Some people call it the scariest thing in Iowa City. It’s a statue in Oakland Cemetery that most people call “The Black Angel.” The statue stands almost nine-feet tall and according to a spokeswoman for the Johnson County Historical Society, the Black Angel hovers over the graves of man, woman and child. “To me, it almost looks like she’s kind of holding her wings protectively over the people…and maybe even grieving herself,” she says of the statute. The statue was commissioned by a Czech woman after her husband and son died, but according to local legend she was furious when she saw the pose, and that the bronze had been blackened by the artist. The family’s house still stands next to the cemetery. There are all sorts of rumors about the powers of The Black Angel that are well-known to passersby. Some believe if you kiss the angel, you’ll die. Others have heard stories that if you touch the Black Angel, your arm will turn black. Some folks believe that every passing Halloween causes the angel to turn one shade darker.
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