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Subject Names: Debra Pickman, Tony Pickman, Karen Loder, Craig Armstrong
Subject Location: Atchison, Kansas
Debra and Tony Pickman were ecstatic when they found out they were going to have a baby. The baby coming meant the Pickmans had to find a bigger home. They found a beautiful 128 year-old house. It was perfect, even with a room they could turn into a nice nursery for the baby. Tony was an artist, and Debra was one of the most creative women Tony knew. They decorated the baby’s room all on their own, laughing and enjoying life. Their dog, Sasha, the gentlest dog Tony’d ever seen, had a hard time with the nursery. Inexplicably, Sasha often stood in the nursery room doorway and growled. Tony dismissed it as perhaps the leftover scent of the previous owner’s pets.
It wasn’t until they brought baby Taylor home that things began to turn dark. Taylor often had a difficult time sleeping. One night, as they sat on the couch, Debra was wondering what she was doing wrong. The lights in the room flickered, then dimmed. Debra knew it wasn’t electrical, as no other device in the room that used electricity was being affected.
One morning, Tony noticed something odd as he was going downstairs. A photo of the family was hanging completely straight, but upside down. He righted it, dismissing it as a gesture that he’d done something to irritate Debra.
Debra was taking laundry upstairs when she felt a coldness across her. A rush of air passed her, as if a child were running past her up the stairs.
Tony wanted to surprise Debra one day by cleaning house while she was at work. As he used the vacuum, it would shut off every time he got near the door to the nursery. The cord was unplugged, but it wasn’t from his motion, as there was still plenty of slack. Then he heard music. He found the baby’s mobile turning over the crib. It hadn’t been going when he was in there cleaning. It began to turn faster, and faster. A cold chill went down Tony’s spine. From that point, he knew that Taylor would not spend the night in that crib.
Debra’s sister, Karen Loder, came to visit for a week. Karen had had her first child just a few months previous, and she knew how hard those first months were. Debra was grateful for the help. One evening they came home from a day out. Tony took the baby’s bag upstairs, and when he walked past the nursery, he noticed that the baby’s teddy bears were arranged in a circle on the floor. He thought Debra had done it, but she knew nothing of it. They all went up to check, and Debra was stumped. When they turned to go back downstairs, the light was out. Karen noticed that the light turned back on by itself. When Tony investigated, there was one bear sitting on the floor, precisely where the others had just been. There was obviously something supernatural going on.
Debra thought it would be cool if they had a ghost. Tony wasn’t quite so sang uine on the subject. After Karen left to go home, Tony was putting Taylor into the car seat, as they were going over to his parents’ house. Taylor began crying. Tony felt sharp pains in his back. When Deborah looked at his back, she was stunned to see scratches about five inches long in his flesh.
They were put in touch with a local psychic. Tony hadn’t liked the idea, but they invited her over to see what to expect. Barbara, the psychic, sensed that it was a little girl named Sallie. When Barbara walked into the nursery, it became hard for her to breathe. Barbara said that one corner of the nursery was Sallie’s, and that it was where she was comfortable. Barbara suggested giving Sallie part of the room, and buying some things the little girl could call her own. Debra wanted to be there for Sallie. She tried taking pictures of the girl. Something showed up in those images. But was it Sallie, or something else?
At the time, Tony was working third shift. He got home at seven in the morning. One morning, he was getting a drink after getting home when he saw something. He thought he saw Sallie’s spirit. He dropped the glass that had been in his hand, and that shattered the manifestation. Sallie disappeared. Tony ran to his sleeping wife, and told her he’d seen the ghost. Debra was so jealous. Tony was an artist, so he began to draw what he’d seen.
Debra gave Sallie toys that could be her own. She also brought the spirit a pad of paper and crayon. She wrote a question of Sallie’s age, and left the pad and crayon with the gift. Debra checked and checked, until finally she found the baby doll gift sitting in the crib, and answered Debra’s question. Sallie claimed to be seven years old. Somehow, she’d gotten that doll out of the box and left the wrapping paper intact. It had not been opened from the outside.
Tony’s mother knew about what had been going on in the house, but didn’t seem to want to acknowledge it. She was visiting one day when a disruption caused the spirit to throw an oil lamp at Tony’s mother, just missing her head. Tony knew it was something way beyond a little girl. This created conflict between Tony and Debra. Tony was mad because he was getting the brunt of the damage, but Debra simply thought it was a little girl. She wasn’t seeing what was happening.
One night, Tony began hearing a scratching sound behind the bed. It sounded like an animal digging to get out of the wall. When Tony turned around, the spirit was there. It reached for him, grabbing his wrist. When he woke up in the morning, he had three marks burnt into his arm from where Sallie had grabbed him. Debra still thought it wasn’t something an “innocent spirit girl” could have managed to do.
Debra knew they needed help, so she called the producers of the TV show “Sightings”. Producer Craig Armstrong brought a team out to investigate. They interviewed Debra in the kitchen. A single rose sat on the kitchen windowsill. While the interview was going on, that rose took on a burnt appearance, as though someone had taken a blowtorch to the tips of the petals. They were disturbed when the rolled back the tape and discovered that one moment it was fine, the next, burned. They also interviewed Tony, but he didn’t want to be known as “the crazy guy”, so he was interviewed in silhouette. Craig was holding a thermal imager, and he felt something on his hand. It was an intense cold sensation that ran up his arm into his chest. It quickly headed for Tony, attacking him. Tony described it as a “frozen arm” going right through him. Before the film crew’s eyes, huge claw marks appeared on Tony’s torso. Craig immediately called a halt to the filming. It was putting Tony’s life in danger. Craig knew it wasn’t the ghost of a little girl.
After the “Sightings” group left, the situation intensified. Debra had no idea of what Tony was really going through. Seeing the wounds helped her come around. Her family was in danger. She began researching the history of the house, and found no mention of anyone named “Sallie” in the house—ever. What was really in their house? Debra knew Sallie was a façade for something much, much darker.
One morning, Tony was trying to get some sleep when he began hearing more disturbing sounds. Something was trying to come through the wall. Whispers of multiple people frightened him. Drawers began opening and closing. The bed began to shake. Tony thought he was in hell. Suddenly, he saw dust particles begin to take the shape of something. It was a woman. It tried to strangle him. Debra came home from the Library, and found Tony after the chaos. He was curled up beside the bed, terrified.
The Pickmans picked up and moved. All of the things Debra had bought for Sallie were boxed up and put into the attic. The house remains empty to this day.