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The Unsolved Hinterkaifeck Farm Murders

Antonia R.Antonia R.
Hinterkaifeck farm

On March 31, 1922, German society was shaken to the core by the mass murder that took the lives of 6 people living on the Hinterkaifeck farmstead. But the greatest enigma surrounding the crime is that the perpetrator was never found.

The victims were the farm owners Andreas and Cäzilia Gruber, their widowed daughter Viktoria, her children Cäzilia and Josef and their maid Maria Baumgartner.

Days prior to the murders, Andreas had told his neighbors that he had seen strange footprints from the forest heading toward his house but not heading back, as well as that he had heard a strange noise in the attic and that a set of keys was missing.

The investigation revealed that the killer lured the occupants of the home one by one into the barn, before killing the maid and Josef in the house. The maid herself had also told that she had heard voices around the house but never found out where they actually came from.

One of the old workers that left the farm before the murders was convinced that the home was inhabited by ghosts since he had clearly heard footsteps and voices on several occasions.

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Investigators believe that the murderer or murderers had spent several days at the farm, feeding on the cattle and provisions in the kitchen because their neighbors reported seeing smoke rising from the chimney.

In fact, the farm chimneys continued to smoke even as the Grubers' neighbors came to ask why 7-year-old Cäzilia had not gone to school in 3 days and finally found out about the murders.

Over 100 people were questioned but no one was arrested or even considered a suspect. No one had any motive to kill the victims, no one had contact with all of them at the same time.

The first theory was thought to be an attempted robbery but upon careful examination of the entire farm it was found that all valuables were in their place. The victims were killed in their pajamas, among them the 2-year-old child, giving no credence to the robbery theory.

The murders happened just several hours after Maria Baumgartner was hired. Supposedly, the 2-year-old boy was killed first, then his mother and sister. But the reason for this cruelty remains a complete mystery.