Unsolved Crime

The Hinterkaifeck Murders – The Perplexing Puzzle

The Disturbing Story Of The Unsolved Hinterkaifeck Murders

Hinterkaifeck is the name associated with a dark tragedy, an unsolved mystery since 1922 that unfolded on a farmstead in the outskirts of Germany. Six individuals residing there were brutally murdered under mysterious circumstances. This harrowing event took place in the tranquil village of Hinterkaifeck, transforming it from a peaceful haven into a blood-soaked tableau upon discovery by investigators. Hinterkaifeck is not just a tale of crime; it is an unresolved enigma, with unclear motives and an unidentified perpetrator. Join us as we unravel the horrifying secrets of Hinterkaifeck, where the shadows of the past continue to send shivers down the spine in every detail of this perplexing case

No matter whether you believe this tragedy is the result of something paranormal or something normal and rational and explainable, no matter which way you feel or maybe somewhere in the middle, the details of the story itself, the actual facts of the story are horrifying. What actually happened to this poor family in the 1920s is just one of the more terrifying ordeals that I’ve ever come across, and it’s crazy to me that it’s a true story.

Without giving too much away, someone or something shows up on this farm and it doesn’t leave. One of the maids starts hearing strange sounds, they start looking for this person or this thing, they start seeing things moving around in their house, and there’s every indication that someone is in the farm, someone has snuck into the farm and is terrorizing us. And then on March 31st, 1922, whatever it was finally attacks. This is the story of the Hinterkaifeck murders.


In the 1920s, there was a farmstead called Hinterkaifeck farm that was located in southern Germany in a very rural, isolated, heavily forested area. So, the occupants of the farm were the live-in maid and the Gruber family. The Gruber family was Andreas, his wife Cäzilia, their daughter Viktoria, and Viktoria’s two children Josef and Cäzilia as well. And everything was going fine for the Gruber family and for their farm until the winter of 1921 when some very strange things started happening on their property.

The Gruber Family - Hinterkaifeck
The Gruber Family – Hinterkaifeck

The first one to notice strange things happening around their property was their live-in maid. She spent the majority of her time in the main house and she was alone a lot of the time. She started to notice when she was alone that she would hear tapping, what sounded like in the walls. Not someone in another room tapping but literally something in the walls.

And she would go up and she would listen, and it would still be tapping, but she couldn’t make sense of it. And then she started hearing a combination of disembodied voices and footsteps in the Attic. And when she started hearing those footsteps and voices coming from the Attic, she ran and told Andreas to say, “Hey, someone’s in your attic,” and Andreas would go up even though he was skeptical.

He’d go up to the attic, and he would look, and not only is no one there but it was this totally open space up there. There wasn’t really anywhere to hide, there was no one up there, and there was no sign of anybody having been up there. There was no food, there was nothing.

And so over the course of several weeks, the live-in maid kept saying that at night she’d be laying in bed and she would hear footsteps and voices from the Attic. She’d hear tapping in the walls.

She would tell Andreas, and then Andreas would be frustrated with her because he didn’t really believe her, and, you know, charging up into the attic, and nothing would be there. And so she was just not having it. She’d been working with his family for a long time, she did not feel convinced that no one was there. She really thought this place was haunted.

And so she ultimately tells the Gruber family, like, “I’m sorry, but I can’t stay here another night. Whenever I’m here, I feel like I’m being watched, and at night I can’t sleep because of the footsteps in the Attic and these voices. I know you’ve checked, but I can’t be here anymore.”

And so she quits. Then it really catches the Gruber family by surprise because they rely on her help, and so they’re kind of thrown for a loop because they have to replace her. And so she leaves and now they need to go find a replacement.

Over the following six months, they would not find a replacement, and it would create an increased workload for basically everybody on the farm, which led to a higher stress level. Everybody’s kind of on edge, you know, the departure of the live-in maid was a really big deal. And so you got to put that in perspective as you hear what happens over the next six months.

At first, the live-in maid had left, no one reported hearing any strange sounds around the house. You know, they were so busy that they didn’t even have time to consider if there were any sounds in the house that they didn’t recognize.

But eventually, Andreas would later admit that he started hearing the tapping sounds and the footsteps in the attic and the disembodied voices, and no one’s there. And so now he’s becoming paranoid, and he shared his paranoia with the rest of the family who’s now also hearing these sounds and these disembodied voices and the footsteps.

And despite checking and now searching the whole property, like they’ve begun to do a full-blown investigation, everyone’s just stressed, they don’t know where it’s coming from, they’re mad at each other for becoming paranoid, and so they just continue on with work and try to put it out of their minds that they’re hearing these strange sounds.

But the activity in the house would only intensify. What was initially just strange tapping sounds and what they thought were disembodied voices turned into things going missing around the house, most notably a set of their house keys went missing, and there’s only so many people there, there’s really not a good answer as to why they might go missing, and they only have a couple sets, it’s a big deal to lose a set of keys. And they went missing, and they couldn’t find them.

Once the keys went missing, the family couldn’t stop thinking about the strange sounds in their house and wondering if there really was someone hiding in their house, and it was terrifying. And then when young Cäzilia, one of the grandchildren, suddenly went missing one night, the whole family is in full panic.

They go out looking everywhere for her, they’re yelling in the forest, they can’t find her, and then finally they find her, and she has no idea how she got out, where she went, and what even happened. She just was like, “I don’t know why I’m here, I don’t know how I got out.”

She was exhausted, she was confused. They brought her back to the house, and they’re trying to get her to explain why you were doing that, she can’t. They go back inside, and sitting on the table is a newspaper that Andreas didn’t subscribe to.

No one in the family had brought, no one even in the area they lived in subscribed to this particular kind of obscure newspaper, and it’s just sitting in their house.

A couple of days after that, they noticed that someone had clearly tried to break into their tools, which had loads of tools, and they’re very expensive.

There was a lock on the outside, and there was very deep gashes into the metal. It looked like someone had been, you know, hacking away at the lock to try to break it open, but, you know, they’re living in a very isolated part of Germany where there isn’t much ambient sound, and so it was strange to them that someone had been so violent with this lock, like hacking at this metal lock, presumably with something metal, and no one had heard it or reacted to it.

None of the dogs had heard it, nothing. So it’s such as very confusing stuff is starting to happen around the property, but it would be what Andreas sees in the spring of 1922 that pushes he and his family over the edge from general paranoia to outright panic.

So Andreas, early March of 1922, there was this huge snowstorm the night before. He gets up early, and he goes to the back door of his house, and he opens it up, and he can clearly see that there are footprints that have walked from the forest, which is pretty far away from his property, they’ve got quite a bit of acreage.


There’s footsteps that are clearly coming out of the forest all the way up to the door that he has now just opened. And he’s looking down at these footprints, and there’s no return set of tracks. And so he’s thinking to himself, “Well, whoever walked up to my house came into the house.”

So he shuts the door and locks it and immediately goes and wakes up his family and says, “Hey, why are there footprints leading up to the back door? Because there’s no, there’s no footprints going away.

Someone came to the back door and apparently came inside.” His wife, his daughter, the grandkids, no one has included them. They say, “Hey, we’ve been asleep, we have no idea.” So now Andreas, I mean, he’s obviously thinking about the strangeness that’s happened in this house over the past couple of months, and so he’s worried.

So he opens the door back up, and he looks, and he’s studying these footprints, and he’s like, “I just don’t get it. You have to turn around and walk back; otherwise, you’re here and you’re at the house.” He shuts the door and he walks around his house, he looks at all of the different exits to his house, so he looks to see if there’s exiting footprints, which is scaring him thinking about it, which means someone would have come into the house and jumped out a window or gone out another door.

But he’s checking, and as soon as he makes sure there’s no other footprints, he does a scan of his entire house because now he’s convinced someone’s in his house. He goes to the Attic, he goes all around, he’s yelling, I mean, he’s looking everywhere, there’s nothing, there’s no one in the house, the family’s concerned, but, you know, there’s no one in the house.

So, it keeps everything locked, and he goes outside, and he starts tracking these footprints back to where they came from, and he walks all the way to the forest, and they just kind of stop abruptly, like they just started kind of magically at the edge of the tree line and walked right up to his house, but there’s no clear origination besides it’s just in the forest somewhere, and there’s also no clear sense of what happened once they arrived at the door.

After doing one more loop around his property, he goes in the barn, he goes in the shed, he goes back in his house, he’s checking the attic, he’s looking everywhere, there’s nothing, there’s no one in the house. He finally decides that he’s gonna tell someone about what’s been happening at his property, and so they did have a neighbor, Lorenz Schlittenbauer, who was his closest neighbor who was not really that close but, you know, a couple hundred yards away, and he goes over and he tells Lorenz everything.

Lorenz Schlittenbauer
Lorenz Schlittenbauer

I’ve been hearing sounds, you know, my maid quit because she was hearing sounds, we looked in the Attic, we couldn’t find anything, then we started hearing sounds, the keys go missing, there’s this newspaper in my house, my granddaughter’s running out in the middle of the night, she’s disappearing, she doesn’t know what’s going on, you know, these footprints I can’t make sense of it.

And so Lorenz, also not knowing what to make of it, suggests like, “Hey, I have extra weapons, you want to take an extra rifle and arm yourself, protect yourself.” And Andreas just says, “You know what, no, I’m good, I’m gonna pass on the rifle. I’m probably overreacting anyways, and I’m sure we’re just fine.” But they would turn out he was not just fine, and he probably should have taken up Lorenz on the offer.

So just a couple of days after speaking with his neighbor about the weirdness happening on his property, the Gruber family got a little bit of good news, which was they finally were able to locate another maid, a live-in maid to come stay with them to replace the one who had left because she believed the place was haunted. And so a few weeks later, on March 31st, 1922, this new maid shows up to Hinterkaifeck.

But unfortunately, this would also be the same date a horrible tragedy unfolds at the Hinterkaifeck farm. Over the course of 24 hours, someone or something was in the barn on Hinterkaifeck and was able to silently lure in members of the Gruber family one by one without telling anybody else what they were doing.

They would walk over, almost like in a trance, into the barn where they would be struck in the head by something called a mattock, which is kind of like an axe blow to the head, and they’re down. As soon as they’re down, whoever or whatever it was would take their bodies and move them to the corner and lay them down and square them up against the corner of the barn and then cover them with hay.

The Hinterkaifeck Murders
The Hinterkaifeck Farm Murders

And as soon as they were deceased, he would go, whatever it was, would go back and more in the next person. So over a whole day, each of these members of the family are being lured into this barn where investigators, nobody knows what it was that was luring them in, they weren’t scared when they went in there, their guard was down, and they would go in and then get hit in the head with this mattock until there was four people stacked up in the corner. And at that point, the remaining two people on the farm were still in the house, sleeping. And whoever was doing this went into the house and used the mattock to end their lives as well.

Four days later, on April 4th, a repairman who was scheduled to come to the Hinterkaifeck farm shows up to repair the feeding machine. He goes to the door, he knocks on the door, and it’s locked. You know, he can see lights on inside, he can hear the dog barking inside, but no one comes to greet him.

Now the feeder was outside of the main house and was actually on basically a public area of the farm, so he didn’t need them to physically get to the feeder, and he knew how to fix it. So after trying the front door, going to the back door, looking in the windows and seeing lights, hearing the dog, but everything’s locked, he just said, “You know what? I’m just gonna do the job.”

So he goes into the area where the feeder is, he does the repair, and as he’s leaving, he notices that the dog that was barking inside the house is now outside the house, tied up. And so he goes over to that section of the house thinking, “Oh well, now I’m not gonna do it; someone’s sure to see me.” And again, no one comes to the door, and the back door that clearly must have just been opened to let the dog out is locked again. And so he’s like, “Man, that’s odd.”

And so instead of just leaving, he finishes the job at the feeder and he goes over to Lorenz Schlittenbauer’s house, the neighbor, and he says, “Hey, just so you know, I was just over at the Gruber family’s farm. I fixed their feeder like they wanted me to, but no one was there. But maybe somebody was there because the dog was inside, then was outside.

Lorenz Schlittenbauer - Hinterkaifeck
Lorenz Schlittenbauer – Hinterkaifeck

Don’t know what’s going on, but can you just let them know that I was here because I couldn’t get in touch with them?” But it prompts Lorenz Schlittenbauer to go check on the Grubers because, you know, they haven’t seen them in a couple of days anyway since they figure they’ll swing by and just make sure everything’s okay.

So they go over to Hinterkaifeck, and, you know, the lights are on in the house, the dog, sure enough, is outside, you know, the doors are locked, and they see that the barn is actually open. So they go over the barn, and in the barn, at first, they don’t see anything.

But in the back corner, underneath some hay, are four of the bodies of the Gruber family. They go inside and they find the remaining two bodies, and no one else is there. Although there were signs of someone recently eating in the kitchen, the fire was lit, you know, it was like the house was being lived in at that very moment.

6 Coffins - Hinterkaifeck
6 Coffins – Hinterkaifeck

Although, to Lorenz Schlittenbauer and anybody that was there, they have no way of knowing that it’s been days since the Gruber family had passed away. And so they end up leaving and getting in touch with authorities. So the police show up, and they’re able to determine with relative certainty that the tragedy took place on March 31st. But for four days afterward, someone lived in the Gruber house, slept in their beds, ate their food, lit fires, lounged around inside.

They played with the dog. I mean, they lived in this house. They ran the farm for four days. And other neighbors would even say that, yeah, you know, we saw smoke coming out of the chimney on April 3rd and April 2nd. And so it was confirmed that someone had been staying in this house. So creepy.

And so the police are a little bit baffled, and they’re like, “Okay, well then it was probably a drifter, you know, target of opportunity. They probably saw this isolated farm and they play, ‘We’re gonna rob them, stay there a little bit, and then leave.'”

But when they searched the farmhouse, there were large sums of cash that were just out, practically in the open, barely hidden that had not been taken. Anybody that was robbing the place would have taken the cash. And so probably wasn’t a robbery, which leads maybe a crime of passion, but they were like, “What’s the motive?” And unfortunately, Andreas was not particularly well-liked in the town that was nearby. And so there were lots of people that didn’t like Andreas, which made it really hard to whittle it down.

So they started just interviewing like crazy. They’re talking to hundreds of people that could be connected to this, but they’re getting nowhere. They did feel like Lorenz Schlittenbauer was probably the best suspect because he’s right there, he’s right next door, he’s their neighbor.


And in fact, he had wanted to marry Viktoria, the daughter, and Andreas said outright no. And they thought that that could be a reason. But like the big issue with Lorenz Schlittenbauer being the primary suspect is, no, he had a farm to keep and a family to take care of.

And so how could he have committed this crime and then ran the entire farm for four days and lived there and slept there without his family knowing? And his family’s like, “No, he’s been here with us.” And so the police, they aren’t able to solve it.

They don’t really have any decent suspects. And so they kind of leave it with, well, whoever did this probably had been there for about six months, potentially before they committed the crime and then stayed there for a few days afterward and then vanished.

And to this day, they have not been caught. And they even reopened this case in 2007, but they found that, you know, despite the number of suspects and despite the evidence available, it just wasn’t enough to provide any sort of clarity on what actually happened. So it remains a huge mystery.

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