Unsolved Mistery: Who Put Bella in the Wych

Fu un episodio di magia nera o un omicidio passionale? O forse un’operazione di controspionaggio in piena seconda guerra mondiale? Il ritrovamento di un cadavere all’interno del tronco di un albero ancora affascina gli abitanti di Birmingham.

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Mistery unsolved

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During the Second World War four young boys discovered a human skull, hidden in the hollow trunk of a wych elm in some woods near Birmingham. The police later discovered the full skeleton, although the left hand had been buried separately. The pathologist’s examination showed that it was of a female who had been dead about eighteen months. She had unusual teeth and the police were confident they would soon establish her identity. However, no dental records were ever found

Then a respected anthropologist, Professor Margaret Murray, declared publicly that the skeleton showed signs of a black magic execution. The ‘hand of glory’ of an executed person was considered very powerful and placing the dead body in a tree would prevent the victim from haunting its murderers.

Things got more confusing when someone started writing ”Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?” on public buildings in Birmingham and other places in the area. In the fifties a letter to a local paper claimed that the victim was a German spy, possibly the actress Clara Bauerle, who worked in the music halls of Birmingham in the thirties as Clarabella, and spoke English with a local accent.

According to the report, she was due to parachute into the area about the time the woman in the wych elm died. Recently disclosed MI5 files contain evidence that there was a spy ring operating in the area, but there was no official confirmation of Bauerle’s involvement. Modern DNA testing might solve the riddle but, unfortunately, the skeleton has mysteriously disappeared.

MI5 files. Dossier del servizio di sicurezza. Il Security Service, spesso indicato come MI5 (Military Intelligence, Sezione 5), è l’ente per la sicurezza e il controspionaggio del Regno Unito. Si occupa della protezione dalle minacce alla sicurezza nazionale: della Regina e dei membri della Famiglia Reale, della democrazia parlamentare e degli interessi economici britannici, della lotta ai crimini gravi, al separatismo, al terrorismo e allo spionaggio nel Regno Unito. Si occupa quindi della sicurezza interna, mentre il MI6 si occupa della sicurezza esterna.

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