the constant gardener

Man Murders Enemies From Beyond Grave

Bernhard Graumann (not the man pictured) allegedly held grudges so intense, he managed to do a murder even in death. Photo: Gaby Wojciech/Getty Images/Westend61

Even in his grave, an embittered German gardener may have managed to exact grisly revenge on his enemies: Before he passed away from as-yet undetermined causes last Friday, 59-year-old Bernhard Graumann seems to have laid booby traps for various acquaintances with whom he had strained relationships, according to law enforcement. Indeed, Graumann may have held grudges so extreme, they drove him to posthumous murder.

According to the BBC, authorities found Graumann dead in his Mehlingen home on the night of March 1. Police have not yet received the results of Graumann’s autopsy, but they have pinpointed a suspicious pattern in his personal life: Bad things happen to people who cross him. On the same day that Graumann died, a man he knew and apparently disliked — a 64-year-old doctor who lived in a neighboring town — perished in a “deliberate explosion” after picking up a strange device abandoned outside his practice door. Two days later, fewer than six miles away, a woman and her daughter sustained injuries after stoking their wood-burning stove with an explosive log. Both have been hospitalized, and neither are in critical condition. Still, the Western Palatinate Police suspect foul-play by a revenge-obsessed gardener whose thirst for retribution cannot be quenched, not even by death.

This is, of course, very serious business, and at the same time I cannot think of a plot better suited for European crime drama adaptation. (Although the German sandwich poisoner makes a strong contender.)

Graumann, you see, reportedly belonged to a sort of medieval enthusiasts club, where he learned how to “[recreate] antique firearms that use gunpowder,” per the BBC. He also had conflict-laden dealings with his victims, and in a statement, police warned that they “cannot rule out that, prior to his death, the deceased made preparations that could endanger other people’s life and limbs.” They urge anyone who locked horns with Graumann, whether professionally or privately, to exercise vigilance, and have set up a special hotline for these potential targets to air their grievances. Already, dozens of Graumann’s nemeses have reportedly called in.

Gardener Murders Enemies From Beyond Grave