Villisca Ax Murder House: Haunted House Tour Stop #4

When a place openly declares itself to be an “ax murder house”, you can’t help but sit up and take notice. When you see the slightly garish sign that sits outside this small, unassuming white clapboard house, you may think that you’ve stumbled upon some kind of staged amusement attraction.

Not the case here. Welcome to the Villisca Ax Murder House. The walls of this house witnessed a horrific set of events late one night in 1912. And this little town in Iowa hasn’t been the same since.

The History

The house was owned by J.B. Moore at the time of the murders. He and his wife, Sarah, lived there with their four children. On the evening of the June 9th, 1912, the Moores had spent the majority of the day at church where Sarah organized children’s activities and their own children participated. At the end of the evening, Sarah invited two friends of her daughter to spend the night at their house. The family walked home and entered the house around 9:30pm.

The next morning, a neighbor noticed that the Moores were not up and about yet and called J.B.’s brother. What the brother found inside was horrifying. Sometime during the night, someone had bludgeoned the entire family to death with an ax, including the two young guests.

It is widely speculated that because of the mismanagment of the crime scene after its discovery, potential crucial evidence was likely tampered with or lost. Panic and suspicion gripped the small town, and although several suspects were investigated, no one ultimately was charged with the murder.

The case remains unsolved.

A House of Unrest

Based on numerous accounts of visitors to the house, as well as mediums, and paranormal investigators, it appears that the house is without a doubt haunted. Children’s voices can often be heard, and items in the house move about.

Investigators have been able to secure audio, visual, and photographic proof of paranormal activities. (Check out the Ghost Adventures page for evidence from their investigation of the house.)

The current owners offer daily tours of the house, and even the opportunity to stay overnight if you want to stage your own investigation. The only thing they ask is that you share whatever evidence you collect with them. Clearly, they are believers too.

If you want to keep a safe distance but still see the inside, you can find a virtual tour of the house here.

Cege’s Thoughts

Nothing disturbs me as much as hearing about violence against children. The brutal murders that took place inside the house that long ago night are incredibly tragic, and I feel queasy thinking that six of the eight victims were children. Whoever did it must have been a sick and twisted person. My hope that all of the victims were able to eventually find peace.

Tomorrow we’ll be visiting the Palmer House in Sauk Centre, MN. If you are enjoying the virtual haunted house tour, please share it with your friends! See you again soon!


Don’t forget that there is a Monster of a Sale going on. Just in time for Halloween, three of my monster-ish tales are on sale for $0.99 through October 31st. Click the book cover to snag your copy now!


(photo credit Jo Naylor)