Evil Never Dies
Places that have a history of tragedy and death begs the question, was it something there, already cursed that caused these events to take place, or is it a human being's last anguished moments that act like a magnet for other deeds of evil to repeat themselves on those grounds? Whether one or the other, paranormal occurrences plague these places, refusing to be forgotten or just a reminder that evil never dies.
There is a place in Indiana. It's a spacious house sitting on several, wooded acres, which for many years became the final, but not restful place for young men, the victims of a ruthless killer.
His name was Herb Baumeister, born on April 7, 1947, the son of Dr. Herbert and Elizabeth Baumeister. His father was an anesthesiologist who had been practicing since the late 1950s.
One has to wonder what Dr. Baumeister thought of the oldest of his four children. His behavior was disturbing from an early age, but it became undeniable when he reached puberty. He started to develop a fascination with death, and wondered aloud what urine would taste like. He would chase his male classmates asking for a drink.
Herb would torture animals and play with the corpses. There is no doubt these actions were abnormal even to untrained eyes. Did the good doctor ever suspect his child would go on to kill humans?
The clues to future events were there for all to see especially his parents. Herb Baumeister urinated on a teacher's desk, and left a dead crow on another's. These were indicators of antisocial disrespect for authority. A psychiatric evaluation revealed he suffered from schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder. This diagnosis indicated that Herb could be a danger to himself and those around him.
Shortly after his marriage to Juliana "Julie" Saiter, under his father's direction, Herb was committed to a psychiatric ward for two months. Perhaps Dr. Baumeister feared the new bride would leave, now becoming aware of just how strange was the man she married.
The couple stayed together and had three children, Erich, Marne and Emily. They also established the Sav-A-Lot thrift stores in Indianapolis. The business was so successful that in 1988 they moved to the 18-acre estate called Fox Hollow Farm.
However despite the appearance of normalcy, and the efforts of those around him to ignore the fact that Herb had been diagnosed with a serious mental illness, it would raise its ugly head throughout the years. He would dress in drag at weird times, and in 1984, in an imitation of his school prank, he urinated on a letter sent to Governor Robert D. Orr. He got fired from his job at the at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
He was arrested for DUI and auto theft; both which he beat. Did his wife wonder what later would be exposed, which was that her husband led a dark, double life?
In the 1990s, several gay men went missing from the Indianapolis area. When a comparison was made of their description, they all shared the same general appearance. Without a corpse it would be hard to prove a crime had been committed, but police no doubt feared that they had a serial killer on their hands which was adept at hiding his handiwork. Two of the missing men were found, one in Ohio, the other in Indiana, but there was no way to connect the crimes. The cases went cold.
Vergil Vandagriff a retired crime investigator turned private eye started correspondence with Mary Wilson an investigator with the Indianapolis Police Department. They were both convinced the disappearance of several gay men in the early 1990s were connected.
They caught a break in 1993, when a patron at a gay bar said that a mystery man known as "Brian Smart" had killed his friend with a pool hose, and then tried to murder him as well. But the police were stumped since the mystery man's description was general and nondescript. Despite his erratic behavior, none could have connected Brian Smart to Herb Baumeister, who was a successful businessman.
1994, was not a good year for the Baumeisters. Their business was in trouble. and Herb was arrested again for DUI. The marriage suffered for it, and then the first evidence of what happened to those missing, young men surfaced. Erich Baumeister, 13, found a skull on the grounds of the property. His father explained that it was part of a medical skeleton left to him by his father.
Julie Baumeister said that soon after the bones disappeared and she assumed animals carried them off. If it raised any alarms with her, she kept it well hidden, when she commented, “It wasn’t like I was sitting at home with nothing else to think about." Was she sticking her head in the sand of how disturbed her husband was?
Then in 1995, the man who had reported on Brian Smart to Wilson and Vandagriff gave them a solid clue, which was a license plate number. The information led to Herb Baumeister.
When the police asked to search the premises of Fox Hollow Farm they were refused. With nothing else but the fact that Baumeister was a patron at gay bars, the police could not secure a warrant.
Julie Baumeister again decided to ignore incidents that now indicated she was married to a monster.
Herb was undeterred by the police coming to his home, and he continued stalking patrons at the gay bars. Several went missing and dead, and once police determined they all knew Herb Baumeister they zeroed in on him.
Herb told his wife that police were falsely accusing him of theft, and told her not to allow them access to the premises. Eventually the police told Julie the real reason they wanted access to the home and the ground. Despite the police suspecting Herb was a serial killer she refused to let them enter.
Did her decision allow others to become victims?
In 1996, their business closed its doors. Herb had grown violent with his employees, and it was suspected he was drinking heavily. His behavior which was uncertain in the past descended to frightening levels, and Julie filed for divorce.
There was a crucial piece of information that Julie had told her attorney and kept from the police, and it was the incident where his son had found the skull. She had gone outside and found even more bones.
Her attorney contacted Detective Wilson with the information. The police went out to Fox Hollow Farm and were finally able to do a search of the property. Julie allowed them to search when Herb left town for a few days. Perhaps she feared that Herb would turn on his own family.
Herb who had already been visited by the police regarding the murders, knew he was a suspect. He went to the family's summer lake house and took his son with him. He also emptied the bank account. Fearing he would do something to Erich, Julie served him with custody papers before the news published what was found at Fox Hollow Farm.
Later on Julie Baumeister revealed she had sex with her husband less than a dozen times after being married for close to 25 years. Incredibly he impregnated her on these occasions with their children. He would not allow her to see him naked because of his scrawny body. How many other intimate but disturbing clues did Julie Baumeister ignore throughout the years?
It didn't take long before they found where all those missing men had gone. The remains of eleven men were found buried all over the property. Three of them remained unidentified. Police believed he'd killed many other and dumped their bodies in other lonely stretches in Ohio and Indiana. More than likely he carried out these killings on his frequent business trips.
Those men that were found dead on the grounds were probably lured to the farm when Herb would go cruising to gay bars. He would drive the men to Fox Hollow Farm, and tell them it belonged to his boss. They would end up at the pool house where he would give them alcohol. Herb it seemed delighted in engaging in sex while asphyxiating his partner.
When police showed up to arrest Herb Baumeister he fled to Ontario, Canada.
On July 2, 1996, a state trooper found Herb sleeping in his car. He told the officer he was just a tourist. The trooper saw a large stack of video tapes in the back seat, but despite his suspicious behavior, he was allowed to go on his way.
On July 3, Baumeister dorve to Pinery Provincial Park and shot himself, leaving behind a 3 page suicide letter. He said that family and financial troubles caused him to take his own life. He ended the note by saying “I am going to eat a peanut butter sandwich and go to sleep.” He made no mention of the murders he committed for several years.
However that didn't matter because there was so much evidence recovered at Fox Hollow Farm, that it was undeniable he murdered at least 20 men, if not more. The video tapes the trooper saw were not found in the vehicle, and it's suspected that he got rid of them because they probably contained images of him killing the men he brought to the pool house.
More than 5,000 bone fragments were recovered from the 18-acre woods surrounding the main house. The larger ones were found further out, and the smaller pieces were burned and left behind the house.
Authorities also believe Herb Baumeister was the one who dumped the partially nude bodies of men found in shallow streams along I-70 across Central Indiana and western Ohio during the 1980s.
Fast forward to 2009 when Vicky and Rob Graves bought Fox Hollow Farm. They paid $987,000 after it was originally listed on the market for $2.8 million. They were not ignorant of the property's gruesome history. Joe LeBlanc, Rob's co-worker, rented one of the apartments close to the main house.
Before long it was evident that some of those men killed there had refused to leave the place of their last agonizing moments.
Joe started to experience horrific nightmares where he was being chased. Electrical appliances would inexplicably become unplugged, malfunction or just turn off on their own. The only ones living in the apartment was Joe and his dog.
Joe LeBlanc would also hears knocks in different parts of the apartment. Another time blows sounded so heavily on the front door that it rattled in its frame.
There was no one there when he opened the door. He closed it, and his dog started to growl, and the doorknob started to swivel back and forth. Then the door smashed open with so much force that splinters sprayed everywhere.
Then Joe saw the shadow of a running man flit through the apartment. To him it seemed the figure of someone trying to escape. Who was it that made the door thunder, a victim or the sadistic Herb?
This was not the only time that knockings would sound at the front door. It didn't matter if it was day or night. He would open it, but there was never anyone there. He did feel as if someone was watching him. Then once he caught movement from the corner of his eye, and his dog would growl. The dog, once friendly, would routinely snarl and bark at empty air.
Others living on the estate were pushed and poked by unseen hands. Pots, pans and furniture would move on their own, and disembodied voices were heard.
One day Vicky Graves looked out the window and saw a man wearing a red t-shirt wandering on the ground. She believed it was a trespasser and went outside to find him, but she stopped in her tracks when she saw he had no legs and was floating along over the ground. Then he vanished.
Red T-Shirt man was seen again by Joe when he was walking his dog. The animal chased it, and then it vanished.
Later other human bones were discovered buried on the property in the same area where the apparition was seen. Once the remains were removed the ghost ceased to appear.
Jeremy, Joe's friend, after hearing about the weird happening decided to satisfy his curiosity and came over to visit his friend. They took a swim in the pool where Baumeister had killed his victims. Despite being a hardcore skeptic, Jeremy went on to describe that once he got in the water, unseen hands prodded him, tried to pull him under and grab him by the throat.
Joe seemed to be the target of the ghostly haunting at Fox Hollow Farm. He felt that he was being constantly followed, and the weird noises in his apartment continued. More than once he saw shadowy figures moving around in the dark. Once he heard metal scraping from the kitchen. When he investigated he found a knife had been moved to the counter and there were marks cut into the wall.
Joe then tried to record Electornic Voice Phenomenon (EVP). During his first attempt he asked the identity of the ghost in the kitchen and a man's voice replied, "the married one." Since all of Baumeister's victims were single, it was assumed it was Herb.
Is there any way to erase the dark deeds committed at Fox Hollow Farm? Is it inevitable that it's haunted by the victims, and their victimizer in a never-ending loop of their horrific deaths?
In 2019, Noah Herron, the owner of Urban Vines Winery & Brewery and Urban Farmer in Westfield, bought 8 acres of the property just north of Baumeister's former home and wants to sell three lots. He also wants to build a home for his family there.
He told a local newspaper, "We asked neighbors around there if they've ever seen ghosts, and they said no. So we're good. We're excited. The property is beautiful and right off the Monon Trail and close enough to downtown Westfield. A lot of people have already shown interest." I bet they have.
11/7/2021 06:51:19 pm
Herbert “ Erich” Baumeister is the son of Herbert Richard Baumeister, alleged serial killer of several gay men in the Midwest.
2/6/2023 09:03:13 pm
I dated Erich briefly and he was definitely a prince charming, who became emotionally abusive. He was narcissistic, selfish, and mood swings were horrible. A hoarder...obsessive...
2/12/2023 12:43:20 pm
Revealing someone's personal information to the public? It's sick. Is your life so uneventful you have to leak someone else's? Get outside and add to your own pathetic life.
2/10/2023 11:17:05 am
Leave a Reply.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer