Dutch police found a family of several adult siblings and their father hidden away in an underground cellar, “waiting for the end of time,” The Irish Times reports. Some of the adult children had likely not been outside of the home and its grounds in years.
Authorities became alerted to the existence of the family after one of the adult children, identified only as a 25-year-old man, ran away and went to a nearby bar for drinks.
The bartender, Chris Westerbeek, says that the disheveled man showed up at the bar. Westerbeek says he was shocked to learn that the man was only 25; due to his haggard appearance, he looked much older.
“He had long hair, a dirty beard, wore old clothes and looked confused. He said he’d never been to school and hadn’t been to the barber for nine years,” Westerbeek said.
The bartender then described what the man did with his first taste of freedom.
“He ordered five beers and drank them. When he started to talk he said he had run away, that he hadn’t been outside for nine years, and that he had brothers and sisters who were still hidden at home,” Westerbeek said.
The bartender called the police, and when they went to the man’s home, they made their horrifying discovery.
The family consisted of five adult children, all siblings between the ages of 18 and 25, and their 58-year-old father. The older man had suffered a stroke years ago, and was confined to a bed.
As of this writing, police aren’t sure what became of the siblings’ mother, but aren’t discounting the possibility that she might have gotten sick and died on the isolated farm and was buried there. A forensics unit will be scouring the grounds, looking for signs of her body.
The father was reportedly uncooperative with police who tried to interview him, saying only that he and his family were “waiting for the end of time.”
Hier zat klaarblijkelijk een gezin ondergedoken, wachtende op het einde der tijden. Ligt aan een kanaal, paar kilometer buiten het dorp. Volop onderzoek. We worden op afstand gehouden. #bizar #Ruinerwold pic.twitter.com/dUDY8D74cR
— Mark Mensink (@IntoBits) October 15, 2019
Staying Hidden For All Of These Years
The remote farm was itself in a sparsely-populated region of the Netherlands, the nearest village being Ruinerwold, a town of about 3,000 people.
The farmhouse was boarded up and shielded from view by a row of overgrown trees. Neighbors thought it was abandoned and thought nothing of it. The local mailman said he’d not once delivered a letter to that house in his entire career, which he says on retrospect is rather strange.
The family appears to have gotten their sustenance from a vegetable patch and a goat, BBC News reports.