About 20 miles north of downtown Indianapolis there’s a quiet multi-acre property known as Fox Hollow Farm, the house that sat on the property was the home of Herbert Baumeister. Baumeister was born on April 7th, 1947, in Indianapolis and was the oldest of four children and sources indicated that he had a fairly normal childhood. But as Baumeister began to mature, he began exhibiting antisocial behavior, his friends would later recall Baumeister’s interest in urophilia and how he often used to “ponder what it would be like to taste human urine.” People that knew Herb claimed that he often played with dead animals. His friends recalled a story about how one day on the way to school, Baumeister picked up a dead crow, placed it in his pocket, and continued to school where he then placed the dead crow on his teachers desk in front of everyone. There was even an instance where he was caught peeing on his teachers desk. There’s no evidence on whether this is true or not but I would guess he did not like his teacher. As a child, Baumeister was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but unfortunately due to the way mental health was treated back then he did not receive any psychiatric treatment. Herb attended Indiana University in 1965 and his strange behavior caused him to be an outcast among his peers. Herb dropped out after one semester but his father had talked him into continuing his education. Taking his fathers advice, Herb returned to the University in 1967 to continue studying anatomy but he would drop out again before finishing the semester. While attending IU, Herb met Juliana Saiter, a high school journalism teacher and part-time student. They began dating and discovered that the two had a lot in common.
At 24 years old, in 1971, Baumeister and Juliana got married and all seemed well. However, just six months into their marriage, Herb’s father had him committed to a mental institution for two months for unknown reasons. This did nothing to damage Herb and Julie’s marriage, Julie loved her husband despite his odd behavior. Going on nine years of marriage, Herb and Julie had three children, Marie (1979), Erich (1981), and Emily (1984). Even though Herb’s father had him committed he still cared for his son, going as far as helping him get a low-level job as a copy boy at the Indianapolis Star. His job consisted of running stories between reporter’s desks and performing other errands. Herb was eager to start a new career and was constantly trying to gain positive feedback and obsessing over ways to fit in with his co-workers. Herb was discouraged and unable to handle his “nobody” status and eventually left to work at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Herb decided to approach this new entry-level job with a new attitude, he had been childlike and overeager at the newspaper job and often displaying hurt feelings when his work wasn’t getting the recognition he felt it deserved. At his new job at the BMV, Herb would emulate what he perceived as good supervisory behavior; he came off as aggressive and bossy towards his co-workers, often lashing out at them for no reason. Herb was once again labeled as an oddball. His co-workers began to spread rumors that Baumeister was a closet homosexual and a nutcase, this was mostly due to Herb sending a Christmas card to everyone at work that pictured him and another man dressed in holiday drag. Despite all of this, after 10 years of working at the BMV, he was seen as a very intelligent go-getter who always got results and he was eventually promoted to program director. In 1985, within a year of gaining the promotion he always wanted, Herb was fired. Why was he fired? Baumeister was fired after he peed on a letter that was to be delivered to the then-Indiana Gov. Robert D. Orr. This act also confirmed rumors about who peed on Herb’s manager’s desk just a few months earlier (The Pissman is born). Before being fired from the BMV, things were going so well for the Baumeisters that Julie had quit her job to be a full-time mother but she would eventually return to work when Herb couldn’t keep a steady job. During his time as a temporary stay-at-home dad, Herb was a caring and loving father to his children. But being without a job left Herb with too much time on his hands and, without Julie’s knowledge, he began heavily drinking and frequently hanging out at gay bars.
In September of that same year, Baumeister was charged in a hit and run accident while drunk but only received a slap on the wrist. Just six months later he was arrested again and charged with stealing a friend’s car and conspiracy to commit theft but once again Herb managed to beat those charges. At this point Herb would begin bouncing from job to job before starting work at a thrift store. He considered this job to be beneath him until he began to see it as a potential money-maker, after which he spent three years learning the business. During this time Herb’s father passed away. The impact that this had on Herb is unknown.
In 1988, Herb and his wife had founded and opened their own thrift store, which they named Sav-a-Lot (not to be confused with Save-a-Lot). They sold gently used quality clothing, furniture and other used items. They gave a percentage of the store’s profits to the Children’s Bureau of Indianapolis. During its first year of operation, Sav-a-Lot brought in $50,000. Things were going so well they were able to open a second store and within three years, they were rich and the Baumeisters became well respected members of the community. But unfortunately there was a lot of stress due to Herb and Julie working so close. From the start of their new business, Herb had always treated Julie as an employee and often yelled at her for no reason. To prevent further arguments, Julie decided to take a step back from business decisions. This took a toll on their marriage and the couple would argue and separate off and on over the next several years.
Not long after creating this successful business, Baumeister and his family moved to Fox Hollow Farm around 1991, the Tudor-style home and estate, located in the Westfield district, had an indoor swimming pool, stables, and almost 20 acres of land. While their stores were seen as clean and well organized, their new home was the exact opposite. The grounds became overgrown, the rooms were a mess, and housekeeping was a low priority. The only thing Herb seemed to care about was the pool room. The wet bar was always well stocked and the area was full of extravagant decor including mannequins that Herb dressed and positioned around the pool and bar area to give the appearance of a pool party. To get away from all of the stress and odd behavior, Julie and the kids would often stay with Herb’s mother at her Lake Wawasee condo while Herb stayed behind to maintain the stores.
In 1994, Herb’s 13 year old son, Erich, was playing in the woods behind their home at Fox Hollow when he came across a partially buried human skeleton. Erich showed his mother what he had found and when confronted with it, Herb told her that his father had used fake medical skeletons for his research and when he found one while cleaning the garage, he decided to bury it. While this explanation is a bit odd, Julie believed him and no longer questioned it. Not long after the second Sav-a-Lot was opened, the Baumeisters began to lose money. Herb took to day drinking and acting rudely to customers and eventually the stores went from clean and organized to looking like dumps. Unknown to Julie, Herb had begun spending his nights at gay bars before retreating to the pool room where he would cry for hours about his failing business.
In June 1994, Private investigator and retired Marion County sheriff, Virgil Vandagriff was contacted about a missing 28-year-old named Alan Broussard. Alan’s mother, who had contacted Virgil, said that when she last saw him, he was headed to a popular gay bar called Brothers, to meet his partner. Alan never came home. About a week later, Virgil received another call from an upset mother in regard to her missing son. In July, 32-year-old Roger Goodlet left his parents’ home to visit a gay bar downtown but sadly he never arrived. Roger and Alan had a few things in common, they shared a lifestyle, had similar appearances, were close in age, and both disappeared on their way to a gay bar. Virgil began putting up missing-persons posters at gay bars around town and interviewing family members and friends of the two men, as well as customers at the bars. Virgil eventually got a lead and learned that Goodlet was last seen entering a blue car with Ohio plates. He also received a tip from a gay magazine publisher that several gay men had disappeared in that area over the last few years. At this point Virgil is convinced that they were dealing with a serial killer and so he took his suspicions to the Indianapolis Police Department. Unfortunately missing gay men were a low priority due to the possibility that the men had left the area without informing family members in order to freely practice their lifestyle.
During his investigation, Virgil learned about an ongoing investigation involving multiple murders of gay men in Ohio that started in 1989 and ended around the mid 1990s. Four of which were from Indianapolis. The bodies had been dumped along Interstate 70 and so the media called them the “I-70 Murders”. Several weeks after the missing posters were put up, Virgil was contacted by a man using the pseudonym “Tony”. Tony believed he had spent time with the person responsible for the disappearance of Goodlet. Tony also stated that he brought this information to the police as well as the FBI, but unfortunately they disregarded the information. Virgil began setting up interviews and soon a bizarre story would unfold.
Tony told Virgil that while at a gay club he noticed a man that seemed fascinated by the missing poster of his friend, Roger Goodlet. As he watched this man, Tony said that something in his eyes convinced him that he had more information about Roger’s disappearance. In an attempt to learn more, Tony introduced himself. The man told Tony his name was Brian Smart and that he was a landscaper from Ohio. At the mention of Goodlet, Smart began avoiding the topic. As the evening went on, Smart invited Tony for a swim at the house where he was temporarily living while he did landscaping for the new owners who were out of town. Tony agreed and followed Smart out to his Buick, which had Ohio plates. Tony was unable to say where this house was, as he was unfamiliar with northern Indianapolis, though he described the area as having horse ranches and large homes. He also noted a split-rail fence with a sign that said “Farm” something, in front of the driveway that Smart had turned into. He described the place as a large Tudor home, which the two entered through a side door. Tony stated that the interior was packed with furniture and boxes. Smart led Tony through the house and down to the bar and pool area where Smart offered him a drink, which he declined. At this point Smart had excused himself and when he returned he seemed more talkative. Tony believes he may have snorted cocaine. During the conversation, Smart brought up autoerotic asphyxiation and asked Tony to do it to him. Tony went along with it and choked him with a hose while he masturbated. Smart then said it was his turn. Tony, again, went along with it and as he was being choked it became apparent that Smart was not going to let go. Tony pretended to pass out which caused Smart to release the hose. When he opened his eyes, Smart became startled and claimed he was scared because Tony had passed out. Tony was much larger than Smart, which was likely the reason he survived, as well as refusing drinks that Smart had offered. Smart drove Tony back to Indianapolis where the two agreed to meet again next week. In order to get more information about Smart, Virgil arranged to have someone follow the two at their second meeting. Smart never showed up.
Having believed Tony’s story, Virgil went back to the police, except this time he contacted a missing persons detective that he knew named Mary Wilson. She and Tony went out to the wealthy areas just outside Indianapolis in hopes of finding the large Tudor house but their search came up empty. Tony and Smart would cross paths again a year later when the two were visiting the same bar. This time Tony managed to get Smart’s plate number and hand it over to Mary. Upon checking the records, the plate was found to be registered to a Herbert Baumeister. As Mary began her own investigation into Baumeister, she and Virgil both agreed that Tony had narrowly escaped being the victim of a serial killer.
Mary went to Sav-a-Lot to confront Herb, informing him that he was a suspect in a missing persons investigation and asked to let detectives search his house. Baumeister refused and told her that next time, she should go through his lawyer. Mary’s next visit was to Herb’s wife Julie, who she told the same thing she had just told her husband in hopes of getting her to agree to a search, despite being shocked by this information, Julie also refused. The next step was to try and get a search warrant, but Hamilton County officials refused, stating that there wasn’t enough conclusive evidence. Over the next six months, Herb suffered an emotional breakdown and by June, Julie had reached her limit. The Children’s Bureau canceled their contract with Sav-a-Lot and the Baumeisters now faced bankruptcy. Still haunted by the image of the skeleton that her son had found just two years earlier, Julie decided to file for divorce, tell Mary about the skeleton, and allow the property to be searched. While Herb and Erich were at Lake Wawasee visiting Herb’s mother, Julie was calling her lawyer.
On June 24th, 1996, Mary and three other Hamilton County officers walked the area near the Baumeister’s patio and noticed that the small rock and pebbles were actually bone fragments. These fragments were sent to forensics and they confirmed the fragments were human bones. The next day, officials began excavating and found bones as far as the neighbor’s property. The early searches uncovered 5,500 bone fragments and teeth. The fragments were estimated to belong to 11 men but only four could be identified: Roger Goodlet, Steven Hale, Richard Hamilton, and Manuel Resendez. Understandably, Julie panicked as she and authorities feared for the safety of her son who was currently with Herb. Before the news of the discovery at the Baumeister home was made public,the decision was made that Herb would be served with custody papers demanding that Erich be returned to Julie. Herb assumed the papers were just legal maneuvering and handed over Erich without incident.
Once the news was broadcast, Baumeister disappeared. On July 3rd, at Pinery Park, Ontario Canada, Baumeister’s body was discovered inside his car. He had died of an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He left behind a three page note explaining why he took his life, listing problems with the business and his failing marriage but never mentioning the murders or the remains scattered across his backyard. With Julie’s help, the Ohio I-70 murders were linked to Baumeister. Julie had provided receipts that proved Baumeister had traveled I-70 around the time the bodies were discovered. The body’s only stopped appearing on I-70 around the time the Baumeisters moved into Fox Hollow Farm, where Herb had plenty of space to hide them.
After everything had settled, Fox Hollow Farm and the house were stripped of everything and it was left abandoned for many years until it was finally put back on the market. The estate was sold very cheap to a couple from Indiana, Rob and Vicky Graves. Everything seemed to be fine until Vicky started noticing strange things happening around the house. It started off small, she would be cleaning the house and the vacuum kept coming unplugged for no apparent reason, this happened three times. Vicky began to get the feeling that she wasn’t alone in the house, and whatever it was, didn’t want her there.. Understandably, this scared her and she began to suspect something was wrong with the house.
Another incident happened when Vicky arrived home from work one day while Rob was painting, she walked over to get a better look at his work when something through the window caught her eye, there was a man in a red t-shirt standing outside in the yard, when the man turned away from her to walk away, Vicky realized the man had no legs. As soon as she noticed this, the man disappeared completely. Rob went out to where the man had been standing and found nothing. After this the family had security cameras installed in hopes of catching something on video.
Rob worked at a car dealership, and his co-worker Joe Le Blanc was having trouble with the commute to work and would often be late. Rob, wanting to help out his co-worker, offered him the spare apartment on the property. Despite the history of the estate, Joe agreed to move in along with his dog Fred. After an exhausting move, Joe fell asleep. While he was asleep, he had a dream that he was running from something, and that if he were to be caught something very bad would happen to him. He woke up in a panic and immediately tried to run. When he ran he hit a door frame so hard that he broke the glass on the door, causing pieces of it to be embedded in his hands before he collapsed. Joe was unsure as to what he was running from but he couldn’t shake the feeling that he needed to leave as fast as possible.
Joe was washing dishes one night when he heard a knock at the door which became insistent, but upon opening the door, there was no one there. He took a quick look around before heading back inside and locking the door. This made Joe uneasy and he felt that he was being watched. Around this time, Joe’s dog, Fred, perked up like he saw something even though Joe couldn’t see anything.
It would seem that Joe experienced the most hauntings while staying at Fox Hollow Farm. Another night while Joe was walking Fred, he heard something in the woods. Fred stopped in his tracks and his ears were up as if he were listening to something. When they turned to head back to the apartment, Joe spotted a man in a red t-shirt. As the man turned and disappeared into the woods, Fred gave chase. Joe went after him, not knowing who this man was or what his intentions were. While chasing Fred, Joe came face to face with the man in the red shirt. Joe was terrified. He sprinted back toward the apartment with Fred close behind. When he later told Rob and Vicky about this incident they realized the man that Joe saw was the same man Vicky had seen standing in the yard.
During the night, Joe was awakened by a knocking at the door. He called out asking who was there and got no response. Joe claims he could feel the panels on his door vibrating from the force of the knocking. He then opened the still rattling door to see that no one was there, but this time, the door knocker was raised as if someone were holding it and about to knock. As soon as Joe noticed this, the knocker dropped, completing its knock. He slammed the door shut and locked it. Upon returning to his room, he found Fred, growling at something. Just then he began to hear a terrible sound. The doorknob was turning. It went from a steady turn to a violent rattling as something was trying to get into the apartment. Suddenly the sound stopped and moments later the door burst open, sending wood fragments flying into the apartment. Unnerved and speechless, Joe stepped outside and when he turned around to head back inside he saw a man screaming and running in the apartment as if trying to get away from something that Joe couldn’t see. He, along with Rob and Vicky, began to research the events that happened on the property. While browsing old news footage and photos of the victims, Joe spotted a picture of the man he saw running in his apartment.
Despite all of this, Joe was still staying in the apartment and one afternoon while walking Fred through the woods, Fred took off after something and so Joe followed. When Fred finally stopped, Joe spotted something on the ground. When he pulled it out from under the leaves he saw it was a bone. He brought it back to show Rob and Vicky and they immediately knew it was a human bone, possibly a femur. Joe had found the bone in the same area where the man in the red shirt had been spotted. Rob then reported this to Mary Wilson, the lead detective, who agreed to stop by and show them where the events took place on the property. It was thought that Baumeister strangled his victims near or in the woods.
But the most horrifying encounter Joe would face was yet to come. One of Joe’s friends named Jeremy, wanted to visit the house and see if the reports about the hauntings were true. They were in the pool room, diving to pick up dead beetles that had sunk to the bottom when Joe felt someone touch his back. At first he just assumed it was Jeremy or Rob. Then he realized they were on the opposite side of the pool. When he tried to swim back toward his friends, Joe was pulled under the water and he could feel cold fingers gripping his neck and choking him. Jeremy noticed him clawing at his neck with a panicked look that he had never seen before. Joe finally managed to escape and as he hurried away from the pool he demanded that everyone get out immediately because he was afraid that the same thing might happen to them.
Joe’s final encounter happened while he was working at his computer late at night. Joe heard a metallic scraping noise coming from somewhere in the apartment. When he investigated, he found a knife lying on the kitchen counter and cuts in the wooden walls. This made him wonder if someone had been stabbed in the kitchen. Having seen plenty of ghost hunter shows, Joe decided to do an EVP session (electronic voice phenomenon) with his cell phone and see if he could hear anything. He unplugged everything that could make noise or interrupt the session in any way. Joe asked “is anyone there?” and seconds later, Fred began barking. He took this to the computer to see if anything had been recorded, and to his surprise, Joe heard a clear response. The voice said “The married one.” Baumeister’s victims were all single men. The only one that could have been there that wasn’t single, was Herb himself.