Iowa August 08, 2017
The Haunted Hike In Iowa That Will Send You Running For The Hills
This is a chilling story, and this haunted trail has a tragic history.
This hike starts at the Iowa nature preserve Gitchie Manitou in the far northwestern corner of Iowa.
Located in Lyon County, this state preserve contains the oldest exposed rock in the state. The 1.6 billion-year-old chunk of pink bedrock is right along the hiking trail. The area was also a ceremonial site of the ansestors of the Iowa, Ponca, Omaha, and Otoe-Missouria tribes. The history here is amazing, but it's not ancient history that people talk about when they discuss Gitchie Manitou.
This hike is short at just 1.5 miles. The path isn't particularly well kept.
Along the trail is the site of one of the most horrific murders in Iowa.
It happened over 40 years ago but it made such an impression that people still visit the site, today.
On November 17 of 1973 five teenagers were spending time at the Gitchie Manitou State Preserve.
Roger Essem, Steward Baade, Dana Baade, and Michael Hadrath were murdered. Sandra Cheskey was raped.
She not only survived, but her willingness to testify helped put the perpetrators in prison.
David, James, and Allen Fryer committed the murders. They were in the preserve to poach deer, and came upon the group of teenagers accidentally.
The kids were just lounging in the park enjoying a campfire. The Fryer brothers realized they had marijuana and decided to take it by pretending to be narcotics officers.
From the ridge above, the Fryer brothers shot at the group.
This is the site where the murders occurred. It's along the hike, and many people report that the trail is haunted. Roger Essems was the first victim. He was shot immediately.
Steward Baade was wounded and the rest of the group ran.
Two of the remaining young people confronted the brothers, who told them a story about being narcotics officers. Believing them, the kids followed the Fryer brothers back to their van. Allen Fryer drove off with Sandra Cheskey.
The three teenagers left behind were murdered by David and James Fryer.
Sandra Cheskey, held captive on a farm and raped by the brothers, eventually escaped.
The brothers were sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Hiking this trail brings all kinds of strange feelings. The site of such a brutal and senseless murder is sure to bring visitors feelings of sadness. This haunted trail has a profound story, It's far from your typical Iowa hike.
Are there any other haunted Iowa hike we should know about? Tell us about it in the comments.