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Mysteries

The Hinterkaifeck Murders and the Devil’s Footprints

The Hinterkaifeck Murders and the Devil’s Footprints 86

by Martin J. Clemens

Six people – a family, well-to-do – murdered one-by-one in their own barn, at the hands of a monster unknown.

Sounds like the plot to a classic horror movie, but that’s actually the long-story-short for Germany’s most mysterious unsolved massacre; The Hinterkaifeck Murders.

It happened in 1922, in a rural area of southern Bavaria, on the farmstead known as Hinterkaifeck (which means farm beyond or hidden by the woods) in the small town of Wangen (now Weidhofen).  On the night of March 31, Andreas Gruber (63), his wife Cäzilia (72), their widowed daughter Viktoria Gabriel (35), along with her two children, Cäzilia (7) and Josef (2), and the new family maid Maria Baumgartner (44), were brutally murdered by persons unknown.  All but Josef and Maria were somehow lured to the barn, one-by-one, and bludgeoned to death with a mattock (similar to a pickaxe).  The killer or killers then entered the house and slaughtered the toddler and the maid in their beds.

It’s really not as cut and dried as that may suggest, though.

It turns out that Maria Baumgartner, the maid, was murdered on her first day on the job, in fact she may have been at the farm for only two to three hours before the first murder took place.  She had been hired as a replacement for the previous maid, who quit approximately six months earlier, claiming that the farm was haunted.

Crime Scene photo - the red numbers correspond to: (1) the living-bedroom of the couple Gruber - (2) the bedroom of Vikoria Gabriel - (3) the barn - (4) the location where four of the victims were found.
Crime Scene photo – the red numbers correspond to: (1) the living-bedroom of the couple Gruber – (2) the bedroom of Vikoria Gabriel – (3) the barn – (4) the location where four of the victims were found.

Some sources cite that a few days prior to the 31st, Gruber had found a trail of foot prints, leading from the edge of the dark forest to the rear of the family home, where they disappeared.  They then tell of Gruber and other members of the family hearing strange footsteps in the attic, finding an unfamiliar newspaper in the home, and one of the two sets of house keys going missing in the intervening days.[1]  Official sources however, claim that on the morning of March 30th, the day before the murders, Gruber had found that someone had tried to break into his ‘motor cottage’ (or garage), breaking the lock and disturbing the area outside the feed room.  After searching the farmstead for trespassers, he then found a single trail of footprints that led from the woods to the compound.[2]

As mentioned, around 7:30 on the evening of the 31st, all of the adult family members were somehow lured to the main barn and bludgeoned to death.  Later autopsies confirmed that a mattock, which was later recovered, had been the murder weapon, and the coroner at the time, noted that the wounds were precise, indicating that whomever had done this was at least familiar with the use of such a tool.  After then moving to the main house and using the same weapon on the toddler and maid, they then arranged the bodies in the barn, by stacking them on top of each other, piling hay over them and then covering them with a broken door.  They covered young Josef, in his bassinette, with one of his mother’s dresses and simply laid the maid on her own bed, covering her with a bed sheet.

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Whomever committed this heinous act was apparently quite comfortable with what he/she/they had done, as they stayed in the home for several days afterward, feeding the cattle and having meals in the kitchen, just steps from the corpse of Baumgartner.  Neighbours reported seeing smoke rising from the chimney on the following Sunday, and the family dog had been handled and tied up near the barn when the postman arrived on Saturday afternoon.  Unfortunately the dog was later brutalised and left for dead with the family in the barn, though it survived.

The gruesome nature of the crime is story enough, but there’s much weirdness that goes along with this.

It turns out that paternal responsibility for young Josef had long been in question.  Viktoria, who was the official owner of the farmstead, was a rather promiscuous young woman.  Several men later came forward, claiming to have known her intimately, but a veritable war went on between Andreas Gruber and their long time neighbour and widower Lorenz Schlittenbauer.  It seems Schlittenbauer had also been with Viktoria, and it was believed that Josef was his son.  Schlittenbauer was required to make an alimony payment to the family, and retired any rights he had in parentage.  However, during these events Viktoria had elected to marry Schlittenbauer, who was several years her elder, but Gruber objected, and in return allegations of incest were leveled at Gruber, and he was ultimately imprisoned for a year prior to the murders.  It’s now largely believed that Andreas Gruber was Josef’s real father (and grandfather).

Crime Scene photo - The Maid's room

Crime Scene photo – The Maid’s room

The bodies were finally found on Tuesday April 4th, by Lorenz Schlittenbauer and four other neighbours, who had been alerted to something gone wrong by Gruber’s absence at church that past Sunday, and the absence of the younger Cäzilia at school on the Monday.  They attended Hinterkaifeck late in the afternoon, and following a brief search, found the gruesome scene in the barn.

Subsequent investigation and autopsy saw the corpse’s heads removed for study, which were ultimately lost (most likely in the battle at Nuremberg during WWII), and the bodies were buried, headless, in a local cemetery.  The farmstead was leveled a few years later, and now a monument stands on the site in honour of the departed.

So who did it?

There have been several suspects in the years since, not the least of which was Lorenz Schlittenbauer.  His familiarity with the farmstead and the people involved, coupled with the controversy of his would-be son and almost-wife, gave plenty of room for motive.  In fact, on the morning of the 30th, Gruber had seen Schlittenbauer at the neighbour’s farm while he tracked the trail of footprints, wherein he warned his neighbour of a possible prowler in the area.  This could have given Schlittenbauer opportunity to commit an atrocious act, while leaving doubt about who may have done it.

Crime Scene photo - Viktoria's bedroom, showing Josef's bassinette

Crime Scene photo – Viktoria’s bedroom, showing Josef’s bassinette

Of course, there’s those foot prints.  Someone attended the farm, approached on foot from the wood, and apparently never left.  Yet no strangers or trespassers were found.

An escaped mental patient was also among the suspects.  Joseph Bärtle had slipped away from an asylum at Günzburg in 1921, and was apparently at large, possibly in the area of south Bavaria at the time.

But what if the foot prints weren’t the trail of a man after all?  I give you the Devil’s Footprints.

Found in February of 1855, following a heavy snowfall in Devon, England, were a strange line of tracks of an apparently two-legged creature with cloven-hoof feet.  The strange foot prints were tracked from Exmouth, across the Exe Estuary, to Teignmouth some 40 miles away.  There were, at times, large gaps in the trail, where it appeared that the creature had taken flight and then landed further down-field, and it was said that they appeared on rooftops, in gardens and up walls.  At the time witnesses attributed the tracks to the devil, hence the name, and though the tracks were studied and diagramed, no one has ever come up with an acceptable explanation for what made them.

Now, the Hinterkaifeck foot prints were never photographed, and the description of the tracks doesn’t provide any detail about their appearance.  And the Devil’s Footprints were never associated with any known crimes or otherwise unexplainable events, but one can’t help but see a similarity between the footprints of the Hinterkaifeck Murders and the Devil’s Footprints.

Were the family of Andreas Gruber slaughtered by a disgruntled neighbour, a deranged lunatic, or an otherworldly creature who left its calling card in the form of mysterious footprints?

[1] Author not listed. Hinterkaifeck. Armchair Detective: http://armchairdetective.wordpress.com/2009/11/23/hinterkaifeck/

[2] Elfriede Weber Alte Landgerichtsstr. Hinterkaifeck-morde.de (German language): http://www.hinterkaifeck-mord.de/index.html

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Mysteries

There are many mysteries in the Sahara Desert but scientific and archaeological expeditions are prohibited

There are many mysteries in the Sahara Desert but scientific and archaeological expeditions are prohibited 99

Throughout the history of this African desert, tens of thousands of people have gone missing in its vicinity, and this is only according to official data. The sand is much more destructive than the ill-fated Bermuda Triangle. This is understandable, five thousand kilometers covered with sand.

Scientists know for certain that millions of years ago there were rivers, lakes, flowering gardens and, most likely, even the ocean in the desert, since numerous whale fossils were found in the sands.

There are many mysteries in the Sahara Desert but scientific and archaeological expeditions are prohibited 100

The ruins of cities, underground canals, through which water once flowed, were discovered. In one of the Sahara caves, ancient drawings and hieroglyphs were found, depicting humanoid creatures, around which there was greenery and water. There are a lot of mountains in the desert, where people have never been.

Perhaps the most mysterious place in the Sahara is rocky terrain with melted earth and traces of radiation. At this place, according to scientists, an explosion of incredible power thundered. There is a theory that all this is due to the fall of a meteorite.

This is confirmed by the chemical elements that scientists find in glass and iron. These elements are of unearthly origin, and most likely came to us with a meteorite. Moreover, the crater itself is hidden somewhere under the sands, and has not yet been found.

There are many mysteries in the Sahara Desert but scientific and archaeological expeditions are prohibited 101

If you look at the desert from space, then the first thing that can be seen is the rings, called the eyes of the Sahara, with a diameter of more than fifty kilometers. There are rocky rocks near the rings that are not found anywhere else on Earth. The stones themselves are most likely solidified lava.

But all these secrets and riddles are not studied in detail, since archaeological and scientific expeditions are officially prohibited on the territory of the Sahara, due to safety. On the territory of the desert, armed conflicts constantly occur, which are a great risk for scientists. This is what official sources say.

There are many mysteries in the Sahara Desert but scientific and archaeological expeditions are prohibited 102

The desert can be easily studied from space, by analogy with, for example, Mars, where in the infrared range, with the help of orbiting satellites and telescopes, you can recognize artifacts, as well as make new discoveries. Unfortunately, this does not happen.

The Sahara Desert, along with the oceans of the Earth, remains the least studied.

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Mysteries

Nikola Tesla’s mysterious inventions: from laser to teleportation

Nikola Tesla's mysterious inventions: from laser to teleportation 103

Nikola Tesla is perhaps the most mysterious and most misunderstood of all the great scientists. He was a man well ahead of his time. He owns many inventions and discoveries. Some of them remain a mystery to this day.

Tesla could have pioneered the X-ray, which Wilhelm Roentgen introduced in 1895. The fact is that Nikola had worked with vacuum tubes several years earlier. During the experiments, he discovered an unknown radiation that could penetrate objects. But the scientist was then so busy that he left the study of X-rays.Only after the discovery of Roentgen, Tesla realized what he had missed, although he did not pretend to be the discoverer. The Serb decided to return to this topic and became so carried away by it that he began to scan everyone in a row – dogs, colleagues and even himself.

Tesla figured out how to use X-rays to examine the human body and transfer the data to film.

Tesla figured out how to use X-rays to examine the human body and transfer the data to film.

To get some of the images, it took about an hour to be under the X-ray machine. At first, the researcher believed that these rays were harmless, so he irradiated the head, hands, even eyes. Tesla stopped doing this when he saw the burns.

How Tesla caused the earthquake

After a while, Tesla switched to ultrasound and even caused an earthquake. It happened in 1898 in New York. There were factories, a police station, and residential buildings in the neighborhood of the scientist’s laboratory.

Then one day, the ground in the area shook, the buildings began to shake. In a panic, residents rushed into the street, thinking it was an earthquake. The police ran to Tesla’s laboratory and found him smashing into smithereens some device installed on the base of the building. When the device was broken, the earthquake stopped.

Nikola Tesla shows his inventions.

Nikola Tesla shows his inventions.

It was an oscillator that generated ultra-high frequency oscillations and produced ultrasound. These vibrations caused internal resonance in objects when they coincided with the frequency of their natural vibrations. Tesla saw in this a destructive force of enormous proportions.

The invention of radio

Back in 1890, Tesla predicted the appearance of a device with which it would be possible to listen to music and human speech at a great distance from the sound source. In the same way, images or text will be transmitted, the scientist believed. We can say that the inventor predicted the era of wireless communication and the Internet.

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Nikola Tesla in his Laboratory.

As far as radio is concerned, Tesla conducted experiments. Nine meters from each other, he installed a 5-kilowatt spark transmitter and receiver, from which he extended wires to the ceilings, which served as antennas. Messages were sent from the transmitter to the receiver handset.

Although Tesla built the first wave radio transmitter in 1893, ahead of Marconi, the Italian was more nimble. He challenged the Serb patents for the device itself and the power transmission system in court.
So, Nikola was left without fame and patent payments, and Marconi received the Nobel Prize. It was only after the death of both inventors that the US Supreme Court confirmed Tesla’s primacy in inventing a wireless communication system.

Remote control

In 1893, Tesla began designing remotely controlled vehicles. However, two years later, a fire destroyed all his developments, including the already created mechanisms. For the first time, a scientist showed his inventions at an exhibition in 1898. With the help of a remote control, Tesla made a radio-controlled boat perform various maneuvers. The display of the scientist turned out to be a sensation.

Nikola Tesla's radio-controlled boat.

Nikola Tesla’s radio-controlled boat.

The inventor also proposed creating a remote-controlled submarine to blow up enemy ships. But the military was not interested in Tesla’s developments.

Wireless energy

But then Tesla was not worried about what the military thought. He was so fascinated by the idea of ​​wireless power transmission that he went to Colorado Springs to conduct experiments. An antenna 60 meters high was built here especially for the experiments. Locals often watched the tower generate giant flashes of lightning.

Tower in Wardencliff.  It was an incredible sight for 1900.

Tower in Wardencliff. It was an incredible sight for 1900.

Soon, banker John Morgan gives Tesla money for the project of a global radio network. But the scientist did not forget about his idea of ​​wireless transmission of electricity. With the funds received, he built a new laboratory with a frame tower in Wardencliff, which became famous all over the world.
Morgan did not understand the whole idea. Why was it necessary to build a tower, because Marconi transmitted a signal across the entire Atlantic and without it.

Then Tesla confessed to Morgan that he was not interested in radio communication, but in the wireless transmission of energy to any part of the planet. But this was not part of the entrepreneur’s plans, and he stopped funding.

Tesla in front of a high frequency transformer at the Colorado Springs lab.

Tesla in front of a high frequency transformer at the Colorado Springs lab.

This whole story influenced the opinion of financiers about the scientist. They did not want to deal with Tesla and invest in him. The scientist’s affairs were getting worse. In 1905, his patents for AC motors and other designs expired and payments ceased.
During the First World War, the American government decided to blow up the tower at Wardenclyffe, because it feared that it would become a beacon for German ships. This is how Tesla’s dream of the informational unification of the world collapsed.

The unsolved mysteries of Nikola Tesla

And yet, many of the discoveries of the Serbian scientist are shrouded in mystery to this day. Tesla left no drawings or notes on them. Only fragmentary information and, of course, legends have survived.
Tesla is considered the “culprit” of the 1908 Tunguska explosion. A huge wave of energy could travel from the tower at Wardencliff to Siberia through the ionosphere. If it was a meteorite, then no trace of it was found. Despite the fact that the project in Wardenclyffe stopped funding in 1905, the equipment remained there, and Tesla could secretly continue his experiments.

It is assumed that Tesla was related to the history of the Tunguska "meteorite"...

It is assumed that Tesla was related to the history of the Tunguska “meteorite”.

According to the scientist himself, he received technical and scientific revelations from a certain ether – a single information field of the Earth. From there, he received inaudible signals to anyone, including from Venus and Mars.

In 1931, Tesla presented an interesting development. The gasoline engine was removed from the car and an electric motor was installed. Then Tesla, in front of the public, placed a box with two rods under the hood and connected it to the motor. With the words “now we have energy” Tesla got behind the wheel and drove off.

Tesla invented a device like "perpetual motion machine" and tested it in a car.

Tesla invented a device like a “perpetual motion machine” and tested it on a car.

The car accelerated to 150 kilometers per hour, and there was no need to recharge. When asked where the energy came from, Tesla replied that it was from the ether. However, the public considered the invention to be quackery. Then the disgruntled inventor took out a miracle box from under the hood and carried it away. What kind of device it was is still unknown.

The scientist is also credited with participating in a secret military project, in which the famous Philadelphia experiment later took place.

During the experiment, the destroyer "Eldridge" disappeared and appeared elsewhere.  Teleportation under the influence of strong electromagnetic fields.

During the experiment, the destroyer Eldridge disappeared and reappeared elsewhere. Teleportation under the influence of strong electromagnetic fields.

Shortly before his death, Tesla announced the development of “death rays”. His new invention could destroy aircraft at a distance of 400 kilometers. It is assumed that the military bought the blueprints and created modern laser installations based on them. Also, newspapers wrote that Tesla was working on creating an artificial mind and the ability to photograph thoughts.

Only now the world realizes what discoveries Tesla made. For example, the Kirlian effect was patented in 1949, although the glowing effect of the “aura” of objects was shown by Tesla at the end of the 19th century.

Aura of leaves.

Aura of leaves.

Some scientists are now carried away by studying the torsion field, and they are looking for information about it in the fragmentary records of Tesla. But there are few of them left. Perhaps Nikola burned them shortly before his death, realizing that his knowledge was too dangerous for unreasonable humanity!

“The great mysteries of our existence have yet to be solved, even death may not be the end.”  N. Tesla

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Mysteries

Subconscious Games: Eliza Müller’s Martian Language

Subconscious Games: Eliza Müller's Martian Language 104

The Swiss psychologist Theodore Flournoy did not know that, having accepted an invitation from a colleague to attend a seance, he would spend five years of his life studying the secrets of the medium’s subconscious. A tall, beautiful woman sat at a round table, glaring at those who came.

Eliza Müller recently turned 33 years old, but she never got married. At the end of the 19th century, this was considered a tragedy. Eliza did not take money for the sessions, earning good money in the accounting department of a famous trading house. Talking about her, Flournois hid her real name, giving Frau Müller the pseudonym Helen Smith.

During the session, she was transformed, falling into a trance. Her eyes opened wide, her gaze rushed into space or wandered senselessly. At this moment, Eliza’s dilated pupils did not react to the bright light, and her face turned into a lifeless mask. A few minutes later, Eliza began to speak on behalf of the “spirit” that had infiltrated her – Cagliostro, Marie Antoinette, Victor Hugo and other celebrities.

At the same time, her voice completely changed, imitating those whose “spirit” was embodied in her. Sometimes Eliza spoke in a normal voice, describing the visions that appeared to her. In a trance, Frau Müller spoke to only one of those present, answering his questions. The rest of the people did not exist for her.

When Cagliostro moved into Eliza, she stood up, proudly straightening herself up, and began to speak, majestically crossing her arms over her chest. Her voice became loud and low, like that of a man, and her pronunciation was similar to Italian, with ancient turns. Cagliostro answered questions familiarly, referring to the interlocutor on “you”.

Subconscious Games: Eliza Müller's Martian Language 105

Another “spirit” that entered the medium was the Indian princess Simandini, the daughter of an Arab sheikh and the eleventh wife of Prince Nayak Sivruk of the Canary Islands, who built the Chandragiri fortress in 1401.

“The real daughter of the East appeared before us,” recalled Theodore Flournoy. – She sat on the ground with crossed legs; her solemn kneeling before the invisible incense burner, full of religious feeling, her arms crossed reverently on her chest and threefold bows gave the impression of inimitable naturalness; the melancholic tenderness of her songs, the free flexibility of her serpentine movements – such a varied facial expression, distinguished by a purely exotic character, all these movements bore the imprint of originality and ease. Unwittingly, bewilderment arose, how could a woman who did not know the East at all learn them.

During the sessions, Simandini uttered words and whole phrases that no one understood. When they were recorded and contacted by specialists, it turned out that she spoke Sanskrit. Once Eliza, in a trance, wrote a few words in a strange language. Experts in oriental writing told Theodore that this is an Arabic proverb: “A little friendship is already a lot.”

At the end of the session, announced by three knocks on the table, Frau Müller gradually returned to her normal state. It did not come immediately – it was preceded by several short awakenings, alternating with falling asleep. The woman who came to her senses did not remember what happened in the trance.

Flights to Mars

Subconscious Games: Eliza Müller's Martian Language 106

On November 25, 1894, immersed in a trance, Eliza saw a bright light at a high altitude. Then she felt herself pumped.

An example of a text in “Martian language” as presented by Helen Smith

It seemed to her that her head was empty and her body was gone. Some force was carrying her up. Then Frau Müller saw a beautiful ball and was on its surface.

– Where I am? – She asked the familiar “spirit” who was nearby.

“On a planet called Mars,” he replied.

Eliza began to describe her first impressions. She saw carts without horses and wheels, which, sliding, scattered sparks; aircraft similar to coach lights; houses with water fountains on the roof; people who spoke a strange language and, greeting each other, gave clicks in the nose; children who slept in a cradle, which instead of curtains had an iron angel with outstretched wings …

Frau Müller began to visit Mars during almost every trance. Little by little, she learned to speak and write in Martian. It turned out that one of the rulers of the planet, a certain Astane, lived on Earth in a past life and was familiar with Simandini.

Once Eliza in the company of Astane attended a magnificent local celebration. Dressed in a sequined dress (she imagined it was a Martian one), she entered a large square hall, lit by lamps at the corners.

Many ornamental plants hung everywhere. In the middle of the room was a grove surrounded by small, shiny tables. Inside was a cheerful crowd of young men and women, whose hairstyles bore the appearance of a pink, blue, or green moth.

At a sign given by Astane, everyone sat down at the tables decorated with flowers. Two men placed square plates and forks without handles in front of the Martians. Then they served strange-looking dishes, but the taste was excellent. The holiday ended with dances and songs.

Even stranger things were said by Eliza about her visit to the Martian foster home. In the huge hall along the walls there were “cradles” that resembled changing tables. In each “cradle” lay a child.

Martians walked around the hall with domestic animals, which had a wide, flat, almost hairless head and large kind eyes, like those of seals. Their large udders were inserted into a square tube milking unit. The Martians now and then stuck a pipe into the mouths of babies, feeding them milk.

On the way to the solution

Subconscious Games: Eliza Müller's Martian Language 107

Trying to find out as much as possible about the past of the medium, Flournoy found the family doctor Frau Müller. After talking with an elderly doctor, the psychologist showed him a note with an Arabic proverb. The doctor replied that this was his writing style. Several years ago, he traveled to Arabia and knew Arabic well.

Every time he gave a book about travel to friends, he would add an Arabic saying to his autograph. Eliza saw one of the autographs and in a trance drew it from memory from left to right, and did not write, like a real Arab woman, from right to left.

When Flournois invited a famous linguist to the sessions, the scientist said that Simandini’s language is not real Sanskrit, but a mixture of it with words similar in sound, but at the same time meaningless. The linguist got the impression that Eliza somehow saw the Sanskrit dictionary or grammar and leafed through it out of boredom.

Frau herself, of course, had forgotten everything a long time ago, but the subconscious mind kept the words it saw in its memory and then used them during the trance, plugging the blanks with words of its own invention.

Then it was the turn to find out if Princess Simandini and her husband Sivruk existed. All historians amicably answered that these names were unfamiliar to them. Flournoy was ready to give up, but then an old book on the history of India, written in 1828, fell into his hands. Everything that the princess said to herself turned out to be exact quotes taken from there!

Flournoy was able to prove that the source of information from the “spirits” were books that Frau Müller read as a child and forgot. During her trance, her brain would extract pieces of forgotten memories and build plots from them – of course, without the knowledge of her sanity.

Scientists were presented with a fantastic game of the mind and subconscious, surpassing everything that they had previously encountered. The process, when fragments from long-forgotten memories float out and are perceived by the subject himself as something alien, otherworldly, Theodore called cryptomnesia.

Subconscious games

The scientific assault on the “Martian language” was short-lived. Linguists said that the Martian language completely copies the grammar of the French language.

“This is a language that a young child could compose by replacing every word in the French dictionary with an arbitrary combination of letters and each letter with an arbitrary sign,” the experts said. “The language is childish, but as an effort of memory it is a miracle.”

Eliza Müller’s subconscious was trying to get out not only in a trance state. Sometimes she switched to the “Martian language”, not noticing that the interlocutor did not understand her. There could be several such interruptions during one conversation. Even in business correspondence, Frau Müller often inserted phrases or individual letters in “Martian” without noticing the mistake.

In 1900, Flournoy’s book “From India to the Planet Mars” was published, where the author summed up the five-year work of a team of scientists. After reading it, Eliza was furious. Since then, no specialist has received permission to attend her sessions.

A year later, a wealthy American woman gave Eliza financial support so that she could quit her job and focus on developing her mediumship. Frau Müller, who is so good at drawing, has a new talent. Going into a trance, she took up brushes and painted pictures on religious themes. Eliza’s paintings are considered a prime example of art brut – art of non-professionals, which has a spontaneous character and does not depend on cultural traditions.

Frau Müller died on June 10, 1929 in Geneva. Until her last breath, Eliza believed that she was the chosen one of spirits, aliens and saints, called to bring the truth to our lost world.

Mikhail GERSHTEIN, magazine “Secrets of the XX century”

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