Ghosts of the Prairie

Council Bluff, Iowa

This unique and historic old jail house was known as the Squirrel Cage jail for many years because of it's strange three-story rotary jail. Prisoners were housed in pie-shaped cells. These cells were accessed by turned a hand crank until the cells lined up with a single door on each floor of the building. The jail closed to prisoners in 1969 but it is said that some of them, or at least one superintendent, has lingered on...despite the fact that he is dead.

There were only two prisoners who died in the jail during its years of operation, one of a heart attack and the other by an injury that he sustained while climbing up to write his name on the ceiling of his cell. But experts don't feel that the ghost here is one of the prisoners...but of an early jailer instead.

J.M. Carter was the first superintendent of the jail and spent more time here than any of the prisoners the place held. He oversaw construction of the place back in 1884 and lived in an apartment on the fourth floor.

His presence has been felt here for many years by staff and prisoners alike and while the place no longer holds the convicted, the ghost of J.M. Carter is reported to be still linked to strange incidents today. Complaints about the noises and eerie feelings have been heard many times over the years.

Council Bluffs is located just east of Omaha, Nebraska in the southwestern part of Iowa.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.

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