HAUNTED EASTERN IOWA: The Mississippi River - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

HAUNTED EASTERN IOWA: The Mississippi River

by Jenn Jarvis

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- People in Dubuque may have heard stories about the Ham House or Clarke College being haunted. But, many of the ghost stories center around a body of water and not a building.

One of the most unusual involves a runaway who is believed to have fallen from the railroad bridge.

"A young man who was crossing the railroad tracks from Iowa to Illinois on the railroad bridge, his body was never discovered," Paranormal Investigator Gerry Murphy said.

There's a man who lives in the building above the railroad bridge. His job, for 30 days at a time, is to move the bridge when needed. One night he saw a face floating in the window, high above the bridge.

Sometime later the railroad company passed out a flyer from the Department of Family Services with a picture of the missing boy, and it was the same face the bridge operator had seen in his window.

This is one of many stories Murphy tells during his ghost tours of the Mississippi River. He says if you've never seen something unusual along the river, it's probably because you haven't been looking.

"You know, like they say, the mind is a parachute, unless you open it, it doesn't work," Murphy said.

While some ghosts appear to only one, others show themselves to many. Once a paddle wheel boat was seen cruising down the Mississippi by more than a dozen people.

"There were welders out here that were just finishing up on the day. And they mentioned the fact that they heard noise, they heard music and they saw characters dressed in Victorian style costumes," Murphy said.

Murphy says the river has played a key role in the lives and deaths of so many, it makes sense that some would never want to leave.

"The river is alive with the spirits of poeple that have contributed and have not contributed to the area, so it's really a fun place to be for both life and death," Murphy said.

And while many may be looking for a fright on Halloween, Murphy says in all his investigations, he's never encountered a spirit that wanted to harm someone.

Murphy is part of the Big Muddy Ghost Hunters. In addition to tours, the group investigates homes in the Dubuque area and works to educate the public about paranormal activity.

Online Reporter: Jenn Jarvis
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