Looking for a real scare this Halloween? From haunted houses with brutal pasts to crumbling cemeteries lurking with restless spirits, there are countless places to go. But first, check out these 11 spooky places in Iowa this Halloween, and be ready for the fright of your life…
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. The Villisca Ax Murder House
In 1912, an entire family was murdered in their sleep by an unknown assailant with an ax. The house is now rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of the murdered family, and the house is available for lockdowns if any paranormal enthusiasts are looking for a thrill. You may have to book ahead, but you can call or check out their website for a list of available dates.
2. The Black Angel, Iowa City
At Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City, the local legend says that if you kiss or touch the black angel you will die. It is also rumored that if a pregnant woman walks beneath the statue’s stretched wings that she will miscarry. Many youngsters come here on Halloween to test their courage and see if the legend is true...
3. Stony Hollow Bluff, Burlington
Located on Stony Hollow Road in Burlington, the Stony Hollow Bluff is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a young woman named Lucinda who threw herself off the bluff when her lover didn't run away with her. It's said that if you go to the top of the bluff at night and say her name three times, she will appear. If she drops a rose at your feet, you will die the next day.
4. The Black Angel, Council Bluffs
At Fairview Cemetery in Council Bluffs, there is a black angel statue. She is said to follow people with her eyes and “bless” whoever touches her with sickness. It is also said that she flies away at night on her great, black wings. Halloween is a popular time for scare enthusiasts to try their courage and test the local lore.
5. The Weeping Angel, Shellsburg Cemetery
There is a legend at Shellsburg Cemetery in Shellsburg, that if you walk up to this angel headstone at night, you can hear her softly crying and see the tears rolling down her face. If you want a good scare, check it out, and let us know what you find.
6. The cemetery at Edinburgh Manor, Monticello
Located in Monticello, the 150-year-old Edinburgh Manor is rumored to be haunted by "The Joker," a violent ghost known to choke visitors. It has been a mental institution among other things, and at least 80 people are said to have died here, and are buried out in the cemetery, where visitors have reported seeing ghostly figures and feeling strange presences. The building is available for lockdown for any brave souls looking for a scare.
7. The Cunningham House, Allamakee County
The old Cunningham house in Allamakee County looks like a haunted house straight out of a horror movie. The only thing about this house is that it's on private property, so you don't want to enter the property (or you will be arrested) but it's got a scary enough vibe that you can just look at it from the road and get the goosebumps. Honestly, I wouldn't even want to go in if I could, it looks way too scary for me - not to mention dangerous...
8. The Mason House Inn, Bentonsport
This historic 1846 hotel in Bentonsport is said to have several spirits living there. In Room 5, the ghost of a young boy pulls on people’s clothing at night. His apparition has also been seen on the landing. In Room 7, a man named Knapp was murdered, and his spirit lingers about the room. In Room 8, a floating head has been seen. Also, in several 3rd-floor bedrooms, the ghost of an elderly woman has been spotted. The hotel is open for business, so you can go see yourself next time you're in the area.
9. The ruins of Rockville
Rockville is a ghost town in Delaware County that has sat abandoned and decaying for years. If you visit now, there is an eerie feel to the place, and if you go at night, it's sure to be creepy enough for any thrill seeker.
10. Vegors Cemetery
At Vegors Cemetery in Stratford, there are Indians buried among the other graves. Legend says if you desecrate an Indian's grave you will be cursed. Apparently two people got in serious car accidents within weeks of visiting this cemetery. If you check this place out, like any of these places, be respectful - especially to the dead.
11. Rainbow Bridge, Lake City
Rainbow Bridge in Lake City is home to a ghost, but not a scary one, like the rest of these. The story goes that if you bring an unopened chocolate bar to the bridge at midnight, lay it in the center of the bridge, then leave the bridge, after 5 minutes you will find the unopened candy bar with an intact wrapper, but the chocolate inside will be gone. Now this sounds like a ghost I wouldn't mind running into.
What are some more haunted places in Iowa to check out? Share your favorite haunts with us!