716 likes. In 1943, in a small wood in the village of Hagley, the body a woman was found inside a Wych elm tree. In 1944 graffiti first appeared in Birmingham asking "Who put Bella down the Wych Elm - Hagley Wood" Since then graffiti occasionally appears on the Hagley Obelisk, asking the same questions. : Documentary. They're actually hella strong but don't look like it. Who was she? Then they're must be more than one person involved. The popular theory that she was a Nazi Spy named Clara Bauerle, lover to Josef Jakobs who was another spy and the last man to be put to death in the Tower of London, was debunked in 2016. hide. I was wondering this as well...foraging animals have been known to scatter bones quite a distance. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_put_Bella_in_the_Wych_Elm%3F, https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/revealed-after-75-years-face-14329271. I can sort of imagine a scenario where Mossop and van Ralt found themselves with a dead or comatose woman that they needed to dispose of, never imagining a body hidden in a tree would be found. Similar graffiti would turn up on walls and monuments for quite some time. Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? I guess a good way to explain it is that they're "country strong". BuzzFeed Unsolved Network 3,532,298 views. Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm? Oddly, “wych” became “witch” in many cases, but eventually, the graffiti just stopped. In April of 1943, a group of young boys discovered the skull of a woman lodged inside a Wych Elm in Hagley Woods, West Midlands. The graffiti simply read — “ Who put Bella down the Wych Elm — Hagley Wood.” No evidence of any ritualistic murder was found, however, leaving the case unsolved to this day. share. With van Ralt was a Dutchwoman. With Chris Bellinfantie, Alex Kirk, Jack Lochinger, Bailey Martin. Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm? In 1943, four young boys, out poaching in Hagley Wood came across a large Wych Elm, a broad, spiderlike tree. Was this the victim? report. There were a number of theories as to who Bella was and why she was murdered. Was she drinking at a local pub with her killer? 33% Upvoted. Romani are unlikely to do this. Listen to Supernatural with Ashley Flowers on Spotify. But I see no mention of it. Unravelling the mystery of the skull found in a tree trunk. save. Also I have heard claims that she was a Nazi spy but I have my doubts about this. If she was married shouldn't there be some sort of church record? I'm no expert but you'd think it'd be relatively easy to see whether it had been cut off or pulled/bitten off. Whether it was a cult or gypsies would explain lack of records for her, especially if she was from abroad. Seems more likely than some devil worshipers or nazi. Then, in 1944, graffiti message appeared on a wall in Upper Dean Street, Birmingham. I recently finished writing a piece about the Rainham Mystery torso murder and i decided to look into the famous case of the Hagley Tree Murder, known popularly as "Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?" However, it was not a bird nest they found, but rather a human skull. I like the theory that she was a spy, but why German spies would know of the whereabouts of a hollow wych elm in the middle of a woods, on private land, tends to knock that on the head somewhat. I can also imagine that a small village in a country at war would be wary of strangers, and pay attention to their comings and goings. best. After returning home and informing their parents, the police get involved. Can't remember off the top of my head) on Edgar Allan Poe's grave for way too many years to be a single person. But that isn't the end. To this day her identity is unknown. Even so, if the graffiti is to do with it. One possible victim, it's claimed, was a prostitute called Bella who worked the Hagley Road and who had disappeared around the time of the discovery. Even a hundred pound person is heavy as dead weight. He died in the hospital before the body in the wych elm was found. Just to note that Birmingham is a nearby city for those who do not know, and a road commonly refereed to as Hagley road connects the two. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the UnsolvedMysteries community. I think it’s more likely the case of a woman being killed by an unknown killer, whether she was a prostitute or a married woman. Rumours of her being a sacrifice begin to appear, apparently related to black magic due to the separated hand and enclosing her body in a tree. This led the investigation team down several leads trying to trace who this mysterious “Bella” could be. Back when I lifted 5 days a week, and was in peak form, at 5'5 135lbs I could bench 190-195 max and easily do 150-160. Or was she on her way through the city and encountered a village boy or two who were up the town for the day? Do we know if the wedding ring was found separated from he hand or not? Image: Flickr/mjeshenton via CC by 2.0. Directed by Joel Black, Johhny Crawford. Thanks mandatory 12 hour days and that goddamn Diary of A Wimpy Kid. As a result, in 1953, the case of Bella and the wych elm attracted a new line of inquiry: war espionage. I can't imagine the culprits bragging about it if it was a sacrifice. Did you get pictures? Four teenage boys of the town made a wrong decision of going for a bird hunt in the woods. now playing at The Space. Where I grew up (I know that a lot of people don’t put their “exact” locations on things on here, but a simple web search of that question will tell you that I’m from a small town just outside of Birmingham, England) this question was something that was whispered from playgrounds to pubs, everyone wondering and fantasising about what the answer was. It's like a sadder version of "Mike was here.". A section of taffeta was found in her mouth, suggesting that she had died from suffocation. Stourbridge in England is a small suburb of Birmingham in the UK’s West Midlands. In 1944 however, mysterious graffiti began to adorn the walls of the Midlands: Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm. Also, I think this had to be done by multiple people. It was 1943, World War II was raging on the continent, and four little boys, out hunting birds eggs one day, would stumble across a scene so horrific that the case would go on to disturb the most stoic of investigators. This subreddit is about unsolved mysteries. They lost her skull...so doesn’t seem likely quite honestly. Like any good story, this one begins with an unknown skeleton found stuffed inside a hollow Wych Elm tree. Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm? Can they test her DNA and do genealogical research to find out who she is? Who put Bella in the Wych Elm. Perhaps a spurned husband or lover put Bella in the wych elm. Even theatre company, Pregnant Fish, admit that the real life ‘whodunnits’ stacked up in their Netflix recommended list were the inspiration for Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm? Could it also be that "bella" was simply referring to the fact that it was a woman? Over time, the legend of Bella and the Wych elm became local lore. Thinking it a good place to find eggs, they climbed the tree to investigate. Yeah I was thinking the same thing. At some point one boy decided to climb a tree (A Wych Elm Tree, near to Wychbury Hill) to hunt for birds nest. In my opinion, it does indeed look like a ritualistic killing. But a gypsy who owned a taffeta frock seems unlikely to me. Were they part of a Nazi spy ring in the Midlands of England? I’m pretty sure the murderers would never have thought the body would ever be discovered. They would find nothing. She was put into a wych elm tree and her hand had been cut off, found few meters from the rest of the skeleton. Most mysteries can be solved by looking at the facts. Were they the victim of an occult ritual? They do a decent amount of physical work but don't hit the gym. Is it possible that the hand was carried off by an animal and not left away from the body by the perpetrators? Inside the hollow of the tree was a human skull attached to an almost complete skeleton. Police were at a dead end, and with World War 2 raging on, resources were limited. My money is on the old fashioned prostitute theory mainly because of the lack of family to report her missing. Sort by. Especially when done by the people that were drinking with the victim. Later that night, Mossop said the woman became drunk, and passed out while they were driving. For that matter, did anything remain of the victim's clothing? So all of this ritual thing can be false taken into consideration the absence of proof and how the hand got seperated from the body (sign of animal teeth or usage of a knife or a sharp object), upvote for you my sir! Infamous Bella in the Wych Elm murder may be made into a film That crucial piece of evidence has been lost by police, Birmingham councillor Peter Douglas Osborn, an expert on the Bella case, says. Cold Case Pre 1945 It was 1943, World War II was raging on the continent, and four little boys, out hunting birds eggs one day, would stumble across a scene so horrific that the case would go on to disturb the most stoic of investigators. Home » Mysteries » Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?. Directed by Thomas Lee Rutter. Working backwards, I agree with you about the graffito. One year later graffiti appeared on a wall in Upper Dean Street, Birmingham in 1944 reading “Who put Bella down the Wych Elm - Hagley Wood?" The likelihood of this being the correct explanation is questioned because Una Mossop did not come forward with this information until more than ten years after Jack Mossop's death and it doesn't explain how her hand was found some distance away. If the murderer was a young adult at the time of the crime, he would be nearing 80 by 1999. The documentary series ‘Making a Murderer’ has sparked a resurgence in the popularity of true crime thrillers. I never considered it was even connected. I'm in southern England nowhere near the original place. In 1944, a graffiti messages related to the mystery began to appear. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. Edit, New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. In 2018, the reconstruction of her face made by Dundee University professor had been released. As much as I admire Tolkien — and I do, he was a giant of fantasy and a giant of literature, and I think he wrote a great book that will be read for many years — you do have to wonder where all those Hobbits came from, since you can’t imagine Hobbits having sex, can you? But there were thousands of mill workers, employed in hundreds of industries across the city, there were European refugees coming in, and Birmingham was, I believe, the third most-bombed city in Britain. I stay on the very edge of Birmingham myself and one of our local big houses was used to house Belgian refugees. An unknown person (nicknamed Bella) was found in an old wych elm in Hagley woods. Just to point out that the linked article is out of date - she wasn't Clara Bauerle, since Clara Bauerle's death certificate has been found. Plus, i routinely would lift 135 on a deadlift. Sure, it's not like you're using a rigid metal bar, but all you need to do is find your balance, and the center of weight of the body and it's pretty easy. It’s a fascinating rabbit hole of a case. Edit. If you can believe it, the story takes one last peculiar turn. You're clever. When human remains were found in a hollow tree in 1943 a mystery was born. If you have information that is relevant to a case discussed here, please contact the appropriate Cold Case Team. Image of original Chalk Writing. Maybe her husband did it, or was manipulated into sacrificing her by some group. I think that most people grossly underestimate how strong they really are, unless they workout all the time and actually track that stuff. Discussion of British cold cases, unresolved murders and disappearances. Recently it has been confirmed that the original skull and autopsy report have been lost by the police. Was Bella a refugee who ran into someone who said ‘my mum’s got a room for a boarder and would take you on for some work, as well’ and she happily followed them out to stop living cheek by jowl with other refugees? Police investigations showed that the skeleton was a woman and had been asphyxiated which was the cause of death. https://theunredacted.com/the-hagley-woods-mystery-bella-in-the-wych-elm/. Who put Bella in the wych elm? Who was this mysterious victim? A hand was also found some distance form the rest of the body. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. So who really did put Bella in the Wych Elm? Based on a true story from the mid-war era of the summer of 1944, this is the story of four boys aged thirteen to fifteen who make a grim discovery in their local woods. That was why I put that stupid update up, they panicked that people would be coming for them (Bella isn't exactly up to date with technology, and her son wasn't much better - they assumed a horde of "redditors" would be en route if I didn't call them off) so I had to type that, and try … An artist reconstruction of her face has also been done (see album), but is based of photographs of the skull only, as the skull is lost. And ‘Bella’ has always sounded a bit like a nickname to me- there’s a definite, slightly odd, sense of humour around here and I could see them deciding the body in the tree needed a name- why not Lulabelle, Luebella, Bella, etc? Other messages (from the same person is would seem) appeared on the Hagley Obelisk right down until the 1970s. Of course they would say she was still alive when they left her, no one could prove otherwise. I can't link it on my work computer but on the PodCast Addict App Casefile did a really good one on this. The message read "Who put Bella down the Wych Elm - Hagley Wood". Jack Mossop was confined to a Stafford mental hospital, because he had reoccurring dreams of a woman staring out at him from a tree. As a sorta related side note, many months later and 135 is fucking agony now. In the spring of 1943 the four local boys that made the gruesome discovery were illegally poaching in the woods of Hagley Hall estate when they took a rest in the infamous Wych Tree. Strangely, last summer that graffiti was scrawled in about a dozen places along the wooden "wall" of a building site near me. The case seems to have been reignited in the last year or so and there’s an interesting book I’d like to read by 16 year old Alex Merrill where Alex and his dad Pete have taken a fresh look at the case, which casts doubt on the original enquiry. But then I think about the caped man leaving liquor (was it Amontillado or maybe cognac? Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm April 18, 1943 in the ghostly shadows of Clent Hills A skeleton was discovered shoved into a hollow Wych Elm. Tufts of hair, a shoe, wedding ring and fragments of clothing were also found. However the graffiti stumps me. In December 1943, mysterious graffiti began to appear throughout the West Midlands, written on walls and eventually upon the stone obelisk at Hagley Hall. An article by Douglas MacGowan 12th June 2019 • 5 min read. I was reminded of this case by Al a few days ago and so while I’m waiting for a book on the Shark Arm case to arrive I ordered ‘Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm’ volume one by Alex Merrill who was 15 at the time of writing (helped by his father) Its only a slim volume (119 pages) and cost around £8 but well worth it in my opinion. There was extensive forensic work carried out according to this article but as to whether DNA had been kept I’m really not sure. . Well, dear liste So maybe it was staged to look like a ritual? The men put her in a hollow tree in the woods in the hope that in the morning she would wake up and be frightened into seeing the error of her ways. Mossop and van Ralt met for a drink at the Lyttelton Arms (a pub in Hagley). The skull still had some tufts of hair and had a clear dental pattern, despite some missing teeth. Press J to jump to the feed. The graffiti continued all the way up to 1999. That's not to say 100lbs of "dead weight" isn't heavy. Who killed her? What people underestimate here I think is how "easily" you can pick up a limp body. I think the proximity to Birmingham and general upset of the war will have clouded things somewhat. Her jaw was found to be very irregular, which should of made her identity easy to find. Written and […] Not so much a name, as a generalized word to indicate the victim was a woman, without knowing their identity. Press J to jump to the feed. It was a Sunday morning; the days couldn’t have been darker than they were in April 1943 during WW2. This graffiti kept appearing, 'Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?' A second possibility is a statement made to police in 1953 by Una Mossop, who claimed that her ex husband Jack Mossop had confessed that he and a Dutchman called van Ralt had put a woman in a tree. In 1945, Margaret Murray, an anthropologist and archaeologist from the University College London, proposed witchcraft, where the severed hand was consistent with a ritual called the Hand of Glory, after Bella had been killed by gypsies during an occult ritual. She had been put in feet first, alive or just recently dead. However, after trawling through dental and medical records, they could find no clear identity. And Bella may have been gagged, as taffeta was found in her mouth, apparently. Find out when Nazi Murder Mysteries is on TV, including Series 1-Episode 4: Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm. How did they end up inside the Wych Elm? Talk:Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? This is obviously referencing the murder, it has the village name, the tree she was found in, and now a name. (traducido como ¿Quién puso a Bella en el olmo?) The wiki entry states, drawing from the second external link "Bella in the Wych-Elm - A Midlands Murder Mystery", that the tree in which the body was discovered was a witch hazel and not a witch elm. With Barry Anscomb-Moon, Matias Barnes, Peter Grail, Jim Heal. There are other theories of German spies and witchcraft that are on this https://theunredacted.com/the-hagley-woods-mystery-bella-in-the-wych-elm/ if you care to read. Who put Bella in the Wych-Elm? To this day her identity is still unknown. She had died from suffocation and it was deduced that she had been placed in the hollow tree while "still warm". Not that I've picked up dead bodies, small children are devious little devils. I think there are definitely outside conditions that would affect the normal recognition of an outsider to a community. I assumed that it would have been torn from whatever dress the victim was wearing. Will this 76 year old cold case ever be solved? This is one of my favorites, but a few thoughts - would a prostitute wear a wedding band ? Nobody has solved the murder to this day. (We’ve got ‘Fred the Head’, too). Imagine the strength needed to raise her up to the point she could be lowered into that cavern feet first. The police have closed the case as the body has gone missing, but the police have said if the body is found it will be DNA tested. When it was confirmed that Clara died in Berlin in 1942. On 18th April 1943 four local boys were out hunting for birds eggs in Hagley Wood near Wychbury Hill, where they came across a large Wych Elm tree. Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? Was the graffiti a secret that became a generational mission somehow? Im suspicious that the act of stuffing a drunkard into a tree to teach them a lesson is creepily elaborate and specific. 1 comment. Yes they are known to use magic but human sacrifices is not among the rituals used from my limited knowledge of Romani culture. The remains of a hand were later found some distance from the tree. In 1943 a group of boys wondering the woodland of Hagley Hall discovered the remains of an unknown woman stuffed inside a hollowed-out Wych Elm tree. In 1944, a police reported a missing person by the name of Bella, who disappeared 3 years previously. Hayley road a prostitute called Bella disappears around the same time the body is found in the tree and Hayley road the writing is found. The investigation reignited, with police trying to search for any missing persons called Bella. level 1. 60 years had past since the first and last evidence of graffiti. I think people hear/ read "dead weight" and multiply the difficultly by 10. The body was sent for forensic examination, and it was established she was a female who had been dead for at least 18 months, placing the time of death around October 1941. Things like, “Who put Luebella down the wych–elm?”, “Hagley Wood Bella”, “Who put Bella down the Wych Elm – Hagley Wood”. When the police arrive at the area and search the rest of the trunk they find an almost complete skeleton, with a shoe, a gold wedding ring, and some fragments of clothing. Conveniently there were two of them, making it easier to get a limp body up a tree trunk and down into the hollow centre, and a car for transportation to and from the woods. Finding Bella Down the Wych Elm. One of the boys begun climbing the tree to look for birds eggs and upon reaching the topmost branches, looked down to find the tree was curiously hollow. The pathologist’s examination showed that it was of a female who had been dead about eighteen months (placing her death before October 1941). "who put Bella in the witch elm" is a graffito, it wasn't one person doing that. The prostitute seems to be the obvious candidate. I don't think one man could have done this, unless he was enormously powerful. Whenever possible, actual redditors have participated in investigating the events. Yes, there always are and always have been village busybodies. This thread is archived. These led investigators down several new leads tracing who Bella could have been. Four young boys were poaching for Birds Eggs in the local Hagley Woods of the Hagley Estate. They said they had put her there because she had been drunk and had passed out so they wanted to give her a fright by putting her in the hollow trunk to make her "see the error of her ways". The interesting thing is the graffiti started off by calling her “Luebella”, which was subsequently shortened to “Bella”. ... 4 More True Reddit Stories (Feat. Is this the Bella in the wych elm? This is obviously referencing the murder, it has the village name, the tree she was found in, and now a name. Cookies help us deliver our Services. Since then it has not been spotted. Still, it doesn't bring us any closer to knowing who she is and why she didn't appear to be missed or identifiable when the village itself probably wasn't all that big (current popn around 5.5k for the village). The message read "Who put Bella down the Wych Elm - Hagley Wood". A tree that they apparently knew to be hollow, and could find in the dark. This human skull was placed inside a hollow section of the trunk. The Wolverhampton Express and Star received a letter from somebody who identified herself only as “Anna of Claverley.” She claimed to have information on the identity of “Bella” and was interviewed by journalist Wilfred Byford-Jones. The investigation reignited, with police trying to search for any missing persons called Bella. It’s possible that she had no relatives she was close to or else they were killed in the blitz, which is why, once again, she was never reported missing. They would find nothing. What they found would no doubt stay with them for the rest of their lives. Thats very odd, all websites I found said the last recorded case was in 1999. Blue_Spooky) - Duration: 22:38. Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm? The start of this mystery begins 1942, in the small village of Hagley, Worcestershire, England. I have a hard time believing someone that old would be responsible for the graffiti on what is a fairly large obleisk. To this day her identity is unknown. The Creepy Quandary of Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm - Duration: 23:08. Did anyone ask the village gossips at the time about a married woman in her 30s with crooked front teeth who was drinking with 2 men at the local pub then disappeared? I had heard of this case before and thought it was a pretty obscure thing to be graffitied on a wall in Essex in 2017. ‘Life is very full of sex, or should be. I always assumed the graffiti was rowdy young people, you know? It's still 100lbs. About the possibility that the victim was a gypsy, where did the taffeta come from? Nobody knew why. I known this really isnt adding anything to solve the mystery, but it's something I've thought about/ had internal debates about. However! Probable few family to report her missing, rings were not uncommon at all on women’s hands even if not married (see Jack the Ripper victims and what Francis tumblers had buried with him). Who put Bella in the Wych Elm? What you are about to read is not a news broadcast. 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