Scaring up Some Small-Town Excitement

After years of losing population, a strange thing is happening in this tiny central Iowa town - new residents are showing up.

"Every day I come through this town thinking, 'Is there another one?'" said one Ackley resident.

So far 40 or so scarecrows have come out of the blue. And even more eerie is their disturbing resemblance to townsfolk, reports CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers.

The first appeared on the bench outside Tim Ubben's hardware store the morning of his 50th birthday.

"There was no doubt in my mind it was meant to be me," Ubben said. "It's got an old pipe wrench in it and a faucet."

As the bodies began to pile up, the whole town became obsessed with learning the identity of the homespun Dr. Frankenstein.

"The first five or six, nobody knew where they were coming from and people would be talking about them and stuff, and I would be, 'I wonder where they are coming from?'" said Joyce Geiken.

Finally, Geiken 'fessed up to creating the scarecrow body doubles in the back of her vintage clothing shop on Main Street.

Shane is the newspaper boy. There's Donna - she's the pharmacist in town. There's also Julie, she's the receptionist, and she wants you to brush your teeth.

Just about everyone agrees the most life-like "dummy" is beauty salon owner Jim Russell's - after he worked a little of his own magic on it.

"It needed a haircut," Russell said. "Everybody thinks it is really more of a duplicate now."

Until now, Ackely's biggest claim to fame was the Sauerkraut Festival they have every summer. But Geiken's scarecrow idea is attracting visitors and scaring up interest from all over the place.

It's exciting times, said convenience store manager Bonnie Wiederkehr, who shows off her own "not so" evil twin.

"People called from Arizona," Wiederkehr said. "Our little town needs something to kick it into gear and this is awesome."

Ackley is attracting attract tourists - real live tourists.

And more scarecrows are planned ... Even one for Katie Couric - she now has a scarecrow skeleton!

"I just have to find the right beautiful pants because she always dresses so nice," Geiken said. "So tell her not to change her hair for at least a month or two!"

Consider it done.
  • Cynthia Bowers

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