IOWA        
              
THE PARANORMAL WORLD DATABASE       BANWELL BRIDGE (FORT DODGE) BACKGROUND: The Tara (or Terror) Bridge dates back to the 1800s. It was built to accommodate traffic crossing over railroad tracks. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >> It’s said the ghost of a farmer who once cursed the winds haunts this area, chasing people in the form of a ghost rider. A large hairy- man-beast has been reported living under the bridge and in the nearby woods. Many years ago it’s said a woman brought her three children here to watch the trains, but instead threw them onto the tracks where they were struck and killed. She then threw herself off the bridge and died. Legend says you mustn’t stop your car on the bridge and make sure the windows and doors are closed and locked lest the ghostly mother will attack you and throw you to your death. BLACK ANGEL OF FAIRVIEW CEMETERY (COUNCIL BLUFFS) BACKGROUND: In 1854, Ruth Anne Browne and her husband, Grenville Mellen Dodge, moved from Illinois to Iowa. Grenville rose to the rank of General in the Fourth Iowa Infantry during the Civil War and upon returning home in 1865, went to work for the Union Pacific Railroad. Ruth Anne was a strong-willed woman, unafraid to speak her mind in a time when it wasn’t acceptable for a woman to do so. They had three daughters and lived in the home Grenville built himself. He died in January of 1916, with Ruth Anne passing away 8 months later. Ruth Anne once dreamed that she was standing on a shoreline when a boat pulled up with a beautiful woman on board - whom Ruth Anne believed was an angel - who offered her a drink from a bowl of water but Ruth Anne turned it down. The angel came to her later in another dream in the same scenario and the drink was refused. In a third dream, she accepted it. Ruth Anne told one of her daughters of this, telling when she actually drank from the bowl she became immortal, but died soon afterwards. Ruth Anne’s daughter Ella hired a sculptor, Daniel Chester French, to cast a bronze statue commemorating the angel that had given her eternal life in her dream. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >> Some say the angel springs to life after sundown and literally flies around the gravestones. Others claim she shoots jets of fire from her eyes when the clock strikes midnight. Some see ghostly children running behind her base only to disappear forever. Others recount the curse of her stare — if you look into her eyes at midnight, you will soon meet your own death. BLACK ANGEL OF OAKLAND CEMETERY (IOWA CITY) BACKGROUND: A bronze statue of an angel graces this cemetery that was established in 1843. It was designed by a Bohemian artist in 1912 to commemorate Nicholas and Eddie Feldevert. It contains a Civil War memorial monument created by a local sculptor and Civil War veteran, William Pollock; a Potter's Field and seven tree stump grave markers, which indicate a life cut short PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >> The statue has become something of a tourist attraction and is known for changing its color. Many insist Teresa Feldvert’s interest in the dark arts has affected the statue. An urban legend is attached to the statue that says: if you kiss the angel, you will die; if you touch the angel, you will die. An unfounded story is that a husband had it commissioned for his wife, but her infidelity causes the statue to become a darker shade each year. One visitor tried to remove its hand with a hacksaw and it’s said he went insane afterwards with his body found in the Chicago River. BUDDY HOLLY MEMORIAL (CLEAR LAKE) BACKGROUND: On February 3, 1959, American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa along with pilot Roger Peterson. At the time, Holly and his band, consisting of Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch, were playing on the "Winter Dance Party" tour across the Midwest. Rising artists Valens, Richardson and Dion and the Belmonts had joined the tour as well. The long journeys between venues on board cold, uncomfortable tour buses adversely affected the performers with cases of flu and even frostbite. After stopping at Clear Lake to perform, and increasingly frustrated by such conditions, Holly chose to charter a plane to reach their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota. Richardson, who had the flu, swapped places with Jennings, taking his seat on the plane, while Allsup lost his seat to Valens on a coin toss. Soon after takeoff, late at night, in poor, wintry weather conditions, the pilot lost control of his Beechcraft Bonanza, which subsequently crashed into a cornfield killing all on board. A memorial was constructed in Clear Lake, where an annual concert is held at the Surf Ballroom, the venue that hosted the artists' last performance. PHENOMENA: Many people have claimed to hear the sounds of airplanes, music, voices, and footsteps while visiting the location. There are also claims of people seeing shadow figures, apparitions, and strange light anomalies around the plane crash site. CEDAR RAPIDS PUBLIC LIBRARY (CEDAR RAPIDS) BACKGROUND: On March 2, 1896 the city of Cedar Rapids was to make a vote on whether or not they would have a public library. Due largely to the work of a group of women called the City Federation of Ladies Literary Clubs led by Ada Van Vechten, the vote was favorable. On January 15, 1897, the first public library was to open its doors to the citizens of Cedar Rapids. The new library at 500 First Street SE opened on February 17, 1985. The flood of 2008 had taken out much of the adult and reference collections. The children's books on the upper level, along with the Zerzanek collection, were all saved. PHENOMENA: It is claimed the library is haunted by the spirit of Helen Stein, a regular library visitor for many years. One day she came in wearing an exceptionally nice dress and the following morning it was learned she had passed away in a fire the night before. It was discovered she was buried in the dress she wore to the library hours after her death was recorded. Several staff members have had unusual experiences that include strange noises, items falling off shelves for no reason and items going missing. COE COLLEGE (CEDAR RAPIDS) BACKGROUND: Coe College was founded in 1851 by Rev. Williston Jones as the School for the Prophets.[2] While canvassing churches in the East to raise money for students to attend Eastern seminaries, Jones met a farmer named Daniel Coe, who donated $1,500 and encouraged Jones to open a college in Cedar Rapids. Coe's gift came with the stipulation that the college should offer education to both men and women, and when the Cedar Rapids campus opened as the Cedar Rapids Collegiate Institute, it was founded as a co-educational institution. In 1875, the college was reestablished as Coe College Institute and in 1881, after a generous gift from T.M Sinclair, founder of the Sinclair Meat Packing Company, was finally founded as Coe College. PHENOMENA: Freshman Helen Esther Roberts arrived at Coe in 1918 but contracted the Spanish Flu and died in October that same year. Her parents donated a grandfather clock that was placed in the infirmary where Helen died and it’s said she has attached herself to it. Shortly after her death, students reported strange occurrences in the dorm. Doors locking by themselves, objects thrown across rooms and a piano playing by itself at night. They claim a glowing woman in white would watch them study or pull blankets off them. The clock began to operate strangely as well by chiming at odd times and its hands stopping at the time of Helen’s death - 2:53. Attempts to fix it failed and it simply stopped working until it was moved to Stanley Hall. Helen still wanders the halls at night, sometimes at Stanley and others at Voorhees Hall where she died. TRIVIA: Legend states Daniel Coe sent the money to Cedar Rapids from New York sewn into the petticoats of a lady who was traveling there by stagecoach. COTTON HOUSE (CLINTON) BACKGROUND: Built in 1853 and most recently owned by a gentleman named Lee Sullens who died in May of 2018. The house is relatively unknown even to local residents and the local Chamber of Commerce. PHENOMENA: It’s said to have once belonged to a family of lawyers who moved out en masse after they witnessed a ghostly woman in white wandering its hallways as well as the grounds after dark. There is also a negative entity reported to dwell in the basement which prevents most visitors from even venturing down there. CRESCO THEATER & OPERA HOUSE (CRESCO) BACKGROUND: The Cresco Commercial Club held a fundraiser in early 1914 to build an opera house. The Cresco Opera House Company was organized around the same time. The building was completed by the end of the year, and it opened in 1915. It hosted many different kinds of performances, and even had a screen for motion pictures. Today, the theater continues this tradition by showing both movies and live performances. PHENOMENA: The theater is said to be haunted by both patrons and actors. One solitary figure has been seen sitting in theater and vanish when approached. Figures in vaudeville-era clothing have been seen around the stage area and disembodied voices are heard in the empty theater. There are shadowy figures roaming the basement and the building has a host of strange electrical issues. DAVENPORT CITY HALL (DAVENPORT) BACKGROUND: In 1895, in the midst of a deep national economic depression, Davenport built an ornate new City Hall. The cost was about $90,000 — an astronomical sum at that time — and the City constructed the new building without issuing any municipal bonds. Local legend has long suggested that the city retired the debt so quickly by taxing the city's brothels, but the fines levied against the brothels accounted for only between $7,000-$9,000 per year, just a portion of the financial windfall the city reaped in the mid-1890s. The bulk of the funds came from a new state law (the "mulct tax") which applied to the city's 150 illegal saloons and amounted to around $50,000 per year. This tax allowed for construction not only of City Hall, but also paved streets and a new sewer system PHENOMENA: Legend surround a prisoner who was illegally hung in the bell tower though there is no record of this happening. Infrequent executions were carried out at Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison so a more likely event was that someone committed suicide in this tower by hanging himself there. It’s still said that during a full moon, the lifeless body of a man can be seen hanging in the tower. A Davenport resident named Harry or “Hal” was a frequent attendee to city hall meetings and at one point failed in his attempt to run for city council, which upset him greatly. He continued to attend meetings and actually died of a heat attack during one of them. It’s been reported that the ghost of Hal is still present at council meetings and his presence is felt in various council persons offices. Throughout the main chambers, the smell of his favorite cigar smoke lingers. DODGE HOUSE (COUNCIL BLUFFS) BACKGROUND: Built in 1869 and the home of Grenville M. Dodge (1831-1916), a Union Army general, politician, and a major figure in the development of the railroads across the American West. Dodge was involved in railroad construction from an early age, and he distinguished himself with his engineering skills, which were notably applied during the American Civil War in the replacement of destroyed bridges. After the war he became chief engineer of the Union Pacific Railroad. Dodge's house remained in the family until 1950, when it was converted into apartments. The city purchased it in 1963 for conversion to a museum PHENOMENA: General Dodge is said to haunt his former residence and sometimes manifests as a ghostly shadow seen by visitors. Strange lights are witnessed in the house at night and there are reports of hearing two men arguing in empty rooms, strange noises and the apparition of a young girl. EDINBURGH MANOR (SCOTCH GROVE) BACKGROUND: The building has evolved from a poor farm to a mental institution to a retirement home. In the mid-1800s when the manor was a poor house, able-bodied persons would raise livestock and grow food in exchange for a place to live. Eighty of those persons died, many from questionable causes and were buried in the backyard in an on-site cemetery. In 1910, the poor farm closed down and was demolished. In its place, Edinburgh Manor was constructed from 1910-1911 to house the incurably insane, the poor and the elderly. Also referred to as The Manor, it was in operation until November 2010. PHENOMENA: An aggressive spirit that has been named, “Nick” is said to roam the empty corridors. He is also known more sinisterly as “The Joker”, a dark entity who terrorizes those who enter and is capable of inflicting physical harm. TRIVIA: The manor was featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures. FARRAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (FARRAR) BACKGROUND: In 1919, C.G. Geddes agreed to donate 6 acres of his farm to merge the area’s one-room country schoolhouses. The school boards voted and created the  Washington Township Consolidated School District. The cornerstone inscribed with the year 1921 was set and the dedication ceremony commenced on April 1 1922. The schoolhouse filled with citizens from miles around and an orchestra played on stage in the auditorium as a banquet served the hundreds in attendance. Not everyone was behind the new building with its $100,000 price tag as one disgruntled citizen refused to attend the celebration calling it a  “monument to the arrogance and vanity of the school board,” with its  boiler heating, electric lights, and indoor bathroom facilities. PHENOMENA: For decades, students and staff have reported hearing disembodied voices, doors slamming and apparitions wandering the halls. The figure of a boy has been seen on the stairway that leads down into the gymnasium. He appears to be just under 4 feet tall with each foot on different steps holding onto the railing. He remains motionless until he eventually vanishes. TRIVIA: The school was featured on Discovery Channel’s My Ghost Story and Ghost Stalkers. FRANKLIN HOTEL (STRAWBERRY POINT) BACKGROUND: The Franklin Hotel and Land Company was established in 1902 for the purpose of building a modern hotel to serve the community. The hotel opened on February 12, 1903, and the building has served that purpose ever since.  Railroad tracks at one time were located just north of the hotel, which served the passengers from the railroad and later travelers from the highways that run past the hotel. PHENOMENA: One resident spirit is said to be that of a 42-year resident named “Leo” who owned an attached building called, “Leo’s Laundramat”. He was nearly blind and it’s said he still rings the old bell message system that pre-dated the telephone there. He has also been seen roaming the hallway. Oddly, while he was alive, Leo nicknamed another spirit seen there as “Lily” who has been seen in a lavender gown in the lobby and the dining room where she is heard singing or moaning when encountered. Legend has it she was a former prostitute during the 1920s. HOTEL BLACKHAWK (DAVENPORT) BACKGROUND: Before construction of the Blackhawk Hotel, the Saratoga Hotel occupied the land. On February 16, 1915 the first seven floors (225 rooms) of the "New Fireproof Hotel Blackhawk" were completed. The building was built at a cost of $1 million by Davenport businessman W.F. Miller.  In 1920 the remaining stories, eight through eleven, were added and it gave the hotel 400 rooms. In 1967 the hotel was sold to George Norman & Co. who in turn sold it to the Blackhawk American Corporation two years later for more than $1 million. The hotel was once again renovated in 1969. A petition for foreclosure on the mortgage was filed in Scott County District Court on December 16, 1971 and was ordered closed in 1976.  During the 1990s, the hotel gained a sleazy reputation as a place of gambling and in 2006 a meth lab exploded on the 8th Floor. Since then, Hotel Blackhawk has undergone renovation and has been restored to its former glory. PHENOMENA: The ghost of a woman in either a blue or sometimes red evening gown has been seen literally floating down the hallways. Rumor has it that the ghost of Cary Grant, said to have died on the 8th floor, makes an appearance from time to time. HOTEL JULIAN (DUBUQUE) BACKGROUND: The history of the Hotel Julien Dubuque can be traced back to 1839, when the first lodging establishment was built at Second and Main streets. At first, the hotel was called the Waples House and was known for fine dining and extravagant furnishings. In 1854 it was renamed the Julien House and was enlarged and refurbished. It's believed that Abraham Lincoln stayed at the Julien House when he traveled to Galena, Illinois to attend to legal matters there. In 1913, the Julien House was destroyed by a fire - very little was left standing by the time the fire was over. Construction on the present building began soon after, and was completed in 1915. During the time that Al Capone was the leader of the mob in Chicago, he reportedly owned the Julien. Local lore says that he had an underground garage in the area in order to hide his personal cars so that he could better disguise his presence in the city. PHENOMENA: The freight elevator has been known to run by itself for no rational reason. One male guest reported a burning sensation on his shoulder and woke up to find a scratch on his back with no idea what happened. A female apparition has been seen near a staircase floating 5 feet off the ground. A male entity that’s said to resemble Al Capone as a short, squat figure wearing a fedora, makes his presence known on the upper floors. TRIVIA: Another former guest was Sylvester Stallone, who stayed there during the filming of the move F.I.S.T. INDEPENDENCE STATE MENTAL HOSPITAL (INDEPENDENCE) BACKGROUND: Built in 1873 as the second asylum in the state of Iowa. The original plan for patients was to relieve crowding from the hospital at Mount Pleasant and to hold alcoholics, geriatrics, drug addicts, mentally ill, and the criminally insane. It’s said early on in the mental hospital’s history, patients were subjected to some rather unpleasant treatments. In certain areas patients underwent electric shock therapy while others underwent lobotomies. The Independence State Hospital is now known as The Independence Mental Health Institute. It continues to serve as a psychiatric hospital with a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program as well as a training school for nurses. Although some areas of the Kirkbride are now unused, the building has been kept in good shape and has recently undergone renovations PHENOMENA: People who have worked here claim there are parts of the building they will not enter because of the paranormal activity there. There are claims of being watched by something unseen and the sounds of screaming and disembodied whispers. Cold drafts are felt and shadowy figures seen in empty hallways. The ghosts of former patients and staff members have been reported. IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY (AMES) BACKGROUND: Founded in 1858 as Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, the college’s name was changed to Iowa State University of Science and Technology in 1959. It is a large public university with a student population of over 33,000 and is known for its degree programs in agriculture, engineering and science. PHENOMENA: Fisher Theater is said to be haunted by the ghost of theater department director Frederica Shattuck whose name graces the Shattuck Theater. When the Shattuck was torn down it’s said she “moved” to Fisher. Students there hear disembodied voices and have seen a wheelchair once belonging to Shattuck move on its own. Farm House Museum is haunted by the ghosts of two sisters and moaning is heard in Gold Star Hall which memorializes ISU students who died in battle. A woman named Elizabeth Wind, a Red Cross nurse in WWI haunts the building as strange sounds are often heard in the memorial. TRIVIA: Iowa State is the birthplace of the first electronic digital computer, starting the world's computer technology revolution. Invented by mathematics and physics professor John Atanasoff and engineering graduate student Clifford Berry during 1937-42. Iowa State played a critical role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II as part of the Manhattan Project. JORDAN HOUSE (DES MOINES) BACKGROUND: Built by abolitionist James C. Jordan and was a station on the Underground Railroad in Iowa. James Jordan's first dwelling in Polk County was a lean-to tent that he replaced with a log cabin in 1848. Two years later construction started on the present house. They moved into the basement when it was completed.  John Brown stayed in the house at least two times, and one of those times he was leading 12 slaves to freedom. The house was also a place where travelers stopped on their journeys to the American West. It was also a gathering place for local businessmen and politicians. The Jordan family continued to live in the house until 1947 when it was sold to the Church of the Nazarene PHENOMENA: Said to be haunted by Jordan’s daughter Eda who died at the age of 3 after breaking her neck from a fall while sliding down a staircase railing. Visitors have seen her ghost and heard her playing throughout the house. KD STATION (SIOUX CITY) BACKGROUND: Built in 1918–19 as a speculative venture under the name Midland Packing Plant. After going into receivership, it was acquired by Swift & Co. in 1924, and continued to operate until 1974. Meat prices had risen significantly following the nation's entry into World War I, and it was believed that this increase had been produced by collusion among the major packers, who thus benefited from artificially high profits from the sale of meat products. In 1975, Sioux City businessman Kermit Lohry bought the building from Swift. He proceeded to convert it into an enclosed shopping mall, using much of the old equipment to decorate the area. PHENOMENA: A leaking gas pipe cause the deaths of 21 workers in 1949 and it’s said their spirits still haunt the building. Locals believe it is also haunted by a man named Paul Pulaski. Activity includes strange sounds that resemble machinery running and an elevator that activates on its own. MARS HILL CHURCH & CEMETERY (OTTUMWA) BACKGROUND: A woman named Barbara Clark donated the property to the Baptist Church and the church building was built between 1850 and 1856. A fire set by an arsonist nearly destroyed the building in 2006. After two years of fund raising and construction it was re-dedicated on June 8, 2008. Some of the original logs that were charred in the fire are still a part of the structure. It is the largest log building in Iowa, and the oldest log church still in use in the United States. PHENOMENA: Occult activities were prevalent in south central Iowa in the late 70s and Mars Hill was the site of its share of it. In June of 1985 a mutilated black cat was found hanging over the altar and Satanic symbols painted on the walls, some say in blood. Tombstones at the adjacent cemetery had been damaged and pews were stacked and set on fire both inside and outside the church. Fortunately, the church was not severely  damaged. Urban legend alert >> A narrow bridge you cross over to get to the church has a legend of a woman having her baby baptized in the church and then walked to the bridge and threw the infant into the water. Legend has it that on certain nights the sound of scream is heard crossing that bridge. MARY FRANCIS HALL (DUBUQUE) BACKGROUND: Located at Clarke College and named for its foundress, Mother Mary Frances Clarke, Mary Frances Hall was built in 1924 and was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. Today, it houses approximately 100 junior and senior men and women. Students that are in good academic standing (GPA of 2.40 or higher), of junior or senior standing or 21 years of age and complete a housing application may live in this residence hall. PHENOMENA: Said to be haunted by its founder, students have reported footsteps in halls and the feeling of being watched. A shrouded apparition has been seen near the chapel and on the 4th floor it’s said a ghostly nun who hanged herself there makes an appearance with remnants of her blood on the floor. Mary Benedict Hall is also said to be haunted by both former students and its founding sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Books and other items fly off shelves and another shrouded figure has been seen on the 3rd floor. Faucets in bathrooms turn on by themselves at night. MALVERN MANOR (MALVERN) BACKGROUND: Was only the 4th structure built in town and was formerly the Cottage Hotel. It served people who mainly came through on rail and in the 1950s it was transformed into a care facility and later a group home for people with various ailments ranging from alcoholism to schizophrenia. It’s also said there was a great deal of patient abuse there in that time. PHENOMENA: A woman afflicted with both Schizophrenia and Multiple Personality Disorder named Grace is said to haunt her former residence. In her time there, staff claim to have heard a man’s gruff voice from her room saying, “The Devil is coming to get me” over and over which turned out to be Grace herself displaying one of her personalities. Her room is said to remain active with the “personalities” very much existing even after her death. Another room that was once that of a resident with a strange obsession about her appearance is seen standing at a mirror pulling her hair out with an angry expression, something she was known to do in life. There are also reports of a dark, negative and possibly inhuman entity that manifests in one of the rooms that was known to belong to a former patient that was physically and sexually abusing another for years. TRIVIA: Malvern Manor was featured on an episode of Paranormal Lockdown. MASON HOUSE INN (KEOSAUQUA) BACKGROUND: Built in 1846 and originally the Ashland House owned by William Robinson. It served steamboat travelers on the Des Moines River and constructed by Mormon craftsmen from Illinois who were staying locally for a number of years before journeying to Salt Lake City, Utah. It was purchase by Lewis Mason in 1857 and renamed Phoenix Hotel, but more popularly called “Mason House”. His wife Nancy started a tradition of “a cookie jar in every room”. It was also a hospital three different times, a station on the Underground Railroad and a boarding house. PHENOMENA: Three previous owners died in the hotel as well as a guest who was thought to have been murdered. Guests have witnessed a misty apparition of a young boy on the landing who is known to be a prankster as well as the ghost of a lady in a white night gown and an old man who glares at people before disappearing completely. One room has a bed that is in disarray after being made up and room 5 contains a spirit who has been known to pull on the pajama top of one guest who happened to be a minister. He actually saw the sleeve being tugged for several seconds before it stopped. MATHIAS HAM HOUSE (DUBUQUE) BACKGROUND: The house was designed by John F. Rague and built for local businessman and lead miner Mathias Ham in 1856. Ham had owned an island in the Mississippi River at Dubuque, called Ham's Island which has since renamed City Island and then Chaplain Schmitt Memorial Island. PHENOMENA: It’s thought that 4 members of the Ham family dies here. Wife Margaret in 1874, Mathias in 1189, daughter May in the 1890s and Sarah who was the last living family member. There is a legend that Sarah, alone in the house at the time, shot and killed an intruder and his lamplight is still seen through the house at night. Lights turn on and off accompanied by a host of electrical issues. Tour guides feel a presence there with them and hear footsteps and occasionally disembodied voices. MERLE HAY MALL TOWER (DES MOINES) BACKGROUND: Originally home to St. Gabriel's Monastery from 1921 until its demolition in 1958. In 1956, the Passionist monks sold the monastery site to Chicago-based developers Joseph Abbell and Bernard Greenbaum. The mall was known as Northland Shopping Center early in its planning stages until Younkers executives suggested that it be named for Merle Hay, the first Iowan killed in World War I and namesake of the road in front of the mall, instead. The original Younkers store at Merle Hay Mall was destroyed by a fire that broke out on the morning of November 5, 1978. The fire caused an estimated $20 million in damage, and killed eleven store employees. The store was closed for nearly a year in order to rebuild. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >>According to local legend, there was a monastery where the tower is now, and an occasional nun would become pregnant and have a miscarriage. They buried the babies in unmarked graves on the grounds where the mall now stands. People have reported seeing a ghostly woman wearing an old style habit who cries as she carries a dead child. People who work in the tower have also reported the elevator moving up and down on its own and hearing disembodied footsteps in the hallways. NORA SPRINGS RAILROAD BRIDGE (NORA SPRINGS) BACKGROUND: Legend goes that Nora Springs was named after a woman who a wealthy investor named Edward Greeley was deeply in love with. He felt it would impress her that he had the name of the town changed from its original one, Woodstock, in her honor. The town agreed to his terms and once Nora Springs was developed, he went to ask for her hand in marriage only to find our she had run off with a circus entertainer. Despondent, he went to the railroad bridge, hung a noose from the span and hanged himself. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >> It’s said that Greeley’s ghost haunts the bridge. People parking under it report their car being shaken or seeing a rope dangling from the structure and a forlorn male voice crying out the name, “Nora”. Others report finding hand prints on their windows after returning home. PORTER HOUSE MUSEUM (DECORAH) BACKGROUND: The house was built in 1867 for the merchant Dighton B. Ellsworth, an English immigrant who had come to Decorah from New York in 1855. In 1898, after his death, the Ellsworth family sold the house to Francis and Emma Young. In 1904, their daughter Grace married Adelbert Field Porter (known as "Bert"), who was raised in the house across the street on Broadway, the son of George Porter and Adell Field Porter. The Young residence became the home of Bert and Grace, as well as of Francis and Emma Young, until their deaths. PHENOMENA: Locals report seeing apparitions in the upstairs windows ROSEMAN COVERED BRIDGE (WINTERSET) BACKGROUND: Built in 1883 by Harvey P. Jones and George K. Foster, Roseman is 107 feet in length and sits in its original location. It was renovated in 1992 at a cost of $152,515. In Robert James Waller’s novel, The Bridges of Madison County, and the movie of the same name, Roseman is the bridge Robert Kincaid seeks when he stops at Francesca Johnson’s home for directions. It is also where Francesca leaves her note inviting him to dinner. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >> Also known as the “haunted” bridge, Roseman is where two sheriff’s posses trapped a county jail escapee in 1892. It’s said the man rose up straight through the roof of the bridge, uttering a wild cry, and disappeared. He was never found, and it was decided that anyone capable of such a feat must be innocent. Some have heard muffled laughs, men yelling, a horse galloping across the bridge, wagon wheels rumbling over its boards, the appearance of apparitions and shadowy figures and an unexplained cold spot in the middle of the structure. They say if you are walking your dog across the bridge the hackles on the back of the dog will rise up, and the dog will sense something out of the ordinary. SIMPSON COLLEGE (INDIANOLA) BACKGROUND: Simpson College was founded in 1860 and is named for Methodist minister Matthew Simpson. Simpson is best known as the minister who spoke a moving eulogy at Abraham Lincoln's funeral in Springfield, Illinois in 1865. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >> Mildred Hedges was born in 1913 and a student at Simpson College during the 1930s. One day while she was coming out of one of her classes on the top floor of Old Chapel and fell over the railing of the stairs to her death and it’s been said that Mildred remains at college. Legend has it you can see her reflection in the third floor window while standing in a particular spot outside exactly at midnight on Friday the 13th. She is not the only student to have met their fate in the Old Chapel as a male student was said to have committed suicide there as did a young woman by hanging herself from the rafters in 1924. Yet another female is said to have hung herself from a chandelier on the second floor. Dozens of students and custodians have reported encountering apparitions on the wooden staircase in the building. TRIVIA: Simpson is notable for being the only college in the United States with an entirely student-cast undergraduate opera program that is supported by a largely professional orchestra. Simpson College was the first college attended by George Washington Carver. SIOUX CITY MUNICIPAL AUDITORIUM (SIOUX CITY) BACKGROUND: The Long Lines Family Recreation Center, originally known as the Sioux City Municipal Auditorium, is a multi-purpose facility. The fifth in a line of major indoor venues built in Sioux City, it was designed by Knute E. Westerlind in 1938 and finally completed after many delays in 1950. For countless generations, the Native American residents at the confluence of the Big Sioux River with the Missouri River held their ceremonies, performances, and sporting events primarily outdoors, without need of specialized structures. forty years later the new white residents built the first in a series of five major indoor venues for Sioux City: the Academy of Music of 1870, the Peavey Grand Opera House of 1888, the Old Municipal Auditorium of 1909, this one completed in 1950, and Gateway Arena of 2003. PHENOMENA: This 3,500-seat multi-purpose arena is purportedly home to Rodriguez, an electrician who was electrocuted in the 1940s during construction of the auditorium. People claim Rodriguez makes his presence known by causing the lights to flicker and turning them off and on and cold spots are said to be felt near the spot of his death. In the 1950s, a young boy climbed a fire escape ladder to the top of the auditorium to shoot pigeons on the roof. The boy accidentally plummeted to his death but he has not left the building. There have been reports, as recently as 1986,of people seeing the mysterious boy in the auditorium's upper levels, sitting silently during concerts and even during Sioux City Musketeers game SQUIRREL CAGE JAIL (COUNCIL BLUFFS) BACKGROUND: Construction of the jail was simultaneous with that of the county's new courthouse, which was finished in 1888. It was designed by William H. Brown and Benjamin F. Haugh of Indianapolis, Indiana. It was built at a cost of $30,000 and was one of 18 such jails that were built in the United States and the only one that was three stories tall. The front part of the jail had offices for the jailer, kitchen, trustee cells and quarters for women. The rest of the building is made up of pie- shaped cells that revolved inside of a cage. The building was designed for maximum security with minimal contact between the prisoners and the jailers. The building was used as a jail until 1969. PHENOMENA: A jailer working there in the 1950's refused to use the fourth floor as his apartment “because of the strange goings-on up there." He reported hearing people walking around on a floor that no one was on and chose to bed down in the second-level prisoner section. A former jail tour guide believes the ghost to be that of J.M. Carter, the man who oversaw the building's construction and who was the first resident of the top floor apartment. There are also reports of a full bodied apparition on the fourth floor thought to be Otto Gufath, also a former jailer. Staff is convinced the spirit is friendly and despite doors that opens by themselves, strange lights and peculiar noises, no one feels particularly threatened. A few years ago a woman working after hours on a project in the building began experiencing peculiar sensations. She walked through the building and was shocked to see a little girl with a very mournful expression, dressed entirely in gray, inside a locked cell with no way in or out. Visitors have reported something was tugging at them, a feeling of sadness in some of the cells and an unseen presence observing them. Those feelings are frequently felt on the third and fourth floors and the voice of a little girl has been heard in various other places throughout the building, as has the presence of two ghost cats. STONY HOLLOW ROAD (BURLINGTON) BACKGROUND: Burlington is located in far southeastern Iowa. It is the county seat of Des Moines County, Iowa. Burlington has a population of about 27,000 people. There is a road called Stony Hollow Road that turns “left” off of Highway 99 when traveling out of Burlington. Apparently, this road can sort of “sneak up on you” so keep your eyes open so you don’t miss it. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >>This location is most known for the legend of “Lucinda”. She was secretly engaged and planned to elope with her love, so they planned to meet on the bluffs outside of town. Her lover never showed, some say because his buggy got stuck in the mud on the way. A heartbroken Lucinda, believing she had been abandoned, threw herself off a cliff and onto the road below. Another version of the story claims she heard he had run off with someone else and took her own life. In any event, for decades motorists have claimed to see her ghost wandering Stony Hollow Road. It’s said if you go to those bluffs and say her name three times, you will be dead by the following day. Somewhere “Bloody Mary” is shaking her head in disgust. UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD MUSEUM (COUNCIL BLUFFS) BACKGROUND: Formerly home to the Council Bluffs’ Carnegie Free Public Library, it was built in 1905 at a cost of over $88,000. The Union Pacific Railroad Museum opened at that location in 2003. The museum houses one of the oldest corporate collections of artifacts, photographs, and documents concerning the country’s largest railroad and the railroad industry. PHENOMENA: Locals believe this building has been haunted by the ghost of a lady wearing Victorian garb since its days as a library. The activity is particularly strong in the basement, where books fly off shelves and objects appear and disappear. The ghost is believed to be a former pianist who kept to herself, except when she took quiet strolls through the streets of Council Bluffs. Today, her ghost is most often seen walking up and down the museum stairwell. UNION TOWNSHIP CEMETERY (ALGONA) BACKGROUND: In the 1800s many travelers would go from town to town in search of work. Some, however, would run from town to town escaping a con. These nomads were known as gypsies. During that time period, it was a common tradition for these groups to bury alive those who were ill or unable to travel. PHENOMENA: Urban legend alert >> There have been many reports of apparitions and of fires that “burn out” before visitors are able to approach this gypsy graveyard just north of Algona. It is also said that at this cemetery, there is a small headstone that begins to glow after someone stands right in front of it for a few minutes. Many ghosts have been seen here, and it is said that those who walk on the hallowed ground beyond the small fence will be cursed. VILLISCA AXE MURDER HOUSE (VILLISCA) BACKGROUND: A gruesome multiple-murder occurred between the evening of June 9, 1912 and the early morning of June 10, 1912 in the town of Villisca as six members of the Moore family and two house guests were found bludgeoned in the Moore residence. All eight victims, including six children, displayed severe head wounds from blows from an axe. A long investigation followed that produced several suspects, one of whom was tried twice. The first trial ended in a hung jury and the second ended in an acquittal and to this day the crime remains unsolved. The house had many subsequent owners and tenants over the years but in 1994 a real estate agent approached Darwin and Martha Linn, local farmers, about the possibility of them purchasing the house. At the time, the Linn’s already owned and operated the Olson-Linn Museum located on Villisca’s town square and they felt that purchasing the house would give them the opportunity to preserve more of the area’s history. Using old photographs, the Linn’s began the renovation work in late 1994 and restored the house to its original state including removal plumbing and electrical fixtures. PHENOMENA: Many who have spent a night in the house have reported unsettling experiences. The feeling of a heaviness around the main stairwell of the house and a strange change in their appearance in the upstairs bedrooms. Toys such as balls move of their own accord, doors open and close on request, shadowy figures, strange mists and the sightings of apparitions - some of them the victims - in period clothing. A train passes through the town at 2 am and it’s thought the whistle of the train triggers the residual energy of the murder that took place. It is also widely believed that the killer(s) used the masking sound of the locomotive to sneak throughout the house and murder all its occupants and many visitors have witnessed a hazy fog in the master bedroom when the train whistle is first heard. It moves from room to room, just as the killer(s) might have. TRIVIA: The house has been featured on a number of paranormal TV shows including Travel channel’s Ghost Adventures. RETURN TO PARANORMAL WORLD DATABASE
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