What happened at Hinterkaifeck Farm reads like a horror story but these creepy murders were very much real. On March 31st, 1922, family members – Andreas and Cäzilia Gruber; their widowed daughter Viktoria; Viktoria’s children, 7-year-old Cäzilia and 2-year-old Josef; and the maid, Maria Baumgartner – were all bludgeoned to death with a mattock (an agricultural tool similar to a pickaxe).
Chillingly, a few days before the murders, Andreas told his neighbors he had discovered mysterious footprints in the snow leading from the edge of the forest to the farm that was located roughly 43 miles from Munich, Germany – but no footprints heading away from the farm. Also, the house keys had disappeared several days before the murders. These would all be alarm bells that would send any family running but the Grubers stayed put.
Maria had only just arrived that day as she replaced the maid who fled six months earlier, claiming the place was haunted. The previous maid said she had been kept awake all night by footsteps coming from the attic but whenever she went to check, there was nobody there. She also said that she was constantly haunted by an unpleasant feeling of being watched all the time.
What happened exactly to the family on the night of murders is still unknown, however, it is widely considered that each member of the family was lured to the barn one by one where they were slaughtered. Except for 2-year-old Josef who was murdered in his cot and the maid was also found killed in her bedroom.
Pictured Above: The subsequent numbering indicates…
- the living-bedroom of the Gruber couple (1)
- the bedroom of Vikoria Gabriel (2)
- the stable (3)
- the place of the barn, where four the victims were found (4)
- The maid’s room lies behind the living-bedroom of the Gruber couple.
Photos of the barn and location of the victims: Andreas Gruber, Cäzilie Gruber, Viktoria Gabriel, Cäzilie Gabriel. The victims are covered with a wooden door in the northwest corner of the building by the open stable door.
2-year-old Josef was found in his stroller. The blow that killed him was carried out with the greatest force, so that the child’s skull was smashed. The perpetrator covered the child with a skirt, this can be seen in the photo hanging over the roof of the stroller.
Maria Baumgartner’s place of discovery was an adjoining room of the kitchen, which was used for the maid’s accommodation.
Maria arrived in Hinterkaifeck in the late afternoon only hours before the murders to start work the following day.
When she was murdered, she might have been unpacking her belongings and making the bed. She hadn’t changed for the night and was fully clothed. Her body was partially covered by the perpetrator with the duvet.
After the murders, the killer is then believed to have stayed in the house for four days as smoke could be seen by neighbors coming from the chimney for this time. Another weird twist is that the killer would have been experienced in farm work as they even continued to feed the farm animals for this time period and even milked the cows. The killer also prepared meals in the house but did not touch any of the large sums of money that were left lying around.
It wasn’t until the children failed to turn up for school that their neighbors checked out the farm and discovered the scene of the horrific crime.
In 1923, the farm was burned to the ground and the murders still remain unsolved.