Spooky Locations: Barnard Park, Fremont, Nebraska


By J S O’connor

What makes a location haunted? This is a question that every person interested in the paranormal has asked themselves numerous times and there are a number of different answers. For example, when you disturb the dead. This is what happened with a park in Fremont, Nebraska.

Fremont, Nebraska, is a town with just under 30,000 residents located in the eastern half of the state with a history that stretches back to the early and mid-1800s. Within the city of Fremont is a small but quaint park called Barnard Park with a disturbing history.. 

In the late 1800s, the area that is now known as Barnard Park was a cemetery called Green Grove Cemetery. However, around the same time, as Green Grove Cemetery was created, the city of Fremont also saw an increase in population. Soon the tiny cemetery had reached its limits and needed to be relocated to Ridge Cemetery just outside of the town’s limits. In its place, the city created what is now known as Barnard Park. A park that is still being enjoyed by the residents of Fremont.

However, if local legend is to be believed, when the city had undergone the task of relocating the cemetery, they missed a number of graves due to them being poorly marked.  Several ghost sightings have been reported at night in and around Barnard Park. Some of the sightings include apparitions of men walking around the park at night. One of the most notorious sightings is of a woman who is seen crying over the loss of her daughter who had died on the Mormon Trail in the 1830s. 

So, what makes a location haunted? When it comes to Barnard Park, a nice public park where families go and children play, the answer could very well be disturbing those who have departed.

Work Cited:

Lefevers, D. (2018, October 5). Barnard Park in Nebraska is said to have a haunted playground. OnlyInYourState. Retrieved July 30, 2022, from https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/nebraska/haunted-playground-ne/ 

HauntedPlaces.org. (n.d.). Barnard Park. Haunted Places. Retrieved July 30, 2022, from https://www.hauntedplaces.org/item/barnard-park/ 

 

Spooky Locations: The Axe Murder House of Villisca, Iowa

By J.S. O’connor

When thinking of a “Spooky Location”, it’s easy to think of the paranormal. However, a real-life tragedy can be more terrifying than the paranormal. The Axe Murder House of Villisca, Iowa is both – a paranormal location as well as a real tragedy that took the lives of eight people and still remains unsolved over a hundred years later. 

Villisca, Iowa is a small town with a population just over one thousand located in southeastern Iowa. It fits the definition of a “blink and you’ll miss it” town. It’s a peaceful-looking town with the exception of one house with a bad reputation.

 The story of the murders is as follows: Lena and Ina Stillinger spent the night at the Moores’ house after church on a Sunday. The next morning, the Moores’ next-door neighbor, Mary Peckham, had not seen the Moores and placed a call to the brother of Joseph Moore. When they entered the home, they discovered the bodies of Joseph Moore, his wife Sarah, and their six children: Herman, Katherine, Boyd, and Paul, and the Stillinger Sisters. The children were between six and twelve years of age, with the murders estimated to have taken place after midnight. All had been brutally butchered with Joseph’s own axe. The murderer has never been found. The list of suspects for the murder is long, including a serial killer Henry Lee Moore to a State Senator Frank F. Jones, who may have hired someone to carry out the murders, and everyone in between.  

Even though the house has been renovated a number of times since 1912, the current owners have been hard at work returning the house to its former self. Currently, the owners offer paranormal tours and overnight stays to the curious. Some may say that turning a tragic murder into a paranormal tour is an insult to the people who tragically lost their lives. Others would say that it is a way of keeping the memory of the Moore family and Stillinger sisters alive and never forgotten. Whichever you believe, it’s important to remember and honor the people who have lost their lives.  

Work Cited:

 The Official Site of the Villisca Axe Murders of 1912, https://www.villiscaiowa.com/index.php. 

Free Fiction: Wolf by JS O’Connor

You embrace me like two long-lost lovers meeting once again. But as I embrace you, I can feel you change. I release you but your arms are strong and I am trapped. 

“Please,” I beg. But you tighten your grip.

Your hands grab my arms. Your nails are daggers. I begin to cry. But I can’t look away as you show me your face. Gone are the beautiful green eyes. Gone is your handsome and soft face. Gone is your short blonde hair. Gone is the man I fell in love with. Gone is the man I married. Red eyes look at me now. A face like a dog, or coyote, or maybe a wolf look at me now.

Tears roll down my cheeks. I know what’s about to happen. “I love you,” I whisper. “I will always love you.” But you are silent.

Soon I feel your teeth enter my flesh. Blood runs down my chest. I look to a photo hanging on the wall. A happier time. A time you no longer remember. I try to speak your name, but I can’t. I struggle to breathe. The light begins to fade and soon all is dark. 

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J.S. O’Connor is a staff writer for HorrorAddicts.net who currently lives in Bettendorf, Iowa. He lives with his wife, three cats, and one dog. He writes during his free time.  you will also enjoy reading his “Spooky Locations” Features here on our blog.

Spooky Locations: The Black Angel of Iowa City

The Black Angel of Iowa City

by J.S. O’Connor

If you were to take a stroll through one of Iowa City’s cemeteries you might be greeted by a nearly ten-foot black statue with large wings. The cemetery in question would be the Oakland Cemetery and the ten-foot statue would be the Black Angel. A lesser-known local legend, but a legend that is just as frightening and deadly. 

The legend of the Black Angel is relatively young, as the statue was built in the early 1900s and the origins of the legend are a mystery.

The legend is as follows, if you give the angel a kiss or deface the statue in any way, you will be greeted by death. It is also said that the angel gets darker in color every Halloween for every victim it has taken.

The color change could be easily explained by the statue being made of bronze and bronze gets darker when left outdoors for extended periods of time. If the color of the statue has an explanation, then what about the image of the statue itself? Despite the color of the angel, the angel itself is not what you would expect to see. The angel’s wings are not extended to heaven but rather turned inward almost folded in and the angel is looking down instead of towards the sky. The artist commissioned to make the statue was born outside of America and gave the depiction of an angel that Americans are not used to seeing. As for where the angel is looking it is looking to the artist’s son who is buried near the angel. 

Even though the image of the Black Angel is grounded in reality, this legend has still persisted since the early 1900s. It’s true that the Black Angel is rather sinister-looking, but once you know the reasons behind its appearance, the Black Angel is more beautiful than sinister. With that being said, I wouldn’t suggest tempting fate and giving the Black Angel a kiss any time soon. 

Work Cited:

The black angel, Iowa City, Iowa. RoadsideAmerica.com. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2022, from https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/16409