Situated in Villisca, Iowa, the Villisca Axe Murder House stands as a chilling testament to a gruesome event that occurred on June 10, 1912. In the early morning hours, an unknown assailant brutally ended the lives of eight individuals, including Josiah and Sarah Moore, their four children, and two young guests, Lena and Ina Stillinger. Each victim met their demise in their beds, bludgeoned to death with an axe, their faces covered with cloths. The murder weapon was left in the guest room where the Stillinger sisters were discovered.
This horrifying incident captured nationwide attention, initiating an extensive investigation involving numerous suspects, witnesses, and detectives. Despite the efforts, no one was ever convicted, leaving the mystery unresolved. Suspects included Reverend George Kelly, a traveling preacher who confessed and later recanted; Frank Jones, a state senator with a business rivalry; and Henry Lee Moore, an unrelated serial killer with a history of similar axe murders in other states.
Today, the Villisca Axe Murder House has transformed into a museum, offering tours and overnight stays for those intrigued by its history and reported paranormal activity. Visitors have recounted strange phenomena, including voices, footsteps, and children’s laughter; sightings of orbs, shadows, and apparitions; and sensations of cold spots, touches, and pinches. While some attribute these occurrences to lingering spirits, others dismiss them as products of suggestion and imagination.
The Most Haunted Place in Iowa
Widely acknowledged as the most haunted place in Iowa and among the most haunted in the nation, the Villisca Axe Murder House has gained notoriety through books, documentaries, podcasts, and TV shows like Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, and Paranormal Witness. Thousands, including paranormal investigators, historians, thrill-seekers, and curious tourists, flock to the site to delve into its tragic narrative and eerie ambiance.
Preserving the house’s original 1912 appearance, including authentic furniture, wallpaper, photographs, and even bloodstains, adds to its haunting atmosphere. Devoid of electricity, plumbing, and heating, the house emphasizes isolation and vulnerability. Guided tours are available during the day, while daring individuals can rent the house for the night, employing their equipment and methods to explore and communicate with spirits. Special events, including lectures, vigils, and reenactments, take place throughout the year.
The Villisca Axe Murder House offers a unique and unforgettable experience for the brave-hearted. A convergence of history, mystery, and horror, it is a place where the past and present coalesce, and the dead may not rest in peace while the living may find no answers. The unsolved Villisca Axe Murders continue to cast their haunting shadow over the Villisca Axe Murder House.