Villisca House (gruesomely known as Villisca Axe Murder House) looks ordinary enough–just another weather-beaten old farm-style house, no different than millions of others you can find in any small, rural Midwestern town. Common as dirt out here in the Rust Belt.
The weather in the Midwest is hard on buildings, especially those made of wood. Which is why you see so many brick houses in the Midwest. Between the freezing sub-zero winters, 100-degree, 100%-humidity summers and the thunderstorms of spring, it’s a wonder anything made of wood survives at all.
Drive through any town and look at the houses. They might look new with all that fashionable vinyl siding, but you can be pretty sure that a good 60% of them are from 75 to 100 years old, and the original wood has simply been sided over. Midwesterners don’t like to throw things away just because they look a bit beat up or old.
If there was no sign and you didn’t know any better, you’d never guess the degree of notoriety bestowed upon this plain-looking home.
In June of 1912 Josiah Moore, his wife Sarah and their four children were resident there. In viewing the photos of the time, they look like any other early 20th-century, middle-class, Midwestern family.
Josiah was a prominent and well thought of local businessman, Sarah a devoted and loving mother to their 4 children. She was very active with the local Presbyterian Church. There was not much of anything in their history that would have foreshadowed the gruesome and horrible fate that came upon them on June 10,1912.
On the morning of the 10th, a neighbor, Mary Peckham, noticed that Sarah was not out and about doing her usual chores, as she normally did like clockwork.
She attempted to get into the house to see if everything was alright, but found the door locked. Mary placed a call to Josiah’s brother, Ross, and got him to open the door. Once inside, they were confronted with a horrific, gruesome scenario.
Both the Moore’s, their four children, and two overnight houseguests (also children) had been brutally murdered, bludgeoned to death with an axe owned by Josiah. It appeared that they had all been asleep when killed, as only one of the victims (one of the houseguests) had any defensive wounds.
Although many suspects were pulled in, interviewed and even brought to trial, the killer was never found and the case remains unsolved to this day.
As you can imagine, all this makes fertile ground for all kinds of paranormal activity. In 2014, a paranormal investigator suffered some serious stab wounds while staying at the house. These were self-inflicted and were serious enough to land him in the hospital.
There have been numerous reports of hearing the voices of the Moore children, one of them saying “He’s going to hurt us,” children crying, and the sounds of objects falling or being thrown about.
Numerous professional paranormal investigations have been held there over the years and every one of them have turned up some pretty convincing evidence, both in the form of EVPs and photographs.
People have also claimed to see an apparition of a man with an axe slung over his shoulder, wandering about the house, and of becoming trapped in a closet where one of the house guests of that night tried to hide from the killer.