Cold Case


You would think an unsolved multiple homicide would be the subject of considerable police attention, but that’s not the case here. This one is for the historians.

Eight people murdered in their home, and never a hint of who did the deed. No wonder no-one has lived here since 1540 – people probably thought it was haunted.

At some point last week I realized I had never posted anything about my visit to Burgruine Neuenfels when we first moved to this area in 2017. I remember writing something, but it and the pictures must be on my old phone. I’ll find and post that account later this summer.IMG_20190707_1949114

After that first visit, my wife swore she would never return. When you read that post you’ll understand her sentiments. Nevertheless, Sunday evening we found ourselves trudging up the hill between Badenweiler and Britzingen for another visit to Neuenfels.  A friend had suggested it would be a nice walk, that she knew a more direct route than the one we had taken in 2017, so off we went.

It is a small castle, a home rather than a fortress, dating back to the 13th century. I can’t figure out why anyone would want to live so far from the nearby villages, but I guess there is no accounting for taste. There is a great view of the area, which will be tomorrow’s post.

I wonder if there are indeed historians trying to figure out the mystery of who killed Christopher Neuenfels and his family on that night in 1540. Was he well liked by the villagers? Was he resented for some reason? Was theft the motive? Revenge for some slight? Was it political? Religious? We will probably never know.

My theory is that the perpetrators were known to the castle residents. The walls are more than two metres thick – there was no sign of forced entry.

Germans, in this area anyway, don’t seem to invite others into their homes very often. Hospitality is practiced at the local coffee shop or pub.

Maybe the reason for that goes back to that day in 1540 when Christopher Neuenfels opened his home and wound up being slaughtered. Maybe if authorities back then had solved the case social habits would be different today.

Or am I stretching things?


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