The disappearance of Vesi Matti Frantsila

Finnish missing person Vesa Matti Fransila. Date: unknown. Image source

Technician Henri Mikkilä needed to check the ventilation system of a studio apartment in a block in the town of Pori, Finland but he couldn’t get an answer when he rang the doorbell. When a locksmith, accompanied by the building’s manager, finally opened up the front door for him a cascade of unopened mail spilled out. Though the service charge on the apartment was being paid by direct debit, the apartment had obviously not been occupied for some time.

So begins the mystery of what had happened to the apartment’s occupant, a middle-aged man named Vesa Matti Fransila, orginally from…

The lead Detective solved two murders but lost his career.

Sian O’Callaghan. Image: Wikipedia/Fair Use.

Sian O’Callaghan had a radiant smile and her green eyes sparkled with life. The twenty-two-year-old office worker had recently moved in with her boyfriend in Swindon, a large town in Wiltshire, England. On Friday, March 18, 2011, Sian went for a night out at the Suju nightclub in the town. Sian was a sociable girl, lively and bubbly, and loved going out with her friends. At 2.52 am on the morning of Saturday, March 19 she left the club on the town’s High Street alone to walk the short distance — just half a mile (800 m) — home. She…

The 29-year-old fitness instructor vanished from Wiltshire, England eleven years ago.

Donovan Van Lill in 2006. Image Source.

In the early hours of Wednesday, March 3, 2010, Radka Paulovicova, a Slovakian waitress, said goodbye to her new boyfriend Donovan Van Lill, a 29-year-old South African, at his home in the small village of Pewsham, close to the town of Chippenham, in Wiltshire South West England. Later that day, she left for a holiday in Egypt with some friends.

The next day, she began to get strange messages via Facebook: “Where is he?”, “What have you done with him?” Puzzled and upset, she then realised Donovan had gone missing. On March 5, Radka deleted ‘in a relationship with…

An interesting and strange case. How can someone just vanish into thin air? You are right: someone knows something.

The mother who killed eight of her newborn babies


On the 16th May 1849 Rebecca Smith, 42, gave birth to her eleventh child, a boy his parents named Richard. Far from being overjoyed at the birth of her healthy son, however, Rebecca predicted his imminent death.

Rebecca and her husband, Philip Smith, had married in Bratton, Wiltshire, the village they were both from, eighteen years before on 5 May 1831 as Rebecca was turning 24. Their first child, Jane, was born nine months later, on 8 February 1832. After Jane, Rebecca gave birth to nine more children over the next seventeen years but tragically none lived…

Historic unsolved true-crime from rural England

Edwin Richard Haskell, known as Teddy, who was murdered aged 12 in 1908. Photo Source

It is Halloween night 1908, and Teddy Haskell, 12, has been put to bed by his widowed mother, Flora Haskell age 34, at 9.40 pm. According to Flora, less than an hour later she heard a noise and, thinking it was a visitor at her front door, walked the few steps from her kitchen into the narrow front hallway of the small terraced house she shared with Teddy on Meadow Road in the city of Salisbury.

As she stood in the hall, an unknown man came running down the stairs of the house. He was holding a blood-covered knife which…

Four strange-but-true tales from Wiltshire, England

I was born and raised in the county of Wiltshire in southwest England. Recently, I have been delving into my county’s history. Here are four of the weirdest tales I uncovered.

Weirdshire. Image created by the author on Canva. Photo credit: Wikipedia.

“Strange tale to tell; yet not more strange than true.” — words printed on a postcard, Salisbury, Wiltshire, 1900s.

1. “The Robbery of the Wicked Shall Destroy Them”

This is the tale of how a four-versus-one highway robbery went very wrong for the highwaymen.

On the evening of the 21st October 1839, wealthy farmer Mr. Matthew Dean, 58, was returning alone on horseback along the road across Salisbury Plain…

Agree. I have written about the case of Linda Razzell. It's 'solved' as far as Police are concerned because her estranged husband is in prison for murdering her... But no trace of her has ever been found since the day she disappeared.

Tweet from Dorset Police, 8th April 2021.

** This story was amended on 10 April 2021 to add new details reported in the English press **

One of England’s richest men has been stabbed to death. Sir Richard Lexington Sutton, an 83-year-old Baronet, was murdered on the evening of Wednesday 7th April in his countryside mansion. His life partner, who is in her 60s, was also seriously injured. His suspected killer is his 34 -year-old stepson, who was living with him. The suspect is in police custody.

The murder took place on the Wiltshire-Dorset border in the heart of rural…

Photo by Vinícius Henrique Photography on Unsplash

The second time British Army Sergeant Emile Cilliers tried to kill his wife, the weather could have been better.

The early morning of Easter Sunday 2015 had been sunny but there was heavy cloud cover as Victoria Cilliers arrived at Netheravon Airfield on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire. The Airfield was a 10-minute drive from her smart new home in Amesbury which she shared with her husband Emile, their three-year-old daughter and month-old son. Victoria was there to do a parachute jump.

Far from this being a one-off experience, Victoria was a seasoned skydiver, an accelerated free-fall instructor with 2,654 jumps…

Chloe Wells PhD

Researcher and writer. Author of the ‘Weirdshire’ series. True crime and strange tales. You can buy me a coffee at:

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