By any stretch of the imagination, any murder is horrific. Some cases, however, are even more unsettling when they stray into the grey and blurry world of the paranormal. As morbid an outlook as it might be there is perhaps a morose comfort in knowing a perpetrator behind such a crime is “merely human”. That comfort is removed somewhat, however, when ghosts, demons, and black magic enter the equation.
While many of these unsolved murders likely have a more rational, if no less brutal explanation, the suggestion of paranormal involvement blurs the lines between fact and speculation. And of course, until that “more rational” explanation arrives, the paranormal elements require continued investigation.
Although we will only look at a handful of such cases here, it is perhaps surprising how many deaths and murders fall into this category.
The Hinterkaifeck Murders
Perhaps one of the most unnerving cases involving murder and the paranormal are the events at Hinterkaifeck Farm in 1922. Located in the German state of Bavaria, near the city of Munich the farm enjoys the breathtaking alpine forests of the region. It also has the secret to the six killings that took place there. All are still unsolved almost one hundred years later.
The farm was owned by Andreas and Cazilla Grueber, who lived with their widowed daughter, Viktoria, and her two children, seven-year-old Cazilia, and two-year-old, Josef.
The Gruebers were far from popular in the small town, and most people would keep to themselves around them. It was well-known, for example, that Andreas regularly beat his wife. Then there was the rumor that the youngest grandchild, Josef, was the result of an incestuous relationship with his daughter. In fact, both Andreas and Viktoria had served prison sentences for incest several years earlier. Following the death of Viktoria’s husband, the fixation apparently became worse. Andreas even forbid his daughter from remarrying or leaving the family home.
In the winter of 1921, the Gruebers were again the talk of the town following the sudden resignation of their maid. She would claim to be able to hear “strange noises” in the house, as well as “someone in the attic!” Believing the farm was haunted, she refused to stay there another day.
Many in the village suspected she was witness to Andreas’ temper or his improper ways. And her claims of ghosts and footsteps were to save embarrassment to Mrs. Greuber. Six months later, in early 1922, other strange events began to happen at the farm.
Footprints, Strange Noises, and Bizarre Happenings
In March 1922 a severe snowstorm would hit the Bavarian region. While doing a routine inspection of the farm and the outbuildings following the storm, Andreas would notice a set of footprints in the snow. They would lead in from the forest and towards the main house. That, however, is where they stopped. It was as if whoever had approached the property had simply vanished.
As the family slept that night, strange noises began to come from the attic. Remembering the footsteps in the snow, Andreas went to inspect the uppermost room. There was nothing there, and reluctantly he went back to bed.
The incident was largely forgotten about until 30th March when they would discover an unknown newspaper right outside their front door on the porch. Around this time, a set of keys for one of the outbuildings also simply vanished.
The family would conduct a search around the property, including the outbuildings. It was then that Andreas saw the scratch marks on the lock of one of the small sheds. Although the building remained locked and secure, it appeared as if there had been an attempt to gain entry by picking the lock.
The family returned inside the property and awaited the arrival of their new maid the following day. Maria Baumgartner would arrive promptly in the town on 31st March. She would immediately make her way to Hinterkaifeck Farm.
Nobody would see her, or any of the Gruebers alive again.
Throughout the weekend of Saturday 1st April and through to Monday 3rd April, several deliveries of dairy products would arrive at the farm. When no answer came from knocks at the door, these deliveries remained on the porch.
By the morning of the 4th April, with mail for the Gruebers piling up at the town’s main office, people began to wonder if all was well. With no one having seen any of the family since the arrival of their new maid the previous Friday, a group of townsfolk made the decision to visit the farm. The discoveries were horrific, tragic, and left many questions.
Following another unanswered knock at the door of the main house, the searchers made their way to the barn. Upon entering the outbuilding, the sight of Andreas, his wife, Viktoria, and her daughter piled on top of one another hit them. A small bay of hay put over the top to conceal the bodies, which it barely did. A large pool of blood, long since congealed, seeped out from under the pile. Each of the four victims had seemingly been killed by a single blow to the head. The wound most likely from a pickaxe.
Initial examinations of the bodies and the scene would suggest that the murders had taken place on the Friday evening. Further searches of the main property would turn up the bodies of the youngest son of Viktoria, Josef, as well as the new maid, Maria. Both lay in their beds, and both had met the same end as those in the barn.
There was no sign of the killer. There was, however, plenty of points of interest.
Many Confusing Questions
What many members of the search team privately noted was the reaction of the Grueber’s family dog as they entered the barn. While it was obviously distressed, it allowed all the search party to approach it, except one.
One of the searchers was a friend of the family, Lorenz Schlittenbauer. In fact, although he would deny it, Viktoria had publicly named Lorenz as the real father of Josef. Furthermore, she was in the process of suing him for payments towards the upkeep of the child.
As soon as the Greuber’s dog sensed Lorenz, he barked and growled fiercely towards him. Many of the search team would also note how Lorenz seemed to be distant from the scene as if he was unmoved by the discovery.
There were also questions about the time of death. Although the deaths had likely occurred on the Friday evening, many local people would state they had witnessed the Greuber family moving around the farm throughout the weekend. Furthermore, all the livestock and animals (including the family dog) had been fed and attended to throughout the weekend. Even the house itself appeared “lived in” and warm from the previous days.
Had the murderer remained in the property? Or were the times of death incorrect?
Also confusing was the fact that besides small amounts of money removed from individuals, all of the family’s jewelry remained in the house. And there was a considerable amount. If the motive was robbery, a lot was left behind.
It would further come to light that Viktoria had taken everything out of her bank account in the days leading up to the fateful weekend. There was a small fortune in the account, and besides a donation to the church of 700 Goldmark, there was no sign of the money. Did the murderer steal the remaining money? And if so, was it a coincidence that she had taken the money out only days before her death?
Perhaps the footsteps in the snow and the noises in the attic were a secret lover of Viktoria’s, who had ultimately betrayed her once the money was in his possession. He then remained in the house until he could sneak away.
Or might it perhaps have been the aforementioned Lorenz Schlittenbauer? Had he planned to “run away” with Viktoria, secretly, and in the same fashion as the “unknown lover” had betrayed her, stopping any civil action, and taking her fortune for himself?
What perhaps makes this theory a little more credible is that Viktoria (like her daughter) were fully dressed and wearing their coats as opposed to everyone else who adorned their night clothes.
It is also from Lorenz that we know of the paranormal events leading up to the murders. According to information he would give investigators, Andreas had warned him of “something” in the woods looking to gain entrance to the outbuildings and the paranormal happenings in the days prior to the murders.
And what of the sightings of the family at the property? Might that have actually been the killer? Or was it someone, or something else?
Supernatural Happenings? Or Religious Vengeance?
What should we make of the paranormal incidents in the months leading up to the murders? Were they committed by some unknown entity? Perhaps a demonic force took possession of one of the members of the family, for example? Or were those stories used to cover up a predetermined plan?
The murders are still unsolved, and despite initial suspicion falling on Lorenz, there was simply no evidence of any wrongdoing on his part.
We know of the paranormal incidents in late-1921 through the maid who suddenly quit her employment. Might it be possible that the townsfolk – who were predominantly Catholic during a time when many took their “religious responsibilities” a lot more seriously than today – had taken her reports as a sign of the Devil operating within their community?
We know there was a genuine distaste for the entire Grueber family due to the out-of-wedlock children and the accusations of incest between Viktoria and her father. Might they have taken matters into their own hands to drive out what they perceived to be “forces of evil”?
Many investigations have attempted to get to the bottom of this most peculiar and bloody case, however, the mystery remains. Check out the video below, it looks at the Hinterkaifeck Murders in a little more detail.
The Black Magic Murder of Charles Walton
While the Hinterkaifeck Murders are one of the strangest cases on record it is far from the only one to share a platform with the paranormal.
Just over two decades later, on 14th February 1945 in Lower Quinton, a small village in Warwickshire, England, the dead body of Charles Walton was discovered near Meon Hill. He had a pitchfork thrust through his neck so deep it had almost decapitated him. Walton was well-known in the village, and many were more than suspicious of him, believing him to practice wizardry and black magic.
While the murder was brutal enough, the manner he was killed shares similarities to how one would kill a witch or someone under the influence of a witch. The practice is, “blooding” – and allows the blood to drain from the body and prevent the witch from rising after death.
This practice has its roots in the Druid culture, who sacrifice their victim in the hopes of a good harvest. The date the Druids would carry out this ritual sacrifice was 14th February. Furthermore, the previous year in Lower Quinton had been a particularly bad harvest, with some even laying the blame at the feet of Walton and his practicing in dark arts.
What is perhaps even stranger, is this area of England has a long history of witchcraft and belief in the dark arts. Only two years previously in 1943, was the discovery of the Bella in the Wych Elm, another unsolved murder with links to black magic.
Was Walton’s murder another such case?
The Returning Talisman
The man in charge of the initial investigation into the murder of Walton was Detective Superintendent Robert Fabian. He would ultimately suspect that a local landowner, Albert Potter, had murdered Walton due to a debt he owed him. He then used the local legends and people’s genuine suspicion to make it appear Walton was an “evil force” who someone had killed to stop that evil continuing.
While that is most likely the case, officially the murder of Charles Walton remains unsolved. There is one intriguing detail, however, that is a little bone-chilling.
Around fifteen years after his death, in early-1960, renovations were taking place at Walton’s former home. During the project, Walton’s pocket watch – the only item missing from his person – came to light in the ruins. Inside it was a strange piece of colored glass, which Walton claimed was his “talisman”. This glass would go everywhere with Walton, who believed it would protect him against evil.
Interestingly, should the owner lose the talisman or someone should steal it, it will eventually “find its way home!”
Check out the video below. It looks at the Charles Walton case in a little more detail.
The Bizarre Deaths Of The Jamison Family
One of the most recent cases of murder with definite links to the paranormal is that of Bobby and Sherilyn Jamison and their young children from Oklahoma in the United States. Missing since 2009, their remains were discovered in October 2013 in an isolated area. Two hunters made the grim discovery and notified local police.
What is strange is the manner the Jamisons were last seen, and how they disappeared. According to friends and neighbors, the whole family had looked distinctly unwell in the weeks before they vanished. All had lost significant weight, and all appeared jumpy and preoccupied.
They also made claims that their house was haunted by ghosts. They even knew the names of two of the ghosts, Emily and Michael. Even stranger, their daughter, Madyson, often spoke with “Emily’s sister, a ghost with wings!”
They made these claims to a local Pastor, Gary Brandon. He would state to the media that the family was “engaged in spiritual warfare!” According to Brandon, the Jamisons were reading the “satanic bible” to understand the spirits and how to fight them.
Stranger still were the writings found on the walls inside of their property. One particular one read, “3 cats killed to date buy people in this area…..Witches don’t like there black car killed!” (Note the misspellings of “buy” and “there”).
It remains a mystery who wrote it, why, and what it means.
Oklahoma! A Satanic Hub?
Whatever did happen on 8th October 2009, the entire family would pack themselves into a pickup truck and leave their home. They claimed to be planning to buy a property in the town of Eufaula. They would even keep an appointment for a viewing. This was the last sighting of the family.
Nine days later, on 17th October, came the discovery of their truck, seemingly abandoned. Furthermore, all the family’s belongings were still inside (including their identification), as well as $32,000 in cash.
Investigators have left the case open as to whether it is murder or suicide.
Sherilyn’s mother, however, believes her daughter and her family, had somehow become involved, perhaps against their will, with a satanic cult. Although she declined to name them (which is perhaps telling in itself) she would state they operate in the southeast region of Oklahoma, and she firmly believes them to be responsible for their deaths.
What is perhaps interesting is, according to some researchers, Oklahoma is a hub of satanic belief, energy, and practices.
Perhaps it is also worth mentioning here the still unsolved murders of Howard Green and Carol Marron, who were discovered at the side of the road on Route 80 in New Jersey on 16th December 1979. Both bore the exact same injuries to each other. The left side of the face beaten, the right eye stabbed and their bodies completely drained of blood.
Investigators would find satanic books, paraphernalia, and information that the pair had connections to the Ordo Templi Orientis – started by occultist, Aleister Crowley. They also discovered that their former neighbor would often refer to the pair as witches. He would also catch mice, cut off their heads, and completely drain them of blood. His last known sighting was in Oklahoma.
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