If you like eerie experiences, you don't have to wait for October and Halloween. Just join Dan Kaercher for a visit a certain house in the southwest Iowa town of Villisca.
If you like eerie experiences, you don't have to wait for October and Halloween. Just visit a certain house in the Southwest Iowa town of Villisca. Anybody home?
Houser: Yeah. Come on in.
Houser: Hi how are you doing?
Kaercher: Dan Kaercher.
Houser: John Houser. Nice to meet you.
Kaercher: I'm here for the tour today.
Kaercher: So this is the front parlor.
Houser: Yes. This would have been their main living area. Probably singing songs at the piano, church hymns, things like that.
Kaercher: The furnishings that you see here were they the Moore's?
Houser: These are all mostly period pieces. Placed pretty much exactly where they were according to the coroner report. For instance where the piano sits, that is where the piano sat. They said there were two bird nests on top of it. So it has been pretty painstakingly recreated.
Kaercher: So John, this blue room is where the two little girls who just happened to be spending the night were murdered?
Houser: Yes. This was Sarah Moore's sewing room, Katherine, her daughter's spare bedroom. This is where Ida and Lena Stillinger were found. Of course the mirrors were all covered. Upstairs is where the six members of the Moore family and most likely where the killer hid.
Kaercher: Can we go up and take a look now?
Houser: Absolutely. Let's go.
Kaercher: Wow. Now what happened in this room?
Houser: Again with this room the mirrors were covered. The oil lamp was placed at the edge of the bed, top removed. This is where Jamie and Sarah were found. And actually right at the foot of the steps there was a big pool of blood and that almost indicated that the killer had stood there for quite some time almost basking in what he had done.
Kaercher: Now let's see the room the children were in.
Houser: This is the children's room where Herman, Boyd, and Katherine were all found. This by far would have been the worst room to come to for the scene. The ceiling was pretty much chopped up with the axe. He was chopping into the ceiling and all over the place.
Kaercher: What was the age range of these children?
Houser: Between nine and eleven. I think this guy came here, found the house randomly, seen the axe outside and thought here is my weapon of choice. Came, hid in the attic, waited for them to come home, fall asleep, came out and got the parents of these four kids, downstairs Ida and Lena, and gone.
Linn: It is a human story. It is not something that is made-up. It is not a ghost story. It was human beings that were murdered in there. You can't dwell on something like that and get on with your every day life.
Kaercher: Have you ever had any eerie experiences? Paranormal experiences yourself in the house?
Linn: I was in the house one night with a paranormal team. When they came they set up a monitor inn the kitchen. So, I decided I was going to go back in the blue room and see if anything would happen to me. And I was standing there and I was talking to them and I told them who I was and I told them who my mother was and it just all of the sudden, I just got this really, really cold spot on my arm. And somebody who had been watching out in the kitchen on the monitor said it looked just like a bright light had come and lit on my arm. And I got goose flushed; my hair stood up on end, I think probably that was a pretty impressive thing that happened to me.
Houser: That's kind of what really drew me to the house was the paranormal end. I would come in with my digital recorder, just set quietly, if a dog barked or somebody walked outside, I would mark it. I have caught doors opening/shutting. I have heard footsteps. I have seen people get scratched. I have seen objects move. I have caught shadow figures in the house when nobody is in the house. I mean you name it this house produces and within the paranormal community it is revered as one of the top most notorious haunted houses in America. You can't even imagine what happened in this room a hundred years ago. The scene that these were real people and it was a brutal crime. A guy came in with an axe with one thing on his mind to just destroy this whole family. From that moment on this house would never be a home again. So Dan, you are staying the night tonight, right?
Kaercher: After seeing the tour, I think I would rather spend the night at a motel but thank you John. It was a great tour. I appreciate it.
Houser: Anytime come back and we will be waiting for you.
Kaercher: I hope so.