When you tell your friends and co-workers that your weekend plans involve visiting a “murder house” in southwest Iowa, expect to receive some strange looks. Now that winter is finally over (or I least I hope it is) I’m back to weekend roadtripping and decided to kick off the season with a trip to the Villisca Ax Murder House.
Located in the small town of Villisca, Iowa—population 1,250—this white farmhouse could easily be the clone of its neighbors, that is, except for the plywood sign erected in its front yard. On June 10, 1912, eight people, including six children under the age of 12, were murdered while they slept. An eerily staged crime scene and utter lack of suspects rocked the small town, leaving many questions unanswered for decades—you can find the full story online.
Upon our arrival, our tour guide took our $10 admission fee and led us into the house. Sitting in the living room she regaled us with the full story of what happened in the Moore’s home that night and everything that followed. Afterward she turned us loose in the house to explore and take photos at our leisure.
The house itself, which was purchased by its current owners in 1994, saw a number of tenants between the time of the murders and its restoration. Meaning that when the Moore’s home was renovated to look as it did in 1912, it was also filled with period furnishings and reproductions of family photos. My thoughts? Knowing this makes the house a lot less creepy but I still don’t think I’d want to live here.
If You Visit the Villisca Ax Murder House
While we didn’t experience anything supernatural—except for overactive imaginations—during our trip, the home has been visited by Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures,” who (apparently) caught quite a bit on tape. And if you’re feeling extra brave (we weren’t), you can pay $428 for up to six people to stay in the house overnight. We were mildly shocked that someone would pay so much just to stay somewhere overnight, but when we asked our friendly tour guide informed us that the house is rented about 200 nights out of the year.
Hours: April 1 to Oct. 31 from 1 to 4 p.m. (closed on Mondays)
Admission: $10 per person
Share Your Thoughts
I would love to hear from you! Have you ever visited a haunted destination? Would you spend the night in the Villisca Ax Murder House?