Villisca Axe Murders
Ghost Adventures



Ghost Adventures investigates an Iowa house where 8 people were brutally murdered almost a century ago. Can Zak, Nick and Aaron find any paranormal clues to these horrific unsolved crimes?


On June 10, 1912, six members of the Moore family and two young houseguests were killed with an axe by an unknown assailant.

The case has inspired two published books: Roy Marshall's Villisca and Stephen Bowman's fictionalized Morning Ran Red. Kelly and Tammy Rundle's documentary Villisca: Living with a Mystery also dealt with the incident.

The case has also inspired a feature narrative project titled Haunting Villisca, co-authored by James Serpento and Kimberly Busbee, directed by Serpento and produced by Busbee for AriesWorks Entertainment.

Haunting Villisca combines a fictionalized present-day scenario with scenes suggested by courtroom transcripts, folklore and current paranormal investigations of the house where the murders occurred. The picture premiered in Villisca in the spring of 2008.

Josiah B. Moore and Sara Montgomery were married on December 6, 1899. They had four children, Herman, Katherine, Boyd, and Paul. Joe was a prominant and well-liked businessman.

By 1912 his Moore Implement Company (a John Deere Company franchise) was a solid competitor with other Villisca and area hardware stores, including the Jones Store owned by his former employer, F.F. Jones. Sara was active in the Presbyterian church and assisted with Childrens Day excercises on the night of June 9, 1912.

Joe (43) and Sara (39), their children, and two visiting children were found bludgeoned to death with the Moore's own axe the following morning. Their unsolved murders began a chain of events that split the borough of Villisca and forever changed the course of the town's history and the lives of its inhabitants.