Welcome to Iowa, home of Drake University, corn, wind turbines and … ghosts?
That’s right, there are many allegedly haunted locations in the state, a few of which are right here in Des Moines. For the thrill seekers among us, these are some spots worth checking out in pursuit of the paranormal…if you’re brave enough to enter.
Merle Hay Mall Tower
Merle Hay Mall was allegedly built on the ground formerly occupied by a monastery. Now, the tower of the mall is said to be inhabited by some residents who just won’t leave, including the ghost of a nun carrying a dead infant.
On the website Haunted Places, many have reported ghost sightings and other unexplained phenomena in the Merle Hay Mall tower.
“I was walking through the tower and saw a nun-looking figure walking from a room to the one across the hall,” one commenter named Austin wrote. “I thought it was a coworker playing a prank on me, [but] I searched each room [and] I was the only one on that floor.”
Another visitor to the website, DeAnna, reported strange occurrences that happened to her in the mall tower.
“I just got back from there and I had a strange feeling and heard what sounded like distant crying and whispers, and I felt like I was being watched,” DeAnna wrote. “So I turned around and saw this figure that [then] disappeared.”
According to Haunted Places, the sound of footsteps and the sight of floating orbs are also common experiences in the mall tower.
Dowling Catholic High School was built in 1918 as a Catholic boarding school for boys. However, staff members and students have reported seeing a floating purple orb over the years, with some speculating that the school is haunted.
One of the most recognizable buildings in Des Moines aside from the capitol, Terrace Hill was built in 1867 by a wealthy businessman and now serves as the home and office for the governor.
However, the governor may have more company than she thought. The home is allegedly haunted by the apparition of a little girl who causes the elevator to move on its own.
Hoyt Sherman Place
Built in 1877, Hoyt Sherman Place was formerly the family home of Des Moines postmaster Hoyt Sherman.
Des Moines resident and psychic Leah Ackerman said the building is now one of the most active paranormal spots in the city.
“Just about everywhere [is haunted], but I’m psychic to where I can see and feel higher frequencies than just human physical,” Ackerman said. “Head on over to Hoyt Sherman Place, it’s very active. Also, Merle Hay Tower and the old barracks at Fort Des Moines.”
Farrar Elementary School
Situated outside of Des Moines in the small town of Farrar, the elementary school was constructed in 1921 to combine all the one-room schoolhouses in the surrounding area.
After being purchased by Jim and Nancy Oliver in 2006, strange occurrences began that seemed to support stories of paranormal activity by students who formerly attended the school. The couple soon opened it to tours for the paranormal-fascinated public.
“It was featured on Paranormal Activity and Ghost Hunters,” Des Moines resident Reike Plecas, who toured the building, said. “Personally, it scared the crap out of me.”