See below for details on the haunted house and its history, then visit Hilltop Manor's Facebook Page for more!
Carlton & Randa LeJeune own the haunted 1893 Victorian home, located in the historic and haunted Sherman Hill area of Des Moines, IA.
The large three story house was moved from the Drake University area, to its current location, to save it from demolition. The house is appointed with antiques from the late 19th century, and walking into the house is like stepping back into another time.
The current lot where it rests is not without its own sad history and ghosts. In 1900, a five story brick apartment building, known as the Coronado, was built where the home is today. Over the years, as the area fell into neglect, so did the Coronado. In 1977, a renter ignited a fire that quickly swept through the carpeted hallways of the ancient brick building, spreading to all floors without hesitation. It was there on the highest floor that Vivian Rand (26) and her five year old daughter, Sonya, burned to death in front of screaming neighbors, unable to do anything to aid in their escape. Bystanders pleaded unsuccessfully with Vivian to drop the child. The old, metal fire escape ladder, which was so close to Vivian’s foot, was also red hot from the flames and she couldn’t touch it; much like seawater to a stranded sailor dying of thirst….so close and yet so far….
Other victims died of smoke inhalation. Knowing about the deaths of these individuals brings a human aspect into the supernatural happenings on this corner lot.
There are other nameless spirits who reside with the Le Jeunes; one who runs down the length of the second floor hallway. Another enjoys moving scissors around the house. Visitors to the tea salon have reported a chair moving by unseen hand and a teacup which rises to invisible lips.
There are apparitions who tease the living with the ability to appear then disappear. One, a young man dressed in 1920’s golfing attire, has been seen on the front staircase. Another is a lady dressed in a long white gown. They don’t stay for long….just enough for the living to wonder “what did I just see?”