When you think of haunted places, certain venues come to mind: creaky old houses, churches, hospitals, cemeteries perhaps. But if you take a walk in the historic Delano district in Wichita, you might be surprised where people are claiming to find ghosts. Here are some surprising places in Delano that people swear are haunted.
1. Central Plains Novelty, 905 W. Douglas
Nancy Lawrence says Central Plains Novelty has been a family business for 60 years, but they think their ghostly visitors have been around for longer than that. Lawrence says their building is over 120 years old. You can still see the turn-of-the 20th century apartments upstairs, behind the costume storage area.
They've smelled perfume in the store and heard people walking around upstairs (when the area was empty), seen orbs around and noticed items moved from their original location.
Plus, Nancy and her sister believe their late mother--whose ashes are stored in a place of honor in the back room--still hangs around the store.
Historian and paranormal investigator Laurie DeWinkler says her group, Moonlit Ghost Hunts, has investigated the Central Plains Novelty building and picked up quite a few EVPs, or "electronic voice phenomena" on recordings. You can hear a "ghost box" recording at Central Plains Novelty at the bottom of the page here.
2. Accent Bridal & Tux, 817 W. Douglas
The folks at Accent Bridal and Tux say they haven't heard voices or seen apparitions, but they do occasionally hear sounds in the storage area upstairs. The business is housed in a building that co-owner Scott Bell says was a bordello at one time.
Bell adds that the staff often comes upstairs to find that dresses have been moved, or placed in a dressing room, or tossed on the floor.
Plus, he says several female customers have felt someone touch their shoulder or hand while in the upstairs dressing area.
The staff also says the old, hand-dug basement is "pretty creepy."
3. The Perfect Touch salon, 535 W. Douglas
The Perfect Touch salon is housed in the old Travel Air Manufacturing Company building, where Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech, and Lloyd Stearman once worked in the 1920s. Depite the building's aviation history, the staff at Perfect Touch have reported either seeing a red-haired "gunslinger" man in old-style dress or a woman in Victorian clothing when they see ghosts.
The staff reports the Victorian lady often shows up in the back of the store, near the manicure area. They've noticed nail files and chairs moving around on their own, among other things.
Stylist Vivian Smith has the most experience with the ghost woman, and has taken to bringing fresh flowers into the shop for her friend.
"She has a thing for flowers and jewelry and sparkly things, so she's in the right spot," Vivian says. "She's kind of a sad ghost, so that's why I left her flowers, to perk her up a bit."
4) Lawrence Dumont Stadium, 300 S. Sycamore
Lawrence Dumont stadium is reportedly haunted by one of the men after which it's named, Raymond "Hap" Dumont. The Wichita native created the National Baseball Congress in 1934, and he died in his office at Lawrence Stadium in 1971 at age 66.
Laurie DeWinkler says her team has investigated the stadium and heard someone jingling a set of keys in Dumont's old office.
There's a lot of history in Delano, and many more places that people believe are haunted.
So many more, in fact, that Delano has its own annual ghost tour.
People who live and work in Delano, allow visitors to see their haunted attics and shops, and explain why they think they have paranormal activity.
This year's tour is happening tonight from 6 until 9 pm. Find more information on the ghost tour here.