Archive | 4:03 pm

A Day Off the Farm

13 Jul

It’s so rare for me to do anything but work off the farm and work on the farm that I decided I was going to share my day off the farm yesterday.  My sister came down and we had some quality bonding time by taking a day trip to Villisca, Iowa.  On the way, we stopped at the cemetery in Grant, Iowa, to visit our great-great grandparents.

We had a picnic with them.

Me by Seth and Sarah (Bennett) Smith’s headstone

It had probably been twenty-two years since I stopped here. It was my sister’s first visit.  I was a bit disappointed to see how much their stone had worn since my last visit. It’s largely illegible now.

Me and my sister

After lunch, it was on to Villisca, Iowa.  The one thing Villisca is known for is the famous Villisca ax murders which happened on June 9, 1912.

hanging on the kitchen wall

Josiah and Sarah Moore, their four children, and two visiting girls were all killed that night with an ax from their woodshed.

Reflected selfie with the Moores and two of their children, Herman and Katherine

Nobody was ever tried and convicted for the crimes.

I had read the book The Man From the Train by Bill James last winter, and that renewed my interest.  I will say, if you are interested in true crime stories, it is a compelling book that claims to have solved the murders.

My sister and I took the day tour (you can spend the night) because of our interest in history, and it really was a major event in our state’s history.  The tour begins with signing in in the old barn, which has been converted into the office.

The house had been lived in by several families after the murders, but they’ve done an excellent job of restoring it to the condition it was in at the time of the murders.  None of the furnishings are original, but they are authentic to the time period.

cook stove in back and wood stove in front

washing machine

upright piano

old-fashioned telephone


Books from the period

You know I take pictures of everything, and when the tour guide saw my camera, she gave some tips for making sure to go outside and take pictures of the windows and take two consectutive images to really know if you’ve captured anything.  Well, I hadn’t even thought about the fact that the house is haunted and there are frequent ghost sightings, but I figured the worst case scenario was having duplicate images–easy peasy to delete with digital photography.

She also encouraged us to play ball with the children, but she also warned us that they will sometimes scratch.  We went upstairs where there are frequent encounters.  Obviously, there are bells on all the doors, but we never heard any while we were there.

toys from the time and modern ones mixed in

We did decided to roll the ball in the attic, and I’m not going to lie.  It was odd.  After rolling the ball back and forth a few times, I noticed it would take odd curves.

It wasn’t like it was hitting the edge of a board–we saw that too, but it would be a graceful curing arc.  First it would curve one way.  The next time, it would curve in the opposite direction.  It was very odd.

My sister in the doorway–no ghost

I did find this doll to be the most creepy thing in the house.

Anyhow, we made the trip around the house taking pictures, and I didn’t see anything.

The door Mr. Moore’s brother entered when they discovered the crimes.

Then I put them on the computer at home so I could make them larger.

That’s when I noticed this window (which has been cropped from the unedited version of the image above.  I swear there’s a boy’s face.  You can click on the image to enlarge it.

Straight out of camera–only cropped in on this window

lightened and sharpened

In the next image (taken immediately after the first with the continuous shooting feature on my camera) you can still clearly see the power lines reflected, and the light spot is there, but the face is fading.

There were three young boys murdered in the house that night.

The Moore children who were killed that night

Which one do you think it is?

Oh, and happy Friday the 13th. 😉