The Hinterkaifeck Murders: Killer Feeds the Livestock

Hinterkaifeck Murders Memorial
Murder, even a group murder, is not bizarre. It is sad, really, but too common to be considered out of the ordinary. However, there are some cases that have strange features, as with the Hinterkaifeck murders. These are six murders that occurred on March 31, 1922 and are unsolved.

Hinterkaifeck is actually the name of a farmstead in Germany. Sixty-three-year-old Andreas Gruber lived at a farmhouse there with his 72-year-old wife Cazilia, their daughter Viktoria and Viktoria's two children, 7-year-old Cazilia and 2-year-old Josef. A few hours before the murders took place, the family had taken on a new maid by the name of Maria Baumgartner. Maria's predecessor allegedly claimed the house was haunted and that is why she left.

Within days before the murders took place, Andreas Gruber noticed footprints in the snow around his house and remarked on it to his neighbors. The keys to the farmhouse were also recently missing. Whether either had anything to do with what happened on March 31 is anyone's guess. The murder being unsolved makes it hard to say if the family was being stalked or if the crimes were premeditated.

Judging by where the bodies were found, it is assumed that the killer or killers coaxed Andreas, his wife, his daughter and his granddaughter into the barn, where they were all slaughtered with a mattock, which is essentially a digging tool with an ax blade. Sadly, young Cazilia lay alive tearing at herself in distress, until she perished hours later. Josef and Maria were murdered inside of the house, he in his bed and she in her room.

The above is horrific, but, again, in no way bizarre. It is what happened after the murders that is strange. Reports say the lights were on in the home for days. The chimney puffed smoke on at least one occasion. Moreover, police found evidence that someone had been eating at the farmhouse after all of its residents died. Even stranger is that the cattle were fed at some point or points between the murders and the discovery of the body roughly four days later.

Were the Grubers victims of a wanderer who wanted a warm place to stay? Could someone they knew have killed them and stayed around to care for the cattle out of some perverted wish to stay in their home? One theory is that Viktoria's husband, who was presumed dead in the war but never found, came home and killed his wife, her family and their children. There is no way of knowing. All we do know is that someone murdered them all, ate their food and tended their animals.