Mars Hill Church

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This old log cabin church is actually a restoration using salvaged timber from vintage barns. The church had been in existence from 1856 til 2006 when some dirtbag arsonist decided to burn the place to the ground. Rumors of it being haunted however have become something of local lore, with the usual urban legend type stories of alleged “black rites” and other nonsense having taken place there. This place is probably haunted only by its wealth of years, and an act of cowardly arson.

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Geographic Information

100th Ave
South of Ottumwa, Iowa
United States

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40.899447165241064, -92.35751856445273
Wapello County, Iowa
Nearest Towns:
Floris, IA (2.7 mi.)
Agency, IA (7.1 mi.)
Eldon, IA (7.1 mi.)
Ottumwa, IA (8.8 mi.)
Drakesville, IA (9.5 mi.)
Bloomfield, IA (10.6 mi.)
Batavia, IA (11.9 mi.)
Pulaski, IA (14.7 mi.)
Douds, IA (14.8 mi.)
Leando, IA (14.8 mi.)


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Comments (16)

  1. Its the scariest place I’ve ever been to, I constantly felt like I was being watched. At one point I even felt a rush of cold air sweep through my body even though it was like 85 degrees outside. Also as we went down to the bridge and shut our vehicle off, we could hear screams and cries, and our car even got pushed across the bridge. At first we didn’t believe it, but then we turned around and shut the car off and put it in neutral we were pushed again. We immediately left as fast as we could.

      • Anyone can go there. I was there about a week ago to set out some flowers. A lot of my mothers side of the family is buried there.
        But if you are hoping to see a ghost, you will be disappointed. The ghost stories were made up as filler for a book about the place around 30 years ago.
        The scariest thing that has ever happened there is high school kids getting drunk and trying to scare their girlfriends.

  2. I’ve had a few experiences at this place from hand prints all over car to my antenna moving for no reason my phone wouldn’t record any voices not even my own and as soon as I left it worked also birthday card started singing and u have to open and close it all the way for it to do so it was laying on the floor of car very creepy place!

  3. My friend Laurel and I went yesterday. The church was very creepy. We walked around the graveyard. A creepy truck drove past and slowed down. We got some great EMF evidence. However, as we were looking at a grave stone we heard a shotgun shot right across the street! We freaked out! We sucked down, then came 2 more shots! I wanted to run away from the shot back to the church and my friend wanted to run towards the shot to the car. We booked it for the car and got out of there! BE CAREFUL if you go! Please!

  4. I don’t see what’s so scary and creepy about Mars Hill. So you can here babies crying at Cry Baby Bridge. And you vehical will die if you cross to slow. So did any one see civil war soldier that stands next to the tree to at the cemetery? How about the other spirits there?

    I guess when you see/ talk to them on a daily basis. Mars Hill isn’t close to being creepy/ scary. Just saying!!!!!!

  5. My 1st time here was in the end of the 1970’s and it was very haunted and spooky then and I am returning again this month and I can’t wait. My uncle Jesse ended up with stitches in his hand the first time we went with very spooky sounds, cries, weird lights and we were also locked in the church with no one outside. I remember hiding underneath the Church pues and it being freezing cold in the summer. My two cousins wetting themselves in fear. I guess I am a fear seeker that’s why I am going back for more.

  6. Reading this is hilarious! I grew up right down the street. I rode my bike to that cemetary daily. I always felt peace there.
    I also know that a lot of people got scared because my brother and I liked to scare them. Lol also my dad and a buddy snuck through the timber on many occasion to scare the living crap out of vandals and people looking for a thrill. My parents did not have much money but they felt a need to take care of the church. They painted it and did their best to keep it looking nice.

  7. I knew of 5 boys who went here with a ouija board. Out of the 5 two are still alive. Two of them hung themselves and one died from choking on his own vomit from drinking to much. Yes this could of just been a coincidence,but I know I won’t go there.

  8. I just remember going there on a school trip and having someone saying that there was a ghost in the outhouse cause when they knock on the door a voice said in use and the teacher opening the door and no one was in there or any where near it.

  9. It`s amazing how these stories get started. About 30 years ago a local woman wrote a book about the church and while she did have a lot of historical info on the place, it wasn`t enough for a real book, so she wrote some filler for it. Pat of that filler was that she made up some ghost stories.
    She was pretty upfront about it. After the book was published she even told the local newspaper that the ghost stories were just filler that she had made up for the book.
    The closest thing to anything supernatural at Mars Hill was high school kids getting drunk and trying to scare their girlfriends.

  10. I know someone that was involved in that and they were just out there like other kids do but it was cold and they started a fire to get warm in the pit in the middle of floor and the boards around the edge caught fire

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Disclaimer: The stories posted here are user-submitted and are, in the nature of "ghost stories," largely unverifiable. makes no claims that any of the statements posted here are factually accurate. The vast majority of information provided on this web site is anecdotal, and as such, should be viewed in the same light as local folklore and urban legends.