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 the Wichita Paranormal Research Society’s Ghost Tours happening several times a year at Old Cowtown 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. 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 ambience theatre. Beneath the building, tunnels leading to a former speakeasy lined with whispers of women and clanking bottles. Don’t believe us? See for yourself.
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.
Central Plains Novelty, Delano
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 believe Central Plains Novelty is haunted. Paranormal Investigators even claim to have picked up EVP or “ghost voices” on recording.
The Perfect Touch Salon, Delano
The Perfect Touch 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. 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.
Theorosa’s Bridge/109th Street Bridge, Valley Center
Take a drive just a few miles north of Wichita and you’ll run into an area that is no stranger to legend. While there are many variations of the story, all of them involve a woman named Theorosa. The common thread seems to be the story of a Native American tribe ambushing pioneer settlers on an old, wooden bridge outside of what is now Valley Center. After a tragedy happens, Theorosa is said to haunt the waters of Jester Creek, the water beneath the bridge. The bridge burned down twice and was rebuilt with cement in 1991. Those who stand on the bridge and yell are said to be attacked by a ghost that tries to push them over. There have also been reports of cars stalling, balls of light, a woman standing on the bridge and mournful voices in the wind. This bridge is also known as “Crybaby Bridge,” because the sound of an infant crying can be heard. Part of that legend includes the woman, Theorosa, drowning her half Native, half white baby out of shame. The bridge is located at 109th Street & Meridian Avenue.
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.