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|by Lori Erickson|
The Mason House Inn Bed & Breakfast boasts several permanent spectral residents. See for yourself during a Ghost Hunting Class.
Iowa has its fair share of sites. But only one location claims the title of Iowa’s most haunted house. The Mason House Inn Bed & Breakfast on the banks of the Des Moines River in the small village of Bentonsport is supposedly inhabited by no fewer than 20 spirits (including one cat).
After initially wanting to keep its phantom residents secret, owners Joy and Chuck Hanson now welcome publicity about the inn’s eerie reputation. In October 2006, the Today show featured the Mason House on a Halloween segment covering America’s most haunted houses.
When the Hansons purchased the federal-style brick structure in 2001, the previous owner informed them that the inn had a ghost. Joy says the initial warning didn’t bother the couple, but the proliferation of strange activity in the house led them to suspect that more than one spirit haunted their new home.
“Doors locked themselves, we’d hear our names being called when no one was there and alarm clocks kept going off when we hadn’t set them,” says Joy. “Also, guests often would come to breakfast with stories of odd things happening at night, like door handles jiggling and tapping on the walls.”
At the suggestion of a guest, the Hansons invited professional ghost hunter Christopher Moon to visit the inn in 2004. Moon’s first visit was so intriguing that he since has returned more than 10 times.
“The Mason House Inn has one of the highest levels of paranormal activity of any building I’ve visited in the country,” says Moon, who is based in Denver and leads ghost-hunting classes around the nation. “What happens there is not the sort of spooky-scary hauntings that people associate with Hollywood movies. Instead, the spirits seem to be people associated with the history of the inn and former guests.”
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