'Fiend Incarnate' author's true crime book definitive work on brutal 1912 Villisca axe murders

IMG_20211201_112828_334Author Ed Epperly with Villisca documentary filmmakers Kelly Rundle and Tammy Rundle of Fourth Wall Films.

Excerpts of story by reporter Melody Parker
Waterloo Courier

Ed Epperly is considered an authority on the worst mass murder in Iowa history. The retired Luther College professor has spent more than six decades delving into the 1912 horrific murders of a prominent Villisca family and two overnight guests.

Epperly’s recently published true crime non-fiction book, “Fiend Incarnate: Villisca Iowa Axe Murders of 1912,” is the result of his comprehensive research.

“This is an iconic case and stands right up there with Jack the Ripper and Lizzie Borden. These murders just haven’t gotten that kind of publicity, and the community of Villisca tried to repress news about it when it happened,” said Epperly.

The tragedy remains unsolved.

On June 10, 1912, the small community of Villisca awoke to the violent murders of Josiah and Sara Moore and their four children, Herman, Katherine, Boyd and Paul, and guests Lena and Ina Stillinger. They were discovered brutally bludgeoned to death in their beds.

Click HERE to read the rest of the story.

For more information about “Fiend Incarnate” visit To purchase the book via Amazon, click HERE!

To purchase the award-winning documentary "Villisca: Living with a Mystery" visit




This is the only website dedicated to presenting factual information about the 1912 Villisca axe murder mystery.

This enduring true crime story has been compellingly told in the award-winning and critically-acclaimed documentary feature film Villisca: Living With a Mystery.

Choose from the "Case Files" on the left for more details about the film and this unsolved mystery story.

You will also find information about how and where to see or buy the film.


Fiend Incarnate: Villisca Axe Murders of 1912 has been published! This definitive written account of the Villisca mystery was written by Dr. Edgar V. Epperly, the foremost historical authority on this Midwestern true crime.

Fiend Incarnate is a companion to Villisca: Living With a Mystery.

Thank you for visiting

Scroll down to see the latest news!