Friday, October 8, 2010

October Spookfest-The Villisca Axe Murder House

June 9, 1912 started out like a very normal day for the Moore family. It was a warm summer evening and they had spent the day at the Presbyterian Church. Sarah Moore had coordinated the Childrens Day Program, and annual event that took place at 8PM. After the service, Sarah and J.B Moore took their 4 children, Herman, Katherine, Boyd and Paul along with two overnight guests, Lena and Ina Stillinger, back to their quaint white frame home. After a short while everyone was tucked away in bed, sound asleep.

The house.

The next morning the neighbor, Mary Peckham, thought it was odd that the Moores were not yet up. She knocked on their door and noticed how quiet it was inside. Very strange considering that the Moore children were usually quite boisterous. She attempted to open the door but it was locked. Concerned, she phoned J.B.'s brother, who came over to check on the family.

Using his own set of keys he entered the dark house. Peaking his head into the bedroom off of the parlour he saw a horrible scene. Two bloody bodies lying in the bed. He screamed for Mary Peckham to call the sheriff immediately. Once the sheriff arrived and searched the home he confirmed that every person in the home had met a similar fate.

The victims.

Here are the facts about the case as found here:

-Eight people had been bludgeoned to death, presumably with an axe left at the crime scene. It  appeared all had been asleep at the time of the murders.

-Doctors estimated time of death as somewhere shortly after midnight.

-Curtains were drawn on all of the windows in the house except two, which did not have curtains.
 Those windows were covered with clothing belonging to the Moore's.

-All of the victims faces were covered with the bedclothes after they were killed.

-A kerosene lamp was found at the foot of the bed of Josiah and Sarah. The chimney was off and the wick had been turned back. The chimney was found under the dresser.

-A similar lamp was found at the foot of the bed of the Stillinger girls, the chimney was also off.

-The axe was found in the room occupied by the Stillinger girls. It was bloody but an attempt had       been made to wipe it off. The axe belonged to Josiah Moore.

-The ceilings in the parent's bedroom and the children's room showed gouge marks apparently made by the upswing of the axe.

-A piece of a keychain was found on the floor in the downstairs bedroom.

-A pan of bloody water was discovered on the kitchen table as well as a plate of uneaten food.

-The doors were all locked.

-The bodies of Lena and Ina Stillinger were found in the downstairs bedroom off the parlor. Ina was sleeping closest to the wall with Lena on her right side. A gray coat covered her face. Lena, according to the inquest testimony of Dr. F.S. Williams, "lay as though she had kicked one foot out of her bed sideways, with one hand up under the pillow on her right side, half sideways, not clear over but just a little. Apparently she had been struck in the head and squirmed down in the bed, perhaps one-third of the way." Lena's nightgown was slid up and she was wearing no undergarments. There was a bloodstain on the inside of her right knee and what the doctors assumed was a defensive wound on her arm.

-Dr. Linquist, the coroner, reported a slab of bacon on the floor in the downstairs bedroom lying near the axe. Weighing nearly 2 pounds, it was wrapped in what he though may be a dishtowel. A second slab of bacon about the same size was found in the icebox.

-Linquist also made note of one of Sarah's shoes which he found on Josiah's side of the bed. The shoe was found on it's side, however it had blood inside as well as under it. It was Linquist's assumption that the shoe had been upright when Josiah was first struck and that blood ran off the bed into the shoe. He believed the killer later returned to the bed to inflict additional blows and subsequently knocked the shoe over.

So who did it?? We'll never really know. There were plenty of suspects but there wasnt enough evidence to convict any one of them. Fingerprinting was a new science at the time and DNA was many decades away. The case is still officially open.

The suspects.

Now onto the ghosts! It is said that if you roll a ball in the childrens room it will change directions, as if someone hit it back to you. The closet door will also open and close on its own. Childrens laughter is often heard when there are no children present. A previous tenant claims to have even seen the apparition of an axe weilding maniac hovering over her bead. That would be enough to send me running!

I decided that I would include some videos for you. There have been numerous studies done at the house, which is now open as a sort of gruesome museum. I figured that instead of just tell you what goes on there you'd rather just see it. That way you can judge for yourself!

Here's video of the ball moving on its own.

Here's another good video that does not allow embedding:

Video of the door opening and closing:


Remember that one of the little girls was named Lena.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not I think these videos are very interesting. The same occurences seem to always happen--the ball, the door, the childrens voices. If the house is haunted it would make sense that these things would happen. In my opinion anyways.

For tour information or to read the whole story you can find it all here:


  1. makes me think of the Lizzy Borden House. Now THERES a terrifying story!

  2. Loving your Spookfest posts! Keep 'em coming!

  3. oooh these creepy stories.

    guess what? I nominated your lovely blog, for a
    "One lovely Blog Award"
    check it out!

  4. I saw a show on this last halloween and I made rob walk with me to the bedroom, the story was so creepy! Thanks for posting such interesting stories. I am so ready for halloween now!

  5. I arrived here via La Dama. Great site! I would like to follow along, and invite you to follow mine as well.

    The Disconnected Writer


  6. Thank you for the Blog award Dorada!! I will have to work on a post for it ASAP!!

  7. Ja, sannsynligvis sa det er

  8. Hello! How do you think who are your average readers?

  9. I think that Kelly was the killer because some people saw him behind the house at the time of the murder and he confession that he was there and he went to the house and killed the family but they make hem innocent because he was physicality linens and there is no enough evidence as the Judge said.


I love reading your wonderful comments and opinions!! Feel free to ask questions and I will happily answer them as fast as I can! Any negative comments will be deleted.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...