Spooky sightings are all the rage around Halloween time, but Iowa City has a few ghosts of its very own who stick around all year, every year. For those interested in delving deeper into the haunted past of Iowa City, you’ll want to check out a book called Haunted Iowa City which was written by University Of Iowa alumni, Vernon Trollinger. Here are a few eerie and popular hauntings that are touched upon in his book:
The Black Angel Of Oakland Cemetery – The 8 ½ foot tall Black Angel of Oakland Cemetery was erected in 1912 or 1918 as a burial marker for the Feldevert family – there is a long-standing debate over the actual date it arrived in the cemetery due to legal battles with the artist. Stories and superstitions have surrounded this spectacular statue since the beginning; however, the myths grew when the Angel mysteriously transformed from a beautiful golden bronze cast to the eerie black Hawkeye Fans know today. The color change didn’t occur until the Feldevert matriarch died and her ashes were spread beneath the Angel to join her son and late husband.
Within a few years, the Angel’s eyes turned black and then the darkness began to run down her face like tears. Several attempted to return the statue to its original bronze color with no luck. The change in hue can be explained as oxidation resulting from exposure to the elements, however, there have been many interesting and colorful theories proposed over the years including a well-placed lighting strike, punishment for adultery, murder and evil deeds and even accusations of witchcraft.
Legend says any girl kissed near the Black Angel in the moonlight will die within 6 months. Anyone who touches the Black Angel at midnight on Halloween will die within 7 years. And anyone who kisses the Black Angel will die instantly. Some say the Black Angel’s color turns darker every year as a reminder of all those she has killed. While this site is especially popular on Halloween for thrill seekers who enjoy flirting with death, we recommend not kissing anywhere near this statue or cemetery – just in case the local myths are true!
University Of Iowa City Dorms – There are 2 famously haunted dormitory buildings at the university. Currier Hall is the school’s oldest dormitory and its 4th floor is haunted by 3 roommates. Legend has it the girls fell in love with the same man and committed suicide when they discovered his egregious betrayal. Over the years, numerous residents have reported seeing ghosts of the young women appear during times of tenant conflict. The ghosts allegedly promote friendship and look to restore harmony between roommates. Slater Hall’s 9th floor is said to be haunted by a male student who jumped to his death from that floor. Residents of this dormitory have claimed to have seen the young man’s ghost and heard his footsteps and screaming.
Watt’s Antiques & Collectibles – An old house on the corner of Muscatine Ave and Dearborn Street was converted into a now permanently closed antique shop. The building is rumored to be haunted. People who have been in the antique store when it was open for business reported hearing voices and footsteps, feeling cold spots and witnessing apparitions.