Of all the weird crimes that can take place, incest has to be one of the most perversely interesting - just look at how enraptured we all are by Game of Thrones. And if incest is intriguing on its own and murders always hold a morbid appeal, incest and murder stories are a double whammy of the downright fascinating.
Considering the unstable environment created by acts of incest, it's not surprising when murder follows behind. Sometimes incest results in murder as a way to cover up the evidence. Sometimes it's a crazy sex cult gone wrong. Whatever the circumstances, it makes for a lurid story.
And the stories are as varied as you can imagine, from tragic cases of rape and murder to tales of sophisticated socialites and ancient queens to mysterious cults and unsolved murders.
Barbara Daly Baekeland and Antony Baekeland
Barbara Daly Baekeland, a glamorous American socialite and actress, may seem an unlikely person to get involved in a case of invest and murder. Born in 1922, she found success as a model, even appearing in Vogue. After her divorce, her son Antony lived with her. They both suffered from severe mental illness, and when Barbara found out her son was sexually involved with a man, she tried to "cure" him.
When hiring prostitutes didn't cure his homosexuality, she convinced him to have sex with her in an another attempt. Antony didn't handle it well, unsurprisingly. In 1972, the then-25-year-old Antony killed his mother with a kitchen knife, after which he is said to have ordered Chinese food. After his release from an institution, he stabbed his grandmother, though she survived; later, he killed himself by suffocation.
The Hinterkaifeck Murders
In 1922, five members of the Gruber family and their maid, Maria Baumgartner, were all found slaughtered in Germany, in a case that still remains unsolved. The father of the family, Andreas, was found to have been abusive to his children. Josef, a baby who was murdered, was discovered to be the result of incest with his daughter Viktoria.
Most of the bodies were found piled in the barn covered in hay and theories abound as to what happened in this gruesome murder. One suspect was Lorenz Schlittenbauer, a suitor of Viktoria's, who it was thought may have lashed out in jealousy because of the incest - but this is only one of many theories, including a random burglary or even demonic intervention.
Fred and Rosemary West
A tale of incest and murder all mixed up together, this story is messed up enough to deserve a place on this list. Fred West claimed that his own father brought him up surrounded by incest and bestiality, which "normalized" the behavior for him. While some doubt whether this was true or just an excuse made-up by Fred, what followed next was certainly not normal.
Between 1967 and 1987, Fred committed at least a dozen murders in England, most of them with his second wife Rosemary (who had been sexually abused by her own father). Together they tortured, raped, and killed young women before dismembering them and burying the bodies. Fred raped his daughter Anne-Marie, until she eventually escaped, and then he turned his sexual abuse to his daughter Heather. After Heather disappeared, Fred apparently joked about "Heather being buried under the patio." Police later found her bones and the bones of many other women on the premises.
One of the highest body counts and most disturbing stories on this list comes from Marcus Wesson, found guilty of the deaths of many of his children and grandchildren. Nine children were killed in all, aged one to 25. Their bodies were found in a pile, each having been shot through the eye, after a stand-off with police. Wesson had bred and raised a clan of children through incest, isolating them from the outside world, and confiscating any money they made.
There was some debate as to whether he had shot them all or if Sebhrenah Wesson, the eldest, had killed herself and the others. (It was said that the father had trained the children to kill one another if needed.) Despite that confusion, Marcus was found guilty even though the government fell short of proving he pulled the trigger.