In the heart of Iowa City, nestled within Oakland Cemetery, stands a mysterious and ominous statue known as the Black Angel. This dark figure has been the subject of numerous eerie tales and superstitions, making it one of Iowa’s most famous haunted landmarks.

Origins of the Black Angel

The Black Angel statue was commissioned by Teresa Feldevert in memory of her son Eddie, who died in 1891. Sculpted by Czech artist Mario Korbel, the statue was erected in 1912. Originally, the angel was a pristine bronze, but over time it has darkened to a foreboding black, giving rise to various legends.

Legends and Superstitions

The transformation of the angel’s color is central to the myths surrounding it. Various tales attempt to explain the change, often attributing it to supernatural or sinister causes:

  • Curse and Mourning: Some say the statue turned black due to the grief and sorrow of those it commemorates.
  • Supernatural Events: Others believe the statue is cursed, and touching it brings misfortune or death.

Common Beliefs

Local legends include a host of eerie superstitions:

  • Touching the Angel: It’s said that those who touch or kiss the statue will be struck by bad luck or die within a year.
  • Nighttime Visits: Visiting the statue at night is considered particularly risky, with reports of strange sounds, apparitions, and an overwhelming sense of dread.

Investigations and Skepticism

Despite the legends, there are logical explanations for the angel’s darkened appearance:

  • Oxidation: The blackening is likely due to the natural oxidation of the bronze over time.
  • Weathering: Exposure to the elements has contributed to the statue’s eerie transformation.

Cultural Impact

The Black Angel has become an iconic part of Iowa City’s heritage, attracting tourists, paranormal enthusiasts, and curious locals. It features prominently in local lore, ghost tours, and Halloween activities, cementing its place in the cultural fabric of the community.


The Black Angel of Oakland Cemetery remains one of Iowa’s most enigmatic and haunting landmarks. Whether viewed through the lens of folklore or scientific explanation, its presence continues to captivate and intrigue. For those interested in the paranormal or local legends, a visit to the Black Angel offers a compelling glimpse into the eerie side of Iowa’s history.

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