On Sunday July 9th, the Moore family returned from a social at their church. Tagging along where two of the children's friends, 8 year old Ina Stillinger and her sister, Lena who was 12. They were planning on having a sleepover at their friend's house.
|The Moore home, site of the Villisca Axe Murders|
The next morning, a next door neighbor of the Moore family noticed something odd about the house. There was no activity whatsoever. No chores being done, animals were not being attended to, no children running and playing as usual. It was dead quiet. She strolled over to the house and knocked on the door. There was no response. She attempted to look into the windows, but could not see anything. After letting the Moore's chickens out, she returned to her house and made an effort to contact a family relative who she knew had a key. Soon, Josiah's brother Ross arrived. After his attempts at knocking and tapping on windows while trying to get someone's attention inside failed, he used his key to open the door. Just inside, in a small bedroom connected to the parlor and what is now known as the "blue" room, Ross discovered the bloody bodies of the two young house guests, the Stillinger sisters. It was then he decided to back out of the house and notify the authorities.
Upon further investigation, the town marshal discovered the bodies of Josiah, Sarah and their 4 children's upstairs in their respective bedrooms. Each person in the house had been bludgeoned to death with an axe sometime after midnight while they slept. The axe was found in the room where the Stillinger sisters were murdered. The strange part of it all is that all the doors and windows were locked and each window either had the blinds drawn or was covered with something. Each of the murder victim's faces were covered with clothing. Although there have been many suspects and theories about the gruesome murders, the case was never solved.
|The "blue" room|
Over the years the house had been owned and rented by many people. Reports of strange occurrences in the house began as early as 1930 when a woman who lived in the home complained of hearing strange noises and she reported once that she saw an apparition of a man standing at the foot of her bed with an axe. Not believing her at first, later on her husband also began to hear strange noises in the as well and claimed to hear someone walking around when no one was there. They moved out after a local had told them what had taken place at the house. It is believed that the spirit of the murderer lingers in the attic. Evidence suggests that the killer spent a great deal of time there, before and/or after the murders took place.
Another account by a different occupant reported times when the door inside the parlor would keep opening on it's own. Others say the door can open or close on command. Clothes and other personal effects have been found strewn all over the place by some invisible force. Terrified house guests have fled the home in the middle of the night. Some have heard the sounds of children sobbing in the night when there are no children around. It is as if the spirits in the house will not rest until those responsible for their horrific murders are brought to justice.