The House & Town

One of America’s Most Haunted Houses

The Villisca AXE Murders of June 1912 remain an enduring and unsettling enigma in American criminal history. In this quaint Iowa town on a pleasant summer’s night, eight unsuspecting victims, including Josiah Moore, his wife Sarah Moore and six children were bludgeoned to death as they slept following an evening church service.

The crime scene was a macabre tableau of brutality, with shattered skulls, pools of blood and peculiar details. Despite a nationwide manhunt, multiple suspects and two trials, the murder remains unsolved.

In the 1990s, the home was painstakingly restored by historians Martha and Gavin Linn into a sort of living museum, recreating the home as it was on the night of the crime, right down to the lack of electricity and plumbing.

Villisca House from the front, showing wooden ramp.

Thanks to their work, the home is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. `

After the Linns opened the house to the public, visitors reported all manner of unexplainable phenomena, from feelings of dread, to sounds such as footprints and children’s laughter. Some have recorded engagement with spirits and two-way communication. One man even experienced an inexplicable self-inflicted knife wound. Like the murders themselves, the riddle of the house and why these things occur will likely never be solved.

We continue to make the home available for tours and stays. Learn more about the home, the town, the murders and the aftermath.

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508 E 2nd St, Villisca, IA 50864


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