Iowa City, Iowa - "Black Angel of Oakland Cemetery"

picture of the black angel In Oakland Cemetery, on the north side of Iowa City, Iowa, stands a foreboding, mysterious statue. Locals tell tales of the powers and curses the memorial contains. Legions flock to the site to tempt their fates by testing the various legends surrounding it. She is the Black Angel, an eight-foot tall bronze statue that stands over the graves of three members of the Feldevert family. Over time this mournful creature's bronze luster changed to a foreboding black hue, and all attempts to restore its original gleam have failed. Each year, the angel looks darker and more ominous.

Several legends explain the transformation. One says that Teresa Feldevert, the matriarch of the family buried beneath the angel, was a witch whose evil was so great that even in death it taints the monument above her. Black Angel Statue Another legend states that when Teresa's husband buried her, he swore to remain faithful to her forever. As time went by, he found a new sweetheart and slept with her; the angel turned black to condemn the breach of his graveside promise.

Whatever the origins of her dark patina, the angel bears some menacing legends, many of which involve kissing, It's said that if a virgin girl receives a kiss in front of the angel, the original golden color will be restored. But this is a risky venture, since another legend states that any woman kissed in front of the monument will die within six months. closr-up view of the black angel But nobody should pucker up to the Black Angel herself, since any man foolish enough to attempt this is said to die instantaneously. Even touching the angel or looking directly into her eyes brings the offender down with an unknown, incurable illness. Anyone trying to vandalize the monument will also be struck down swiftly. One story says that a group of men once urinated on the statue and were in a fatal car accident on their way home from the cemetery that very night.

Unlike most angelic grave markers, the Black Angel makes no effort to focus on heaven, but stares down at the ground with downcast wings. She holds her ground here on earth, reminding us of pain and death, and perhaps inflicting both upon those who disrespect her.