We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Stony Hollow Road, Burlington
This road is a few miles north of Burlington, and it’s said to be haunted by the ghost of a heartbroken young woman. According to the legend, a woman named Lucinda had planned to meet her lover on the bluffs outside of town so that they could run away together to elope. The man, it’s said, never showed up, and Lucinda was so heartbroken that she threw herself off the cliff to her death. Many travelers along the road have claimed to see her ghost on Stony Hollow Road. Even more spooky, legend says that if you go to the top of the bluff and say Lucinda’s name three times, she will appear. If, during her appearance, she drops a rose at your feet, you will die the next day.
2. I-80 between Mitchellville and Des Moines
Several people have reported seeing the ghost of a man dressed in colonial garb haunting the stretch of I-80 between Mitchellville and Des Moines. It is believed to be the ghost of a fur trader from the 1600s who settled the area along the Des Moines River. The figure is said to glow and then disappear under car headlights.
3. Terror Bridge, Tara
Tara (Terror) Bridge used to run past the town of Tara. While the bridge is no longer there, the haunting legends remain, and there are many. Stories date back to the 1800s, when a frustrated farmer cursed the winds and was struck down dead. Since that time, locals have reported being chased by a terrifying howling ghost rider. The area where these incidents occurred became known as Dead Man’s Hollow.
In addition to the ghost rider, people have reported seeing a large, hairy creature under the bridge and in the woods nearby. Another tragic story is of a woman who took her children to the bridge and tossed them onto the tracks one by one to be crushed to death by an oncoming train. After killing them, she jumped off the bridge and took her own life. Local lore states that if you park on the bridge with the car unlocked, the woman’s ghost will drag you out of your car and throw you onto the tracks, too.
4. Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge, Lake City
The Rainbow Bridge is said to be haunted by a chocolate loving ghost. The legend goes that if you lay an unopened chocolate bar in the center of the bridge at midnight, after 5 minutes, you will find the unopened candy bar with an intact wrapper, but the chocolate inside will be gone.
5. Highway 18, Emmetsburg
On a vacant lot on Highway 18 outside Emmetsburg, there used to be a motel. There have been several sightings of a ghostly old man in a plaid shirt walking down the old driveway where the motel used to be. His movements make it appear as though he is checking doors.
6. Conover Road, Calmar
Local legend goes that if you travel along Conover Road, outside Calmar, you’ll see four shadowy figures against a stand of evergreen trees. It is said that a family died in that very spot years ago.
7. Old Highway 83, Shelby
There have been reports that two young girls in flowing white dresses have been spotted playing in the middle of the road, very late at night. They are said to be surrounded by a glowing light, and then they disappear into thin air.
8. Matsell Bridge, Viola
It’s said that when you park your car on the middle of this bridge and shut it off, you’ll get pushed across the bridge. When you get out of your car, supposedly you’ll actually see handprints from the car being pushed. People have also reported seeing and hearing mysterious things outside their cars. If you have the windows down, you might even hear disembodied voices in the woods.
9. 9th Street, Sheldon
The legend goes that if you walk down 9th Street to the graveyard in Sheldon at midnight, you can see the figure of a white, shadowy ghost hovering in the air.
10. Oak Hill Road, Estherville
There’s a hill on Oak Hill Road, outside Oak Hill cemetery, and it’s said to be haunted by the ghosts of football players who died there. The legend goes that a car full of football players were going to a game when their car stalled on the hill. They got out to push the car up the hill, and a car came around the bend and didn’t see the players. They were hit, and all of the players died. It’s said that if you put your car in neutral at the spot where the players were stalled, their invisible hands will push you up the hill so that you won’t have to get out of your car and be in danger of getting hit.