Smelly Ghost of University Avenue

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Locals say a cloudlike presence occurs here, and it smells of kerosene. Sometimes within the cloud is the form of a man or several tiny flickering lights. Reports tell of a man who died nearby in 1881 as a result of his kerosene-soaked clothes catching fire.

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Geographic Information

University Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
United States

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41.6004211, -93.70162010000001
Polk County, Iowa
Nearest Towns:
Windsor Heights, IA (0.4 mi.)
Clive, IA (1.2 mi.)
Urbandale, IA (1.9 mi.)
West Des Moines, IA (3.0 mi.)
Des Moines, IA (4.8 mi.)
Johnston, IA (5.0 mi.)
Saylorville, IA (6.6 mi.)
Grimes, IA (7.6 mi.)
Cumming, IA (8.7 mi.)
Norwalk, IA (8.7 mi.)


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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.