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The Hinterkaifeck Murders

Were the Hinterkaifeck deaths a paranormal event or did someone get away with murder?

Were the Hinterkaifeck deaths a paranormal event or did someone get away with murder?

The Hinterkaifeck farm was situated about 70 miles north of Munich, Germany. In the early 1920s, it was occupied by Andreas Gruber, his wife Cazilia, their middle-aged daughter, and their two grandchildren. It was a large farm near a forest.

There was nothing particularly unusual about the farm or its occupants.

The first sign of something amiss took place in late 1921, when the family maid suddenly quit, citing that the farm was haunted. It would take the Grubers until the end of March of 1922 to find a new maid.

Also at the end of March, strange phenomenon began. Andreas would tell neighbors that one day he found strange footsteps leading from the forest to the farmhouse, but, oddly, there were no footprints going back into the forest. Soon after he began to hear the sound of footsteps in the attic. A set of keys went missing. A newspaper, not one subscribed to by the Grubers, was found nearby.

Friday, May 31st, was the last time anyone saw any of the Gruber family.

On April 4th, neighbors became concerned about the absence of the Grubers in town or church or school. The neighbors went to investigate and found the bodies of Andreas, his wife, their daughter, and one of the grandchildren in the barn. They had been stacked up–one on top of the other–like toys. In the farmhouse they found the bodies of the new maid and the other grandchild.

The police were called and an investigation began. On April 5th, autopsies on the corpses revealed that all of the Gruber household had been killed with a pickaxe. The autopsies placed the date of death to be March 31st.

This seemed impossible. Police took witness statements that said that smoke was seen coming out of the chimney over the weekend and the cattle appeared to have been fed and cared for during that time as well. Remnants of recently-eaten meals were found in the kitchen. The police could only come to the bizarre conclusion that the murderer(s) killed the Gruber family on Friday and then, for whatever reason, remained at the farmhouse for a few days before vanishing from the area.

Despite a thorough investigation, nobody was ever arrested for the Hinterkaifeck murders. The police eventually became so desperate that they sent the victims’ skulls to famous psychics for possible leads.

Although its details have not spread to other countries, the case remains well-known within Germany, and movies and novels from that country which are based on the tale have enjoyed great popularity in the years since the crimes.

References:
“Hinterkaifeck”, Wikipedia, pulled 6/3/13.
“The Mysterious Hinterkaifeck Murders”, Exciting Earth! website, pulled 6/3/13.
“Hinterkaifeck”, Armchair Detective website, pulled 6/3/13.

About Doug MacGowan

Doug MacGowan lives on the San Francisco peninsula with his wife, a dog, and far too many cats. He has published three books on the topic of historic true crime. In his free time he enjoys reading.

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