Where in Iowa Are You Most Likely to See a Ghost?

Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

Happy October, Ghost Hunters! To celebrate the spookiest month of the year, IowaBets.com is taking a break from our usual Iowa sports betting coverage to venture into some paranormal activity. We are striving to find the Iowa cities where the most ghost sightings have occurred.

Using GhostsofAmerica.com, a website that collects and shares users’ eyewitness accounts of hauntings, we compiled a list of the 10 cities where the most ghost sightings have occurred. See the results below, along with tips on where to find ghosts this Halloween.

Iowa Cities That You’d Most Likely See a Ghost

Rank City Sightings Reported
1 Clinton 48
2 Sioux City 41
3 Fort Dodge 21
4 Burlington 20
5 Des Moines 18
6 Muscatine 17
T7 Marshalltown 16
T7 Cedar Rapids 16
T9 Fort Madison 15
T9 Davenport 15


Clinton’s the Scariest Spot in Iowa

If you want to spend October 31 with a ghost in Iowa, Clinton is the place to be. There have been more spirit sightings in Clinton than anywhere else in the state. Chief among the local “haunts” in the city is the former Schick Hospital. Built during World War II, the massive brick facility was used to treat wounded soldiers returning from combat. Although it’s now used as an office building, it’s not hard to see why ghost stories persist — at one point the building housed more than 3,500 injured vets.

Sioux City is a close second on our haunted cities list. According to local paranormal investigators, Calvary Cemetery is the spot to go for a good scare. Several visitors report hearing a high-pitched ringing in their ears as they enter the graveyard, accompanied by the feeling that their body has been wrapped in cobwebs. There is also a truly terrifying gravestone carved from a tree trunk that looks like something straight out of a Tim Burton movie.

There have been 21 sightings written about Fort Dodge, IA on GhostsofAmerica.com, with several mentioning the so-called “Terror “Bridge. Technically named the Banwall Bridge, this unassuming span dates back to the 1800s and passes over a set of train tracks. The origins of the haunting surround a mother who allegedly brought her young children to the bridge — and then threw them onto the tracks where they were killed by an oncoming train.

Burlington is the fourth most ghost-infested city in Iowa, according to the sighting records we reviewed. If you’re in the area this Halloween season and anxious to conjure up the dead, take a drive down Stony Hollow Road. As the ghost story goes, if you say, “Lucinda, Lucinda, Lucinda,” you will summon a heartbroken 19th century woman, who threw herself off a nearby cliff after her husband left her. But beware, if Lucinda leaves you a rose, you’ll be doomed to die the very next day.

Iowa’s capital, Des Moines, is home to plenty of haunted spots, including the Governor’s mansion. Known as Terrace Hill, this Victorian-style home dates back to 1869 and is believed to be haunted by the spirit of a young girl who works the elevator inside. Also in Des Moines is the Jordan House. The family home of a well-known abolitionist, James C. Jordan, was an important hiding place along the underground railway. However, it is the spirits of the many children who died while living in the house that apparently still linger in there today.

But of course, we here at IowaBets.com can think of nothing scarier than missing out on a Iowa sportsbook promo code or exclusive offer — so keep checking back for all your Iowa betting needs.


Jeff Parker

Jeff Parker is a contributing writer for IowaBets.com. A writer for film, television and the internet, Jeff is a life long movie buff, with a Masters Degree in Popular Culture. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he works full time as documentary filmmaker and producer.