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Villisca Axe Murder House

The history

June 10, 1912 - Late in the night in the small town of Villisca Iowa, an unknown assailant entered a small white framed house on a quiet residential street and committed one of the worst massacres ever to go unsolved in the history of the country. In the still of the night the attacker used an axe to brutally murder the eight occupants of the house, Josiah Moore, his wife Sarah, their four children (Herman 11, Katherine 10, Boyd 7, and Paul 5), and 2 overnight guests, Ina and Lena Stillinger ages 8 and 12.
A neighbor called the owners brother the next morning when she noticed that nobody was tending to the livestock and there was no activity coming from the house, normally noisy with children. Josiah’s brother, Ross Moore, came over and after trying to knock on doors and windows, he used his key to enter the house. He was only in for a moment before he ran out screaming for someone to call the Sheriff.
Unfortunately, the sheriff had only been in his position for a year and even fingerprint evidence was such a “new technology” that most people had not heard of it or trusted it yet. Any potential evidence was trampled over by a stream of people allowed to come in and out of the crime scene.
Over the years there have been many suspects of this terrible crime but no one has ever been arrested, tried or prosecuted for it and many believe a century later that the spirits of the family and children are still unable to rest in peace.

The graves

The Investigation
June 9 &10, 2011


I had heard people say things will happen the moment you walk in the door. The first occurrence in the house I was in there for 10 minutes, planning where our equipment would go for the night. I started taking lots of baseline pictures for comparison later. After leaving the room for just a minute, I returned to find the door closed. When I asked my partner if they had touched the door the reply was "I haven't been in that room yet". While they were both standing in there, the door started opening and closing several times on its own.

My first reaction was wind drafts, so we tried to debunk it. This door opened and closed on its own for about two minutes while I was inspecting it and checking for drafts. Finally I opened it to check for drafts. Later in the night, equipment was used to prove that no draft was present. In fact, that night featured a storm with extremely high winds and the door never moved during the storm.

Mark getting equipment in the kitchen

Command central in the barn.

Axe marks from the killing of Josiah Moore? Possibly, these marks on the master bedroom wall correspond with blood splatter marks on the opposing walls. Since Josiah Moore was the only person struck with the blade side of the axe it appears these could be the marks from the flat side of the axe.


Using high intensity black lights we were able to get a few pictures of blood residue.

This 3 minute video was taken in the downstairs bedroom and shows motion sensor lights going on and off while my K-2 meter is going off. Unfortunately on first night the K-2 was placed on the bed and not in sight but was audible in the recording. While I wouldn't call this a major break threw, I would say it is unusual for several reasons.

1. This was the only period the motion sensors going off during 2 nights of filming.
2. During the same time period the K-2 was spiking high and low.
3. If it was investigators setting the sensors off, this should have happened both nights.

Due to legal restrictions-sound has been removed

The Conclusion:

Although a door opening and closing, motion sensors and a K-2 doesn't prove a haunting, we at Marter Paranormal feel that the history at this location does make it possible.

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