Sometimes in the home things just seem out of place. You’d bet your life that you didn’t leave your keys there. You swear you had more milk left than that. You wake up late at night to a noise you have to force yourself to believe is your house settling. That’s just how our brains work though, right? We forget insignificant stuff, and we overthink things that have such a simple explanation.
But sometimes there’s a reason why things aren’t as they seem.
Some people really didn’t leave their keys there. Some people did have more milk left than that. For some people, it wasn’t just their house settling that made that noise. For the unlucky ones, the truth is sinister, and chilling.
There have been well-documented cases of strangers squatting in homes that don’t belong to them, and it happens more often than you’d expect. Your home is meant to be your sanctuary. A place where you can lock the outside world behind a door, and sleep in peace, knowing that you’re safe. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
But not everyone has that luxury.
Here are seven cases that might make you actually investigate, the next time your house makes a strange sound at night. Sleep well.
Since this case still remains unsolved, it may be inappropriate to include it here, but given some of the evidence, the idea that someone was squatting on the Gruber’s farm when they were mysteriously murdered, is hardly a farfetched theory, albeit one that makes the whole case even more terrifying.
Late at night on March 31st 1922 on the Hinterkaifeck Farm, five members of the Gruber family, and a maid, were brutally killed in a violent mass murder that to this day has never been conclusively explained, but it may have been as long as six months before that fateful night, that the first signs of what was to come, began to be noticed.
Six months before the murders, a maid working for the Gruber family quit her job, and fled the farm, claiming that she had heard strange noises on the property, and believed it to be haunted. A few months later, in March, Andreas Gruber (63) found a strange newspaper that no one living there had purchased. Initially, he speculated that the postman may have dropped it while delivering mail to the family, but this turned out not to be the case, as no one living in the vicinity subscribed to that particular publication. A while later, he informed neighbours that he had discovered fresh tracks in the snow that led from the forest to a broken lock in the farm’s machine room. What was most concerning though, was that no tracks leading away from the house were ever found, and it was around that time that some of the family’s house keys mysteriously vanished. Although this has not been confirmed, there are reports that the family may have repeatedly seen a moustachioed man standing at the edge of the forest, and observing them and their home.
One night, Gruber heard footsteps in the attic, but upon investigating, he found no one. He told several people what had happened, but refused to accept help, or report his observations to the police. This choice may have cost him his life.
Sometime in the afternoon of March 31st 1922, the family’s new maid, Maria Baumgartner (44), arrived at the farm. She was escorted by her sister, who visited for a short time before leaving. She may have been the last person to see the family alive.
Although the exact order of events is not known, it would seem that sometime in the evening, Andreas Gruber, his wife Cäzilia (72), their widowed daughter, Viktoria Gabriel (35), and her daughter, Cäzilia (7), were lured to the barn through the stable, where they were savagely murdered one at a time. The unsub then entered the house, where he killed Maria in her bedchamber, and murdered Viktoria’s son, Josef (2), as he slept in his bassinet. The murder weapon was a mattock, a tool similar to a pickaxe, that belonged to the family.
It was four days before the bodies were discovered.
During the investigation, a number of disturbing discoveries were made. Though the police handled things extremely poorly- even allowing numerous people to interact with the crime scene, move the bodies, and even cook and eat meals in the kitchen- they did eventually determine that the murderer had clearly remained at the farm for several days after the killings. They fed the cattle, consumed the families entire supply of bread, and helped themselves to meat from the pantry. Neighbours even reported observing smoke coming from the chimney for the entirety of the weekend. Less than a year later, the property was completely demolished, during which additional evidence was located when the murder weapon was discovered in the attic, and a penknife was found in the barn.
Despite numerous arrests, investigators were unable to solve the murders or establish a motive, and the case was closed in 1955, although interrogations continued until as late as 1986.
STANLEY CARTER LIVED IN A FAMILY’S HOUSE OVER CHRISTMAS
A family in Plains Township, Pennsylvania were startled to discover that they had an uninvited guest over Christmas, when a man emerged from their attic wearing their clothes.
Stanley Carter, who was eventually arrested and charged with several counts of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property, and criminal trespass, was wearing a sweatshirt belonging to homeowner Stacy Ferrance, and a pair of trousers belonging to her daughter. He had also been helping himself to their food.
The family reported that they had heard noises, but thought that they were simply down to their children. They called the police on Christmas Day when they discovered that cash, a laptop, and an iPod were missing, and called them again the next day when they found footprints in the closet containing the attic trapdoor.
Stanley Carter had originally been staying with friends, but when they asked him to leave, he reportedly accessed the shared attic through a trapdoor in a bedroom ceiling.
A CRIMINAL SECRETLY LIVED IN A TOYS R US
Career criminal Jeffrey Allen Manchester used to earn his hard stolen cash by drilling and dropping into fast food joints across the USA, but it was something even stranger still that eventually led to his downfall.
Back in 2005, Manchester was serving a whopping 45 years for robbery, when he achieved the accolade of becoming the first-ever inmate to successfully escape from Polkton, NC’s Brown Creek Correctional Institution. How did he manage such a thing, you ask? He hid in a laundry truck.
Jeffrey Allen Manchester, nicknamed the ‘Roofman‘, eventually made his way to Charlotte, NC, where he crafted himself a new identity in the form of church-going man, John, and gave himself the backstory of having a secret government job that he knew others would know he wouldn’t be able to answer questions about. He formed a relationship with a local woman with whom he spent holidays, and gifted gifts to her and her children.
Manchester was secretly living inside the local Toys ‘R’ Us, within which he made himself a lair in a cubbyhole somewhere in the bicycle department. He found nourishment from baby food, entertained himself by riding bikes around the store, and even changed employee’s schedules, just for a laugh. As the Christmas season got into full swing, he dug through the store’s wall, and gained access to the abandoned Circuit City next door. With that he made his strange little home even better by building a cubicle from slabs of drywall, hanging up posters, decorating the place with action figures, and watching nicked movies on a stolen DVD player.
But, much like he couldn’t just live as regular old “John”, he could only hang out and chill for so long before he began planning his next big score.
Manchester began making plans to rob the Toys ‘R’ Us store he had called home for an incredible six months. First, he robbed a pawnshop to get himself a gun, and then stole a baby monitor with which he cased the store and better planned the job.
There was one thing he didn’t count on, though. He didn’t expect two employees to get away and call the police.
Again, he was on the on the run, but this time he didn’t have far to go. He hid away in his lair, but police had already seen him duck inside, and followed, eventually discovering the secret home he had made.
Unsurprisingly though, the slippery crook managed to temporarily evade the cops that had followed him. He made his way to a dentist’s office, which he set on fire. While living as “John” he’d had dental work done, and there was no way Manchester could leave that kind of evidence behind.
It was his girlfriend, or rather “John’s”, that eventually led to his arrest, Having gotten feelings for her, he decided to pay her one last visit before once again planning to go on the lam, only to find that the police had gotten there first, and convinced her to set him up.
He wasn’t mad though, he understood the position she was in, and even encouraged her to pursue her dreams as the police took him away.
Read more on the next page.