Possibly the most haunted place in Iowa is the Mason House Inn, a 170-year-old "steamboat hotel" — and in case you can't do the math, that's 1846. It's also been a hospital and a stop on the underground railroad, but for a while now it's been a bed and breakfast in Bentonsport, Iowa, right next to the semi-famous Bentonsport Bridge. If you can't picture it (no one will blame you), it's practically in Missouri, not too far from the Mississippi.

Are there actually ghosts? Well...couldn't tell you. When I stayed last winter/spring, the only thing I can attest to was hearing footsteps on the 3rd floor late at night, but I'm not convinced that wasn't just someone roaming around, possibly going for a pee (technically only one person stays up there, and she's 12. Do twelve-year-olds pee at 3 AM? Are they heavy enough to hear clomping around?). If you believe in orbs, there are a TON of those...but if you believe in those, we need to have a talk.

However, Chuck and Joy Hanson (the owners) will tell you the next morning about what you missed, and sometimes it's creepy. Joy might tell you that a certain ghost went into your room last night and watched you from the chair — and she'll deliver said monologue in complete seriousness.  Or she'll tell you about how she was just minding her business five minutes ago, when one of them started playing with her hair. You just missed it! This will all be over breakfast, which is surprisingly good, considering the dusty 80s decor. She makes a mean breakfast cobbler-coffee cake thing, and the coffee is always fresh.

Are Chuck and Joy crazy? Well, that's not my place to say. If you're interested enough, they will show you their ghostly recording of Abraham Lincoln, and you can take that for what it's worth. Either way, they put on one hell of a show.

But what's far, far less subjective is that the Mason House Inn is essentially their house (maybe that's where the "House" in "Mason House Inn" comes into play). If you hang out anywhere but your room, you'll feel like you're intruding on their space — we got back one night and walked in on their daughter watching television.

But back to the ghosts. There's Paranormal Investigator classes in late August, and all the results are online if you're curious about previous sessions. Who knows, maybe you'll run into Abraham Lincoln?

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