(KWWL)-- Ghosts, specters
and spirits: they have a timeless
allure. Eastern Iowa has its fair
share of them, according to
paranormal researcher Chad Lewis.
Cedar Rapids' Oak
Hill Cemetery is supposedly haunted
by a phantom named "Tillie."
"She's an old
Czechoslovakian ghost. It was said
that the townsfolk stoned her to
death, and she roams the cemetery
seeking revenge at those who took
her life so many years ago,"
said paranormal researcher Chad
Librarians at the
Cedar Rapids Public Library tell of
a poltergeist called Helen, who
causes books to fall off shelves.
But those seem to
pale in comparison to one of the
most well-known legends in the
Midwest: Iowa City's Black Angel,
also known as the angel of death.
It's a monument
steeped in local folklore, according
to Lori Erickson.
"I don't know of
another story in eastern Iowa,
certainly, that has as wide a
circulation as the black angel;
everyone knows about it," said
The angel's story
dates back to the late 1800's, when
Bohemian immigrant Teresa Feldevert
ordered a special grave marker for
her second husband, Nicholas.
"She decided to
commission a statue to place over
both his grave, and the grave of her
But she hated the
finished bronze statue, and refused
to pay for it.
"She thought the
marker would include the tree trunk
marker for her son as well."
Teresa took the
matter to court, but she lost, and
had to pay for the sculpture.
about her coming into Oakland
Cemetery in her wheelchair, and
sitting in front of the black angel.
People reported she would just sit
and stare at it," said Erickson.
Some say she was
stricken with regret and grief.
She died years
later, her ashes buried beneath the
angel's cold gaze.
Many believe the
monument was forever cursed by her
anger and despair.
"The legend is
that every year, it'll turn a shade
darker because of all the souls it
harvests throughout the year."
superstitions followed, and became
part of the angel's mysterious tale.
"if you go there
at midnight and touch the statue,
you'll be cursed with bad luck and
you'll die within a week."
"it is said if you
kiss in front of the statue, you'll
fall dead instantly."
And some stories
go beyond simple omens. "Other
witnesses have actually seen this
angel come to life and move
throughout the cemetery."
While little is
known about the origin of these
myths, Erickson says the truth
behind them isn't nearly as
important, or fun, as the color they
add to Eastern Iowa.
"I've never had a
personal experience with a ghost,
but I love ghost stories."
And when it comes
to hunting ghosts or tracking down a
piece of haunted history, Lewis says
there's no need for high-tech
equipment...just a sense of
curiosity and adventure.
"You can travel
out to these places with a camera
and a notebook, and see what
Producer: Michelle Caldwell