Josiah B. and Sara Moore House

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Josiah B. and Sara Moore House
Josiah B. and Sara Moore House - NRHP97001471 - Villisca - Montgomery County - Iowa -10-23-2016.jpg
Renovated Moore family house as of 2016
Josiah B. and Sara Moore House is located in Iowa
Josiah B. and Sara Moore House
Josiah B. and Sara Moore House is located in the United States
Josiah B. and Sara Moore House
Location508 E. Second St.
Villisca, Iowa
Coordinates40°55′50″N 94°58′24″W / 40.93056°N 94.97333°W / 40.93056; -94.97333Coordinates: 40°55′50″N 94°58′24″W / 40.93056°N 94.97333°W / 40.93056; -94.97333
Architectural styleQueen Anne
NRHP reference No.97001471 [1]
Added to NRHPDecember 1, 1997

The Josiah B. and Sara Moore House is a house in Villisca, Iowa, United States. The house was the site of the 1912 brutal murder of eight people, including six children. A documentary has been made about the murder, which remains unsolved. The house was renovated in the 1990s and serves as the Villisca Axe Murder House.[2]


Josiah Moore and his family bought the house in 1903 and lived there until 1912. On the night of June 9, 1912, the six members of the Moore family and two house guests were bludgeoned to death in the residence. All eight victims, including six children, had severe head wounds inflicted with an axe.[3] The murders were reputedly so horrifying that it is said that they took the sinking of the RMS Titanic, which occurred about two months earlier, off the front page of the newspapers.

On November 7, 2014, Robert Laursen Jr. injured himself by stabbing himself in the chest during a visit to the house. He was treated for his injuries at Clarinda Regional Hospital before he was taken by medical helicopter to CHI Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha.



The house was built in 1868, on lot 310. After the murders, the house went through the possession of eight people, the most recent acquisition occurring in 1994 by Darwin Linn. He and his wife successfully restored the house to its original condition at the time of the murders. In 1997, the house was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Iowa Historic Preservation Alliance recognized the site with the Preservation at its Best award in 1997.[4]

Alleged haunting[edit]

Multiple paranormal investigations were conducted at the house, resulting in many EVPs, videos, and photographs, leading the creators of Ghost Adventures to suggest that the house is haunted.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 8, 2012.
  2. ^ "Villisca Ax Murder House and Museum". Roadside America. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  3. ^ "8 Iowa persons slain with an ax while they sleep". Chicago Daily Tribune. June 11, 1912. p. 1 – via ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
  4. ^ "The Renovation of the Villisca Axe Murder House on Lot 310". Retrieved January 11, 2011.
  5. ^ "Villisca Axe Murder House - The Haunting". Retrieved January 11, 2011.

External links[edit]