Could You Last a Night in One of Iowa’s Most Famous Haunted Houses?
The story of the Villisca Ax Murders is a gruesome one. If you're not familiar with it, here's a quick summary using information from Wikipedia:
Sometime between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. on June 10th, 1912, Josiah B. Moore, his wife Sarah and their four children Herman Montgomery, Mary Katherine, Arthur Boyd, and Paul Vernon were murdered inside their home in Villisca, Iowa. Ina Mae and Lena Gertrude Stillinger, two children that were staying the night at the Moore's house that evening, were also killed.
The first victims were discovered the morning of June 10th by Josiah's brother Ross. Mary Peckham, their neighbor, called him after nobody answered the door when she knocked. Ross used his key to get in and quickly discovered Ina and Lena Stillinger's bodies in the guest bedroom. That's when the town's peace officer was called.
After searching the home, it was believed that the killer/killers waited in the home until the family fell asleep. They then used Josiah's ax to bludgeon all eight of the home's occupants to death. Unfortunately, the mystery of who did it is still unsolved, although there were plenty of theories and suspects. According to the Villisca website:
"Had these murders been committed today, it is almost certain that law enforcement officials would have easily solved the crime and brought the murderer to justice... however, the Villisca Axe Murders remain a mystery. The murder or murderers are probably long dead, their gruesome secret buried with them. In hindsight, it's easy to blame the officials at the time, for what could only be considered a gross mismanagement of what little evidence may have remained."
Wikipedia says that the story of the Villisca Ax Murders has been featured on various TV shows and podcasts over the years, including Ghost Adventures, Scariest Places on Earth, and My Favorite Murder. But, instead of just hearing about it, you could go check it out for yourself!
The Villisca Ax Murder House is still standing and open for both day tours AND overnight stays. The price for a day tour of the house is $10 for ages 12 and over and $5 for ages 65 and up. 15-minute tours are given Tuesday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and no reservations are required.
If you're feeling a little more adventurous, you can gather some friends and book an overnight stay at the house! It includes a tour, and once that's over, you're on your own. There is a barn with a bathroom, water, and electricity, but you'll need your own sleeping bag and pillow to sleep in the house. A group of one to six people costs $428, and it's $75 for each additional person. Just choose an open date on the calendar and call Martha at 712-621-1530 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to make your reservation! You can get more information and view the calendar on the website HERE.