Injustice & Questions in the Heartland: The Villisca Axe Murders at 106.

Wess Haubrich
9 min readJun 6, 2018

106 years ago this June 10, 6 children and 2 adults were brutally murdered in their beds in a small Iowa town. The crime has birthed alot more questions then answers. No one was ever brought to justice for it or the other crimes of the Midwestern Axe Man.

“The Villisca Republic”, June 10, 1912.
Villisca, IA.

This piece contains very lurid descriptions of a very brutal crime scene. One so brutal and bizarre it knocked the Titanic disaster off of many of the front pages in American newspapers when it happened 106 years ago and remains unsolved to this day. Please do not read this if you are squeamish or easily troubled. The lurid description reflects historical facts and is necessary to understand the barbarity and psychopathic disregard for human life that was inflicted upon 8 human beings. The main fact being that the victims of this crime have not had justice for 106 years: either in the courts or in the cultural consciousness in art.

Their tragedy has been turned in much of the art about the subject into a ghost hunter filled side show (ghost hunters go to haunted house, ghost hunters get killed, you’ve seen it in innumerable B-Budget horror flicks) abstracted from all the historical facts of the case. The victims of the Villisca Axe Murders deserve justice, if not in the courts then in some form of responsible exposition of their tragedy, that we may never forget what happened. Throughout this article and the description of the crime scene itself, the generally accepted time of day that the events happened is stressed. This is necessary in understanding any crime scene, as one must construct the most likely timeline in which the events happened. If you are fine with that disclaimer, please read on. If you are not, you have been warned. Read on at your own risk.

Josiah and Sara Moore.

The Villisca Axe Murders have left questions burrowed deep in my mind for quite some time, and I’m sure they will do the same to you if you have never dissected this most bizarre case. A historical fiction…

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Wess Haubrich

Horror, crime, noir with a distinctly southwestern tinge. Staff writer, former contributing editor; occultist; anthropologist of symbols.