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22 Oct 2009


Marshalltown woman featured in paranormal show on Travel Channel


Photo Courtesy of Darwin Linn
Could this home, location of multiple axe murders in 1912 in Villisca be the most terrifying place in America? One Marshalltown woman shares her experience with “Ghost Stories” on the Travel Channel this weekend.

In 1912, one of the most horrific multiple murders in Iowa took place in the small town of Villisca.

The entire Moore family, which included a couple and their four children, were brutally bludgeoned to death by a person armed with an axe. Two other children were also in the home and were killed that night.

In the decades following the murders, there were accusations, theories and even confessions. Yet, no one was ever firmly identified as the killer. No one was ever charged with a crime.

Such a situation can immediately become the stuff of legend and folklore, especially in a small, quintessential Iowa town.

The house now sits silent, forever keeping its secret of what happened that June day in 1912 - or does it?

If you were to ask Linda Cloud, the house is far from silent. The Marshalltown resident lived in the house in the 1960s, when she was 12 years old.

At the time she moved in, she had no knowledge the house she was living in was a murder house. In fact, she only made the connection earlier this decade.

Still, she said she knew something about it was unusual.

"I don't like to use the word evil, but there is something there that isn't quite right," she said. "There isn't a whole lot of positive energy."

It started, she said, the first night her family moved in the house.

"We were all downstairs, and it sounded like someone threw something violently across the room upstairs, but there was no one upstairs," she said.

That night, she said she heard the sound of children crying and of wailing. Though she did not know the history of the home at the time, it was clear that others did.

"I had a friend who I invited over for a sleepover," she said. "When she found out where I lived, she suddenly had other things to do."

The Travel Channel interviewed Cloud and her sister for a show airing this weekend. At one point, she said she became so uncomfortable in the home she had to stop the interview, just so she could catch her breath.

Her sister also had strange feelings returning to the home after so long.

The family only stayed in the home for several months. The incident that finally encouraged them to move happened suddenly and injured her father.

"I don't want to say too much more about it because I want people to hear it for themselves," she said.

Cloud said she would like to return to the home at some point, and even stay overnight.

"But no one will go with me," she said.

The Travel Channel Show is called "Ghost Stories" and the Villisca murder episode airs at 9 p.m. Friday, 1 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

It is not the first time the Travel Channel has visited the location. In 2008, it named the site as the "most terrifying place in America."

To read more of Cloud's story, visit www.timesrepublican.com for a first-hand account.


Contact Ken Black at 641-753-6611 or kblack@timesrepublican.com

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