The Villisca Ax Murder House; An American Haunting


Can homes take on the residual evil leftover from the events that happened within their walls? Many believe this to be possible, and also believe it to be the reason that ghosts haunt them.


This apparently seems to be the case with a non-descript old white frame home that sits on a quiet residential street in the small Iowa town of Villisca. The reason for the strange and frightening occurrences in the home are due to what happened on the night of June 10, 1912, when six members of the Moore family and two other children, who were visiting, were killed in what remains the state’s worst mass murder.



All eight victims, which included six children, had severe head wounds caused by an axe. Even though a lengthy investigation yielded several suspects, one of whom was tried twice and acquitted, the crime remains unsolved to this day.


The killer or killers patiently waited in the attic of the home until the Moore family and their guests came home from a “Children’s Day Program” at the Presbyterian church in town and fell sound asleep.


The Moore parents, Josiah and Sarah, were the first to be killed. Josiah received more blows from the axe than any other victim; his face had been cut so badly that his eyes were missing. The killer used the blade of the axe on Josiah, while using the blunt end on the rest of the victims.


Next, the killer went into the children’s rooms and bludgeoned Herman, Katherine, Boyd and Paul Moore in the head in the same manner as their parents. Then the killer proceeded down the stairs, to the guest bedroom, and killed Ina and Lena Stillinger, the children’s’ guests who were spending the night.


Several Suspects

Over time, many possible suspects emerged, including Reverend George Kelly, Frank F. Jones, William Mansfield, Loving Mitchell and Henry Lee Moore. George Kelly was tried twice for the murder. The first trial ended in a hung jury, while the second trial ended in an acquittal. Other suspects in the investigation were also exonerated.


The Curious

Ever since the Moore house was opened to tourists, several years ago, ghost enthusiasts, curiosity-seekers and paranormal investigators have come to the house, some spending the night, all seeking ghostly sightings.


Miller’s Paranormal Research on a 35mm camera in the kitchen of the Villisca Ax Murder House on June 1, 2005.


Some stayed alone, like the Des Moines disk jockey who claims to have awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of children’s voices when there weren’t any children present. Others have gone in groups and have left with mysterious audio, video and photographic evidence that suggests something supernaturals lurks within the walls of the house.


Disruptive Apparitions

Tours in the house have been cut short by falling lamps, moving objects, banging sounds and a child’s laughter, while psychics who have been in the house claimed to communicate with the spirits of the dead.


To this day the Villisca Ax Murder House is still a mystery of powerful evil energy that can’t be explained.


It is believed that sometimes evil can be so powerful that remnants of it will be left behind. This is never more obvious than in a place where such a vicious and evil massacre has happened, as in the case of the Villisca Ax Murder House.


What are your thoughts? Do ghosts really exist? Is it possible that when people are slaughtered in such an evil and vicious manner that their souls simply can’t find peace and are doomed to walk the earth in fits of anquish?


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10 thoughts on “The Villisca Ax Murder House; An American Haunting

  1. Wonderful article. Terrifying!
    When I was a small child my older sister was convinced that our home ( a home built around 1900) was haunted by the ghost of my fathers first wife. She died around 1975ish. Anyways she had a seance once when I was suppose to be in bed asleep and my parents were out at a dance or something (keep in mind we lived in the country, 15 miles away from town). I was awoken in the middle of the night to her and her friends calling to Kate(the ghost) in a trance like state. It was terrifying. They were saying stuff like I can feel her and she is here.
    I never got to find out for sure because our house burnt to the ground in 1989. My sister had moved out a few years before and we were never close, her being a cult worshiper and all, and me being a daddies girl. She passed away a few years ago and I never got a chance to talk to her about it.
    After our house fire my father grew distance and then retreated into himself, they blamed it on dementia, he was 80, but I’ve always blamed it on the house fire and that he lost the connection to his first wife.
    I believe there is paranormal stuff out there, but I have never gotten to witness any.
    Maybe as I get older and more open to stuff I will get the chance.

    Enjoying your articles!
    Chill Mom


    1. What a great story! Thank you so much for that. Some people believe, if you don’t have a “Hollywood” type supernatural experience it isn’t real. Those same people tend to believe that since the “Hollywood” type experiences are all they ever see that supernatural experiences must be a lot of hooey and those who claim to have true supernatural experiences are therefor nuts.

      Not true. Experiences like you described are the real life supernatural experiences. I think it’s very likely that your father was touched by “bad energy” which led to his withdrawal. That isn’t to say Casper came and entered his body so to speak. One of the most interesting examples I keep coming back to is how much the moon controls us.

      The word Lunatic for example. Obviously Luna means moon etc. One very real example is a woman’s menstrual cycle is controlled by the moon etc. We accept that completely then why not evil energy? Again I’m not talking about “apparitions” running around in white bedsheets. But real live energy that is evil.

      I loved your personal story and especially during this spooky time I ask all of my readers to share their personal stories. This is a no judgement zone. We are all intelligent people who spend every day searching for the truth and to learn something new.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree, the benefit of modern forensics could’ve answered a lot of questions about old cases. I can imagine how a crime of that magnitude could’ve really freaked out people in such a small town, especially several years ago and especially in a small country town.


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