The Black Angel is a statue in Iowa City that is said to be cursed. According to the legend, those who touch it on Halloween or kiss it on the lips are doomed. Some call it the black angel of death.
The Black Angel statue stands in Oakland cemetery, Iowa City. Underneath the figure, lie the remains of three people – a woman, her husband and her son.
The statue of the angel with black wings has quite odd design. Most graveyard angels are usually positioned with their head and wings uplifted, symbolically gazing up towards heaven. The Black Angel’s wings are not uplifted and she is looking down at the ground… towards hell.
The Black Angel also bears a somber expression on its face, with cold, strange-looking eyes and drooping eyelids. Many people find it quite unnerving. Those who visit the cemetery say they get an uneasy feeling in the vicinity of the Angel. They claim that when you walk around, the eyes seem to follow you.
The black angel statue was erected by a mysterious woman named Teresa Dolezal Feldevert. Her 18-year old son Eddie died in 1891 and was buried in Oakland Cemetery. Soon afterwards, she married a man named Nicholas Feldevert. He died tragically just a few years later in 1911. After his death, Teresa commissioned the black angel statue and had it erected over the body of her son and the ashes of her husband in 1912.
According to the legend, when she died in 1924, she was cremated and her ashes were buried beneath the statue. At her funeral, there was a freak storm and a bolt of lightning hit the angel and turned it black. There are those who say that Teresa Feldevert was a very evil woman who murdered her son and husband.
Legend has it that, every year at Halloween, the black angel turns a shade darker as a reminder of the people Teresa killed. Another strange thing is that there is no death date on the monument for Teresa Feldevert. Some people believe that the evil spirit of Teresa still haunts the statue.
They say that if you touch or look directly into the eyes of the Black Angel, you will be struck down by a mysterious and incurable illness. Any girl who is kissed at the black angel’s feet in the moonlight will die within six months. If you touch the angel statue on Halloween night, you will die within seven years. If you kiss the black angel on the lips, your heart will stop beating and you will die instantaneously. Anyone who attempts to vandalize the statue will also be killed swiftly.
There are many stories about people who have touched the angel and subsequently died a horrible death. One well-known story is about four boys who decided to test the legends. One night, they broke into the cemetery and took turns urinating on the monument, laughing all the while. Later that night, on their way home from the cemetery, the boys were involved in a car accident and all four died in the blazing wreck.
Another story tells of a young man who used a hacksaw to cut the thumb off the Angel. He left the cemetery that night carrying the blackened bronze thumb as a trophy. He was never seen alive again. They say he lost his mind and his bloated corpse was later found floating in the Chicago River. The cause of death was strangulation and the only piece of evidence was a large black thumbprint on his neck. A few days later, a blackened piece of bronze in the shape of a thumb was found lying at the base of the Black Angel statue.
For generations, local residents and visitors have come to Oakland Cemetery, often under the light of the moon, to test their courage. University of Iowa students tempt fate by daring each other to touch or kiss the black angel. It is regarded as one of the Iowa’s most haunted sites and stories of the curse are still shared today.