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The Weirdshire series. True crime and strange tales from Wiltshire, England:

Contemporary true crime:

Historic true crime:

Strange tales:

The Nordic Noir series. True crime and strange stories from Finland:

What happened to the teen after she walked out of her family home in 1988?

Black and white photo of missing Finnish teenager Piia Ristikankare. Head and shoulders.
Black and white photo of missing Finnish teenager Piia Ristikankare. Head and shoulders.
Missing: Piia Ristikankare. This is the last known photo of the teenager. Image source.

On Friday, October 7, 1988, fifteen-year-old Piia Ristikankare finished her day at the vocational school in Turku, southwest Finland where she was studying housekeeping. She was planning to spend the weekend at a female friend’s home but her father, a single parent, told her she needed to babysit her three-year-old brother Kalle over the weekend because he had to work.

Later that Friday evening, when Piia’s father Heikki emerged from taking a sauna with his ex-father-in-law, Piia’s Grandfather, he found that Piia was not in the house.

Piia’s fourteen-year-old brother Teijo told their father that he and Piia had fought…

The unsolved Tulilahti campground murders

Eine Nyyssönen and Riitta Pakkanen. Image source.

On Saturday, July 18, 1959, best friends office worker Riitta Aulikki Pakkanen, 23, and nursing student Eine Maria Nyyssönen, 21, set off from their homes in the city of Jyväskylä, Central Finland for a cycling holiday.

The two had been eagerly anticipating their summer trip. They had been building up their fitness for months by going on long bike rides on their blue bicycles — Riitta’s bike had been bought just the year before.

Riitta had borrowed her brother Veikko’s black Altissa box camera for the trip and Eine and Riitta had also been busy sewing bags in which to…

A historic cold case from 1950s Finland

Kyllikki Saari. Image: Wikipedia/public domain.

(CONTENT WARNING: mention of sexual assault)

Aside from the Lake Bodom murders, the following is probably the most famous unsolved murder in Finnish history.

This case holds an enduring fascination in Finland. there are many factors that led to this: the teenage female victim, who was known as a religious and innocent person, was killed close to her rural home; the media frenzy at the time and later over the murder; and, of course, the fact that the case remains unsolved after almost 70 years.

Sunday, May 17, 1953

On Sunday, May 17, 1953, 17-year-old Kyllikki (pronounced Ku-lick-key) Saari went to church as normal…

Will there ever be justice in this 1980s case?

Klaus Schelkle and Bettina Taxis in Stockholm, Sweden, the day before the crime.

On the evening of 27 July 1987, after cuddling up for a photo at Stockholm harbour, Klaus Schelkle, 20, and his girlfriend Bettina Taxis, 22, boarded the cruise ship Viking Sally to sail from Stockholm, Sweden to Turku, Finland along with Klaus’s friend Thomas Schmid. When they got to Finland they planned to take the train north to Lapland and on into Norway.

The sailing would be overnight and the young West German trio— who were backpacking around the Nordic countries — decided not to spend money on a cabin. Schmid would sleep in a public area inside the ship…

A whole city in deadly danger

Salisbury Cathedral. Photo by Alexander London on Unsplash

The Couple on the Bench

On Sunday, March 4, 2018, the weather is chilly and cloudy in the quiet cathedral city of Salisbury, in Wiltshire, southwest England. The city’s 40,000 residents don’t know it yet, but this day will change all of their lives.

At around 4.15 pm an older man and younger women are found slumped unconscious on a bench in the middle of a small open-air shopping precinct in the city centre called the Maltings. The woman was frothing at the mouth and, according to a bystander, her eyes “were wide open but completely white.” They were rushed by ambulance the 3.5 miles…

Who Killed Finnish Teenagers Seppo Boisman, Maili Björklund and Tuulikki Mäki?

Police searching Lake Bodom, in Espoo, Finland, June 1960. Image source.

The White Night

In June, in the southern part of Finland, the sun dips just below the horizon and the ‘white night’ falls. White nights are beautiful and magical. They can make it hard to sleep. They can also be eery: the light has a strange, greyish quality which is different from dusk or dawn instead, it's like someone dialed down the brightness for a few hours. During these ‘not-quite-nights’ the world falls silent.

On one such Finnish white night, June 4 — June 5, 1960, a violent triple murder would occur which has never been solved.

Camping at Lake Bodom

Lake Bodom is a large tranquil…

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, originally 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…

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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