Eastern Iowa Haunts: creepy and worthwhile

Dustin Peverill/Staff Writer

Want to investigate things that go bump in the night? Get your cameras and tape recorders, because I’m going tell you about many places in Iowa and around the Cedar Falls area that the spirits of the dead are said to have stuck around.

Now, normal trespassing laws still apply, so be careful when checking these places out.

And remember, always investigate at night, it’s a lot more fun. Our first place of activity is in Fort Dodge. Here at the “Terror Bridge” a creepy woman who threw her four children off of the bridge is said to haunt the bridge and the house where she later hung herself.

The next place is in Vinton at the Evergreen Cemetery. There is a statue in the unknown soldier section of the graveyard. It is said that the statue loses its right eye at night. It is also said that the unknown soldiers still wander part of the graveyard years after their deaths.

Are you guys ready for a creepy one? Tara Bridge located in Webster County is a very similar haunting to that of Fort Dodge. The mother threw her two children off the bridge then jumped to her own death. What’s different about this haunting is the creature that is also reported to lurk around the bridge. Many have reported it as a wild dog that growls at you then scampers away. Others say that they’ve seen a werewolf! Now, when I first read of this, I thought that maybe it was just a bunch of drunk college kids, and let’s face it, you really can’t count on a drunk person to be right about something they’ve seen. On the contrary, many locals have given this werewolf a name. It’s a bit obvious but the wolf has been named Tara. So if you go to Tara Bridge, try calling out her name, and maybe you’ll find yourself with a new pet, or possibly running for your life.

In Charles City you’ll find a cemetery called Riverside Cemetery. This place is throbbing with activity. First off, locals say if you really want to see something you should hang around the mausoleum. Locals also warn that many people have reported being attacked by one or more figures at once. Figures have been seen standing over graves and wandering aimlessly around the graveyard, but what do you expect them to do? They’ve been dead for 50 or more years.

Now, before continuing on, I want to make sure everyone realizes that before going to these places or before setting up an investigation, you must get permission from local authorities. If you don’t, this is trespassing and that can carry a pretty hefty fine. If you don’t get caught, consider yourself lucky.
Now that we have that settled, I’m going to tell you about the scariest haunt in Iowa: The Villisca Axe Murder House.The story says that a man snuck into the house while the family was away and hid in a closet up stairs, and when the family went to sleep he snuck out with an axe that he had brought with him and killed the family. Legend has it that this family was really never keen on leaving their house, and that they still linger here. The Villisca Axe Murder House is known today as one of the most haunted houses in the Midwest. This is one of the places you don’t actually need permission to visit, because you can get daytime tours or the more expensive nighttime tours.

The Villisca Murder House is definitely the place I recommend the most if you really want to experience something.

To see more places of real, authentic horror, go to the Shadowlands website I encourage everyone to check the out the website and try and set up a date with friends or family to check out one some of these spots. Just remember to be careful and bring a friend along — things can get pretty scary. You never know what or who you’ll see.

Class of 2014

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