Unlocking the Haunted History of Cedar Falls

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Some people in Iowa are already chomping at the bit for Autumn, and with the spooky holiday season that quickly follows. Iowa has a rich history, and thanks to one of the state’s natives, Lauren Riensche, Iowans can experience Cedar Falls’ creepy true stories. Riensche is the owner and host of Cedar Falls Ghost Tour which returns this October.

Cedar Falls Ghost Tour Group
Cedar Falls Ghost Tour Group

Riensche, who moved to Cedar Falls in 2020, has made it her mission to unearth the town’s haunted past. “The Cedar Falls Ghost Tour is an opportunity to explore the historic downtown area of Cedar Falls like you never have before,” she says. The tour, a one-hour walk, is a blend of local history and spine-chilling tales.

Riensche’s fascination with ghost stories isn’t new. She’s taken dozens of ghost tours around the world and decided to bring the experience to her community. “I wanted to lean back into a hobby,” she explains. She started by walking up and down Main Street, collecting stories from local shop owners and residents. “I’ve collected probably over 115 or 120 ghost stories at this point,” she reveals.

One of the oldest stories on her tour dates back to the town’s founding in 1845. It centers around Overman Park, where a shadowy entity has been reported. Riensche speculates that the entity could be John Overman, one of the town’s founding members, or perhaps a Native American spirit. “I take those stories and then walk back in time looking through historical archives and records,” she says.

Riensche’s tours have been a hit, selling out quickly. “About 120 people or more come out to take the tour every year,” she notes. With a wealth of stories in her arsenal, Riensche is considering future expansion but is cautious. “If I scale, then I don’t personally have the opportunity to tell the tales,” she says, emphasizing her love for storytelling.

The Cedar Falls Ghost Tour is more than just a spooky walk; it’s a deep dive into the town’s history, making it a unique blend of education and entertainment.

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Guest Host: Rob Newton

Rob Newton. What’s up Des Moines Host

This week, filling in for host Justin Brady is Rob Newton. Newton has experience in radio and podcasting from Iowa, anchoring the news for Iowa’s largest news radio station WHO Radio, and one of Los Angeles’ largest news radio stations KFI Radio.


What’s Up Des Moines

Presently, Newton hosts What’s Up Des Moines, a three-times per week podcast. The podcast was created for listeners to get to know Des Moines, its people, and what’s going on around the city.

Newton keep’s the community informed by highlighting news, various events, and changes within the DSM Metro. Get ready for interviews, stories, and entertainment! Available on your favorite podcast app!