Homer's Travels: A Desperate Need To Get Out

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Desperate Need To Get Out

The past few weekends have been fairly bland around here.  We haven't gone anywhere interesting and just stayed home.  It was relaxing but uninspiring.  This weekend The Wife said no more, we need to get out.  We consulted our list of places to go and the Wife said let's go to Villisca.  We haven't been to any weird places for a while - not since Route 66 last summer or our east Iowa trip last spring.  Villisca just so happens to have a level of weirdness.  Why?  It is the home of the 1912 Ax Murder House.

So on Saturday we left for the short ninety minute drive to Villisca, IA.  We stopped in the town square and had lunch at TJ's Cafe (formerly the D&D Bar & Grill) because, as everyone knows, you should never go to an alleged haunted house on an empty stomach.  The Wife had their famous pork tenderloin sandwich and [I] had a tasty double cheeseburger.  The food was very satisfying and after we finished we were ready for ax swinging mayhem.

The Ax Murder house is a typical small town Iowa house.  A kitchen, parlor, and little side room on the bottom floor and two bedrooms and a large storage/attic space on the second.  A tiny place compared to modern housing standards.  On the night of the murders, June 10, 1912, it was owned by the Moores - a married couple with four children.  On the night of the murders two friends of the children were sleeping over in the room off the parlor.  Sometime after midnight someone entered the house and, using the back side of an ax, bludgeoned all eight to death in their sleep.

The crime was never solved.  Soon after the crime was discovered by a neighbor just about everyone from the town paraded through the house.  By the time the crime investigators arrived any evidence that may have existed was destroyed.  There are all sorts of theories involving vagabonds, train engineers, angry parents, crazy preachers, and on and on.  No one was ever arrested for the crime.

We listened to the store and walked through the house.  The house is very popular with the pseudoscience ghost story shows like Ghost Hunters.  This popularity has turned into quite the money maker for the owner of the house who originally bought it to tear it down.  For $400.00 up to six people can spend the night in the house and experience the house for yourself.  They are usually booked solid up to six months in advance.  Crazy.

After touring the house, which only took a half hour or so, we decided to go to Walnut, IA to do some antiquing.  I guess all this talk about 1912 made us think of old things.  The Wife got some good deals on some treasures.  I left town with a bottle of diet pepsi.

After stopping at Lowe's to buy some plants for our backyard we got home in time for dinner and a relaxing evening.  It felt nice to go out and about.  The Ax Murder House was a little underwhelming, probably more exciting for the true believers, but getting out of the house hit the spot.  One more weird attraction checked off the list.

P.S. Forgot my camera at home but there wasn't much there worth photographing anyway.


  1. Ok, let's be clear. I did not eat a pork tenderloin and a double cheese burger!!! I had the tenderloin and Mr. Typo had the cheese burger.

  2. Wow! this photo is beautiful. Relaxing.

    1. Connectionweb: I assume you're talking about the banner photo of Castrojerez in Northern Spain. Thanks.