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  • Writer's pictureJon Richter

More Disturbing Unsolved Mysteries

Updated: Mar 2, 2020

A few months ago I talked about some of the most famous – and horrifying – unsolved mysteries of recent times, specifically the Dyatlov Pass Incident, the Yuba County Five, and the death of Elisa Lam.

Today, I thought I’d bring you two more deeply unnerving unexplained incidents. Once again, I’ve included links to YouTube videos that will give you more detail than my brief overview, but hopefully these are enough to whet your appetite for some amateur sleuthing and wild speculation…

1). The Hinterkaifeck Murders

Today, only a memorial occupies the location of what was once a small farmstead about forty miles north of Munich in Germany. But in 1922 it was home to the Gruber family, comprising Andreas Gruber (63), his wife Cäzilia (72), their widowed daughter Viktoria Gabriel (35), Viktoria's children Josef (2) and Cäzilia (7), who was named after her grandmother, and finally their maid, Maria Baumgartner (44).

On 1st April that year, coffee sellers Hans and Eduard Schirovsky arrived at the farm to place an order, but no-one answered their repeated knocks at the door. The following day, the family failed to attend Sunday worship, and on Monday 3rd, the postman noticed that Saturday’s mail was still where he had left it, uncollected. Cäzilia Gruber was also absent from school without any reason having been provided, yet still no alarm was raised, perhaps because neighbours reportedly still saw smoke rising from the farm’s chimney.

Then, on Tuesday 4th April, Albert Hofner arrived to perform a scheduled repair of the farm’s food chopper. Being unable to rouse any response from the residents, but hearing the sounds of the animals in the barn, he commenced his work and later advised the guide in the nearby village of Gröbern that he had concluded his repairs, also commenting on the bizarre emptiness of the place. When the guide decided to visit the property to check on its occupants, he and his companions made a grisly discovery in the barn: Gruber, his wife, their daughter, and her daughter Cäzilia, all lay dead inside, brutally bludgeoned to death with a mattock. More atrocities awaited them inside the house, where they found Baumgartner and even the infant Josef slain in the same manner in their bedchambers.

These circumstances are grim enough, but the additional information and rumours that emerged during the investigation of the killings are, if anything, even more harrowing. First was the assessment that the family had been dead since the 31st of March… which meant someone had been lighting the fire for the four days prior to the discovery of their bodies, as well as apparently tending to the animals in their paddocks. There was also evidence that meals had been prepared and eaten in the property during that period.

Six months prior to the incident, the family’s previous maid had left their employ, apparently stating that she heard strange sounds in the attic, including footsteps and a man whispering, and believed the property to be haunted. Other bizarre occurrences are alleged, including Andreas telling neighbours that he had found a newspaper in the house that he didn’t remember buying, and also that he had found tracks in the fresh snow leading from the forest to their machine room door, where the lock had been broken; more worryingly, there was no sign of the tracks leading away again.

The discovery of a mattock secreted in the attic when the farm was later demolished further suggests that the family was, perhaps unwittingly, sharing their home with a murderous intruder. I am shuddering as I write this at the idea that someone lived secretly inside their home for months, finally deciding to slaughter them and then sticking around for days afterwards, enjoying the farm’s comforts and depleting its food stores even while the family’s mutilated corpses began to decompose nearby. What is even more baffling is the fact that valuable possessions and money were left untouched by the perpetrator, suggesting a lack of financial motive for their gruesome crimes.

The further you delve into this mystery, the more horrors await. The examination of the scene at the barn led authorities to conclude that the family had been lured there one by one, despite the fact that sounds from the barn were not audible from the house. Even worse, clumps of torn-out hair suggest that seven-year-old Cäzilia had ripped out her own locks in distress as she lay dying, her wounds only resulting in death after several agonising hours. Perhaps most upsettingly of all, it was established that Andreas had already served time in prison for having an incestuous relationship with Viktoria, his daughter, and it was heavily rumoured that Andreas was in fact young Josef’s father. It was also widely known that Andreas was a violent man who regularly beat his daughter and wife. Perhaps this dark past was in some way involved in the massacre that befell Gruber and his long-suffering family.

If you can bear to garner any more details of this truly appalling case, this video is a great starting point, and will lead you further into the fiendish complexities of one of Germany’s most notorious unsolved murders.

2). The Disappearance of Lars Mittank

Lars Mittank was 28 years old when he visited Golden Sands, a Bulgarian seaside resort, with some friends in 2014. Sadly, he got involved in a fight with another group of men, as both were fans of rival Bundesliga football clubs. Mittank suffered a ruptured eardrum as a result of the altercation, and was advised by a doctor not to fly home with his friends on the 6th of July, and so he decided to stay in a cheap hotel close to the airport while he waited to recover from the injury. One of Mittank’s friends later said that Lars seemed ‘relaxed’ and ‘in a good mood’ when they departed, and the young man had no history of erratic behaviour or mental illness.

However, the following day, Mittank’s mother received a troubling phone call from her distressed son, claiming that people were following him and asking her to cancel his bank cards. He speculated that people were trying to kill him, and asked questions about the drugs that he had been prescribed by the doctor that had examined his ear injury.

His worried mother insisted that he fly home the next day, and Lars did indeed arrive at the airport, as per the chilling CCTV footage you will see in this excellent video. However, Lars quickly left the airport once again, leaving behind his luggage and sprinting out of the building where he can then be seen on external CCTV cameras outside. In broad daylight, he scaled a barbed wire fence and disappeared into the nearby woodland – and was never seen alive again.

This disturbing case is perhaps best explained by a delusion brought on either by the prescribed medication, or perhaps an undiagnosed mental health issue, but whatever the explanation for Lars’ behaviour, the fact that he was never found despite a significant search and online campaign remains as baffling as it is tragic.

I hope you've found these cases as fascinating as I did - watch this space for another instalment very soon.

Until then, stay safe!!


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