Monday, October 23, 2017

Mystery Monday: Bella and the Wych Helm

It's Monday, which means it's time for another...

In April of 1943, four young boys in the woods discovered human remains buried in a European tree called a "wych elm." Found in the tree were a human skull, an almost complete skeleton, a gold wedding ring, a shoe, and fragments of clothing.

Crime scene and police sketch of victim. Source:

The medical examiner identified the skeleton as female, placing the death at 18 months or more prior. He said to fit into the tree, she would have had to have been alive when placed in there. Rigor mortis would have made it difficult for the body to fit after death.

Despite the description the police issued, the woman has never been identified. There have been reports and speculation, but no match. But at Christmastime, graffiti began appearing around town.

Source: News Limited

Early graffiti referred to her as either "Bella" or "Loubella," which indicated someone might know the victim. This led to an early connection to a prostitute named Bella who had gone missing in 1941. But there were no family members to help match the victim.

The case lingered until 1953, when a journalist reignited interest. The journalist received a letter from someone named "Anna" who claimed Bella was a spy, killed because she knew too much. Some have speculated she might be this woman:

Clara Bauerle was a cabaret singer and German movie actress who was also a spy. However, this blogger says she has proof Clara died in a German hospital in 1942.

Occasionally, the graffiti reemerges in the area where Bella's remains were found, but that can easily be hoaxers. Unfortunately, we still have no idea who the remains belonged to...or if her name was even Bella.

Do you think the graffiti artists knew something?