Haunted Journeys

Squirrel Cage Jail

Squirrel Cage Jail

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

Add to Favorites

Our Badges


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 History

The Jail was built in 1885 and in continuous use until 1969. The Jail is a one-of-a-kind structure, as never constructed before. It was one of 18 revolving jails built in the country. It is the only three-story of this type 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.

In 1971, it was purchased by the Council Bluffs Park Board for preservation. It was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 by the Historical Society, in order to save the facility. Today it is owned by the society, operating it with tours for the public which sustains the property.

The Hauntings

Although the tour guides may tell visitors nobody has called the Squirrel Cage Jail home since 1969, it may not be all that accurate. For you see, there are many souls that live in the establishment that have made it their permanent home.

How intense can the hauntings be if a former jailer admitted that he did not want to stay on the fourth floor? He just didn't want to deal with all the strange goings-on up there. He reported hearing people walking around on a floor that had nobody on it. There have also been reports of witnessing full-body apparition on the fourth floor thought to be another former jailer.

There are some that believe the ghost is J.M. Carter, the man who once oversaw the building's original construction is still in the building, though he died many years ago. Mr. Carter was the first resident of the top floor apartment and maybe never left. He may be continuing to watch over the building he put together and make sure all is going well.

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. She was dressed entirely in gray and was actually inside a cell whose bars were locked. There would have been no possible way for anyone to get 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. Could this be the child wanting some attention?

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 historical property is sure to not disappoint the paranormal enthusiast promising some unforgettable chills and creeps! The Squirrel Cage Jail was featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures and Most Terrifying Places. 

This property was featured in the 2018 and 2019 "World's Largest Ghost Hunt."  http://www.nationalghosthuntingday.com/


More reads...


Squirrel Cage Jail: Council Bluffs, Iowa Paperback – June 4, 2019 by S. M. Senden (Author)     Human Squirrel Cage: Nodaway County's Rotary Jail Paperback – June 4, 2019 by Susan Cronk  (Author)     Tales from the Squirrel Cage Jail Paperback – January 1, 2009 by Ryan Roenfeld  (Author)



  • 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 a 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).

Please select from the tags below to see more like this listing!

Date added: Mar/16/2019 | Last time updated: Jun/11/2021

Don't See Your Business or Favorite Haunt Listed?

    facebook instagram pinterest tumblr twitter

We participate in several affiliate programs, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. All of our affiliate programs are intended to provide a means for us to earn small fees by offering respected, relevant and useful products to our readers. These efforts will not be an extra cost to you and are paid directly by the advertiser as commission. Thank you for providing the opportunity to offer these products and services to you, while helping us to sustain our content delivery efforts on this website.

Hello! Please Log In