Earling, Iowa

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Earling is a city in Shelby County, Iowa, United States. The population was 471 at the 2000 census.



The town was platted in 1882 by the Milwaukee Land Company and was first known as Marthan. However there was already a town called Marathon in Iowa, so the name of the town was soon changed to Earling, in honor of Albert J. Earling who in 1882 was division superintendent of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway. (Earling became president of the said Railroad on September 23, 1899.)

Earling is well known in paranormal circles for being the site of a 1928 exorcism. Over 23 days in 1928, a Roman Catholic priest named Theophilus Riesinger worked to exorcise demons from Emma Schmidt at the local Franciscan convent. During the exorcism Schmidt reportedly flew across the room, landed high above the door, and clung tightly to the wall. Despite attempts by church officials to keep the exorcism secret, townspeople soon began hearing strange noises coming from the convent as well as horrid odors. Finally after 23 days the demons in Schmidt's body gave up after Father Riesinger commanded, "Depart, ye fiends of hell! Begone, Satan." After the exorcism Schmidt reportedly led a fairly normal life.[1]


Earling is located at 41°46′30″N 95°25′7″W / 41.775°N 95.41861°W / 41.775; -95.41861 (41.775116, -95.418552)[2].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²), all of it land.

Mosquito Creek rises near Earling.


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 471 people, 181 households, and 114 families residing in the city. The population density was 772.3 people per square mile (298.1/km²). There were 186 housing units at an average density of 305.0/sq mi (117.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 99.36% White, 0.21% Native American, and 0.42% from two or more races.

There were 181 households out of which 23.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.86.

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