DISCLAIMER: The places mentioned here are based on legend, folklore, and first-hand accounts by local Wichitans. Visit Wichita does not hold these reports as fact, nor will Visit Wichita be held responsible for anything that may or may not happen if you visit each location
From interactive haunted houses, zombie apocalypse missions, and real buildings housing tales from beyond the grave, Wichita has a rich history of hauntings and ghoulish stories. Whether or not you believe those stories will be based on your experience at each of the following sites, each more terrifying than the last.
Old Cowtown Museum
Some say when you head to Old Cowtown Museum, you can hear whispers and footsteps of people who lived in Wichita long ago. As legend has it, Wichita Eagle newspaper founder Marshall Murdock had a young daughter who died of spinal meningitis. People say they have seen and heard her playing around the family home and other historic buildings around Cowtown. Employees and visitors have said they have witnessed lights turning on and off, the sound of footsteps and even apparitions in some cases. There are even rumors of objects being moved. Keep an eye out for Ghost Tours happening several times a year at this living history museum.
Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
As an old building in the heart of downtown Wichita used as City Hall between 1892 and 1976, one would think ghostly activity would be flourishing amid the limestone walls at the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum. However, very little activity has been seen here. Sure, employees say there have been times they have heard footsteps and voices, and some claim to be “touched” by spirits, but none report feeling unsafe while inside the historic building. Most of the activity is said to be coming from the second and third floors, usually late at night or early in the morning.
Many of Wichita’s old buildings make for good ghost stories, and many believe the Orpheum Theatre is no different. From eerie footsteps and shadows by the dressing rooms to a projectionist getting ready to show his favorite film, many say was “The Wizard of Oz,” there is no shortage of ghoulish tales surrounding this historic atmospheric theatre. Watch for ghost tours occasionally offered at the theatre by paranormal groups.
Kansas Aviation Museum
Most known for its collection of aircraft and aviation-related artifacts at the former Wichita Municipal Airport, the Kansas Aviation Museum has also had its share of haunts reported, including slamming doors, voices, and haunted planes. One old plane at the museum, a red crop duster, is believed to be haunted by a pilot, lingering around after dying in a plane crash. Several people have also reported seeing a figure standing in the control tower and a woman’s profile looking out the north windows on the 3rd floor.
McConnell Air Force Base
Rumor has it, workers have heard unexplained sounds while working on aircraft and have seen lights flickering on and off in empty buildings. Perhaps the weirdest part of the stories, some say they have witnessed WWII aircraft landing on the runway of McConnell Air Force Base on foggy nights around Halloween.
During the 1870s through 1880s, the cowboys that drove cattle from Texas to railheads in Kansas on the Chisholm Trail were known to blow off steam after months on the trail in Delano. Back then, it was a time of saloons, brothels, gambling houses, gunfights and cattle rustling but is now a thriving shopping and dining district in Wichita. It has been reported that the ghost of Edward T. “Red” Beard, who was gunned down by rival saloon owner “Rowdy” Joe Love at point blank, has been seen in the area.
- Spektrum Muzik (formerly Central Plains Novelty): The building is more than 120 years old and some say ghosts walk through the back and upper portions of it. From smelling perfume to hearing footsteps, seeing orbs, and noticing things moved or missing, store employees from Central Plains Novelty believe the building is haunted. Paranormal Investigators even claim to have picked up EVP or “ghost voices” on a recording.
- Salon 535 @ The Perfect Touch: The salon used to house Travel Air Manufacturing Company, where some of Wichita’s airplane industry founding fathers – Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech and Lloyd Stearman – used to work in the 1920s. Instead of the ghosts of those aviation greats, workers claim to see either a woman dressed in Victorian attire or a redheaded gunslinger. Staff members have brought in flowers for the woman and say she’s a sad ghost and shows up in the back of the store, near the manicure area. They’ve also noticed items in the salon moving on their own. As for the redheaded man – historically, Rowdy Jo and Redbeard had a shootout in Delano, so that might be where the redheaded ghost came from. According to Ghost Tours of Kansas, an ornery gentleman and woman in white have been seen and heard.
The Blue Handkerchief Ghost of Carey House Square/Eaton Hotel Ghost
It is said this ghost has a fondness for roses and rose-colored items. As the story goes, a woman was killed in the hotel and the culprit never found. She is said to walk between the second and third floors, take phones off the hook and brush by people. There have also been reports of things being knocked over in the lobby area. The KFH Sports Radio offices used to be in this old building, and former News Director Steve McIntosh says one time he thought he saw a figure in his peripheral, but nothing was there when he looked.
Wilner Auditorium, Henrion Gymnasium and Fiske Hall
Wichita State University is home to its own ghost stories as three buildings have a history of haunting tales. Most universities do, of course, but these ghosts are said to be playful and harmless. George Wilner was the head of the speech and theatre programs at Wichita State from 1923-1960. Students believe paranormal activity including voices, doors opening on their own and lights flickering are Wilner coming back to mess with people and make sure his building is well maintained.
Henrion Hall was the first permanent gym on Wichita State University’s campus. The Heskett Center was built in 1983, changing Henrion’s purpose. It is now used as studio space for art students. The ghost story comes from the mid-1950s when a maintenance worker was killed on the job. Legend has it he walks around the building late at night or early in the morning.
Fiske Hall is one of the oldest buildings on campus. Established in 1904, it used to be a men’s dormitory before becoming a building full of classrooms. While there are no specific ghosts connected to Fiske Hall, many have reported lights coming on without anyone in the building and doors opening and closing on their own.