Five Creepy Historical Sites In The Midwest

October 7, 2014 6:00 AM

Photo Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Photo Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

Photo Courtesy of Simon & Schuster


Nicholas Sansbury Smith worked for the State of Iowa for nearly 10 years before switching careers to focus on his one true passion–writing. When he isn’t daydreaming about the apocalypse he’s likely racing in triathlons around the Midwest. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his family and several rescued animals. He is the author of several best-selling science fiction novels and short stories, including Orbs and Orbs II from sister company Simon & Schuster.

He tweets about triathlons, writing, aliens, the end of the world and other fascinating stuff @greatwaveink, or check him out on Facebook.


Halloween is just around the corner the season for witches, ghost stories, and channeling the occult has arrived. Whether you’re looking to celebrate the holiday with a visit to a classic haunted house or someplace far more sinister, science-fiction author Nicholas Sansbury Smith presents his picks for the Midwest’s creepiest historical sites.

The McPike Mansion
2018 Alby Street
Alton, Illinois 62002
www.mcpikemansion.com

Many haunted houses claim to be the most haunted. It only takes a few minutes inside the McPike Mansion in Alton, Illinois for a visitor to see why. Built in 1869 the house was designed using a combination of Italianate-Victorian style architecture. With 16 rooms, 11 fireplaces and a vaulted wine cellar the house has earned a spot on the National Historic Registry. And after hundreds of paranormal reports ranging from the sight of apparitions to the sound of footsteps the McPike Mansion has also earned itself a spot on the series, Scariest Places On Earth. Decide for yourself by scheduling a guided tour.

Axe Murder House
508 E 2nd Street
Villisca, IA 50864
www.villiscaiowa.com

With a dying main street and surrounded by cornfields the quaint and tiny town of Villisca doesn’t seem much different than most Iowan towns. But Villisca holds a horrific and unsolved secret that defines this small community. On June 10, 1912 Josiah and Sarah Moore and all four of their children were axed to death inside their house. The murder(s) were never brought to justice. This gruesome unsolved mystery has made Villisca a hotspot for paranormal hunters over the past century. Tours and overnight stays are the best way to explore this historic site, and are said to reveal some of the highest paranormal activity in the Midwest.

Related: Five Creepy Historical Sites In The South


The Soap Factory
514 Second Street SE
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414
www.soapfactory.org

You know you’re in for a scare when you have to sign a waiver before entering a haunted house. Anyone that’s experienced The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, Minnesota will tell you it’s the haunted house of the Midwest. The factory is actually an old warehouse renovated for art exhibitions. But the basement holds a different type of art, a dark art. Patrons that purchase a ticket embark on a nightmarish path. The artist’s vision was to create a surreal environment utilizing special effects and breathtaking carnage. Tickets sell out every year!

The Stull Cemetery
E 250 Road
Stull, Kansas 66044

Stull Cemetery may not be one of the well known spooky spots in the Midwest, but it has earned a reputation to be a hotspot for evil. The locals have referred to it as a “Gateway to Hell”. A source for a variety of urban legends, Stull Cemetery is popular amongst Satanic and occult groups. Most rumors focus on a stone church built on the north side of the cemetery. Locals knocked it down in 2002 after occult groups and witches were claimed to be using it for worship. The town of Stull doesn’t have a great reputation either. After several mysterious deaths including a boy that was burned alive, Stull is truly one hell of a creepy place. Tours are not permitted and trespassing brings a potential fine of $1,000 plus six months in the big house.

Related: The 5 Best Adventures For Your Rome Vacation


Haunted/Historical Tours of Decatur, Illinois
426 North Water Street
Decatur, Illinois 62523
www.haunteddecatur.com

Decatur, Illinois was built over Indian burial grounds and, for those of you that like haunted tours, should definitely be on your list of spooky places to visit. With a rich history of crime and paranormal activity this city has been called many names including, “Hell’s Half Acre.” If you are a connoisseur of history and fan of hauntings then this is one tour you won’t want to miss. Departs from The Avon Theater.

Nicholas Sansbury Smith worked for the State of Iowa for nearly 10 years before switching careers to focus on his one true passion–writing. When he isn’t daydreaming about the apocalypse he’s likely racing in triathlons around the Midwest. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his family and several rescued animals. He is the author of several best-selling science fiction novels and short stories, including Orbs and Orbs II from sister company Simon & Schuster.

He tweets about triathlons, writing, aliens, the end of the world and other fascinating stuff @greatwaveink, or check him out on Facebook.

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