Herb Baumeister and the Haunting of Fox Hollow Farm

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It began with a serial killer and ended up with terrifying hauntings at the place where he buried his victims.

American serial killer Herbert Richard Baumeister, AKA: The I-70 Strangler, killed at least 12 young men from 1980 to 1996 and buried their remains at his property on Fox Hollow Farm.

Born in 1947, just after World War Two, he was raised in a relatively normal household with three younger siblings. When he reached puberty, something had changed within him.

He became antisocial and withdrew from being with friends and family. Some people who knew him as a teenager, claimed that he played with the bodies of dead animals, and was once caught urinating on a teacher’s desk.

One former friend said that something wasn’t right with Baumeister and recalled a story about a dead crow. One morning on the way to school, Baumeister had picked up a dead crow and shoved it into his pocket. When he got to school, he left it on the teacher’s desk in full view of the class.

While a teenager, he was diagnosed by a doctor as having schizophrenia but due to the difference in mental health access we have nowadays compared to then, he was not given any psychiatric treatment for it.

Baumeister was able to cover up the evil from those around him

He married when he was 24-years-old, in 1971, and had three children by his wife, Julie Baumeister. By 1988, he had founded and opened the Sav-a-Lot chain shops in Indiana and became a respected member of the business community and local community.

By 1991, after creating a successful business, Baumeister and his family moved to a Tudor-style home and estate in the fashionable Westfield district. The property had a swimming pool, stables and almost 20 acres of land where the family could grow and live in luxury.

Inside the house, however, a tension and a fear was rising, Julie began to believe everything her husband was telling her. Julie split from him multiple times but always returned to him, in a fashion that some would describe as Baumeister having control over his wife.

When colleagues and friends visited the house, they saw messy rooms, unclean surfaces and a complete lack of order. The grounds of the property had been left to overgrow and their land was becoming unusable.

In 1994, their son was playing in the grounds when he found a full human skeleton. They waited for Herb Baumeister to return and he explained it away as being one of his father’s fake medical skeletons.

He claimed to have found it in the garage one day and decided to bury it. Julie believed her husband – but the skeleton belonged to one of his victims.

Front view of Fox Hollow Farm.

Missing gay men and the link to Herb Baumeister

A year earlier, in 1993, connections in the cases of missing gay men were already being made. A private investigator named Vergil Vandagriff, joined forces with an investigator from the Indianapolis Police Department, named Mary Wilson.

They both believed that the missing men might have been connected in some way and began an investigation to connect the evidence. As the investigation gained media attention, they were approached by a gay man who claimed he knew who killed a friend of his.

He gave them a name but the name didn’t show up on any searches. The man mysteriously disappeared for a couple of years until 1995 when he phoned the investigation and gave them the number plate of the man who he suspected to have killed his friend.

It is unclear whether he had carried out his own private investigation in order to get the license plate, or whether he had been holding on to it until the right time came around.

The license plate linked to Herb Baumeister, and so Wilson approached Fox Hollow Farm to speak to him. She asked to search the house but he refused. Julie Baumeister also refused police to search the house.

As the only link was a license plate, the investigation couldn’t gain a warrant for the house.

Remains of the bodies were unearthed on Fox Hollow Farm

By June 1996, Julie Baumeister had finally ended her marriage to Herb, as she had become scared of him. His violent mood swings and weird behaviour had become too much for her to handle.

While Herb Baumeister was on a supposed business vacation, Julie called the investigators and allowed them to search the house and the grounds.

The remains of 11 men were unearthed, with only four of them ever being identified. Herb Baumeister found out about the search of the house and eloped over the Canadian border to Ontario.

He wrote a suicide note in which he spoke about his failing marriage and dwindling business but didn’t mention the murders at all. Shortly after, he shot himself dead in Pinery Provincial Park.

Julie Baumeister went on to tell the investigation that her ex-husband had made over 100 trips to Ohio on apparent business trips. It was then that the investigation linked Baumeister with the murders of nine more men, whose bodies had been discovered along the main highway between Indiana and Ohio; the Interstate 70. Baumeister’s body was discovered eight days after he had killed himself.

The Fox Hollow Farm hauntings

The Fox Hollow Farm and house were stripped of everything after the bodies had been discovered, and it stood abandoned for many years. Until it was sold cheaply to Rob and Vicky Graves from Indiana.

Everything seemed to be going fine until one day Vicky was cleaning the house and the hoover kept coming unplugged at the wall socket for no apparent reason. It scared her and she began to suspect something was wrong with the house.

Then more things began happening.

One day, Vicky came home from work to see Rob painting, and took a good look at his work. She then looked beyond the painting and saw a man outside the window, standing in the grounds of the house.

The man turned from her but he had no legs, then he disappeared completely. The family then installed security cameras.

The screaming ghost of one of Baumeister’s victims

Shortly after, one of Rob’s work colleagues named Joe, moved into the spare apartment in the property, with his dog.

One night while washing the dishes, there was a knock at the door but no one was there. Then the dog began acting as if someone was in the apartment but no one was there.

A few nights later, Joe was walking his dog in the grounds when he saw a man watching them from the woods. The dog gave chase and Joe followed, to see the man even closer, before running back to the house. After speaking to the Graves, it appeared they had seen the same man.

Another night came and another encounter happened. This time the dog was growling at someone who was trying to open the front door. Joe stood up and the door swung open to a strong wind.

He went to the door and looked outside but no one was there. Upon turning to head back into the apartment, a man was running towards him from inside the apartment, screaming for his life.

They then began to research Baumeister’s victims and Joe watched some old news footage and was certain he had seen the man in the victim list.

On another occasion, Joe’s dog uncovered a human bone in the grounds of the estate, in the exact location that he had first seen the man in the woods.

Paranormal investigators and demonologists descend on Fox Hollow Farm

Rob Graves then contacted Mary Wilson, the lead investigator on the case. She came out to the estate and showed them where the bodies had been uncovered. They appeared to be in the same vicinity as the locations of the unexplained phenomena.

Suddenly, news of the hauntings grew and an army of paranormal investigators and demonologists descended on the estate.

On one occasion, Joe was in the pool with some others, cleaning the bottom of it, when cold fingers grabbed his neck and pulled him under the water. He escaped and charged out of the pool, screaming at the others to get out before the demon got them to.

Another night brought another haunting. Joe was at the computer working when he heard a knife scratching against the wall, and sure enough he saw a knife on the floor. Using the new experience he had gained from the paranormal investigators, he unplugged all the electrics and used his cell phone to record any unheard noises.

Afterwards, he replayed the recording on the cell phone and a voice crackled through the audio.

“I am the married one.”

Because all his victims had been gay men, it was suddenly believed that Herb Baumeister himself had returned to Fox Hollow Farm to haunt those who ventured there.

As of 2021, the Graves no longer live at the property. Instead, week in and week out, there are paranormal investigators on site, believing that the property and grounds are amongst the most haunted in Indiana.

On one occasion, a large team of investigators arrived at the estate and stayed for six months. The team included a physics expert, a demonologist, EVP and visual specialist, and an army of psychics.

It appeared to them, at least, that evil never dies.

READ NEXT: 13 True Crime Cases with a Paranormal Edge

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