On June 9, 1912, in the small town of Villisca, Iowa, a man with an ax entered a plain two-story house and changed the town's history forever.
The next morning, a neighbor went to check on Joe Moore, his wife Sara and their four children. What he found was a hellish and unforgettable scene. Each person had been bludgeoned to death and then hacked into pieces. The ceiling above the victims was gouged, a sign of the force that the attacker used during his rampage.
There were strange clues all over the house. A hunk of bacon was found wrapped in cloth. Every mirror and piece of glass had been covered.
The locals immediately called for investigators and bloodhounds, which were shipped in from Nebraska that evening. The dogs followed a scent (trailed by hundreds or thousands of concerned citizens) to a river, where they were stymied.
In the months and years that followed, there was a swirl of accusations and fruitless trials. Investigators tried to connect the murders to other family killings in Kansas and Colorado and elsewhere. In those events, the murder weapon was an ax, the victims were covered by sheets and eerily, each scene featured a lamp that had its wick bent to an angle to reduce illumination, giving the killer just enough light to commit his acts without waking inhabitants.
Those clues never culminated in an established pattern. No one was ever convicted of the killings.
The so called "Ax Murder House" is now a tourist attraction, and some people claim that it is haunted by the spirits of the victims. For a price, you can spend the night there sleeping in the darkness, pondering the violent events of more than a century ago.