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Haunted Cemeteries of Western Iowa
The State of Iowa
Iowa became the 29th state in 1846 and covers 56,272 square miles. There are 6,124 documented cemeteries here. For a state its size, Iowa has a very high proportion of haunted cemeteries. I found nearly 50 cemeteries with some sort of hauntings. I’ve written about 20 of them and here are the first 10.
Fairview Cemetery is located at the corner of Lafayette and North 2nd Street in Council Bluffs. This Pottawattamie County cemetery has around 9,000 interments going back to the mid 1800s.
This cemetery is known as the home of The Black Angel. She was Ruth Ann “Annie” Dodge and died in 1916 at 83 years old. She was married to General Grenville Dodge who was the Chief Engineer and Surveyor for the Union Pacific Railroad at its beginning. The Black Angel statue that was created in her honor was created by Daniel Chester French. He was also responsible for the statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial.
The eyes of the statue seem to follow visitors wherever they go. Legend has it that anyone she stares at will become sickly for the rest of their lives.
Saint Mary's Cemetery
Saint Mary’s Cemetery is located in the small town of Hamburg in Fremont County on Lookout Mt. Drive. There are a little over 200 interments with dates ranging from the 1870s to the present.
There are three statues of the Virgin Mary that are grouped together. There is a female spirit here, whose identity is not known, that can be seen kneeling at the feet of the statues.
There have also been reports of wailing coming from the statues themselves.
Tedrow Cemetery is a small graveyard with just a little over 100 interments. It is located southwest of the small town of Kellerton and southeast of Mount Ayr in Ringgold County. It is at the end of a dirt road in Athenss Township. The marked graves are from 1858 to 1956.
It is said that it is not this small cemetery that is haunted but the woods surrounding it. Glowing lights are often seen moving around in the forest. Full-bodied apparitions are seen at the edge of the trees and all sorts of strange noises are heard such as footsteps, screams, and moaning.
Davis City Cemetery
Davis City Cemetery is also known as IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) Cemetery. It is located at the end of N. Halstead Street in Decatur County. There are around 1,000 interments going back to 1848.
Many visitors to this cemetery report the feeling of pressure on their entire body while inside the graveyard grounds.
There have also been reports of lights streaking across the grounds late at night.
Terre Haute Cemetery
Terre Haute Cemetery is located on 250th Street in Decatur City beside Elk Creek in Decatur County. There are about 160 interments. The Shaffner and Toney families have the most graves and date back to 1858.
There is an old cabin beside the cemetery where a little boy can be seen playing on a swing set. If he sees you watching him he will motion for you to follow him and he will take you to the grave where he is buried and then he disappears. It is probably Franklin Shaffner who died in 1873 when he was 11 years old.
Stoneking Cemetery is also known as Oak Hill Cemetery. It is located at the edge of Stephens State Forest in Lucas County. The closest road is 500th Avenue and the closest town is Weller. There are only 36 interments here. Members of the Stoneking family have been buried here since 1864. The last one was in 1988.
This cemetery is supposedly quite haunted. The Stoneking family home sat abandoned beside the cemetery for years before being torn down because it had become unstable. Some people believe that the trees lining the back of the cemetery are a barrier to something sinister. The legend is if you venture beyond the trees you might see the Stone King himself and if you do you will soon die.
There are some who believe that it was Joseph Stoneking in the Stephen King movie Children of the Corn. The words on the tombstone in the movie are the same as those on Joseph’s tombstone: “As you are now, I once was. As I am now, you soon will be. So, come face death and follow me.”
There have been ghosts seen with horrible burns or missing hands.
Union Cemetery is on North Street in Guthrie Center in Guthrie County behind the Seventh Day Adventist Church. There are nearly 4,000 interments dating back to the 1840s.
There is a chair cast in concrete here that is called The Devil’s Chair. It sits right between two unmarked graves. The chair has no inscription on it. You can find it right at the midpoint on the north side of the road that runs east to west through the cemetery. Many believe the chair is cursed and if someone sits in the chair they will have terrible luck.
Mount Hope Cemetery
Mount Hope Cemetery is located on South Kennedy Avenue in Madrid in Boone County. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 interments going back to the 1850s.
There is a ghost here of a little girl named Sarah J. McIntosh. She died in 1850 when she was eight years old. Sarah is seen playing with four other little ghost children. She has been known to follow visitors around asking about someone named Ree and will even tug at their clothes if she isn’t answered.
Hazel Green Cemetery
Hazel Green Cemetery is on 155th Street in Ackley in Hardin County. The cemetery has nearly 600 interments going back to the 1840s.
The gazebo is the main location of paranormal activity in this cemetery. Visitors have reported seeing an old woman sitting in a rocking chair and holding a baby. People say they don’t feel fear at the sight, only sadness. Some people even leave flowers on the gazebo for the two ghosts.
Vegors Cemetery can be found on Xavier Avenue in Lehigh in Webster County. This graveyard is built on top of an ancient Indian burial ground used between 500 B.C. to about 1200 A.D. The earliest settlers did not known that and chose the spot because it had a beautiful view of the Des Moines River. In 1960 E.H. Hawbaker erected a monument explaining the location’s significance.
This cemetery is supposedly haunted by the restless Native American Indians whose final resting places were disturbed. It is also haunted by Sally Lott whose husband was known to cheat and steal in his dealings with the local natives. She was the first white female settler in the area and she died from exposure after a raid.