Hinterkaifeck

On March 31, 1922, a farmstead 70km north of Munich became the scene of one of Germany’s most infamous unsolved crimes. Living there at the time were Andreas Gruber (63), his wife Cäzilia (72), their widowed daughter Viktoria Gabriel (35), and her two children Cäzilia (7) and Josef (2). Six months prior, a maid at the farm quit after complaining that the place was haunted. The new maid arrived just in time to be among the victims. A few days before, Andreas told neighbors about finding footprints in the snow leading to the farm but none leading away. He also talked about strange noises in the attic. One by one, everyone but Josef and the maid were all somehow lured to an outbuilding where they were savagely killed with a pickaxe. The murderer then went into the house and finished the job. Nothing was taken, ruling out robbery as a motive. An autopsy later revealed that the girl had been alive for several hours after her attack, and that she had torn out her hair in tufts. The skulls of all six victims were sent to Munich so that clairvoyants could have a go at solving the mystery. They were never returned, and the bodies were ultimately buried without heads. Perhaps most chilling of all, neighbors saw smoke issuing from the chimney for several days after the murders, and when the authorities finally discovered the crime scene they determined that the cattle had been fed and several meals prepared in the kitchen after the fact. At the time and over the intervening years, over 100 suspects have been interviewed, and several theories developed, but the case remains unsolved.