Des Moines Ghost Tours offer three, hour-long tours:
Walking tours are available in the Fall, or by special arrangement during the Spring and Summer; however, the tour of Hill Top Manor is year-round. Each tour is $10 per person.
Call 515-491-0593 for dates/times and reservations.
- A walking tour of the Sherman Hill neighborhood Listen and relive stories of murders, ghosts and the history of the some of the wealthy families who built the area. Visit the many haunted sites and hear about eerie ongoing paranormal activity in Des Moines' oldest neighborhood. This tour includes our city's famous, unsolved "Jack the Ripper" Style murder!
- A tour of the old Victorian house, Hill Top Manor; including the haunted history of the site and house as well as recent paranormal occurrences. The house is located on the site of Des Moines' most tragic fire, the 1977 Coronado Apartments fire.
- A walking tour of Des Moines’ oldest burying grounds, Woodland Cemetery, as it has never been done before; hear about grave robbing, murders, a hanging, tragic deaths and more! Not suitable for children.
You can also investigate Hilltop Manor overnight with our team!
A lady approached Kevin with some supernatural occurrences. Her family was seeing shadow people all the time and they were scared. He did some EMF readings and found higher than normal levels of electromagnetic energy. He recommended that they contact MidAmerican to check the electrical connections to the house.
Kevin heard back from her today. Below is her message….
"I am happy to report to you that since MidAmerican fixed our bad connection to the front of the house we have not had sightings of any unwanted anythings. But things are better than it has been in years.
Thanks so much Kev!
On May 25, SRSOI team members Vicki and Kate took the opportunity to explore one of Des Moines’ little-known treasures, the Glendale Abbey.
Built in 1912, the abbey was one of three built in the state, but is the last to remain standing. It was thought that the large tombs would be the way of the future for burials, but the idea apparently never caught on. When the final few plots within Glendale Abbey are filled, the building will hold the remains of more than 700 Iowans within its walls. It is still one of the largest mausoleums in the nation.
On May 25, SRSOI team members Vicki and Kate took the opportunity to explore one of Des Moines’ little-known treasures, the Glendale Abbey. Built in 1912, the abbey was one of three built in the state, but is the last to remain standing. It was thought that the large tombs would be the way of the future for burials, but the idea apparently never caught on. When the final few plots within Glendale Abbey are filled, the building will hold the remains of more than 700 Iowans within its walls. It is still one of the largest mausoleums in the nation.
The abbey is eerily silent and dark. Dusty stained-glass windows allow some light to sneak through, but not much. Though the cemetery outside was bustling with people on Memorial Day, few chose to take advantage of the rare opportunity to go inside.
There is a small chapel in the front, with park benches for pews, and a marble pulpit for memorial services. The building is larger than expected, with a high, domed ceiling and two wide corridors that coax visitors into their depths. The halls produce echoes that seem to go nowhere, and house the dead, five-high, within their walls.
Some sections are specifically for “cremains”, or the cremated remains of the dead. Many of these 90 cremains were interred when the building first opened, and are visible through panes of glass. Each urn is unique, and many share the tiny space with dusty, framed photos of the deceased held within.
Jetting off of the corridors are small, tall rooms with graves stacked five high, either horizontally or “feet first”. The lower, eye-level crypts are more costly, while the lofty graves 15 feet above are less expensive, and less visible to visitors.
The abbey at Glendale is the last one of its kind standing in Iowa, but unfortunately, it now lies in disrepair. Its massive sandstone walls, pillars, and ceilings are proving difficult to maintain. The roof, which has allowed moisture to seep in, was recently fixed for tens of thousands of dollars, but unfortunately it was too late for several of the marble headstones.
In some areas, the freeze-thaw cycle of tough Iowa winters has all but disintegrated the soft marble markers. The names of several of the entombed have been washed away, now anonymous to visitors, and more than one stone has eroded into a pile of white dust. Spots of mold grow where the ceiling has cracked.
A fundraising campaign is underway for the city-owned structure, with a goal of $40,000 for restoration. Donations can be made by contacting Des Moines’ Parks & Recreation Department.
Though the abbey is rarely open to the public, opportunities may arise more often due to the fundraising efforts. Also, In November of 2012, a time-capsule is to be removed from within the abbey’s stone pulpit, revealing the culture of Des Moines in 1912. The event will also mark the 100th anniversary of the tomb being opened; a reason to celebrate compared to the fate of its sister structures. So visit Glendale Abbey while you can… no one can be sure how many more years the old abbey will hold up.
To make a donation or get additional info, contact the Glendale Cemetery office at 515-248-6320.
© Supernatural Research Society of Iowa 2009.
SRSOI has been looking for a way to get involved in the community, and we think we’ve found it!
When the City of Des Moines put out a request for volunteers to help tend to cemetery grounds, Vicki grabbed the opportunity and signed the Scoobies up!
We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to break ground on our “Adopt-a-plot” project at Woodland Cemetery. The sun was out and we enjoyed warm breezes as we raked and clipped our way to a successful Earth Day.
Vicki, John, Kevin and I took on a small section of headstones with peonies planted next to them. As we were cutting back last year’s plant growth, and raking out all the leaves that covered up the pink baby plants, the little peonies seemed take a deep breath to say, “Thank you, thank you! Now we can breathe and see the light!”
As we worked and chatted in the sun, we noticed a whirlwind building up in the next section over. A wind funnel had sucked up a ton of dead leaves and was whipping them around in the form of a HUGE cyclone! As we watched the twister spin the leaves, it headed toward us… and toward our piles of the leaves we worked so hard to rake!!
As the 40-foot high tornado crept toward our work site, Kevin cast out his hand. “Be gone! By the power vested in me, I cast you out!” With his outstretched hand, he directed the twister around our site, and it seemed to obey!
Unfortunately, he accidentally sent the cyclone straight into the path of the parked cars. With doors open and windows down, dozens of leafy flakes made themselves at home in Kevin’s car and the back seat of Vicki’s Mystery Machine. But hey, At least our leaf piles were spared!! =)
Twister aside, the SRSOI Scoobies had a productive afternoon and managed to rake and clip NINE yard bags worth of debris from our adopted plot! We can’t wait to go back and take care of “our” section again, and watch those baby peonies grow up into big, puffy, ant-loving flowers. Because like Vicki says, “If we don’t take care of the dead, who will?”
People in the southern Iowa town of Centerville said they were heartbroken after vandals ransacked a local cemetery, causing an estimated $100,000 in damage.
Centerville police said they arrested four boys on Thursday afternoon in connection to the case and that all four have since confessed.
Families came to the cemetery throughout the day on Thursday to see if their family gravesites had been among those attacked. Many said they could only shake their heads as an expression of their sadness and disbelief.
“It’s a pretty sad sight to see,” said Centerville Police Chief Tom Demry.
He said it is also sad to think that three 14-year-old boys and one 10-year-old boy could be responsible for destroying more than 160 tombstones.
“I assume it just took them all to knock over some of them,” Demry said. “Some of them probably weigh about 1,500 pounds or more.”
Mary Rosencrats said she had to hold back tears walking through the cemetery after seeing the headstones of many family friends destroyed.
“It just makes me sick in the pit of my stomach,” she said. “I grew up in an age where a cemetery was a place of respect, you know? It’s the last thing you do for your loved one and to just come out and tear it up for no reason? I don’t understand.”
Police said they suspect that the four boys also broke several glass windows in the greenhouse at the wastewater treatment plan. Demry said it could take months to clean up the mess.
“There’s been a lot of emotions that have been out here today,” he said. “It’s a pretty emotional time for people, anyway.”
He said the three 14-year-olds were taken to a juvenile detention center and the 10-year-old was released to the custody of his parents.
It just makes me sick when I hear of stupid acts of vandalism in any cemetery! Here are my thoughts on punishment.
Any kid or adult who is found responsible for damaging monuments should not only pay for AND help with repairs but should also be part of the crew who opens and closes new graves
Please share your thoughts!