Five Most Deeply Disturbing Real Life Home Invasions

Written by Brett McBean

 

 

 

Ever since reading In Cold Blood as a young teenager, I've had a fascination with crimes involving home invasion. I believe we're drawn to those things we fear, and there's almost nothing in this world that scares me more than the idea of someone intruding into your home with the sole intent of causing you and your family harm.

My novel, The Invasion, is inspired by the ghastly Tate-LaBianca murders carried out by members of the Manson Family. It's my way of facing my fears head on; my own version of exposure therapy, I guess you could say.

Below you'll find the five cases of home invasion that have left the deepest impressions and are, for better or worse, responsible for my life-long fear/interest/morbid fascination with this most horrific and personally violating of crimes.

 

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The Tate-LaBianca Murders

There's something about this case that strikes deepest at my fear/fascination of home invasions. From the first time I read Helter Skelter back in high school, right up until the present day, the crimes committed by Charles Manson and his followers continue to grip me like a bloody vice. There are many reasons why the two nights of madness and murder by the squadron of hippie outcasts, which claimed the lives of eight innocent victims, captures my interest so profoundly. It's the era. It's the bloody end of the peace and love movement. It's the Beatles. It's youth and beauty and wealth cut down by a group of lost, misguided and demented desert-dwellers. It's brutal, unprovoked slaughter in the secluded hills of sunny Los Angeles. It's all of these things and more. It is, for me, the most frightening and unforgettable of all home invasion crimes.

 


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The Clutter Family Murders

When I picked up my dad's old, battered copy of In Cold Blood one day when I was around twelve, I had no idea what the book was about. The back copy was sparse and told me very little of what was contained within the yellowing pages. What I soon discovered was one of the most compelling and heartbreaking stories I had ever read. To this day, Truman Capote's account of the murder of an innocent family and its aftermath remains one of the most haunting tales I've ever encountered. This kind of thing wasn't supposed to happen in 1950s America, and especially not in a small town situated in the clean, open skies of the Midwest. But it did. In a Kansas farmhouse, the loving Clutter family – mum, dad, along with their teenage son and daughter – were coldly and senselessly murdered by a pair of petty criminals, Dick Hickock and Perry Smith. Hickock and Smith went into the house with the intention of committing robbery. Instead, they wiped out an entire family and committed one of the most infamous mass-murders in American history. It was a tragic crime, a home invasion in every sense of the term.

 

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The Keddie Resort Murders

Located in the picturesque Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Keddie Resort was once a prosperous holiday retreat, but by 1981 had become a rundown place, its cabins rented by low-income families and people in need of cheap accommodation. It was here, on a chilly night in April, that a single mother, Sue Sharp, her teenage son and his friend, were found brutally murdered inside their small cabin they called home. Sue's young teenage daughter was missing (her skull and bone fragments were found three years later and over 60 miles away). Oddly, three young boys were found unharmed the next morning in one of the bedrooms. I stumbled across this relatively little known case while reading up about the movie, The Strangers, which was erroneously said to have been inspired by the Keddie murders. That may not have been true, but that didn't matter. I was utterly captivated by this most bloody and baffling of cases. Even now, over thirty-five years later, no one knows for sure who was responsible for the quadruple homicide, why the daughter was taken from the residence, or why the three boys were spared.

 

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Ted Bundy

Bundy is most notorious for being the epitome of the cold, calculating organised type of serial killer. The handsome, intelligent law student who used his considerable charm and cunning to lure pretty young women into his clutches before sadistically torturing and murdering them. However, Bundy bookended his murderous career by carrying out a number of home invasions. He started out by breaking into the basement rooms of two college students, violently assaulting the females and even abducting the second victim (her skull was found in mountains sometime later). He returned to this modus operandi towards the end of his crime spree, when, as a desperate fugitive, he broke into a sorority house and in a frenzied attack, viciously assaulted four students, leaving two dead. That same night he once again broke into the basement room of a female college student and brutally assaulted her. Ted Bundy was one of the first serial killers I read about in depth, and his crimes and personality have always greatly interested me. His forays into victims' homes were of particular fascination, because they went against the typical image of the organised killer. Here the front he put on for most of his murders was gone. Bundy's home invasions revealed the true face behind the mask, showing the wild, savage monster that he was.

 

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Richard Speck

All crimes involving home invasion are horrific, repulsive acts, but there's something especially repulsive about Richard Speck and his murder of eight student nurses during one terrible night in 1966. Speck, a violent, drunken thug, forced his way into a Chicago townhouse and proceeded to systematically murder eight of the nine women who lived there, leading them out of the room he had tied them up in one by one to stab, strangle and rape. His glut of murder and torture lasted for hours, and one can't begin to imagine the fear and terror those poor women must've suffered while they waited for their turn to die. I can't recall when I first read about Speck's night of horror, but it's a crime that's long haunted my mind, and is a horrifying example of the barbarous nature of home invasions.

Brett McBean is an award-winning horror and thriller author. His books, which include The Mother, The Last Motel and Wolf Creek: Desolation Game, have been published in Australia, the U.S., and Germany.

He's been nominated for the Aurealis, Ditmar, and Ned Kelly awards, and he won the 2011 Australian Shadows Award for his collection, Tales of Sin and Madness.

He lives in Melbourne with his wife, daughter and German shepherd.

HorrorTalk would like to thank Brett McBean for this terrifying history lesson. You can pick up his latest novel, Invasion, by clicking one of the links below. Also, make sure you follow along the publicity tour with these hashtags on Twitter:

It was supposed to be a quiet end to a long day: five close-knit family and friends settling in for some much-needed sleep after coming together for an early Christmas party.

 

Instead, it's the beginning of a shocking night of brutality when six intruders break into the sprawling residence of Debra Hillsboro, a middle-aged romance novelist with a fierce devotion to her loved ones and a strong kinship with her home of almost thirty years.

 

Armed with smartphones and a modern brand of madness, the intruders - an internet-age cult disconnected from humanity and addicted to causing fear and mayhem - have come to the secluded property for one purpose: to terrorize, and ultimately kill, everyone inside all while filming their heinous crimes.

 

Outnumbered and cut off from the outside world, the terrified occupants find themselves trapped in a fight for survival as a once place of safety is turned into a deadly maze of darkened rooms and forbidding hallways. On this sweltering summer night, they must somehow find a way to escape before the cult turns the beloved home into a house for the dead.

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