Haunted Journeys

Squirrel Cage Jail

Squirrel Cage Jail

226 Pearl Street
Council Bluffs, Iowa
51503 USA
(712) 323-2509

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Council Bluffs, IA is home to one of the most haunted places in the state, Squirrel Cage Jail. Come Explore its mystery with Haunted Journeys.


The Jail was built in 1885 and in continuous use until 1969. The Jail is a one-of-a-kind structure. It was one of 18 revolving jails built. It is the only three-story one ever built. The Jail has three floors of revolving pie-shaped cells inside a cage. The front part of the building had offices for the jailer, kitchen, trustee cells, and quarters for women. 

It was acquired by the Council Bluffs Park Board in 1971 for preservation and named to the National Register of Historic Places. The Historical Society led an effort in 1977 to save the Jail, and today owns and operates the facility. 



Historical Society tour guides routinely tell visitors nobody has called the Squirrel Cage Jail home since 1969. Some folks may disagree with that! A former jailer chose not to use the fourth floor as his apartment "because of the strange goings-on up there." He reported hearing people walking around on a floor that had nobody on it. One person thinks the ghost is J.M. Carter, the man who oversaw the building's construction. Mr. Carter was the first resident of the top floor apartment and maybe never left, continuing to watch over the one-of-a-kind building to this day. 

There have also been reports of a full-body apparition on the fourth floor thought to be another former jailer. Museum staff have experienced doors that opens by itself, strange lights, and peculiar noises.  

A few years ago, a woman working on a project in the building after hours was shocked to see a little girl with a very mournful expression dressed entirely in gray inside a cell whose bars were locked with no way in or out. Visitors have reported feeling that something was tugging at them, a great feeling of sadness in some of the cells, or felt that there was a presence. 


The feelings of being watched of followed have been most frequently noted on the third and fourth floors though the voice of a little girl has been picked up in various places throughout the building, as has the presence of two ghost cats. This property was featured in the 2018 and 2019 "World's Largest Ghost Hunt."  










  • As Seen on Para TV
  • Worlds Largest Ghost Hunt Participant
Understand This:

This property, as part of our network, has been added for they may have history, validation or folk tales of having spirited activities. Please take caution in approaching and visiting these locations, since courtesy, respect and caution should be top priority in every Haunted Investigator's style. Also do realize, some of these places may have permanently closed, changed ownership and/or names, or just are not available for your visits. Please respect this. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided on this listing, but offer it as a first step in finding your next haunted travel destination. Please do confirm with the property before making any plans to visit. If you visit, tour or investigate this property (or any of our properties), we are not responsible or held liable for any outcomes, lack of evidence or injuries associated with your travels. This is only for entertainment purposes, and information provided is only as found in public domains (or as offered by the associated contributor (as a claimed property). For more information, please read our TERMS OF SERVICE (linked below).



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Date added: Mar/16/2019 | Last time updated: Mar/27/2020
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