Imagine being tied up in your own home.
Imagine being told to “shut up” “stay still” and being forced to give up
belongings that might be worth more than 1000 dollars or that might just have
memories stored in them. Imagine being beaten, stabbed, and killed in your home
in front of your own family. Just Imagine. This is what a home invasion is
10, a stranger carrying an ax opened the latch on the back door of a two-story
house in Villisca, Iowa. The door was not locked so the unwelcomed visitor was
able to walk inside quietly and close the door behind him. Then, he took an oil
lamp from a dresser, bent the wick in two to minimize the flame, lit the lamp,
and turned it down so low it only shows the littlest glimmer in the sleeping house.
Still carrying the ax, the stranger walked past one room that had two girls,
ages 12 and 9, sleeping, and walked up the narrow wooden stairs that led to two
other bedrooms. He ignored one, that contained four more young children, who were
sleeping, and crept into the room in which 43-year-old Joe Moore slept next to
his wife, Sarah. Raising the ax high above his head—so high it hit the
ceiling—the man brought blade down on the back of Joe Moore’s head, crushing
his skull and killing him instantly. Then he struck Sarah. Leaving the couple dead, the killer went next door and
used the ax to kill the four Moore children, Herman, 11; Katherine, 10; Boyd,
7; and Paul, 5. The killer then descended the stairs and took his ax to the
Stillinger girls, Lena and Ina. Now this is the first ever recorded home
invasion. This is the gruesome story of a string of murders leaving more than
30 people dead. This is the story that leaves investigators baffled to this
day. This is the story of the Villisca Ax Man.
What happened next marks the Villisca killings as very strange
and still sends shivers down the spine after the fact. The ax man went back
upstairs and beat the heads of all six Moore’s to bloody pulp, striking Joe
alone an estimated 30 times and leaving the faces of all six members of the family unrecognizable.
He then grabbed the pajamas to cover Joe and Sarah’s heads, placed an
undershirt over Herman’s face and a dress over Katherine’s, and covered Boyd
and Paul as well, and unfortunately did the same thing to the girls downstairs
before exploring the house and ritually hanging cloths over every mirror. He stayed
inside the house for quite some time, filling a bowl with water and washing his
bloody hands in it. Sometime before 5 a.m., he abandoned the lamp at the top of
the stairs and left as silently as he had come, locking the doors behind him.
Then, taking the house keys, the murderer vanished.
The Moores weren’t discovered
until several hours later, when a neighbor, worried by the absence of any sign
of life in the normally noisy and energetic household, telephoned Joe’s
brother, Ross, and asked him to investigate. Ross found a key on his chain that
opened the front door, but barely entered the house before he came rushing out
again, calling for Villisca’s marshal, Hank Horton. A sequence of events,
destroyed what little hope there may have been of gathering useful evidence
from the crime scene. Horton brought along Drs. J. Clark Cooper and Edgar Hough
and Wesley Ewing, the minister of Moore’s Presbyterian congregation. They were
followed by the county coroner, L.A. Linquist, and a third doctor, F.S.
Williams (who became the first to examine the bodies and estimate a time of
death). When Dr. Williams emerged, he told members of the growing crowd
outside: “Don’t go in there, boys; you’ll regret it until the last day of your life.”
According to the Smithsonian, “Many ignored the advice and as many as 100
curious neighbors and townspeople tramped as they pleased through the house,
scattering fingerprints, and in one case even removing fragments of Joe Moore’s
skull as a keepsake.”
The murders still confused Villisca,
particularly after a few attempts to search the surrounding countryside for a killer,
and failed to reveal a suspect. The truth was that there was no sign of the
murderer’s whereabouts. He might have vanished back into his own home nearby, he
might easily have made good his escape. Bloodhounds were tried without success;
after that there was little for the townspeople to do but gossip, swap
theories–and strengthen their locks.
I bet your wondering, why wasn’t
their door locked? Well the year was 1912 and crime wasn’t on the top of
everyone’s minds like it is today. Besides, if the murderer really wanted to
come into the house, he’d just find another way.
Another brutal home invasion is the Clutter Family Massacre. On the evening of November 15, 1959, Perry Smith
and Richard Hickock entered the Clutter house and at gunpoint, demanded the money
from the family safe. When told that there was no money and no safe in the
house, the two men tied up each person in separate rooms of the house for later
questioning: Herb Clutter and Kenyon Clutter in the basement, Bonnie Clutter in
her bedroom, and Nancy Clutter in her bedroom. They then executed the Clutters,
one at a time.
Herbert Clutter was tortured before
dying, with his throat slit, and then killed by a shotgun blast to the front of
his face. Son Kenyon was killed the same way, with a shotgun blast to the front
of his face. Bonnie, wife, had been killed by a shotgun blast to the side of
her head, while Nancy had been killed by a shot to the back of her head. The
murders were discovered the next morning, Sunday, when family friends came over
to the Clutter house to join them in going to church. When prison buddy Floyd
Wells remembered Hickock telling him of his plans to kill the Clutters for
their money, and he heard about the murders on the radio, Wells informed the
prison warden. Smith and Hickock were quickly found in a stolen car in Las
Vegas and returned to Kansas for trial. Hickock and Perry were executed by
hanging, at the Lansing Correctional Facility, Lansing, Kansas.
Another story is the Hinterkaifeck
Mattock Murders. The Hinterkaifeck farmstead
was a lonely place. Located near the woods, about an hour’s drive from Munich, it’s
the home of 35-year-old Viktoria Gabriel and her two children, 7-year-old
Cäzilia and 2-year-old Josef, and her elderly parents Andreas and Cäzilia
The family was known for minding
their own business and keeping to themselves. But, neighbors grew concerned on
April 1, 1922, when young Cäzilia missed school and the entire family failed to
show up to the church where Viktoria was a member of the choir. Cäzilia missed
school again on April 3, and by then, mail for the family had piled up at the
local post office. On April 4, the family’s neighbors decided to investigate. Lorenz
Schlittenbauer, a farmer who lived nearby, led the search party.
What they discovered haunted
them for the rest of their days.
In the barn, the search
party found four brutally beaten bodies covered with hay. Inside the house,
they discovered the bodies of 2-year-old Josef and the maid, Maria Baumgartner.
It had been Baumgartner’s first day on the job—the previous maid had abandoned
her position due to a belief that the house and farm were haunted.
Nearly 100 years later,
dozens of people have been arrested as suspects in the crimes, though no one
has ever been found guilty. The Hinterkaifeck murders remain one of Germany’s
eeriest—and most famous—unsolved crimes.
Last but not least, the Manson Family Murders.
These series of home invasions and murders are inspired by the Beatles and
introducing a new “race war” pitting African Americans against whites called
the “Helter Skelter”.
Charles Manson, born November 12, 1934,
was a long time criminal and cult leader. His cult/group, the Manson Family,
are responsible for nine murders in four locations throughout the months of
July and August of 1969.
First, the Bernard Crowe Murder.
Bernard “Lotsapoppa” Crowe was a drug dealer in Hollywood. Manson told Charles
Watson, a member of the Manson Family, to get money for the cult so they could
prepare themselves for the supposed “Helter Skelter”. Watson cheated Crowe out
of his money so in return, Crowe threaten to wipe out the whole Manson family
stationed at Spahn Ranch. So, Manson being Manson, waltzed into Crowe’s Hollywood
apartment and shot him dead.
Next, the Gary Hinman Murder. July 25,
1969, Manson sent members of the cult, Bobby Beausoleil, Mary Brunner, and
Susan Atkins, to an acquaintances house, Gary Hinman. Manson believed that Gary
had inherited a lump sum of money, so he wanted to persuade him to turn it over.
The members held Hinman hostage for 2 days. During that time period, Manson
showed up with a sword and slashed Hinman’s ear. After the 2 day time period, Beausoleil
stabbed Hinman to death after Manson instructed him to. One of the members used
the blood of the victim to draw a Panther Paw, black panther symbol, thinking
the symbol would add more gasoline to the starting fire of the supposed “Helter
the most famous murders of them all, the murders of Sharon Tate and others. On
August 8, 1969, Manson ordered Watson, Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Patricia Krenwinkel
to go to Terry Melcher’s old house and execute everyone there. Steven Parent,
Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Sharon Tate and fetus were
all viciously executed in Melcher’s old home. Atkins adding even more fuel
wrote “pig” in the victim’s blood on the front door. These 6 murders helped the
Manson family get national attention. On the next day, four family members from
last night’s killing and Leslie Van Houten and Steve Grogan, accompanied Manson
out to 3301 Waverly Drive. Manson was unhappy with the performance and panic of
the previous tasks so he was going to “show them how to do it right”. This home
housed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Once
they arrived, Manson reportedly disappeared up the driveway and then emerged
once again to tell the members that he has tied up Leno and Rosemary. Manson
then took Watson to the house and pointed to a sleeping man through the window,
Leno LaBianca. Manson had lied so that way they could know how to properly tie
up someone, yet he tied up Leno with a leather thong. Gross. Once both of the
LaBianca’s were tied up they covered the couples head with pillowcases and tied
it with a lamp cord. Then, Manson sent Krenwinkel and Van Houten into the house
with certain instructions on how to kill the LaBiancas. Then they removed
Rosemary from the kitchen to the bedroom and Watson began stabbing Leno with a bayonet
12 times. A sound of a scuffle drew Watson’s attention and caused him to
discover that Rosemary kept the Manson women at bay, by swinging the lamp still
attached to her neck. He ended up stabbing Rosemary with the bayonet and carved
“WAR” on Leno’s abdomen. What makes this crime even more horrifying is that
Rosemary was stabbed over 40 times. Manson gave instructions on making sure
that all of the female members joining him that night each had a part in the
killings. Evidence brought up in court shows that 41 of the stab wounds
inflicted on Rosemary were after she had died. Watson cleaned off the weapons
and even showered in their own tub. While that was happening, Krenwrinkel wrote
“Helter Skelter” on the fridge and stabbed Leno another 14 times post-mortem
with a carving fork and left a steak knife in his throat.