2. The Villisca Murders
While Bill and Rachel James are not certain about the Hinterkaifeck crimes, they are convinced that the Man from the Train carried out the infamous Villisca ax murders in Villisca, Iowa.
Between Sunday, June 9, and Monday, June 10, 1912, the Man from the Train may have entered the Villisca home of the Moore family. While the family slept, the murderer used the family’s ax to bludgeon them all to death. The dead included 43-year-old Josiah B. “Joe” Moore, 39-year-old Sarah Moore, 11-year-old Herman Moore, ten-year-old Katherine Moore, seven-year-old Boyd Moore, five-year-old Paul Moore, 12-year-old Lena Stillinger, and eight-year-old Ina Stillinger.
This crime shocked the small community of Villisca, and today, the Moore home stands as a ghoulish attraction for thousands of visitors every year. What is known for certain is that Joe Moore was struck several times in the head with the blunt side of an ax, while his wife Sarah was struck only once with the sharp end of the ax.
As for the children, only one, Lena Stillinger, showed signs that she was not killed while she slept. Indeed, the prepubescent Stillinger was likely sexually molested after death. According to the James authors, the killer’s sexual attraction to young girls drove him to murder, and it likely drove him to kill the entire Moore family.