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The Villisca Axe Murders occurred in June 1912 in the southwestern Iowa town of Villisca, when an unknown attacker entered the Moore residence, murdered the eight occupants of the house (including six children) with an axe and then disappeared. Contents [hide] 1 Details 2 Suspects 2.1 Reverend George Kelly 2.2 Frank F. Jones 2.3 William Mansfield 2.4 Henry Lee Moore 2.5 Random Stranger/Traveling Serial Killer 3 House 3.1 Renovation 3.2 Tours 4 Alleged haunting 5 References 6 External links [edit]Details

The Moore family consisted of parents Josiah, 43, and Sarah, 39, and their four children: Herman (11), Katherine (10), Boyd (7), and Paul (5). An affluent family, the Moores were well-known and well-liked in their community. On June 9, 1912, Katherine Moore invited Ina (8) and Lena (12) Stillinger to spend the night at the Moore house. That evening, the visiting girls and the Moore family attended their church's Children's Day Program, which Katherine's mother Sarah had coordinated. After the program ended at 9:30 p.m., the Moores and the Stillinger sisters walked to the Moores' house, arriving between 9:45 and 10:00 p.m. At 7:00 a.m. the next morning, Mary Peckham, the Moores' neighbor, became suspicious when she noticed that the Moore family had not come out to do their morning chores. Peckham knocked on the Moores' door; when no one answered, she tried to open the door, only to discover that it was locked. Peckham let the Moores' chickens out and then called Josiah Moore's brother Ross. Like Peckham, Ross Moore received no response when he knocked on the door and shouted, so he unlocked the front door with his copy of the house key. While Mary Peckham stood on the porch, Ross Moore went into the parlor and opened the door to the guest bedroom, where he saw Ina and Lena Stillinger's bodies on the bed. Moore immediately told Peckham to call the Hank Horton, Villisca's primary peace officer, who arrived shortly thereafter. Horton's search of the house revealed that the entire family, along with Ina and Lena, had been bludgeoned to death. The murder weapon was an axe belonging to Josiah, which was found in the room where the Stillinger sisters were killed. Doctors concluded that the murders had taken place shortly after midnight. The killer or killers apparently began in the master bedroom, where Josiah and Sarah Moore were asleep. Josiah received more blows from the axe than any other victim; his face had been cut so much that his eyes were missing. The killer(s) then went into the children's room and bludgeoned Herman, Katherine, Boyd, and Paul in the head like their parents. Afterward, the killer(s) went downstairs to the guest bedroom where Ina and Lena were sleeping and killed them. Investigators believed that all of the victims except for Lena Stillinger had been asleep at the time of the murders. Because of Lena's position and a defensive wound on her arm, it appeared that she was the only victim that attempted to fight back. Furthermore, Lena was found with her nightgown pushed up to her waist and no undergarments on, leading to speculation that the killer(s) sexually molested her (or attempted to do so). After 5 years, the police and investigators gave up on the case in 1917. The case remains unsolved, and the house is now a tourist attraction.[1] [edit]Suspects

Over time, many possible suspects emerged, including Reverend George Kelly, Frank F. Jones, William Mansfield, and Henry Lee Moore; however, as the investigation progressed, these suspects were exonerated.[2] [edit]Reverend George Kelly Rev. Kelly was said to be unbalanced and perhaps a pedophile. He was a traveling minister who happened to be teaching at the Children's Day services on June 9, at the same Presbyterian church the Moore family was attending. He and his wife left the town early on June 10, the day the bodies were discovered. Despite this, he was acquitted after two separate trials. [edit]Frank F. Jones Frank Jones was a Villisca resident and Iowa State Senator. Joe Moore had worked for Frank Jones at his implement store for many years before leaving to open his own store. It is said that Moore took away business from Jones, including a very successful John Deere dealership. It is also rumored that Moore had an affair with Jones’ daughter-in-law, though there is no hard evidence to support this. [edit]William Mansfield The most promising evidence goes to the theory that Senator Frank F. Jones hired William “Blackie” Mansfield to murder the Moore family. It is believed that Mansfield was a serial killer because he murdered his wife, infant child, father- and mother-in-law (two years after the Villisca crimes); committed the axe murders in Paola, Kansas, four days before the Villisca crimes; and committed the double homicide of Jennie Peterson and Jennie Miller in Colorado. The locations of these crimes were all accessible by train, which is a major link. Another important link is that all murders were carried out in exactly the same manner. However, Mansfield was released after a special Grand Jury of Montgomery County refused to indict him on grounds that his alibi checked out. [edit]Henry Lee Moore The evidence may have added up against Mansfield, but there was another man who was thought to be the axe murderer: Henry Lee Moore (ex husband of John's sister). It came up in the inquest that Henry Moore often threatened to kill Josiah Moore. Josiah had told his employer of the threats and Henry's son had confirmed it to be true. His son, Lee, also reported that his family knew nothing of the whereabouts of his father. Henry Moore was convicted of the murder of his mother and grandmother several months after the murders in Villisca; his weapon of choice being an axe. Nine months before the murders at Villisca, another similar case occurred in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Two other cases followed in Ellsworth, Kansas and Paola, Kansas. All cases were similar enough that the possibility that all were committed by the same person was impossible to dismiss. [edit]Random Stranger/Traveling Serial Killer There is a possibility the murders were committed by a random person, most likely someone passing through town on a train. [edit]House

[edit]Renovation The house in which the murders took place was originally built in 1868 on lot 310, and the Moore family purchased it in 1903. After the murders, the house went through the possession of eight people, the most recent acquisition occurring in 1994 by Mr. Darwin Linn, who, along with his wife, successfully restored the house to its original condition at the time of the murders. In 1998, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places and was also given the Preservation at its Best award by the Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance in 1997.[3] [edit]Tours The house is open to overnight sleepovers and tours, available for groups of up to six people, for a fee.[4] [edit]Alleged haunting

Prior to the renovation in 1994, at least three recorded paranormal happenings were claimed to have taken place in the house. Former tenants said that they had seen the figure of a shadowy man with an axe standing at the foot of their bed. Shoes filled with blood were found, and have since been reported to move into the middle of the room or fall over onto their side. As one report goes, a closet door opened and closed one evening, and, later that night, the tenants were seen and heard by neighbors around 3 a.m. running out of the house, screaming. In addition, there are reports that other tenants’ children woke up at night to the sound of children crying. Those tenants often returned home to find their clothing taken from their dresser and closet and strewn about the room. The father of the children was said to have been sharpening a knife in the kitchen when it suddenly turned around and forcefully stabbed him in the thumb. He later explained it felt as if someone had a grip on his wrist. The family departed the house that day and did not return. The house was investigated by the Ghost Adventures Crew (GAC). During the episode, EVP's were carried out. One EVP is believed to have picked up the voice of a man saying, "I killed six kids". The voice was described as if someone were swinging an axe as they said, "six kids". Another EVP revealed the names of Lena and Paul, two of the murdered kids. When asked who murdered the eight people, an EVP revealed the name, "Andy", who was one of the possible suspects. Reports show that Andy was found acting strangely, and even saying, "I'll cut their damn heads off", and making swinging motions with his arms, as if he were swinging an axe.

Multiple paranormal investigations were conducted at the house, resulting in many electronic voice phenomena (EVPs), videos, and photographs that the creators of Ghost Adventures claim suggest that the house is haunted.[5][[File:
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Villisca Axe nurder House

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