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. Pottawattamie County Jail
The Pottawattamie County Jail in Council Bluffs, also known as the Squirrel Cage Jail, is an interesting jail due to its revolving circular, or lazy Susan, jail cells. It’s one of only three remaining squirrel cage style jails left in the country, in fact. It is also home to several ghosts, according to the jail’s staff and visitors. The building was originally built on the site of a morgue for the old St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, and there were several deaths in the jail.
Among the ghost sightings was a little girl dressed in gray inside one of the cells and the feeling of tugging at people’s clothing. In fact, Bill Foster, the jailer who worked at the jail in the ‘50s, refused to live onsite in the fourth floor apartment because of strange happenings that went on up there. The jail is now a museum and is open for tours, if you’re brave enough to visit. 226 Pearl St., Council Bluffs.
2. Fairview Cemetery
At Fairview Cemetery in Council Bluffs, there is a black angel statue with some interesting myths surrounding it. The black angel is a memorial to Ruth Ann Dodge.
It is said that before her death, she reported having three distinct supernatural visitations, and she died a few days after seeing the third one. The black angel is now said to follow people with her eyes and “bless” whoever touches her with sickness. Another legend is that she flies away at night.
3. Lewis and Clark Park
Lewis and Clark Park has a history of unexplained phenomena surrounding the Lewis and Clark monument honoring the explorers. Among such chilling experiences are the mysterious feelings of sickness and disorientation of visitors to the monument, as well as major emotional upsets that can’t be explained. 19962 Monument Rd., Council Bluffs.
4. Union Pacific Railroad Museum
This interesting museum is totally restored and renovated, and is home to one of the oldest collections of artifacts, photos and documents related to the railroad and the railroad industry. The building itself, though, has a haunted history. In the past, it was the town’s library.
Back when it was a library, people reported seeing books fly off the shelves by themselves, as well as shadowy figures. Items also mysteriously disappeared, only to appear again later. Many believed the library was haunted by the ghost of a former pianist dressed in Victorian garb. In the museum, people most often report seeing her ghost walking up and down the museum’s stairwell. 200 Pearl St., Council Bluffs.
5. General Dodge House
This house was owned by General Dodge and his family and is now open for community tours. It’s commonly said to be haunted by the General’s ghost, who wanders around the house or sits in his rocking chair.
People have also reported hearing two men arguing around dusk every day, as well as mysterious flashes of light on the house lawn. 605 S 3rd St., Council Bluffs, IA.
6. Elvira the Haunted Car
The history of this very unique car is quite fascinating and chilling. The car’s name is Elvira, and she’s seen more than her fair share of deaths, right inside the car. She was originally used as an ambulance and, during this time, was the sight of the deaths of hundreds of patients, as well as the paramedic who drove her.
She moved to Council Bluffs in 2008 to join the fleet of Shamrock Limousine. The new owners quickly noticed strange happenings inside the car, and had it investigated by paranormal investigators. The investigators concluded that the car was, in fact, haunted. They believed it to be haunted by the paramedic who had died inside and had stuck around to protect and shepherd other souls to the other side.