Live Blog: We’re Attempting To Spend The Night In A Haunted Axe Murder House

Hi Guys, it’s Chrissy Stockton, Michael Koh and Rob Fee. We’re spending the night in the Villisca Axe Murder House and we’ll be liveblogging what happens as the night goes on. Pop into the comments with questions and follow along! And if you want more reads like this, follow Creepy Catalog.

BREAKING NEWS

Last night, Nov. 7, one night after we left the Villisca Axe Murder House police were called to the house because a stabbing was reported. Keep in mind there is no town sherriff so the person staying there had to call 911 and wait for a cop from a different town to drive over. It was a self-inflicted stab wound that occured during a paranormal investigation. It doesn’t say in the news report but I’m guessing “self-inflicted” means “ghost-inflicted” in this case. I can’t believe this happened right after we left. Unbelievable. My thoughts and prayers with the family involved.


We’ll post an update ASAP when we’re able to listen to all the recordings and look at all the video and present everything we found! Stay tuned.

7:45am

Koh here. Lots to think about, lots to talk about. Let’s start from when we went to bed.

When it was time to wrap up for the night, we went up to the second floor to sleep on the beds where the family was murdered. I said I was okay with sleeping on the floor, but for our readers, we just had to do this. There were still bloodstains on the quilts from when the girls were murdered in 1912. There were still blood splatters on the walls where the parents were murdered. And we were going to sleep in their beds (we slept on the beds with a sleeping bag on top). I climbed into the one directly in front of the door (two cameras were pointed at the bed) and I tried my hardest to go to bed. While I knew I was tired, my body kept me awake with bursts of adrenaline, and when I would be at the very edge of sleep, something (someone?) would jolt me awake. It was as if my body was preventing me from dreaming while in the house!

It was around 1:50AM when I heard something directly next to me. It sounded like a woman whispering. I heard the whispers twice. I couldn’t make sense of what was being whispered, but I heard, a little bit later, a loud “NO,” coming from the center of the room. I told Heidi about this and she said that something could’ve been downstairs and the voice came through from the vent in the middle of the room. Was it? I couldn’t be so sure.

Around 2:30AM, there were two distinct knocks right over the bed Chrissy was sleeping on. Then, around 3AM, there was an incredibly loud noise that shook my bed. I thought someone had shifted their body on their bed, but it felt as if someone — or something — had opened and slammed a door directly beneath me. I asked Chrissy if she heard it too — she didn’t. Tim was awake and heard me asking Chrissy. He hadn’t heard it, but he said he would keep his ears and eyes open. I later found out that the cellar door was underneath where I slept. I also heard something electrical, something I can only describe as static, but with the buzz of electricity hovering around my head. I kept my eyes shut and pulled the sleeping bag over my head.

Morning could not come soon enough. I heard our alarms go off and I was the first to get out of bed. I described my experiences to Heidi and Tim and it turned out that Heidi had seen a dark feminine figure standing in a corner. Could this have been the one whispering by where I was? The rest of the investigation went off without anything too substantial, although our EVPs might prove otherwise.

We decided to go upstairs and try an EVP session to try and contact whatever it was that was making noises while most of us slept.

Rob decided to sit out of this one. Chrissy took a parabolic dish and I took the K-II meter and a voice recorder to the bedroom that we both had slept in. I looked over at the crib to see if any of the dolls had moved. They hadn’t.

I placed the K-II meter on the center of the floor and the voice recorder next to me on a chair.

“Is there anyone with us right now?” I asked. “If anyone is here, can you wave you hand in front of this device I have in front of us?”

We waited. And nothing.

“Were you here whispering earlier?” Chrissy asked. “You were really talkative yesterday, why not right now?”

Both times, the K-II didn’t respond. I did hear at one point of what sounded like someone smoothing their dress out to the right of me. I asked Chrissy if she had heard it, but she had turned off her parabolic dish and didn’t catch anything.

We wrapped up our EVP session and headed downstairs, where Rob, Heidi, and Tim were watching us on the screen.

12:51am

I have no idea if I will be able to sleep. It’s a bit of my nightmare now if everyone else falls asleep and I’m the only one awake listening to every sound to see if it is an entity, thinking about the terrible things that happened exactly where I am laying right now and wondering if every shadow is going to turn into a shadow figure.

But Tim and Heidi are really close and if I scream Tim will run in quickly. I think he is sleeping with his sleeping bag unzipped exactly for this reason.

I’m going to sign off now. We’ll all be back in the morning to recount what we heard, if we were woken up, if they gave us dreams, etc. When we get home Heidi and Tim will go through all our video footage and the audio to see if there’s any EVPs or anything else strange. We’ll also research the man Heidi saw at the library and this missing girl and post everything we find in another article.

Leave your questions below if you have any. Sweet dreams.

12:45am

Last time they were here and they got a thermal read on a doll, it was this doll that’s sitting exactly where Koh is about to sleep:

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.42.19 AM

They found a piece of equipment on the doll, a voice recorder. We got the full story from the tour guide — it had been lost months ago by a group of people and he’d searched the house for weeks trying to find it. It didn’t make sense.

When Heidi’s group found the recorder not only was it sitting on top of this doll they’d moved several times that night, it was also on. Most batteries don’t last months.

I tell Koh to watch out for the doll while he sleeps.

12:43am

We decide to go to bed. Last time they were here Heidi and her whole crew woke up at 3something — all at the same time. Since sleep isn’t a given, we might as well try now that we’ve investigated every room and it seems like our spirit is telling us they need a break — or at least are being unresponsive.

Rob’s been asleep in the downstairs bedroom for awhile so we leave him there (which is really scary but um, it’s Rob).

Heidi and Tim camp out in Josiah and Sara’s room upstairs and Koh and I will be 10 feet away in the children’s room.

12:36am

I faintly hear a woman humming. I’m not sure if it’s just in my head until Heidi says, “do you hear that?” She can hear it too.

This is one of the most concrete (to me) things I’ve experienced all night.

12:34am

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I turned my flash off so you guys could see how freaky everything looks. We’re operating in the dark most of the time. We use flashlights to get around and then sit in the dark mostly, unless a flashlight is being manipulated.

12:31am

We give up on tarot and Heidi gets out her flashlights again, setting one next to the K-II on my makeshift table.

Heidi, Tim and I sit in the parlour and again ask whatever is there to speak with us by making noise or by manipulating one of our devices.

Heidi’s flashlight begins to flicker.

12:29am

Here’s the last spread I did while Heidi was talking about sword cards:

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.12.13 AM

I interpret the first card — since we asked it to communicate with swords — is tired or not really wanting to talk right now, especially since it didn’t give us the specific card we asked for.

12:23am

Forgot to post this below, but Rob also made Tim take a Blair Witch Project shot of him in the cellar:

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.24.00 AM

12:17am

Reader question:

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I may not have explained it well below but he was alone in the attic again before he was in there with Koh and he was in the kid’s upstairs closet alone talking while Koh and I were in the bedroom — and then we left him in the house all alone while we went to the barn and he hasn’t had more interaction. What we are hoping is that he’ll wake up to something (he is sleeping right now) and cue us in.

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.22.35 AM

12:12am

Heidi joins me in the parlour and talks while I shuffle for a final spread.

She says it would be cool if whoever is there could show us swords in the spread. Like, if we drew a 10 of swords, that would be a great sign they were speaking to us.

(This is a 10 of swords, fitting right?)

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.14.13 AM

12:08am

I’m thinking now that I actually like that nothing has happened in awhile. We’ve been trying and trying and trying to get our equipment to light up again or to get some other kind of message, but if it happened every time we ask, it would maybe just mean it was fake? The fact that it only works in some situations means there is definitely a variable about those — not just that we get “messages” whenever we want it because the whole thing is psychosomatic.

12:04am

Second tarot spread.

I tell whoever is listening that I really want to communicate with it. And it seemed like upstairs when it was making our equipment go crazy it really wanted to talk to us.

Here’s the spread:

Screen Shot 2014-11-06 at 12.03.56 AM

The first card could represent the Stillinger girls, or Villisca in general before the tragedy happened, but the spread as a whole doesn’t seem like anything.

Midnight

Reader question:

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It’s out in the trunk of our rental car. None of us want to use it. Not only is is very, very scary but it’s really easy to fuck up and communicate with something bad.

If Heidi and Tim aren’t gung-ho about it, I’m more than happy to skip.

If you need more reasons, see here.

11:53pm

I shuffle the cards and tell whoever is listening that they can use the tarot cards if they want to communicate with me and they can say anything they want to so and I will listen.

I tell them I am going to pull five cards and make a spread. They can tell me a story with it or they can make a card pop out with one meaning they want me to read.

Here is the spread:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.54.51 PM

Nothing in this seems really significant to me.

I could possibly interpret a story in it as agreeing with the idea that the murders were done by someone Josiah Moore knew professionally — a business deal gone bad. But that’s reaching a bit more than I usually have to do with tarot.

11:45pm

A few more questions first:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.42.53 PM

They actually did this on the Ghost Adventures episode if you’ve seen it. At one point we thought about doing this, but it seemed disrespectful to the house and since we’re new we are trying to be professional and err on the side of caution.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.45.17 PM

I think so. I will see if I can get Heidi to answer this question though, she would have a really interesting answer.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.46.18 PM

Yes, yes I am on that job. Without Koh our productivity at Thought Catalog would plummet. And no one would tell us about the cool memes or tell us when the A train is down.

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We’ve asked a bunch of times so far if they feel safe or if they want to hurt us without a response. The best luck we’ve had is with biographical questions but when we’ve tried to go deeper we lose them. :/

11:41pm

Since nothing has happened in awhile interaction-wise I’m going to try something new. I brought my tarot cards and Tim helps me set up the piano bench in the parlour like it’s a table. We’ll see if I do a few spreads if anything interesting happens.

11:40pm

Correction: I was kinda terrified when I was laying in Josiah and Sara’s bed alone in the dark and I thought something moved my hair.

11:36pm

Reader question:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.36.23 PM

Rob is basically unscarable (unless we brought a Ouija board out) but Koh and I are big scaredy cats. I can’t do haunted houses. I scream out loud at scary movies. I honestly was a bit scared we’d ruin this whole project by not being able to go through with it.

But Heidi and Tim are awesome, they are both very calming. Since they’re professional and experienced, I actually haven’t been “terrified”-level scared since we got in here even though yes, it is a very scary place and we’re in the dark doing creepy things the whole time.

11:33pm

If anyone reading has questions, feel free to ask in the comments.

We’re taking a break, getting ready to do one or two more sessions before seeing if whatever is here will let us sleep.

11:30pm

One of our readers just shared his experience in the house. Pretty cool:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.30.09 PM

11:27pm

In the barn Tim brought me up to the attic. It was really cool. Hundreds and hundreds of people who have come here to investigate have signed their names along the beams, and the names of their paranormal group. He showed me where Zak from Ghost Adventures signed.

11:25pm

Rob: I was lying on the bed while Chrissy and Koh were investigating. Just like all great ghost hunters do, I fell asleep. I don’t know how long I was asleep, but when I woke up everyone was gone and I was alone in the room.

11:21pm

Koh and I go back into the kitchen where Heidi and Tim are watching the monitors. We all decide to go out to the barn to take a bathroom break and leave Rob sleeping in the house.

This is a pic of the barn that I took earlier, it’s behind the house and has electricity and a bathroom so we take frequent trips out there to change batteries and take a break:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.19.32 PM

11:17pm

I hear a noise like a wheezing girl gasping for breath and trying to keep herself from screaming. It’s rhythmic and constant though, so I think it’s Rob again.

Rob has fallen asleep.

11:14pm

Rob and I go into the guest room and sit in the dark. Rob stretches out on the (decrepit) bed while I sit in a rocking chair with my parabolic digs aimed at the ceiling, where many people have heard footsteps.

I hear something like a door rattling upstairs. (Maybe).

I ask, “is anyone in here?”

I maybe hear loud breathing. Like, old man breathing, but I figure out it is Rob.

I get bored and switch my phone off airplane mode. My K-II meter lights up for the first time since the attic. Ugh. Well at least it’s working. I switch it back to airplane mode.

11:08pm

We’re not hearing any noises, or getting anything lit up on our equipment or getting any kind of response to our questions. So, naturally, Rob and I nominate Koh to go sit in the closet by himself and try to talk to whatever might be in there.

In this closet there are a bunch of balls which move easily along the hardwood floor, so they can roll in response to a question.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.05.07 PM

11:02pm

We all sit in the room in silence with our equipment placed between us.

I explain to anyone or anything that is listening that we are writing an article about the house and we are available to tell the story of anyone who needs their story told, of anyone who has a message.

If you communicate with us, we will help you. We will tell your story.

11:00pm

We decide to take our session downstairs to the room the Stillinger girls were in.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 11.00.07 PM

10:54pm

Literally can’t believe Rob keeps saying, “Do you want to play a game with us?”

10:52pm

We’re taking turns all asking questions, asking it to make a noise or use our equipment to talk to us.

It’s crazy to sit in the complete darkness and ask an entity to make contact with you.

And yet here we are.

10:49pm

Rob is asking questions in the closet. There are children’s toys in there. Maybe he can get one of them to talk to us.

Koh and I are listening with parabolic dishes:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 10.49.39 PM

10:46pm

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I’m sitting on this bed, Rob is in the closet. It’s completely dark except for the flash when we take photos.

10:42pm

We’re going into the upstairs children’s bedroom where we had flashlight activity — me, Rob and Koh.

10:37pm

Rob and Koh aren’t getting any interaction so they come back down. Tim tells us a paranormal investigation is like fishing — there’s a lot of waiting involved and sometimes something bites and sometimes it doesn’t.

He tells us an investigation they did in a house in St. Paul. They worked all night without much luck. When they got home and checked EVP they heard a single voice saying “don’t talk to any of em”

10:33pm

They are moving a ball around trying to get the little girl we were talking to earlier to move it around too. So creepy even though it doesn’t really work.

10:30pm

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 10.29.29 PM

We’re watching Koh and Rob in the attic now. It’s really creepy to watch them on the camera and not know what’s happening or be able to hear what they are saying.

10:27pm

Since it kinda stopped talking when I asked that last question, Rob and Koh are going to go back up without me. I’m going to watch on the screen with Tim and Heidi.

10:26pm

We’re still talking about what just happened. We can’t believe we got such solid responses to just asking questions out loud.

10:21pm

After the machines stop going crazy we go downstairs and Tim and Heidi are going nuts. They told us we look like pros! Apparently what just happened is pretty rare, especially for newbies like us!

They also say on the attic camera (which was trained on Rob) they watched huge orbs floating around. Not the regular ones which are just specs of dust flying around, but one stick around and move. We’ll get the video from them after they have a chance to go through all of it when we get home.

10:17pm

This is Rob. I’ll admit that I was extremely critical of everything that happened up until this point. I’m not saying I didn’t believe it or thought it was fake, but for me to truly be convinced, I wanted to see something that had no other possible explanation. That just happened.

I went into the attic alone while Koh and Chrissy sat outside the door. Up until this point I hadn’t asked any questions; only observed. I sat down in a chair in the corner and asked if anyone wanted to talk to us. Silence. I asked if anyone had something that we needed to hear.

Suddenly, for the first time all night, the rempod lit up and beeped. No one was around it and there was no reason for it to go off. Still, I’m not buying it. I asked, “Do you want to talk to us?” It beeps and lights up. “Are you male?” No response. I wait a few seconds and ask, “Are you female?” It beeps again. This is getting creepy, but still, it could be a coincidence. “Are you alone?” Silence. “Is there someone else with you?” It beeps. “Is it another female?” It beeps again. We ask a few more questions and it says it’s two young females.

Still, I have my hesitations, so I want to test it. “Can you make that machine beep once?” A single beep. “Can you make it beep two times?” It beeps twice. It hadn’t beeped twice yet. “Can you make it beep three times?” It beeps three times.

This isn’t a coincidence anymore.

There’s no way. We ask a few more questions and then Chrissy asks, “Did you die here?” It goes silent. We get one or two more random beeps and then nothing. I don’t know if that was something it didn’t want to talk about or if we upset it or if it simply left, but I truly have no other explanation for what just happened. I was staring directly at the rempod and there is 100% no way whatsoever that any person was manipulating or messing with it.

10:10pm

Koh: I tried to listen if anything was happening around us using the parabolic dish, but I couldn’t pick anything up. The rempod going off was totally sweet, though.

10:05pm

Rob asks if it has anything it want to tell us — rempod goes off

Rob asks if it’s a woman — rempod goes off

Rob asks if it’s younng — it goes off

Rempod is going crazy.

Are you alone? Silence.

Are others with you? Rempod goes off.

Are you young? Rempod goes off.

Do you like to play with people who are here? Pod goes crazy.

Rob asks for it to beep twice and it does.

Rob asks for it to beep three times and it does.

Rob asks if it’s ok if we are here and it says yes.

10:00pm

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Holy shit we are having crazy activity. The rempods are going off, almost immediately in response to every question Rob is asking.

9:55pm

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Heidi and Tim watch the cameras while Rob goes into the attic alone and Koh and I stand outside, armed with parabolic dishes and the rempods scattered a few feet away.

The attic is where the killer hid while the family was at church… until they came home and went to sleep and he could come out. :(

9:52pm

Koh here: I felt like someone was just beyond the darkness watching me while on the parents’ bed. I thought someone was reaching out to me, but that was probably just my nerves. I had a parabolic dish and I didn’t hear anything on it.

9:50pm

Tim and Heidi go downstairs while Koh, Rob and I stay in the children’s room. We take turns walking across to Josiah and Sara’s room and laying alone in their bed in the dark.

I genuinely feel my hair move.

Could be nerves, but still I bolted back to the company of my friends.

Here’s a pic of the flashlight lighting up, unprompted:

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 9.51.46 PM

9:46pm

Tim hears something “sliding” downstairs.

(Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean there was a ghost sliding stuff around, just that we talk about what we hear and see if we can verify any of it).

9:42pm

As a control, we decide not to ask anything for a minute, to see if the flashlight is just turning on for no reason. While we wait in silence for a minute, the flashlight stays off.

9:41pm

The spirit has successfully turned the flashlight on immediately in response to a few questions. I am amazed but Heidi is more nonchalant.

“You have to turn the flashlight off,” she says. “That’s how the game goes. If you don’t turn it off, it’s not an answer.”

The flashlight dims, but it doesn’t go out.

9:40pm

Tim thinks he sees some weird light near the window in the master bedroom. Heidi asks if anyone is by the window and the flashlight immediately turns on.

Heidi asks the question again and again the flashlight immediately turns on.

9:30pm

We all head upstairs. We go to the bedroom where the four Moore children were murdered.

We’re sitting in a circle laying some equipment out — an EMF detector, something that tells the temperature and a few flashlights.

Heidi asks, “Is anyone here with us? If you’re here, can you turn the flashlight on and off?” We wait for a moment.

Heidi and Tim remind us repeatedly that if we feel weird we should tell them, again because the spirits might “pick on us.”

9:15pm

We go outside where Heidi does a blessing on us. We are ready to begin!

9:00pm

In order to “speak” with anyone in the house who wants to speak with us, there are a few vehicles a spirit or entity can use.

They could simply make a loud noise or knock.

Screen Shot 2014-11-05 at 9.25.35 PM

Alternatively, they could whisper or speak inaudibly and we could pick it up with a parabolic dish or record it on a tape recorder — EVP (electronic voice phenomena).

K2s
K-IIs

They could set off a Rempod or a K-II, which measure electromagnetic fields. If you use your phone by one, for instance, it will light up. We keep our phones on airplane mode.

One of the Rempods
One of the Rempods

Finally, Heidi has some twist on flashlights. They can turn them on and off to answer our questions.

8:30pm

The equipment is set up, we’ve got rugs covering the massive amount of cords running throughout the house so we don’t trip over them in the dark. Time to “baseline.”

Since we’re going to be using investigation equipment all night and hoping that when it goes off it means we’re experiencing something paranormal, a baseline is going through the location before we begin talking to them, as a control. This way we know if any of the equipment will just always act up in a certain spot.

7:30pm

While we help set up, Heidi and Tim fill us in on what we need to know to follow along with their investigation. I’m impressed at how determined they are to be scientific — when we hear or see something we’re supposed to try as hard as we can to rule out any logical cause for what we experienced. Tim is super handy and manages buildings, so he’s very smart about knowing what electrical sounds or regular house/building creaks are. He tells a story about how they were on one investigation when a table “bounced.” It rose up and then slammed into the floor. Rather than being delighted by seeing a cool paranormal thing, he dove under the table to investigate. Where the legs loose? Was the floor uneven? What could have caused what they experienced other than assuming it was paranormal?

5:30pm

Our guide leaves us with the keys and we’re alone.

Different weird feelings wash over me, and it could totally be psychosomatic but I’m just recording them anyway. Koh felt constricted and short of breath during the tour. The second floor made him feel nauseous the first time we went up with. He told me he feels “safer” in the kitchen.

Koh thinks something touched his Achilles when he was in the parlour room with Rob, so he asked Rob to take a photo and he got this:

What is up with the lines?
What is up with the lines?

He took another photo with the flash on and nothing happened!

2014-11-04 19.04.06 copy

Tim said he felt electricity on the stairs.

We start setting up equipment. We have cameras around the house we’ll watch from a monitor in the kitchen:

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More cameras up:

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5:10pm

Our tour guide told us the sheriff quit three years ago out of boredom so Villisca doesn’t really have police, but 911 works (just… slowly).

He tells a story about coming to the house one afternoon and hearing heavy footsteps upstairs. He sighed, knowing there was no sheriff to call and he’d have to go upstairs himself and kick out some passing vagrant himself. Except that, of course, when he went upstairs it was completely empty. It’s a small house, there’s nowhere for a person to hide (anymore).

Also: decades ago the town’s pharmacy used to make a cold elixir called “666.” Maybe it really is a cursed town.

PS here he is talking to Zak Bagans and the Ghost Adventures crew when they did an investigation here:

Ghost Adventures
Ghost Adventures

He confirms that the incredible door slam they caught on camera was legit. He was downstairs, the Ghost Adventures crew was out in the barn while it happened.

5pm

A tour guide tells us some of the house history. We all know the basics but this is a guy who loves history and has done over 300 investigations in the house. We are riveted.

Here’s a new thing we learn, the whole town is built on indigenous burial ground. Specifically, where they buried their enemies — face down and in shallow graves so they’d be doomed to walk the earth forever.

The town’s name, Villisca, derived from the indigenous name — Willisca (sp?) which meant “evil spirit.”

4:40pm

Last time Heidi and Tim investigated the axe murder house, their entire group was downstairs, together. When they went upstairs with a thermal imaging camera, they discovered that this doll was hot, as if someone had recently touched it:

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4:30pm — The Tour —

Josiah and Sara’s bedroom. The killer covered all the mirrors in the house. The mark above the mirror was caused when the killer swung the axe and hit the wall.

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The parlour:

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The attic — where many believe the killer hid, waiting for the Moore’s to come home and fall asleep:

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The upstairs room where all four Moore children were murdered in their sleep:

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The downstairs bedroom where the Stillinger girls slept. The mirror is again covered:

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The cellar:

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Inside the cellar:

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4pm

It’s finally time to get to work at the house! We made it!

Chrissy, Rob, Michael
Chrissy, Rob, Michael
Tim and Heidi
Tim and Heidi
Even though there were other houses near the Moore house, no one heard anything while 8 people were bludgeoned with an axe.
Even though there were other houses near the Moore house, no one heard anything while 8 people were bludgeoned with an axe.

3:30pm

This is weird to say, but it's a very beautiful graveyard.
This is weird to say, but it’s a very beautiful graveyard.

We head to the Villisca cemetery. It’s gut-wrenching to see the long row of Moore graves and remember how deeply tragic their story is.

The long row of all the Moore graves.
The long row of all the Moore graves.

The children’s graves were covered in coins and toys people have left for them. The significance behind leaving coins is unclear (it could be the Hades ferryman narrative, or it could symbolize your relation to the deceased or it could be a simple sign of respect) but the reason people leave toys isn’t lost on anyone.

Lena and Ina Stillinger's final resting place.
Lena and Ina Stillinger’s final resting place.

There’s also a superstition that sometimes the coins we leave for the dead come back to us.

3pm

Excited by what Heidi had seen we decided to go to City Hall to look through the historical documents and photos there to see if we could recognize him.

Michael, Rob, Heidi and Tim searching for the man Heidi saw in the library.
Michael, Rob, Heidi and Tim searching for the man Heidi saw in the library.

There’s one man who matched the description. We’re going to research him more when we get home.

Clarence Hilleary
Got him: the last guy in the back row, Clarence Hilleary

2pm

Heidi and Tim
Heidi and Tim

After lunch we decide to head to the library and see if they have any interesting information on the house or the murder case that we weren’t able to dig up on the internet. When we walk in both Tim and Koh feel a rush of anxiety, and something pushing on their chests.

A man immediately approaches me, he knows what we’re doing here (people only visit this town for one reason). “It had to be an inside job, whoever did it knew where the key was and where the axe was and the door was locked in the morning when the neighbor came over. It was an inside job.”

Research.
Research.

We went over files for quite awhile when Heidi found us again. She’d seen two people in the library, I know by her tone she’s not talking about living people.

The man was tall with a big, booming voice to match his physical presence. He was dressed like he was from the 50’s.

He said the town is cursed. That tragic things have happened here and more tragic things will happen in the future. The woman Heidi saw was angry the man was talking to Heidi. The man and the woman talked about a girl they hadn’t been able to save. A missing girl no one had found “in time.” A few weeks ago while at the Villisca house Heidi had dreamed about a girl stuck in a well. We’d find out more information about this later.

Noon

That cost of living tho.
That cost of living tho.

Lunch at the town cafe. We meet our paranormal team in person for the first time, Heidi Steffens and Tim Donahue from the Minneapolis Paranormal Research Society. Once we start talking lunch lasts about two hours because we can’t stop trading stories about the paranormal.

Heidi and Tim did an investigation at the house a few weeks ago. They say there is “definitely” something there, though they think it’s unrelated to the actual axe murders. Since the house is used often for paranormal investigations, and not everyone is respectful or professional, a lot of entities have been invited into the house and they just sit there waiting, because they want someone to talk to.

Heidi says that when you’re dealing with the paranormal it’s like dialing out a phone unsure of where the call is going and who will pick up. But if you keep dialing eventually someone WILL pick up.

She warns us, you can’t be scared. A healthy amount fear is good because it helps us be safe but the spirits feed on fear. With all the ghost hunters coming in and doing ouija boards and stirring things up, they are there and they are looking for an in. A scared person is an easy target.

11:30am

There’s two antique stores in town and we visit both of them. One is closed (indefinitely?) the other is open but it’s just random antiques, probably things that belonged to the town’s elderly population just a few years ago.

11.5.14 — 11am

We check out of our hotel and arrive in Villisca. It’s important to know that this place is literally in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hours of cornfields in all directions. As we drive Rob comments, “Now I understand why there were murders, there’s nothing else to do here.”

The town that dreaded sunlight.
The town that dreaded sunlight.

The town itself is a bit larger than I expected, they have a few stores, a library, and two gas stations. For some reason this makes the location even more eerie.

Along the way we passed a lot lonely farmhouses and talked about how they are scary because they are so secluded — if anything happened to you there, no one would hear you or be around to help you. A town the size of Villisca feels nothing but safe. It’s small enough that there’s no crime but in the unlikely even that there was — everyone else in town is around and will come running.

Except of course, that didn’t happen for the Moore family and their guests.

11.4.14 — 10pm

Two nights before we leave I have a plotless nightmare. I am in the axe murder house and the house itself is communicating with me, showing me that one bedroom is a “safe” place for me while the stairs hold something evil and are to be avoided at all costs.

Today we drove to the closest hotel to Villisca, which is still 40 miles away. At a bar, I casually ask our bartenders if they’ve ever been to the house. Their eyes light up and they spent the next 15 minutes spitting out story after story about their various experiences in the house. Photos of orbs, cold spots, recorded voices pleading for help and a lone children’s toy car rolling into the room.

Will trade drinks for gossip.
Will trade drinks for gossip.

We all did shots and the stories got even more fantastical.

During her first trip to the Villisca house our waitress didn’t believe in the paranormal. She brought a case of beer and four Monsters and taunted the ghosts to prove the existed. She stopped when the flashlight lighting the room rolled off the table and dropped to the floor.

We chatted about a game all rural children have in common: spookhousing. Spending bored summer nights working up the courage to drive to one of the many abandoned farmhouses in the area and working your way through it with a flashlight for thrills and bragging rights. My most memorable turn ended with a pair of boys tumbling out of a closet, I didn’t even realize I was the person screaming until minutes later when I found myself on the wet grass outside.

Back at the hotel, I slept with the bathroom light on. TC mark

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