Ghost stories can be spooky fun, and you don’t have to wait until Halloween to tell them.
If you’re like me, tales of haunted houses and ghouls in windows are perfect for telling under the covers at night any time of the year.
You don’t have to go far to find them either. Here are five creepy tales from right here in Eastern Iowa:
1. The Ghost of Helen
Coe College in Cedar Rapids has a student who hasn’t left the campus for more than 100 years. Helen Roberts was an 18-year-old student who died during the 1918 pandemic. Ever since, students have reported sightings of a girl in white disappearing down hallways in Coe’s Voorhees Hall. Students say Helen is a friendly ghost, but known to play tricks, including locking them out of their rooms.
2. Lover’s Leap Swinging Bridge
That this narrow, swinging bridge in Columbus Junction spans an 80-foot ravine isn’t the only thing that gives visitors goose bumps. The tale goes that when a Native American woman learned her love had died, she threw herself off the bridge — thus the name Lover’s Leap. If you cross at night, you might hear her voice.
3. Independence State Mental Health Institute
The institute was built in 1873 as a hospital for people in need of mental health services, which still is used to this day. Unfortunately, society back then did not treat people suffering from mental health conditions very well and as a result, the building in Independence is said to be haunted by spirits who make their presence known to visitors.
4. Edinburgh Manor
Located in Scotch Grove near Monticello, Edinburgh Manor was once a “poor farm” in the mid-1800s. Today, the site is said to be haunted by a number of spirits, including an ghost nicknamed “the Joker” who pushes and pulls people’s hair. The building has been abandoned since 2010, but thrill seekers can still arrange tours of the site.
5. The Black Angel in Oakland Cemetery
Finally, one of the most well-known spooky tales in Iowa can be found right in Iowa City. An eight-and-a-half foot statute of an angel in Oakland Cemetery is said to have been cursed. Since 1912, the statue — which Travel Iowa says was once a golden color — watches over a family plot. Legend says that if you touch or kiss the angel, you’ll be struck dead — so keep your distance.
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