Sunday, 04 May 2008

Austrian basement terror

Josef Fritzl held his daughter captive in the basement of his house for 24 years. During that time his wife suspected nothing. Imagine the scenario ...

"Hello dear, I'm just going down to the cellar for a little while. I have some work to catch up on and I want to be alone".

"Why don't I join you there this time?"

"No, dear. You know the place is full of rats. You're terrified of them."

Three hours later. "Oh, you're back. I was going to bed but I thought I'd wait for you".

"Oh, you needn't have bothered. I'm quite worn out now. I'm so over worked ..."

"By the way dear, I see that the food bill for the cellar is more than for the whole household. If you keep eating so much you'll get fat".

"I have to feed the rats. If I don't they'll kill me".

Yes, dear. I quite understand. Good night."

Over the next three days Mrs. Fritzl doesn't see her husband at all. But she does hear lots of noise from the basement. Eventually Josef emerges.

Josef: "What a catastrophe! Do you know that if I hadn't picked up the structural weakness the whole house could have collapsed around us. Its been such an ordeal fixing it up."

Wife: "I thought I heard children's voices again. It sounded like they were crying"

Josef: "Darling, I've told you before you're imagining things. Perhaps I should book you into the asylum for a few months ..."

"No dear, I'm sure it must have been the TV. Well, I'll be off to the shops now. Is there anything that you need?"

"Just the usual, darling". Josef hands her a list. It includes oats, potatoes, sausages, 3 chickens, baby formula, eggs, butter and beef.

"Josef, if I didn't know any better I could swear that you have a family down there!"

"Yes dear. Yes dear."

The wife knew nothing. The neighbours knew nothing. An 18 year old young woman simply disappeared into thin air and nobody asked any questions. Josef undertook building operations in the basement. He supplied food for his daughter and seven children/grandchildren for 24 years and those around him continued with their lives in blissful ignorance. The mind boggles.

The distance between tragedy and comedy is small, and if the story was any more believable it would have been fiction.

1 comment:

GeologyJoe said...

Certainly to be one of the strangest and sadest stories of the decade.