Beyond the Veil

Beautiful brick mansion built in 1889-1890 by Charles McInteer in Atchison, KS
1889 McInteer Villa

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY

The 1889 McInteer Villa is owned by Stephanie Neal and is located in Atchison, Kansas. Built in 1889-1890 by John McInteer, this mansion sits on top of a hill and is surrounded by trees. There is an antique carriage on the front lawn hitched to a skeleton of a horse. This isn’t decoration for Halloween. In fact, the display represents the occupation of the original owner, John McInteer, an Irish immigrant, who made his fortune making saddles and harnesses. It is said that his work was really, really good.

Long ago, Atchison was being considered as the capitol city of Kansas. In the end, Kansas City won that honor. However, Atchison was once able to boast of being the small city with the most millionaires. Should you ever visit Atchison, definitely drive around. The houses are amazing! Also, no two houses look alike! Finally, a town that isn’t made from cookie-cutter designs!

Jeff and I spent the night in this glorious mansion on September 6, 2021. The owner has been working on restoring the interior and it shows. Stephanie takes very good care of the place and is meticulous with details. It’s nice to see that she’s putting money into the place instead of using it as a cash-cow, like many owners do when they purchase a location that is said to be haunted.

John McInteer was married twice. His 1st wife, Alice, passed away in the house in 1892. John’s 2nd wife was Anna Conlon, a widow with 3 sons. They married in 1895. She inherited the estate upon John’s death in 1902 and passed away in 1916. While Anna resided in the home, many of her relatives also lived there, including many children. From around 1917-ish until 1925-ish, Anna’s brother, Judge Charles J. Conlon and his family called McInteer Villa home. Judge Conlon was a prominent lawyer in Atchison, Kansas.

1889 McInteer Villa front porchMcInteer Villa became a rooming house from 1925-ish until it was purchased in 1952 by Ms. Isobel Altus, a retired professional violinist and a bit of an eccentric. It is said that she dressed in black all the time and the local children were afraid of her. They’d see her looking out one of the windows while they were on their way to or from school. Kids being kids, they believed she was a witch. Neighbors at that time claimed that Isobel lacked the finances needed to restore the house, a desire of hers, and shortly before her death in 1969 she sold the mansion to George Gerardy.  Under his ownership, George did begin the rehabilitation work the mansion needed.

THE INVESTIGATION

Much of our paranormal investigation was conducted live via our Facebook page. We did capture some EVP’s (electronic voice phenomena) and as soon as I can figure out how to convert a .3g file to an MP3, I will include the recordings on the website. I can’t say that we captured a whole lot of evidence. As far as video evidence is concerned, we did capture something with one of the spirit balls in the hallway on the 2nd floor.  The video will be added to the site in the near future, as well.

The following list is activity that has been reported to the owner by other paranormal groups who have conducted their own investigations of McInteer Villa. I have bolded the events that Jeff and I have experienced during our overnight stay:

  • Lights turning on and off in the tower, which does not have electricity
  • Figures seen in the windows when no one is in the building
  • A speaker has been thrown off the counter and boxes were moving, visible to the naked eye
  • “Goldie’s” rocking chair has been known to rock back and forth on it’s own. “Goldie” died in that chair.
  • The sound of doors slamming can be heard throughout the night
  • Footsteps can be heard walking the hallway on the 2nd floor throughout the night
  • Some people have reported feeling uneasy on the 2nd floor, as though they are being watched
  • Items tend to be moved from one location to another
  • The creaks of doorknobs being turned can be heard
  • Lights turning on and off
  • Dramatic changes in temperature have occurred
  • A female voice has been heard, as well as a male voice being heard recently in several rooms on the 2nd floor
  • The door to one of the sitting rooms on the 2nd floor opens on it’s own and a shadow person has been seen a few times
  • The scent of a powdery woman’s perfume has been smelled
  • A hint of the smell of a cigarette has been reported
  • The 2nd floor has had many moving shadows being reported, including one with glowing eyes and one as large as the entire door frame leading to the children’s room

I can attest to personally experiencing a feeling of unease on the 2nd floor and of feeling like we were being watched. I have an incredibly strong feeling that it was Isobel Altus not wanting anyone to be on the 2nd floor at night. It didn’t feel threatening in any way, but it did feel like we were unwanted up there after 9:00p – 10:00p. During the day, you could walk around the entire house without feeling anything like that, but the Villa does take on a different feeling after the sun sets. Again, nothing threatening or evil, nothing horrific happened in the house. But I did not leave that dining room until the sun came up, I gave whomever it was upstairs their space. 

While Jeff was catching a few ZZZ’s on the sofa in the tea room, I was seated at the table in the dining room. It was getting to be roughly 3:00a – 4:00a and I was beginning to doze off while I was on my laptop. I had activated an EVP app on my phone and I just laid it on the table. I didn’t say anything. I just wanted to see if it would pick up anything. At one point, I was beginning to fall asleep and I felt someone touch my shoulder lightly. I jerked myself awake and said, “Oh, I felt that.”  Soon after that, on the EVP, the sound of the floor creaking right next to me is heard and there is a man’s voice. I’m unable to make out what he’s saying but I’m hoping once I can remove the ambient noise created by the portable A/C unit that it will be easier to hear. There’s a few times when additional voices were picked up on that same recording session. And I cannot be certain at this point, but I swear that at one point I hear the faint sound of a single note being played on the piano, along with a conversation between a man and a woman.

Jeff was still snoozing on the couch. It wasn’t too long after experiencing this when we were both quite startled by the sound of something hitting the floor right by the sofa Jeff was sleeping on. It was loud! The best way to describe the sound is to imagine what a metallic ball sounds like hitting a wood floor. Jeff grabbed his flashlight and we were looking everywhere in that room trying to see what it was. We weren’t sure if something had fallen off the fireplace mantel or the tea table. We found absolutely nothing. 

By now it was getting to be roughly 5:00am-ish. So we did another walk through of the house doing a final EVP session and we collected our equipment along the way. This is when we couldn’t find one of our flashlights. I had been using this flashlight during our walk through on the second floor several hours before. We were sitting in Charles’s study – this is the room across from the bedroom on the second floor that has his law books, encyclopedia’s, a chess set, etc., set up.  I know for a fact that I did NOT leave this flashlight up there on the couch in that room because I had the strap wrapped around my wrist and I was using that flashlight to see on my way to the bathroom while Jeff was sleeping. 

So while were gathering our equipment from the 1st floor off the dining table, I went to reach for that flashlight but it wasn’t there.  I had set it down next to my laptop, but it was no longer there. I asked Jeff if he had it. He did not. We started looking around the house for it. We found it upstairs on the 2nd floor in Charles’s study just sitting on the couch right next to where I had been sitting on it several hours before when we did an EVP session in there. We have no idea how it got up there and I swear on all that is holy, I had it with me the entire night until the sun came up. 

We’re looking forward to the time when we can return and stay for a few days and not just overnight!

SAGE ADVICE

From our personal experience, we offer the following suggestions and advice for anyone or any group who plans to add McInteer Villa to their list of paranormal locations to investigate:

  • Definitely plan on investigating for 2 – 3 nights
  • Definitely have a room reserved at the local Holiday Inn Express that is just a few blocks away – you’ll want sleep and there really isn’t a good place to set up air mattresses or anything in the Villa
  • No need for any fancy equipment. Audio recorders and video cameras will do the trick very nicely. We did use the REM Pods Stephanie left for us, but we turned them off.
  • If you have enough cameras, it is strongly suggested that you set them up, hit record, and walk away. Let the cameras and audio equipment do the work for you
  • Keep in mind that McInteer Villa is listed as a National Historic Building, so there is no central a/c. Portable A/C units are set up and running, so it makes hearing things difficult. 
  • We’d suggest Late September through Late Spring as the building won’t be stifling hot, especially in the attic

WHERE TO EAT

  • Willie’s Sports Pub is a fantastic place to grab some lunch or dinner! Reasonably priced, the staff is super friendly, and the food is delicious!
  • Paolucci & Begley’s Restaurant I highly recommend the Chicken Parmesan and Jeff highly recommends the Chicken Fried Steak!

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