Everyone who knows me knows I love ghost stories. I've loved them since I was 8 or 9. They've always scared me, but I've always adored them. So, when my friend Sarah in Iowa invited me to come along on an adventure to Villisca, Iowa to spend the night in the notorious Villisca Axe House (check it out here), I checked my funds, found them agreeable and booked a plane ticket.
There were 7 of us going on this trip. Sarah, her daughter Jacelyn, Jacelyn's friend Taylor, Jon, Jon's girlfriend Amanda and Genevive. Genevive has been on ghost hunting expeditions before. She came armed with a voice recorder, camera and knowledge.
We took a 4 hour drive from Sarah's house, stopping along the way to visit the World's Largest Concrete Gnome in Aames, and arrived in Villisca in the late afternoon. After we got a tour of the house, which was originally built in 1868 and has been beautifully restored, we received the keys and were left to our own devices.
We lugged in our stuff, a lot of blankets and pillows along with our cameras, flashlights and snacks and wandered around the house. The house still has all the original woodwork around the doorways, which always fascinates me. It's not very big. A kitchen, living room and one bedroom downstairs. Two bedrooms, one of them is just the space at the top of the stairs, and the entry to the attic upstairs. The attic wasn't scary, it was just an attic. The parent's room wasn't exactly comfortable, but it wasn't exactly creepy. And the kid's bedroom upstairs was very light and airy. It really felt quite nice to be in there.
The bedroom downstairs has a closet in the space under the staircase. This room, the closet especially, are really creepy. It's not a dark room, it has big windows and gets plenty of light. It's painted a very nice light blue and it's been decorated in 1912 style. There aren't cobwebs hanging or anything like that. It's just......creepy and unpleasant to be in. The closet especially scared me. Can't say why, just did. I really, really didn't even want to be in there.
We decided to go out to a local place for dinner. The food was super good, cheap and nice sized portions. Just what you'd expect from small town Iowa. As we were leaving the woman working there asked if we were visiting the haunted house, which I knew was going to happen.
After we got back, we all stood around outside, smoking cigarettes and delaying going inside. Finally, we trooped back in. We all decided to walk around to see if anything had shifted position. Jacelyn and Taylor wanted someone to go upstairs with them so Sarah and I went along.
Since there are supposed to be the ghosts of children,
balls and toys are all over the place. You can roll a ball in the
children's bedroom upstairs and it will roll back to you. But, that's
because the floor slants and it will happen the same every time.
As we got to the top of the stairs, a big rubber ball was sitting on a chair in the children's room. Jacelyn said "Was that ball on that chair before?"
Sarah said "No, it was NOT." Jacelyn and Taylor screamed and shoved Sarah and I out of the way to get to the stairs. I think it was the very definitive way Sarah said it that made the teenage girls freak out. After they bolted, Genevive called us to the downstairs bedroom. There was a mini basketball in the closet down there that had been on the floor when we left, but was up on a low shelf in there now.
And I got scared. I started to contemplate sleeping in the van.
We made camp in the living room, which was really cold. I bundled under a blanket trying to stay warm and so I'd have something to hide under. Because, as we all well remember, blankets have the powerful ability to ward off any monsters, ghosts or other unexplainable thing that wants to do us harm.
Jon, Taylor and Jacelyn tried a Ouija session, but nothing happened. I'm honestly frightened of Ouija boards. I'll watch, but I won't participate. The board was new. I bought it for a photo prop and new boards don't work very well, or so I've been told.
The group decision was made to try moving to a room upstairs that might be warmer. The children's room upstairs was not only warmer, it didn't feel scary. Sarah and I got comfy close to each other, me hiding under my blanket. Genevive did an EVP session (this is where you try and record the ghosts talking using a handheld recorder). Then Jacelyn, Taylor and Jon got the Ouija board out again.
While they were trying to make it work, which it did, very slowly. I started to hear things downstairs. There was a vent in the floor that went straight down to the living room, so it was just like being in that room sound-wise. I could hear stuff shifting around down there. Like the blankets that were still there were being rearranged or a bag was being moved across the floor. I heard footsteps on the stairs, only 2 of them, but I still heard them. Since the board wasn't moving quickly, the three of them trying to communicate moved to a space they felt uncomfortable in, which was the parent's room.
There was no way I was coming out of my blanket to go into the parent's room to watch the trio talk to more ghosts. Not when I was hearing stuff moving, footsteps and items had shifted position. Yeah, the owner could have come back and moved things around, but I was staying under my blanket! I started to wonder if I should have brought some Depends so I wouldn't have to walk through the house to go out to the barn to use the bathroom.
Right about then, Sarah lifted up her head and said "Okay, I'm not doing very good. Something is really wrong with me." It turned out that she was experiencing pain on her right side, had chills and a bad headache.
A group vote decided that she needed to go to ER. There was only one spot around the house where anyone could get enough of a signal to look up hospitals and call to find out where it was. I volunteered to take Sarah to the ER. Really, I almost jumped up and yelled "ME! MEEEEEEMEMEMEME!" I was so wanting to get out of that creepy house.
I drove Sarah the 20 minutes to the hospital, got her checked in and waited a very short amount of time with her. She had a kidney infection and was passing a stone. She got some painkiller and went to sleep. I laid my coat down on the floor and went to sleep. A nurse woke me up to say Sarah was being admitted, they were moving her to a room. The staff gave me a toothbrush and some scrubs to sleep in. I laid down on the couch and conked out.
The next day involved me going back to the house to pick up the rest of our party, get Sarah out of the hospital and then drive back to Stacyville.
How was the trip? Event filled! I'm glad I went to visit and spend time with my friend. But I found out I'm not exactly cut out for ghost hunting. I'll keep up with my story reading and daytime visits, but probably not anymore overnights for me. Not even with a blanket.