Promptly at 4:00 that afternoon we pulled up outside of the house. Again, I concentrated on my psychical senses, but felt nothing. It just looked like a house. A bit annoyed, we watched the neighbors carry something onto their porch. Diana and I were trying to see if it was the same people from the videos we had watched. (The caretaker/tour guide lives next door.) It was, and it was almost like seeing a celebrity. I’m easily impressed, I’ll admit that, but this guy has been on Ghost Adventures, and even though I disapprove of that show, I’m still impressed that he was on cable. I’ve never been on cable, I’ve just been on local television. Color me jealous. I need to get on television. I’ve almost finished my new kitchen, it’ll look bitching on film, get ready for my cooking show! I think episode one will be called: “Vegan Julia Child.”
A few moments later, we walked over to the barn, which is situated just behind the house. I’m not sure if it was an original structure or if it had been built at a later date. No matter, that is not where the activity was alleged to be. We made our way into the office in back and were introduced to Johnny Houser. He has a huge beard and is covered in tattoos, and if my life experiences have taught me anything, this means he is an incredibly friendly fellow. He was. I told him how much the segment on his home on My Ghost Story had intrigued and impressed me. When his door shut all of it’s own accord, I had goosebumps. He had a new video of the same thing happening and he showed it to us. Diana and I were on that like starving orphans. It was awesome!
As we were signing in, I wandered around the little office, wondering if anything was actually going to happen, hoping that it would. I picked up the memorial notice of Darwin Linn who had passed away a little while back. He was the gentleman who purchased the house and set up the tours. Even though I’m a firm believer in the existence of ghosts, I’m also a firm believer in cash. I had always wondered if perhaps the paranormal claims had been created and enhanced to increase awareness of the murder house’s alleged activity and therefore increase profits. Once I was there, though, this thought fell to the wayside. It all seemed so genuine and honest that I felt a bit slimy for having thought such things. If anything, it’s an important piece of Iowan history and I’m glad it hasn’t been demolished.
[Jessica, Diana, Johnny, Butch, Me!]
Johnny told us a bit about the basic history of the house, the crime, and the city itself. One of the things that I had never known was that the original ax is not believed to be the one used in the trials. In fact, nobody knows where the ax is. I had heard that the one in the trial was at the State Historical Museum, and it was, until somebody showed up and claimed it. Nobody’s seen it since. Curious, I thought. As we walked out of the barn, Ashley pointed to a picture on the bulletin board by the door that showed a person with scratches all over their back. This freaked us out a bit. In my belief system, ghosts can’t touch a person or hurt them, so this disturbed me.
Once the preliminaries were over, we went over to the house. I was really very excited. I’d wanted to see this place ever since I was this high. It’s part of Iowa culture. Everybody knows about it, but not everybody gets to see it, let alone spend the night! I was ready to be overcome with dread…but, I still felt nothing. It felt like we were just touring an old home or an exhibit. From the kitchen we went into the parlor and discussed the actual murders a bit.
I asked about the name Villisca. I had searched it on Google, but the only Villisca in the world is in Iowa. This is odd. City names are always repeating. Even odd named places have any number of hits on the map, but there’s only one Villisca. I asked why this was. Johnny said that the name came from the Sac and Fox tribe that named the place. The literal translation is, “Place of the Evil Spirit.” Too good to be true! But, I cannot find any dictionary for any Native American language, so I don’t know. It was named this because it is where these tribes buried their enemies and the insane members of their community, face down. They were doomed to remain there forever. I should have asked more about archaeological digs in the area, but I was too distracted by the story. It’s believed that because of this really rather awful past, Villisca has become a bit of a nasty place. There is a high rate of suicides and bizarre crimes. He detailed one where a husband shot his wife down right in the town square. Unsettling.
From the parlor, we went up the stairs to the parent’s room. As I climbed the stairs, I felt a heaviness press down on me. I felt like my limbs weighed more. I told myself that I was just nervous and continued. We went past the attic, where the killer hid out that night 100 years ago, the gaping door creeped the crap out of me, and into the children’s room, where the four Moore children were killed. From the second I stepped foot in that room, I felt anxious, as if I were going to be in trouble. You know that feeling when somebody finds out something about you that you didn’t want them to know? Or when you do something wrong and know you’ll be punished. I felt just like that. I didn’t like it. We saw the closet door that is one of the most well-documented things in the house. People claim that it will open and shut on command, there are many, many videos of this on YouTube, but it was doing nothing now. Not even a wiggle.
As we left the room, Ashley and Butch heard a large thud that they couldn’t explain away.
Johnny pointed out an ax mark left in the wall by the killer in the parent’s room and then he left us all alone. I wasn’t really afraid, but I was wary, I didn’t like the sensations I had felt in the children’s room.
As we were unpacking, Jessica said that she had felt like she was in trouble when she had been upstairs, and when she said that, we all commented on how we had felt the same way. It was uncanny. As everybody else finished bringing their things in, Jessica and I decided to peek in the cellar. I hadn’t heard anything about this, I wasn’t even aware that it existed, so I was curious to see it. Nothing special, just a dirt floor and some scraps. I whipped my phone out to see what was supposed to happen here. Growling, I guess, but I didn’t hear anything. (Now that I think of it, we didn’t do an EVP session down here, perhaps we should have?)
We took some pictures around the house and noticed something odd on Ashley’s back. It looked like a scratch. Jessica and I, wide-eyed, took a picture of it and showed it to her. She hadn’t scratched herself, and if she had, her fingers wouldn’t have reached to where the mark started. Jessica guessed it might have been her purse, but, well, you never know.
[Mark on Ashley’s back.]
[Back of the house, where the killer is supposed to have entered and exited.]
We were starving, so we decided to go to the one restaurant in town, TJ’s. It was the usual diner/bar kind of place that you find in small towns. I had a few appetizers as my meal, not horrible, not remarkable. What was horrible was the fact that whoever “decorated” the restaurant chose to cover up a gorgeous tin ceiling with warped, smoke stained drop tiles that had been, for reasons I can’t even fathom, painted to form a checkerboard pattern. It was an affront to decency.
After dinner we made our way back to the house and began to get a feel for the place. It would be much different when it was dark and all we had to go by was flashlights. We took the EMF meter around and measured the levels. Nothing was out of the ordinary. It’s important to note, and nobody seems to do so, but there is a massive electrical thing across the street, I don’t know the technical term. But, it doesn’t matter as the EMF readings were nothing above normal.
As we were waiting for twilight to fade to nighttime and decided, we decided to go take a look at the home of Senator Jones, who was suspected of hiring a assassin to kill Josiah Moore. Jessica and Ashley decided to stay upstairs and read some notes that previous guests had left. It took us some time to find the house, but we finally did, not too far from the Moore house. The Senator’s home is in poor condition, but it looks as if somebody is at least attempting to fix it up (or perhaps they attempted, it looked very abandoned.) I was (and still am) obsessed with the circular second level porch. I’m a huge fan of second level porches. My future home will have one. The Palazzo that should have been mine had one, those bitches will pay someday! (My vengeance will be delicious.)
[Chatting with the spirits while playing checkers.]
[In no way do I want to hurt the integrity of our investigation or the serious tone of these articles, but look at this picture–I have an ass. You could almost call it a booty, dare I say badonkadonk? I don’t have one in everyday life, where did this one come from? That, my friends, is the great mystery of Villisca.]
It still wasn’t quite dark, so we decided to doze a bit. I went upstairs to see Jessica and Ashley, they told me that the door had started to open and close a few times, but only a bit. I was jealous, of course. I lay on the bed and fell asleep for a spell, I wasn’t scared at all, it was like all the sensations I had previously felt were baseless. I wasn’t even nervous, in fact, I was rather comfortable.
When I woke up, I went outside to the barn where everybody was lingering. We chatted for a while. Ashley came out later and asked me if I had put a board game on the bed when I came down. I had not and nobody had been up there since I left. I distinctly recall it sitting on the chair beside the bed, none of us could explain that.
We were hungry again so we got some pizza. Besides the mystery of my sudden curvaceous backside, another unsolved curio in Villisca is the fantastic quality of Casey’s pizza. It was the best pizza I’ve ever had. I’m not even exaggerating. I’ve had a lot of pizza in my life, but nothing like that. I still think back on it fondly.
I went back to my bag for something and found a plastic bag sitting next to it that I had already thrown away. I don’t know why anybody would dig through the trash to sit it next to my things.
We finally got around to doing EVP sessions in the rooms. We started upstairs, but nothing extraordinary happened while we were there. Jessica and Ashley sat on the parent’s bed and later said that they were both feeling very, very anxious as they sat there. I didn’t notice anything there or in the children’s room or in the attic, which actually felt like of the calmest places in the house.
We took a bit of a break and then did another EVP session in the blue room downstairs where the Stillinger girls were chopped up. It was all going fine, but then I started to feel strange. My ears were ringing so loudly that I couldn’t focus on anything and before long I felt as if I had a head cold. I just couldn’t hear anything. To top it off, I started having difficulties catching my breath, so I sat out in the parlor where all these strange feelings almost instantly disappeared. I’m not sure what that was about.
It seemed that the night was going to be a bit of a nonevent, so I settled myself down on the sofa and took some notes in my journal. I went into the kitchen for another slice of pizza. The plastic bag was sitting next to my bag again. The ghost must be a comedian. Diana and I chatted a bit, but for the most part we were quiet because Jessica and Ashley were resting.
After a time, I noticed Diana looking over her shoulder into the kitchen. She had heard something strange coming from the stairs, so we all hurried upstairs to the children’s room. It was like pitch in there, you couldn’t see anything but where the flashlights shone. We all stood on the opposite side of the room and faced the closet door. It was still. We were perfectly quiet. Then it happened. The door opened. As if possessed by a will of its own, it opened itself very surely two or three inches and after a few moments, shut forcefully with a thud.
I can’t possibly explain how I felt at that point. I know that I betrayed myself and said “Holy shit!” I shouldn’t have. One of my catchphrases that I said at least every day at work is, “Speak like a gentleman, not a sailer.” Ah, the children love me. But I couldn’t help myself. It was so magnificent. It sounds insane to call a door opening magnificent, but it really was. There was something so unexpected and inexplicable about it that it filled me with a sense of total awe. Jessica was petrified by it and grabbed me tight around my shoulders, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from it.
We had to try and debunk it, of course, so Diana and I went into the closet. It was hot, still, the air was (forgive the pun) dead. We both blew as hard as we could on the door, but it didn’t wiggle a bit, it would take an awful lot of suction or wind (which didn’t exist) to make that door propel itself. Very curious.
As the others came up to see what we were up to, I noticed that the cloth over the mirror had been put up again. Butch had taken it down during our EVP session. Nobody had done it. Curious and curiouser. The activity stopped, so we took a break.
[The cloth up during our EVP session.]
Jessica and I went out into the barn to freshen up, I heard a very odd creaking sound coming from inside and was rather put off by it, so I looked across to the door in the middle room of the barn. It started wiggling loudly and forcefully. I left the barn, more than slightly petrified. When Jessica joined me a few moments later, she said that she had seen footsteps walk by several times and wondered why I had been pacing. She had been the only person in the barn.
Stay tuned for PART 3, the final part of our night in Villisca when everything started going crazy. Spooky, scary (boys becoming men, men becoming wolves.) (Get it?)