June 10, 1912, in the small town of Villisca, Iowa, an unknown person enters the home of Mr. Josiah Moore, sometime after midnight, proceeds to slaughter every person inside beginning with two little girls, ages 12 and 8, by the name of Lena and Ina Stillinger. Both little girls were sleeping in the parlor and were the first to die.
After the girls, the person made their way upstairs where Josiah and his wife were murdered in their beds, and then each one of their children, Herman, Katherine, Boyd and Paul, ages 11, 10, 7, and 5, respectively. The killer then washed the blood off, rummaged for food and left the house before 5 am.
It wasn’t until 7 am the next morning that a neighbor noticed that the family had not been seen yet, and the house seemed to be too quiet for that many children. She was quite used to doing chores in the morning and had been outside at 5am to hang laundry. Concerned, she placed a call to Ross Moore, brother of Josiah, who then came over to check on the family. He was the first person to see the gruesome and tragic scene.
As you would expect, alarms were raised soon after and police arrived in due course, along with masses of the townspeople. The house had to be roped off due to the amount of people coming through for a look. While several suspects were named, including Iowa state senator, Frank F. Jones, and a William Mansfield, also of Iowa, and arrested, each one was ultimately released due to lack of evidence.
With such a tragic and chilling history, it is not far-fetched to learn of ghost stories surrounding the house. Many events have been rumored here and it’s touted as one of the most haunted places in America. If you feel like seeing it for yourself, or even spending the night there, you can. The house is open for day and overnight tours. Photographs and recordings are encouraged in the hopes that you share whatever you may experience.
I would agree that this house is haunted, even if only by memories. So many young lives, so much blood spilled in one night of terror, by one unknown person on a rampage or perhaps for no reason at all. If you are interested in learning more about one of the oldest unsolved murders in our history, please visit the link below.