|Villisca Murder house|
Leaving the couple dead or dying, the killer went next door and used the ax, Joe’s own, probably taken from where it had been left in the coal shed; to kill the four Moore children as they slept. Once again, there is no evidence that Herman, 11; Katherine, 10; Boyd, 7; or Paul, 5, woke before they died. Nor did the assailant or any of the four children make sufficient noise to disturb Katherine’s two friends, Lena and Ina Stillinger, as they slept downstairs. The killer then descended the stairs and took his ax to the Stillinger girls, the elder of whom may finally have awakened an instant before she, too, was murdered. How terrifying for her.
ax murderer Henry Lee Moore was |
the suspect favored by Department of Justice
Wayne, of Colorado Springs, may have been the first victim |
of a Midwest serial murderer in 1911.
It is not necessary to believe that Henry Lee Moore was a serial killer to consider that the string of Midwest ax murders have intriguing similarities that may tie the Villisca massacre to other crimes. Moore is now rarely considered a good suspect; he was certainly an unsavory character—released from a reformatory in Kansas shortly before the ax murders began, arrested in Jefferson City, Missouri, shortly after they ended, and eventually convicted of the Columbia murders. But his motive in that case was greed–he planned to obtain the deeds to his family house–and it is rare for a wandering serial killer to return home and kill his own family. Nonetheless, analysis of the sequence of murders—and several others that McClaughry did not consider—yields some striking comparisons.
The use of an ax in almost every case was perhaps not so remarkable in itself; while there certainly was an unusual concentration of ax killings in the Midwest at this time, almost every family in rural districts owned such an implement, and often left it lying in their yard; as such, it might be considered a weapon of convenience. Similarly, the fact that the victims died asleep in their beds was likely a consequence of the choice of weapon; an ax is nearly useless against a mobile target. Yet other similarities among the crimes are much harder to explain away. In eight of the 10 cases, the murder weapon was found abandoned at the scene of the crime; in as many as seven, there was a railway line nearby; in three, including Villisca, the murders took place on a Sunday night. Just as significant, perhaps, four of the cases—Paolo, Villisca, Rainier and a solitary murder that took place in Mount Pleasant, Iowa—featured killers, or maybe just one lone Ax Murderer, who covered the victims’ faces, three murderers had washed at the scene, and at least five of the killers had lingered in the murder house. Perhaps most striking of all, two other homes (those of the victims of the Ellsworth and Paola murders) had been lit by lamps in which the chimney had been laid aside and the wick bent down, just as it had been at Villisca.
There have been a number of documentaries, it was featured on Ghost Adventures, there are a ton of websites, facebook accounts and research dedicated to the Villisca Murder House. Villisca's "fame" is mostly attributed to the popularity of paranormal shows (including Ghost Adventures), that have featured the house where the murders occurred Sadly, the Villisca murder scene would be seen again and again .On June 10, 2012, a number of newspapers covered the 100 year anniversary of Iowa's most highly profiled crime. There was a new documentary on June 10, 2013, to coincide with the 101st anniversary of the murders. There is a film due to be released in 2014, a modern crime thriller called, "Slay Utterly. It is inspired by the cases connected with the Ax Man Enigma. I doubt he's still alive if he was already murdering people in 1912. But the press and media will keep him alive. He would love it. And due to my lack of subtlety, I'll be blunt, be smart. Also, in today's crazy world, survival of the fittest. I hate to say it, nor should I have to, but people tend to have the belief it will never be them. They get comfortable in the routine of their day to day lives and get too comfortable.
The faceless serial killer known as "The Ax Man Enigma," leaving certain crime scene signatures behind. The newspaper did an article on him on Monday June 10, 1912 about the murders at Villisca house. I'm sure he loved that, especially since he was like a ghost in the wind, he was an unknown. But he was infamous. Every article probably inflated his ego. He was said to probably be responsible for at least two dozen murders. The "Ax Man Enigma" was never brought to justice officially. There were suspects and trials, but the case wasn't solved.
|A door in one of the children's bedrooms |
in Villisca house that opens and closes itself
So, that's crazy, and there are a lot of random non scary tourist sites in Iowa, for the weak of heart. They are potentially interesting, and a bit corny. Worth a look for sure.They have crazy sights to see, like "The World's Biggest Strawberry","Snake Alley", the world's crookedest street, Riverside,Iowa, future birthplace of James T. Kirk, the original star ship captain in "Star Trek", and they even have a "Road Cheese Hyper tour" that lasts 7 days and is $100. I hope you eat food besides just cheese for 7 days! Haha. So check out those attractions while in the area. Now we will visit the other most haunted places in Iowa, roadside attractions and strawberries aside. Then there are several haunted places to visit white you are in Iowa. Continue with me on our haunted journey.
|Abraham Lincoln High School|
The Abraham Lincoln High School, in Des Moines, Iowa, is the largest high school in the state.This expansive two story auditorium is known for it's mural of "The Gettysburg Address" on it's wall, but to it's students and alumni it is more well known for the paranormal experiences that go on there. Often people report seeing lights, orbs and and shadows in the balcony, only to be told or shown that nobody is up there. Some have reported seeing the seats fold down on their own, or walking through cold spots. The Drama and Choir departments hold the most stories of this place, however. The wings are a place where costumes move, and where the curtains and ropes seem to swing by themselves, and some even claimed to have felt fingers running up their back. This is a place to go if you want to see a production that seems to continue for some, after death.
|The Lincoln High School Auditorium|
The Mason House in that is located in Bentonsport, Iowa is supposedly very haunted.The Mason House Inn is a 164 year old bed and breakfast situated on the banks of the Des Moines River. There have been several reported ghostly encounters in this inn reported by both staff and guests. It has become a very popular place for paranormal investigators to visit. The Mason House Inn has a long history and has served as more than an inn in it's 164 years of existence. The Mason House (Originally called Ashland House) was built in 1846 by Mormon craftsman who stayed in Bentonsport for several years on their way to Utah from Nauvoo, Illinois. The house was built for William Robinson who used it as a hotel for steamboat travelers on journeys down the Des Moines River Lewis and Nancy Mason purchased the house in 1857 and renamed it as the Phoenix Hotel, however, everyone soon took to calling it the Mason House and it has stayed that ever since. The Mason house served as an army hospital during the civil war. It was also a station on the Underground Railroad.The hotel was in the Mason family for 99 years and many members of the family died there and are still there, so go check it out and see if you have any paranormal visitors!
Mason house back then
Reported hauntings in the house include hearing footsteps in empty rooms, hearing voices and strange noises, and even seeing apparitions! One guest reported seeing the bed in her room partially lift into the air. There have also been reports of lights flashing on and off and alarms going off without being set.
The "Buddy Holly Crash Site," in Clear Lake Cornfield, Iowa is said to be haunted by rock icons that died tragically. A lot of people, fans especially, remember this tragic event and loss of talent. In the middle of a cornfield there is a memorial to the three famous musicians, rock n' roll stars Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper. They had just performed Feb 2, 1959, at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Shortly after midnight, (the 3rd officially) the three rock stars took off in a charted plane that promptly crashed on take off, killing the pilot and the three rock stars.
Buddy and Ritchie were in their early twenty's and they were rising stars. In 1971, Don Mclean wrote his famous song, the "American Pie", in it he referred February 3, 1959 as the "day the music died". Don must not like the rock stars after that, because he believed the rock music die that day. Those who venture here at night hear voices and see orbs and other lights dart in and around the cornfields that surround the memorial. Many believe that it is the spirits of the musicians, looking for a venue to play their music in. Since then, Lewis said, “mysterious figures have been spotted along the secluded road” and “some people say they hear music in the distance.”
Buddy Holly Memorial
|Another crash site memorial|
The Mathias Ham House in Dubuque, Iowa has had more than it's share of paranormal activity. It was built in 1837 by Mathias Ham. The home started out with two-stories and five rooms that overlooked the lazy Mississippi river. This, significantly smaller home, provided the shelter that Mathias needed for his wife and children. As the years passed, witnesses say that after the death of Mathias's wife, he added an additional three-stories were to the house; giving the family a total of twenty-three rooms! Mathias made his fortune in the mining, lumber, agriculture and shipping vessels that floated down the Mississippi. Mathias spent quite a bit of time in the very top room of the house where he could see the river and he could keep an eye on his ships. Pirates were also a problem. One day, Mathias spotted pirates on the river and alerted the authorities.
|Mathias house tower|
By the end of the eighteen-hundreds, the only living family member left was Sarah Ham, one of Mr. Ham's daughters. Sarah lived in this enormous home by herself. One night while Sarah was in bed reading, she heard someone moving around on the floor below her. She crept quietly down to investigate but the intruder had already vacated. The next day, Sarah alerted her neighbors to the previous nights activities and told them if it happened again, she would place a light in the window to call on them for help.That night she heard the intruder again. This time she called out to ask who was there. No answer came and she went back into her room and locked the door. Sarah then placed the lantern in the window and readied her shotgun to defend herself. Heavy footsteps made their way up the steps and stopped right outside her bedroom door. Sarah fired off two shots. They were decent shots, because when the neighbors arrived, they followed a bloody trail down to the river and found the pirate captain who had threatened Mathias, dead along the river bank. So, she inadvertently avenged her father in a way. She was gutsy. Today, the mansion is a museum and is said to be haunted by several restless apparitions. Unexplainable lights have been seen, floating down the dark corridors and stairways throughout the mansion.
|The Mathias House|
Many have reported hearing strange and unidentifiable noises coming from the top room of the house. It is believed that Mathias himself haunts this room; still watching the river for his ships. At least one of the spirit occupants is said to make visitors feel uneasy. Many have reported bodily chills or feeling as if someone were watching them. Others have reported eerie, cold spots or gusts of icy cold air that seems to come from nowhere. This may be the pirate that lost his life so unexpectedly here. One of the employees here reported hearing the old pump organ play after the lights were turned out. When she turned the lights on, no one was there. The organ was not supposed to be in working order at that time and it was closed up! The sounds of voices have been heard inside and outside of the museum, as well as, disembodied footsteps. Many employees have claimed to hear odd noises in the basement, close to where an old tunnel used to be located but, the tunnel caved in years ago.
It seems to me that this old home has its share of paranormal activity. The villa is open for tours, and those who go on them, tend to get more than they bargained for. It's twenty-three rooms are filled with authentic furnishings which in turn, make some of it's passed residents forgetful of their deaths. Visitors often report walking through cold spots, hearing voices call down the echoing halls, and lights flicker when no one is near the switch. Even the employees of the museum report voices and even more disturbing, objects moving on their own. If you take this tour, you may just meet a resident from long ago. Bring your cameras! And your bravery- because you may meet a ghost or 2, more if you are lucky:)
|Independence State Mental Hospital|
The Independence State Mental Hospital in Iowa has a bit of a twisted history, also, I find the name rather ironic. Independence Mental Hospital? The patients probably didn't feel too "independent" there. The original plan for patients was to relieve crowding from the hospital at Mount Pleasant and to hold alcoholics, geriatrics, drug addicts, mentally ill, and the criminally insane. The hospital's many names include: The Independence Lunatic Asylum, The Independence State Asylum, The Independence Asylum for the Insane, The Iowa State Hospital for the Insane, and The Independence Mental Health Institute. There is also a labyrinth of underground tunnels which connect every building. Like most asylums of its time, it has had a gruesome and dark history. Remnants of this are the graveyard, hydrotherapy tubs, and lobotomy equipment.
A still functioning mental hospital, Independence State Mental Hospital, is a major flocking spot to those who want to experience the paranormal. While the majority of the building is still in use, there is the older part that is closed and usually only opened for school tours. It was in this part of the building that lobotomies and electric shock therapy used to be performed on patients. Those who have toured the building in the day recall cold drafts, whispers, and the feeling of being watched. Those who work there often avoid the area if possible, seeing shadows and hearing screams. It is still the home of the patients who lost their minds so long ago.
|Iowa State Penn|
The State Penitentiary in Fort. Madison, Iowa was built in the 1800's. It housed early Iowa's more hardened criminals. Those who are interned there today often report of cold spots in certain cells, have heard chains and clanking in the halls, and some have even claimed to have been attacked viciously. Guards often refuse to go the end of the solitary confinement area at night citing dark feelings, and the feeling of being watched intently. While most of the prisoners get to leave after their sentences, the activity here tends to suggest that some have never left.
|Iowa State Penitentiary|
If you get a chance, go visit Iowa, and it's haunted sites. Or you can visit the big strawberry, or both! Whatever floats your boat. I've definitely added it to my list of haunted places to visit! I'll leave you with some random ghost pictures from Iowa. Enjoy!
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