As seen on
Midwestern PBS stations & CourtTV's "Catherine Crier Live":
Explore one of
If you don't have time to sleuth, read the quick descriptions below for: VILLISCA Updates and Screenings, How to Buy the award-winning documentary on DVD, Books, and other DVDs about the axe murder mystery, Stores that carry VILLISCA: LIVING WITH A MYSTERY, Reviews of the indie documentary that has captured the interest of the "unsolved mystery" buff nationwide. Then come back later when you have time to play "Detective".
|VILLISCA: Living with a Mystery
will be broadcast on KCPT-PBS in Kansas City in the
Spring 2010. It continues to air on Midwestern PBS stations. It made its broadcast
debut on Iowa
Public Television (IPTV) in 2007. The documentary feature film
has continued to air on Public Television stations throughout the Midwest, including Kansas Public Television
Public Television (KMOS-TV), Illinois Public Television (WQPT-TV) and more. If you haven't had a chance
to see VILLISCA: LIVING WITH A MYSTERY
on television, call your local public television station to request it. See why this
unsolved mystery is as compelling as Lizzie Borden, and Jack the Ripper. For more
information about VILLISCA
screenings, CLICK HERE.
of visitors a day are keeping up with new findings, news, controversial issues, and events
surrounding the tragic story of the Moore and Stillinger murders by visiting the new
VILLISCA MYSTERY BLOG.
To read weekly posts about one of America's greatest unsolved mysteries, and add your
feedback, CLICK HERE.
Psychic profiler Carla Baron, medium John J. Oliver, and paranormal investigator Patrick Burns revealed their findings, and we posted our reaction to Courttv's HAUNTING EVIDENCE where Villisca's alleged paranormal activity at the Villisca Axe Murder House was a featured story. We also responded to SCARIEST PLACES ON EARTH's Villisca axe murder segment, detailing the show's erroneous misinformation, phony photographs, and the use of actors for "interviews".
Villisca, Iowa town Marshall
Hank Horton (far left)poses with
|More retail outlets are adding the VILLISCA: Living with a
Mystery DVD to their
shelves every day. The DVD not only contains the feature-length documentary film
about the murder mystery, but also 2 separate commentary tracks, and about an hour of
additional supplementary features. You can buy the critically-acclaimed documentary HERE. In addition, the DVD
is now available at Borders Book Stores, Barnes and Noble,
and Best Buy. If you don't see it on the shelves, ask for it at the
counter, or order it online at their websites. VILLISCA
is also available at Family Video,
NetFlix, Amazon, and Indiedocs.
For a complete list of outlets where you can pick up your copy of VILLISCA, CLICK HERE.
|The famous unsolved axe murders of Josiah B. Moore, his wife Sara,
and their four children: Herman, Katherine, Boyd, and Paul; and two
young overnight guests: Lena
and Ina Stillinger; is reaching national interest thanks to VILLISCA: Living with
a Mystery being featured on programs like CourtTv
(to see CourtTv's Catherine Crier interview Director Kelly Rundle and Historian Edgar
Epperly, CLICK HERE),
and True Crime Blogs like Laura
James' CLEWS, and Steve Huff's TRUE CRIME BLOG. To emerse
yourself in this haunting true crime story, CLICK HERE.
And, the winner is! VILLISCA: LIVING WITH A MYSTERY won the "True Crime Blog Capote Award" for BEST TRUE CRIME DOCUMENTARY 2007. To keep up on the latest on true crime stories, check out IN COLD BLOG by CLICKING HERE.
Four of the eight victims
found murdered with an
|Visit THE EMPORIUM for a
complete selection of Villisca-related merchandise. Murder mystery students and true
crime fans alike can purchase books like the 1912 Villisca Axe
Murder CORONER'S INQUEST, DETECTIVE WILKERSON'S DOPE SHEET,
THE 1912 SIGNED STATEMENTS, Roy Marshall's VILLISCA: THE TRUE
ACCOUNT OF THE UNSOLVED MASS MURDER THAT STUNNED THE NATION, or Stephen Bowman's
fictional MORNING RAN RED. In addition to the VILLISCA: Living with a Mystery
DVD, take a tour of the Villisca Ax Murder House with Edgar Epperly featured on the DVD,
EXPLORING VILLISCA'S AXE MURDER HOUSE, which includes the Reverend Kelly's
infamous confession. Epperly, considered the foremost authority on the unsolved axe
murder case, also gives a compelling presentation at the Rialto Theater in Villisca on the
DVD, VILLISCA, IOWA'S 1912 AXE MURDERS. To peruse
"The Emporium", CLICK
The brutal axe murders of the Josiah B. Moore family, and
|In an effort to help those interested in
separating facts from flights of fancy regarding the Villisca
axe murder case, this website offers the popular HIT AND MYTH
section. Read up on interesting trivia--like how Villisca's story has a connection to the
famous murder case of Lizzie Borden, and the history of the ax
Other sites that offer an historical, factual approach to Villisca's tragic story are: the Villisca Historical Society's www.VilliscaHistory.org; the town's website: www.Villisca.com; and the town newspaper, the Villisca Review at www.VilliscaReview.com.
|VilliscaMovie.com offers murder mystery
and true crime fans the opportunity to read the Coroner's Inquest
pertaining to the famous unsolved murder. Dr.
Edgar Epperly, who has studied the axe murders of
the small Iowa village over 50 years and is considered the foremost authority on the
topic, wrote in his Introduction to the publication:
"Sometime during the night of June 9, 1912, a killer or killers unknown entered the home of Josiah B. Moore. Bludgeoned to death were Joe, his wife Sara, their four children: Herman, Katherine, Boyd and Paul; and two visiting neighbor girls, Lena and Ina Stillinger, who were visiting overnight. Known ever since as the Villisca axe murders, this is easily the most notorious crime in Iowa history... Tuesday, June 11, 1912, a day after the discovery of the murders, the coroner's inquest began in Villisca. Recorded verbatim by a court reporter, it contains the first official testimony regarding the event... Fourteen witnesses formed their impressions of the scene before they had an opportunity to be influenced by rumor and public opinion. The murder was fresh in their minds and their tesitmony undistorted by the passage of time. The document is particularly useful in forming impressions of the scene and the condition of the victims... The Inquest transcript is a compelling document to read and certainly the starting point for anyone who would truly understand the Villisca axe murders."
To read or order the rare and fascinating 1912 Villisca Axe Murder Coroner's Inquest, CLICK HERE.
On Tuesday, June 11, 1912, the
|The Villisca (or incorrectly spelled in some newspaper
coverage as: Vilisca, Vallisca, Vellisca, and even Valiska) axe murders is considered one
of America's greatest unsolved mysteries,
and stumps even the sharpest sleuther. Start with the DVD, Villisca:
Living with a Mystery, to put the puzzle together. The
documentary continues to receive excellent reviews and has been Officially-selected at
numerous film festivals, including: The Landlocked
International Film Festival, The Iowa Independent Film
Festival, Max Allen Collins Film Expo, New York City Rural Route Film Festival, The
Cedar Rapids Independent Film Festival; and in 2005 it qualified for the Academy
Award Competition in the documentary feature category. Read the Reviews by CLICKING
Evidence photo of the actual murder weapon--
Villisca Ax Murders
We will feature national news coverage of the Villisca ax murder story regularly. Readers will find the yellow-journalism and sensational writing of the time fascinating, and Villisca ax murder experts will easily find errors and misinformation in many of the stories. Can you find the errors? We have noted obvious mistakes in brackets.
From the June 11, 1912 edition of the Kansas City Journal :
MAN WHO HAD KEY MURDERS 8 IOWANS
JUNE 11, 1912
Ax Used in Killing Found,
Others Are Four Children
FOOTPRINTS ARE SEEN
Sister of Dead Man Not in House as
VILLISCA, IA., June 10.--Twenty-four hours after the murder of the entire Joseph Moore [Josiah Moore] and two young women guests, eight in all, which occurred Sunday night, the authorities have been unable to get a single trace of the murderer and have little or no clue to his identity. The murderer killed every person in the house with an ax and escaped without discovery. It is apparent he had a key to a door of the Moore home, because all doors and windows were found locked.
Top row: Herman, Katherine, Boyd and
A revised list of the victims follows:
JOSEPH B. MOORE [Josiah B. Moore]
The Misses Stillings [Stillingers] were over-night guests at the Moore home.
Dramatic photograph taken on
June 10, 1912 by the Villisca Review of the famous
DOGS TAKE TRAIL.
Bloodhounds arrived here on a late evening train and were immediately taken to the Moore home. Within ten minutes they found a scent which took them over a circuitous route to the edge of the town and thence to the banks of the Nodaway river. They were followed closely by their keepers.
Entering a deep woods along the river, the hounds led their followers over several miles of rough timber land in the Nodaway bottoms.
After an hour the hounds returned to the river where those following the dogs found fresh foot prints in the soft muddy bank and leading to the river. Those following the trail took the hounds across the river, but were unable to find any trace of the fugitive on the other side. At midnight the posse returned to town and will start afresh in the morning.
The bodies of the eight murdered persons were viewed late tonight by a coroner's jury and turned over to an undertaker. They were removed to the city hall to be prepared for burial. A detailed [detail] of militia guarded both the Moore home and city hall all night.
The first intimation of the crime was given when a clerk in the implement house of Mr. Moore went to the Moore home to ascertain the cause of the employer's delay in reaching business. Finding the house locked, the window shades all down and no one about, he notified the neighbors and, with assistance, forced entrance to the house.
The dead, with one exception, were found in their beds in natural attires of sleeping and until the crushed condition of their heads and the soaked pillows were discovered, it was impossible for the searchers to believe that anything was wrong.
An ax showing without doubt it was the weapon used, was found in an upstairs room where it was left by the assassin after he had completed his deadly work.
BEDS NOT DISTURBED
Mr. and Mrs. Moore were in one bed, the clothing of which was not the least disturbed. In another bed were two of the boys. The sister occupied a third bed and the youngest boy was alone in a smaller bed. In neither instance was the bedding of the children disarranged.
The Misses Stillings [Stillingers] occupied a room in another part of the house. One of the girls has a cut on an arm and was in such a position as to indicate she had awakened before the attack, and that there was a short struggle.
The tragedy is one of the most mysterious the officials of Iowa have ever had to deal with. There is absolutely no clue upon which to warrant an arrest and the utter absence of a possible motive has left the authorities in a maze of perplexity and doubt.
Early identification of the two young women who were slain, owing to the terrible condition of their faces, led to a report that they were Mrs. Van Gilder and her duaghter. Mrs. Van Gilder is a sister of Mrs. Moore. It was understood they were to b the guests of the Moores last night.
Blood stains, which will require the work of experts to handle in relation with the crime, including finger prints of the murderer, are absolutley the only clew the officers have to work upon. Blood stains wre found on the front door near the knob and finger prints were found in the house.
LIGHTED LAMP FOUND
A feature of the tragedy which indicates that possibly the murderer left the house quickly, was the finding of a lighted lamp upon the floor of the Moore bed room. All the blinds of the house were closely drawn, the doors were all locked and all the windows locked but two opening from the room which the Spillinger [Stillinger] girls occupied.
As one of the posses were hunting in the railroad yards this evening, a tramp, becoming alarmed, gave himself up to the leaders for protection, fearing he might be a victim of the wrath of the people before they had had time to examine into his identity. He later was identified by the railroad men and released, badly scared and quickly left town.
Feeling is high and few persons slept in Villisca tonight. News of the crime traveled fast and there are hundreds of country people who soon came to the village.
One puzzling feature of the crime which serves to heighten the mystery surrounding it, is the apparent deliberatation which the murderer went about committing the crime. All indications are that he entered the house by the front door and with a key, that he left by the same way and locked the door behind him. Dust upon the sills of the two windows left unlocked shows he did not enter that way.
After pulling down all the blinds in the house, a thing which the Moores never did, the murderer hung dress skirts, which he took from the closets, over each of the doors leading to the south side and also over windows where a flash of light might have penetrated.
Senator F.F. Jones would later
become a suspect
Suspect Reverend Lyn George
Jacklin Kelly was tried twice for
VICTIM'S SISTER TALKS.
OMAHA, NEB., June 10.--Miss Minnie Moore, sister of Joseph B. Moore [Josiah B. Moore], who, with his wife and four children and two young women, were murdred in the Moore home in Villisca, Ia., last night, is employed in a local woman's wear establishment. She said today that John Van Gilder, who several years ago married a sister of Moore and herself, had left the city after trouble with his wife. She said he had been gone for years.
MANY CRIMES SIMILAR
Colorado Springs Authorities Will
COLORADO SPRINGS, COL., June 10.--Colorado Springs police authorities are not inclined to think that there is any connection between the murder of the Moore family at Villisca, Ia., and the Burnham-Wayne murder mystery of September 17 last in this city, in which six persons lost their lives.
It is admitted, however, that there is a striking similarity in the crimes. In both cases the victims were killed with an ax while asleep and no apparent motive for the deed was found. Local authorities will make a careful investigation of the Villisca mystery in the hope of finding some clew to the crime here.
The slayer of Rolin Hudson and wife at Paola, Kas., on the night of June 5, used as his weapon a pick. Tha Barnhart [Burnham] tragedy had for its central figures four victims of a mysterious axman. At Ellsworth, Kas., an ax was used to slay the Showman family, the crime of which Marzck, recently apprehended in Canada, now is charged.
Three of the five victims in the 1911
Showman axe murders