck that, let's go.
(Ryan laughs) (tones intensify) – There's cats right there.
Oh fuck me, there are spiders everywhere.
– [Pepe] Look at the size of that thing (Ryan hollers).
I'm gonna go under, he he! – Okay, okay, we've had our fun.
We're leaving this island.
– [Ryan] Where's Pepe? – [Pepe] I'm right here, ah fuck, spiders.
– Spiders, not the dolls! (man yells) (dramatic tones) – Jesus Christ, and you just ran into possessed dolls.
Ay, toodaloo Julian, can't say it was pleasurable.
(engine revs) Okay.
In the end, Julian was remembered as a nice and welcoming man, but the mystery of his eventual death remains.
Was it the result of his own compulsive behavior? Or, was it the result of the spirit that he claimed haunted him for the last 50 plus years of his life? For now, and perhaps forever, the case remains unsolved.
– I like spiders, I think spiders are good, I think they're a great little insect or arachnid, but fuck everything about that place.
I would love to bring Father Thomas to this island.
– [Ryan] I don't think Father Thomas would be that down.
– (laughs) I don't think he would, what makes you think that? – Ah, 'cause I don't know if you could uh, exorcise spiders away. – Yeah.
(eerie tones) – Alright, on the way to Kansas.
It's gonna be our show down with a demon to end the trip.
– [Shane] We've defeated the spiders.
– [Ryan] Killed all the spiders.
– We set that whole island on fire.
– We survived the spirits of Winchester, I got my holy water ready, I'm ready for this showdown.
– I don't think you are frankly.
– Right now, we're on our way to a house widely considered to be infested with a demon that tortured a young family.
The grand finale, we're going to the Sallie House.
(ominous tones) Everyone thinks feeling energy is bullshit, but you don't feel strange at all? Not even a little bit? – No, not really.
Oh shit, what up, I'm takin' a selfie with some demons yo! Hell yeah, whaa! Great, that'll be good, I'm gonna snap that.
(icy tones) What's the matter? – You're insufferable.
I was working myself up dude you know? – Sure.
Are you alright man? Let's get in there! – Yeah, I know, I'm just gonna get the fuckin' holy water.
– Okay (laughs), okay.
– Joke all you want, and don't ask me for some later.
– I won't.
(door creaks) All they need is some WD-40.
(doors creak) Sure, really sellin' it, huh? Little baby.
Hmm, this is nice.
You know what places like this would cost in Los Angeles? An arm and a leg.
– Let's just tell the story of this house, how about that? – Ryan, don't look over here, there's a little stuffed animal, don't wanna.
– Right now we're sitting in the living room of the Sallie House, our sleeping bags are right there.
We foolishly plan on sleeping here for some stupid reason.
I've lived my life by one adage and that's don't fuck with demons.
– It's an adventure! I just love seein' ya squirm.
– Let's just get into why this house is– – Okay, tell your spooky story.
– Located at 508 North Second Street in Atchison, Kansas, the Sallie House is the ultimate haunted house and widely considered to be one of the most haunted places in America.
Built between 1867 and 1871, this house has had three deaths inside it's walls.
Michael Finney in 1872, William True in 1918, and Agnes True in 1939, but while the deaths have perhaps added to the house's ghostly inhabitance, the real evil comes from something much different.
Alright, I think he's here.
So we called a paranormal investigator over.
– Hey. – How's it goin' man, Ryan.
– Eric Enzbrenner. – Shane.
– Nice to meet ya.
– I think this is all bullshit.
(Ryan laughs) – Half of it is.
I brought a little bit.
– I'm not gonna communicate with shit.
– I would do nothing to invite them into any kind of conversation.
– We are.
– You were already doing it during the– – I'll be, I'll be standing in the background.
While multiple residents of the Sallie House have experienced paranormal activity, it wasn't until the 1990's when Debra and Tony Pickman moved in that the activity was fully realized.
What follows is based on their first hand account of what started as a small haunting and later developed into a living nightmare.
Debra and Tony Pickman moved in on December 31st, 1992.
The haunting started small.
Lights in their house would dim, their dog would bark incessantly at the entrance to the nursery, and their newborn baby would wake up every hour, quote, "As if someone was playing with him," end quote.
The Pickmans' neighbor could see the nursery window from her house and eventually asked Debra why she kept the light on in the nursery all night long with the baby sleeping in there.
This question came as an icy shock to Debra, who always turned the light off.
(Ryan laughs) – It was a little weird right? – Yeah.
– Alright, anyways, things got especially weird of July 14th, 1993, when Debra, Tony, and her sister Karen discovered all the stuffed animals in the nursery organized into a neat circle back to back in the middle of the room on the floor.
The three of them figured it was one of them playing a practical joke, so they put the animals back, turned off the light and went downstairs.
To their horror, when they returned, not only was the light on, but a bear was knocked off its chair and laying on its back on the ground.
(Shane laughs) – [Shane] We better get out of this house, somebody knocked our little bear out of his little wicker chair.
– [Ryan] You're tellin', you're telling me you wouldn't be unnerved by going upstairs and seeing a bunch of stuffed animals organized into a little cult circle when no one did it? – [Shane] I don't know.
– [Ryan] After that, like anybody would, they packed up some stuff, took their baby, and left the house to stay with Tony's parents.
– [Shane] Did they bring the bear? – [Ryan] I don't believe they brought the bear.
I mean, there's, I can't imagine they would bring the bear.
While they were leaving the house, Tony felt a sharp sting in his back.
When they lifted up his shirt, they discovered three long scratches.
Tony would continue to get viciously scratched as time went on and in one instance, a scratch manifested while on video.
The Pickmans eventually would turn to a psychic who picked up on a presence named Sallie.
– Sallie, if you're here, or any spirit that's here, let's communicate.
There's a flashlight, if you can turn the flashlight on, let us know you're here, that'd be great.
– Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it.
– It's a little monkey! We saw one of those on the island of the haunted dolls.
– [Ryan] According to Debra Pickman, on the morning of October 31st, 1993, Tony went to grab a glass of orange juice in the kitchen.
When he turned around, he saw a little girl in early 1900's clothing.
Shortly after, he sketched what he saw for Debra.
– Alright, we are in the kitchen.
– [Eric] Please turn the light on for us.
– [Ryan] Please don't, please don't do it.
– Demon? – Stop calling it that.
– Demon! – Stop it, stop talking to it! – No, I just want to talk to the demons.
We met a pal named Father Thomas, he told us not to talk to you, but I think you guys are swell.
– I would do nothing to invite them to somehow show themselves or taunt them in any way.
– If you like the guys stayin' here, turn the light on.
– [Ryan] You're fucking crazy, Shane.
– If you don't like us, turn it on.
– [Ryan] Please don't turn on, please don't.
(haunting tones) (Ryan screams) What the fuck? – Oh, shit. – No! (both laugh) – Where's my holy water? – Where's my holy water (laughs).
If you actually don't like us, please just turn it on.
I don't think they have the power to turn it back on again, frankly, I really think they don't (laughs).
(Ryan screams) – Are you fucking kidding me, what the– – Keep in mind, we have to spend the night here.
– [Eric] Please turn the light off for us spirits.
– Don't you fucking do it.
– [Eric] Turn it all the way off, thank you.
– Oh my God. – Please try.
– Oh my God, we should have never talked to it dude.
– That's a car going by, it's okay.
– No, that's the fucking flashlight rolling in the background.
Look, it's coming back. – Oh, yeah it is.
(haunting tones) It's a flashlight, it rolls, it's cylindrical! – But it shouldn't roll back and forth like that.
– What? You should have never talked to it dude, what is wrong with you? In what may be a curious coincidence, a former resident who lived in the house shortly before the Pickmans said, quote, "My daughter was five at the time.
"She had an imaginary friend, Sallie.
"I would scold her for something, "And she would come back and tell me "I didn't do that, Sallie did it," Or, "Sallie told me to do it." When shown Tony Pickman's drawing 11 years after they moved out of the house, the daughter identified it as her imaginary friend from her childhood.
Do not be afraid, do not be afraid, do not be afraid, do not be afraid, do not be afraid.
– Do not be afraid.
– Hey, just take a, sit down, it's fine, okay, oh don't hurt your.
– Oh fuck, okay.
– I mean sure, we don't know how to explain that.
Maybe it's just, you know, flashlights are funny like that.
– [Ryan] The Pickmans also reported fires that would start on their own, in fact, two former residents before the Pickmans reported fires starting inexplicably in the room that would eventually become the Pickman's nursery.
The activity continued to escalate beyond fires, however.
A lamp was thrown at Tony's mother.
Tony reported hearing scratching behind his bed, quote, "Almost like you had an animal digging "To get out of the wall," end quote.
And in one instance, Sallie appeared in the room and grabbed Tony's wrist, burning dark red finger marks into his arm.
At this point, Tony believed, quote, "We're dealing with something way beyond a little girl," end quote, and begged to leave the house, yet Debra, who at this point never witnessed anything alarming, didn't share the same desire.
– [Shane] This was the 90s, people had, like, video recorders, you know.
– [Ryan] I mean, the scratches all happened on camera.
Here's the thing, this is what I fucking love about like paranormal evidence, people are always clamoring for it, right, like where's the evidence, and then when the evidence is finally there it's like, fake.
Things eventually went beyond physical terror, however.
Here's another quote from Tony.
Quote, "It got to the point where I, "When I was in the house, "I could not think any happy thought.
"It was just strictly I wanted to hurt her.
"I, I was a whole different person.
"That something can come inside me and make me capable "Of doing that, I just, it tears me up.
"As much as I hate to say it, "I'd planned on slitting her throat." – [Shane] Jesus Christ! If you slit my throat tonight, I'm gonna have a hard time forgiving you for that.
– [Ryan] Would you haunt me for the rest of my life? – [Shane] No, 'cause I'll be dead, ghosts aren't real.
– [Ryan] Well then, oh, okay, fair enough.
In 1994, the Pickmans finally moved out of the house.
But at this point, you're probably wondering who is Sallie? From what I could find, records show that a Sallie Isabel Hall did indeed live in the house in 1905, but she was actually a 34 year old black woman.
– [Shane] (laughs) Wait, what? – [Ryan] Hear me out, hear me out here.
– Okay. – Okay.
While this may seem damning at first, the implications of this are actually quite horrifying.
If there was in fact never a girl named Sallie who lived here, then who or what was this alleged spirit presenting itself as a little girl named Sallie? That question led me to this piece of research.
Sometimes, in human presences, demons will allegedly present themselves as humans that are physically flawed, or in some cases, perhaps like this one, they may appear as children.
(haunting tones) – [Shane] That demon's racist! He was like oh, there was a, a black lady who lived here? Wait a minute, no, I can't haunt with that.
– [Ryan] Well, demons– – [Shane] What about a little, little white girl, a little blonde one, I'll give her pigtails.
– [Ryan] Demon's don't– – [Shane] Fuck that demon, he's whitewashing the history of this house, he's exactly what's wrong with Hollywood.
– [Ryan] Demons don't present themselves as adults, that's what I was saying, they present themselves as– – [Shane] Ever? – No! – This sounds– – [Ryan] An entity, like an entity that's not human, it needs energy, it needs souls to feed off of, so if you need that, you wouldn't immediately come out with the horns, you'd come out with a little girl, that makes sense to me.
– [Shane] Whatever, demon's racist, I don't respect this demon.
– But what really suggests the presence of a demon is something that occurred in the basement well after the Pickmans left the house.
A female tenant, her husband, and their children moved into the house and reported no paranormal activity.
But on a surprise visit from landlord Les Smith, he allegedly discovered something terrifying in the basement, a large pentagram on the floor, an alter, a large black kettle, and a black robe.
– [Shane] A pointy hat, a broomstick, three newts, a lizard tongue. – Hey man, this is what he– – Eyeballs. – That's what he found! Many believe that this female tenant was a Satan worshiper performing sacrificial rituals.
To this day, there's a black mark on the floor where the alleged rituals took place.
Consequently, many believe the demon lives in this basement, specifically in the hole in the back wall which brings me back to something Father Thomas told us about demons.
I was reading about something called infestation where like, a demon will just take hold of a house.
– So, if that family was involved in a Satanic cult, and they were doing other kinds of rituals and spells that are part of the cult, it would not at all surprise me if there was something demonic still attached because that's where that cult basically had a home.
– And it opened the portal there.
(eerie tones) (chair clanks) – If you're there in the hole and you wanna speak to us or communicate with us, turn that flashlight on.
– Please don't, please don't, please don't.
(beeping) – That's me, sorry.
– Oh, thank God, thank you God.
– So we're giving off high EMF here because of this.
– Woah, oh that thing.
– So that's a false read, but since there's a lot of electricity coming through the air, that's saying it could feed a spirit.
– Oh, well that's good, let's feed it more, why not, right? He's hungry.
– If you wanna eat my heart, turn that light on.
(dramatic tones) I think this demon's a wimp! – He's lost his mind! – [Eric] You wanna lay on the pentagram? – Here we go! – You're outta your mind.
– Rock and roll buckaroo! If you wanna eat my heart, turn that light on.
If you wanna eat Ryan's heart, turn that light on.
– Don't, stop putting me in your shit.
– Our old pal Ryan Bergara, packin' steel.
Oh, the light's on Ryan, look at the light! (haunting music) We got 'im! – Jesus Christ.
(Shane laughs) (Ryan screams) Fuck this house, dude, fuck this house so hard.
– [Shane] Aw, now we get to spend the night here.
– Here's a fun fact about sleeping here.
One past resident described waking up to a, quote, "Grotesque and gaunt, dead looking individual, "Not only laying next to her, but staring at her," end quote.
– Here's the thing, I discount almost 100% of I saw it in the middle of the night things, because sleep paralysis, often times, most people wake up and see shit.
– If I wake up tonight and there is this grotesque looking thing laying next to me and just staring at me with it's fucking stupid beady eyes open, I'm gonna shit myself.
There's gonna be poo in my sleeping bag.
(both laugh) You know, I'm just gonna carry out the sleeping bag.
– You're just gonna roll it up.
– Full of poop. – Put it in the garbage can.
– I'm gonna roll it up, I'm gonna put it in the garbage can, my big fuckin' poo burrito and that's, that's, I'm never coming back, I'll leave all the shit, I'm fuckin' never coming back.
(eerie tones) The fact that we're sleeping in this house after what we saw is astounding.
– [Shane] I'm proud of you, Ryan.
– [Ryan] Time to sleep, lights out I guess.
– So we're gonna sleep here all night.
It's gonna be dreadfully quiet.
It is weird thinking what's directly below us is that basement.
– Why would you say that? (Shane laughs) I'm gonna get closer to you, I don't care.
– (laughs) Okay.
Every little pin drop that you hear, every little creak, it's gonna make your butt hole tighten.
– Do not be afraid, do not be afraid, do not.
I thought I saw something move out of the corner of my eye.
I will stay in this house til five AM, if I sleep, I sleep, if I don't, I don't.
– I think it would be asleep full night for me if it weren't for you.
Oh, the light went out outside.
Did you turn that out? – No.
– Yeah you did.
– I didn't, no.
– No, weird.
– Aaand, nope, I'm man enough to admit this is not, this is not happening tonight, I can't.
It's not happening ev, it's not happening ever.
– (laughs) Okay man, look, it's okay.
– I think I just blacked out.
– You givin' up? – Don't say it like that.
– Well, I mean that's what's happening.
– Here's what, here's what I'll do.
The witching hour is at three, right? – Why is it three? – That's to mock the holy trinity.
Sometimes you'll hear three knocks, that's a demon.
When it hits three o'clock– – Uh-huh.
– I will be quiet for three minutes.
– No you won't.
– I will, can you give me time updates like one minute, two minutes? – Yeah.
Three, two, one.
(water bottle rustles) That's a minute.
(dramatic tones) That's another minute.
(dramatic tones) Done.
– Oh, thank you Jesus Christ.
– Were you freakin' out? – Yeah! The wave of relief that just oh, sweeping over my body right now, ah, there's a part of me right now that feels foolish for getting up, but.
– You should feel foolish.
– Are you trying to convince me to stay in here? – Well, no, I just think it's silly to just give up at the last minute, but whatever.
You know, it's no big deal.
Look, you've made up your mind, you're done.
You don't have it in ya.
– Stop saying that, you're making me wanna do it! – No, I'm just saying, you don't have it in you, it's fine.
(dramatic music) – Do not be afraid.
– You're right, I don't have it in me, yeah, let's go.
(all laugh) Let's go, fuck you, I hope you're fuckin' lookin' at this now motherfucker.
– Did you just call the demon a motherfucker? – I don't give a shit now, I'm gone.
I got my laptop, I got my holy water, I got the cards I need here, peace out bitch.
Not even just a single part of me feels bad about leaving.
Go fuck yourself, Sallie House.
You were truly awful and I hate you.
This is the happiest moment of my life.
– [Shane] I would think it'd be the most embarrassing, but– – [Ryan] Nope, I'm pretty happy.
– [Shane] There's the house.
– Cool, fuck that house, goodbye.
In the end, it's up for debate on what haunts the Sallie House.
The Pickmans seemed to believe it's a demon.
And in my opinion, nothing I experienced suggested otherwise.
But as always, the answer will remain unsolved.
(both laugh) (eerie tones) It's been a couple days, we've had some time to recuperate and actually get a gauge of what we saw or think we saw.
– Really a lot to process.
(Shane laughs) – You know, the first two occasions, I wasn't sure.
My confidence was starting to waiver, even at the last place til like, about halfway through, but when that flashlight turned on.
I think that's a proof positive.
Ghosts and or demons are real, there's no other explanation for it.
– No, I just think it was a wonderful coincidence.
And I'm glad it happened, because we got to see you turn into a babbling mess.
– Coincidence five times in a row? (eerie tones pause) – He screwed the flashlight to right in between the on and off.
– Even if it's on the edge, like the very edge, it still needs just a little bit of a push.
– No, it doesn't.
– And you know who gave it that push? – Casper the friendly ghost? – Perhaps.
– Look, I am happy to let you believe in this, 'cause I think it's fun that you believe in it, 'cause if we go to more places, it's gonna be fun to watch you freak out some more, so great.
– We're never gonna agree, are demons and ghosts real, can they influence people? Let's just call it unsolved, how about that? – No, but we sure had fun.
– Alright, let's get outta here.
Finish my beer actually.
– Yeah, finish your beer.
– Takin' this with me, too.
(creepy music) – He looks like, really happy.
Look at that little face, he looks like he's eatin' grapes.
– The fuckin' creaks in this house are drivin' me insane.
What's in here, woah what is? – [Shane] That's a mirror.
Woah, there's a guy in there that looks just like me! (both laugh) – I turned the light back on, and there was something standing right there.
– Isn't it crazy how the light over there was just like pooling? – Yeah, there was a pool of light over there.
That's really interesting, let's get the fuck out of here.
This is insane, this is one of the craziest experiences of my life.
– Can you imagine what it's gonna be like comin' back at night? – I don't wanna imagine that, can't you just let me enjoy the moment for once? – No.
Father Thomas would be so proud of us.
– I don't think he would to be honest.
– Why? – Because you directly disobeyed everything he said.
You laid on the floor on the pentagram with your belly bared for the demon to smack.
– Yeah, and he didn't.
What a trip it's been, we've seen a lot of stuff.
Seen spiders, we've seen– – Ghouls.
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