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Villisca Ax Murder House
Villisca, Iowa
 
 
 
"Terrible Tragedy At Villisca Shocks Community And State"
"Blood-Thirsty Butchery Done With An Ax"
 
     These were the headlines in The Red Oak Express in June 1912.  Sometime between the evening on Sunday and early morning hours of Monday, someone killed Josiah B. Moore, his wife Sarah, and children Herman, Katherine, Boyd, and Paul, as well as neighboring girls Lena and Ina Stillinger. Many were questioned. One was arrested but a grand jury failed to indict for murder. One was arrested and tried for murder, but was released. Through it all, the innocent victims were laid to rest in a local cemetery. People lived in fear. Rumors circulated. Whispers happened, as they do in small towns. But no one has ever been proved guilty of these murders. How is it possible to murder 8 people and no one see or hear anything? Radio and television didn't exist, there were no air conditioners to distort the sound. June would have been warm, so we think the windows must have been open to allow what air movement was possible that night. Did the neighbor know more than she reported? Was this one of the first cover-ups of a criminal act? And did the troubled spirits of the Moore family and Stillinger girls stay behind, hoping someone would pay the penalty for their deaths? Did the spirit of the killer or killers return to this location upon their death, hoping to keep their crime a secret for all time?
 
     This house has been the site of reported paranormal activity for many years. Frequently the location of investigations, many people have experienced the sound of voices, doors closing, and that feeling of dread inside this house. One member of our team had a similar experience there several years ago.  So it was to this location that our team, joined by Bridgeton Afterlife Paranormal Society, traveled this past fall. We hoped to be able to contact the spirits that might still reside here. Armed with our recorders, spirit box, DVR, and other items we set out to see what could be found here. 
 
     What did we find this trip? We heard several things during review which we discarded as possible contamination. There is one audio clip we will present. As we only try to post clear responses, we have left the others off. We all know that the spirits don't always "come out to play" as much as we would like them to. So, for us, the questions remain unanswered. Maybe some day the murderers will be made known. And at that time, possibly, the spirits of the Moore family, and Lena and Ina Stillinger can finally rest in peace in the beautiful cemetery located on the west side of town, with a view of the valley.
 
The J. B. Moore house today. The ramp leads to the barn. The air conditioners have been added to provide some comfort inside the house, but were turned off for our investigation. A house much smaller on the inside than it appears to be on the out.
 
The Barn, located directly to the west, just steps from the ramp off the back porch. Used as a place to recharge during an investigation. Also houses the museum, where more can be learned about the tragedy of that night.
The teams of Il-Mo Entity Trackers and Bridgeton Afterlife Paranormal Society
 
Final resting places of J. B., Sarah, Herman, Katherine, Boyd, and Paul Moore, with Lena and Ina Stillinger resting just slightly in front and to the left of the Moore family. Donations from citizens were used to erect this stone.
 
 
Photos on the wall in the living room of J. B. and Sarah Moore and two of the children. Herman, the oldest child, is standing between his parents. Katherine sits in front.
 
Sarah Moore is shown here with two of her children.
The stairs, going down. Many people report feeling like they are
touched on these stairs.
 
Some of the items on display at the museum.
 
Bunny rabbit used as a trigger object in the
living room. 
 
The upstairs closet. This door has been captured closing by itself. The ball is used as another trigger object. This is in the children's bedroom upstairs.
 
A painting done of the house. The paint contained pieces of shale, and pieces of the roof. Darwin is reported to have really liked this painting.
The team got the opportunity to meet Johnny Houser, who lives next door. Couldn't let the opportunity pass without a photograph. Thanks Johnny!
 
2 teams mean twice the equipment. It filled the kitchen, but we were still able to move around. To say we had the house covered would probably be an understatement!
Audio:
 
 
 
This was captured in the room where the Stillinger girls were found dead. Teri was using the spirit box for an EVP session. We didn't have very many words from the box that night, but did capture this one. Be sure to use your headphones for this one, as it is somewhat softly spoken and fast.
 
 
 
 
 
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