10 Shocking Real Life Home Invasions!

Last Updated on August 3, 2021

So, who’s up for seeing DON’T BREATHE on the big-screen this weekend? You damn well better, as it’s one of the best films – in or out of genre – to come out this calendar year. Seriously, take the plunge, you won’t be disappointed!

But before you do, we have a little something different for you with this week’s Top 10. Instead of highlighting all the fictional home invasion thrillers that have flooded the filmgoing public over the years, we thought, why not take an even more sobering look at the subject through the lens of reality. That’s right y’all, there’s been no shortage of terrifying real-life home invasions since the first one was recorded way back in 1911. Some were solved, but many have remained open cases to this day. Hell, some have even inspired movies that we all know and love. But no matter the outcome, one thing remains true, deadly home invasions are among the most mortifying types of crimes we’ve ever seen. The proof? Peep our Top 10 Real Life Home Invasions above!


Among the most infamous of homicidal home-invasions was the one exacted by psychopathic cult-leader Charles Manson, that ill-fated August night in 1969. Manson ordered his femme-gang of brainwashed disciples to break into the home of actress Sharon Tate, who was pregnant at the time, and kill the girl on sight. 16 times she was stabbed, then had her neck strangled with a rope, before the word “pig” was smeared in blood on the front door. The next night, the same Manson clan broke into a Los Feliz abode and similarly stabbed to death Leno and Rosemary LaBianca, before etching “Helter Skelter” and “Death to Pigs” in blood. Manson was eventually apprehended and put in jail, where he remains to this day.


As dramatized in the docu-fictional account of celebrated author Truman Capote, subsequently adapted to the big-screen by director Richard Brooks as IN COLD BLOOD, the Cutter Family farmhouse massacre still ranks among the most chillingly senseless of all. Things like this weren’t supposed to happen in the idyllic Americana climate of 1959 Kansas. Why did they? After a failed robbery attempt, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock did the unthinkable. They gorily waylaid a family of four with a shotgun – Father Herbert, mother Bonnie, 15 year old son Kenyon and 16 year old daughter Nancy – before being arrested six weeks later and ultimately executed by hanging.


50 years this past July marked the anniversary of the deeply disturbing Richard Speck case – in which a deranged lunatic infiltrated a Chicago nursing dormitory in the middle of the night and systematically slaughtered 8 female orderlies. The details are spine-tingling. Speck broke in armed with a knife and gun, began waking each nurse up, one by one, before hogtying them up, strangling and stabbing them all to their grisly demises. What’s more, the girls knew of their fate to come, as each watched the girl before them be carefully removed and heinously dispatched of. Not freaked out enough? Speck felt the need to rape his final victim, Gloria Davy, before strangling her. Miraculously, one nurse (Cora Amurao) hid under the be and survived the lethal invasion.


What makes the famed Setagaya Family Murders doubly devilish is the fact that the case remains – more than 15 years later – completely unresolved. What happened in Tokyo on New Years Eve on the year 2000 was this: a mysterious knife-wielding assailant snuck into the second floor window of the Setagayas, first entering 6 year old Rei’s bedroom. He strangled the boy to death before being confronted by the father of family, Mikio, and stabbing him multiple times until he too died. Not done, the killer moved to the kitchen to find another knife before stabbing mother Yasuko and 8 year old daughter Niina to death. Crazier still? The killer took an unflushed shit, ate some ice-cream and surfed the family’s internet before finally fleeing.


The very first instance of police-recorded home-invasion went down way the hell back in 1911, when an axe-wielding madman hacked a mother and her three children to death. The killer then exacted an unfathomable string of grisly murders along the route of the South Pacific Railroad, spanning from Raine, Louisiana to San Antonio, Texas. Between January of 1911 and April of 1912, six homes in total were broken into, and a corresponding 49 family members were butchered to death via axe-blade. An even more alarming commonality than the murder weapon was the fact that every family targeted was of mixed race. Astoundingly, many false arrests were made during those 14 months, but the killings continued, and no one was ever found guilty.


On July 27, 1979 – the decapitated body of 33 year old Alys Elaine Rankin was discovered in her Orchard Park apartment near Houston, Texas. A co-worker made this discovery, finding Rankin’s front door ajar, and upon entering, found the poor girl’s legs bound, sexually assaulted, and a trail of thick blood leading to the presumable place of her cut off head. Thing is, her head was never found. More troubling yet is how, only two weeks later, on August 10th, another home invasion took place two floors up at the same complex. Mary Michael Calcutta was also accosted, beaten, raped, and stabbed dozens of times to death. No killer was ever found, but two similar slayings a short distance away were linked to the same assailant – one found the same day as Calcutta, another two months later in October.


Anyone who saw the 2013 HBO documentary devoted to the subject – THE CHESHIRE MURDERS – will be familiar with what happened one fateful 2007 summer night in Connecticut. After casing a pair of female victims at a grocery store, Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her 11 year old daughter Michaela, a pair of sick psychotic wackos decided to follow the girls home and break in later that night. Attacking the father first, tying him up and leaving him in the basement, the men began to douse the house in gasoline, rape the 11 year old girl in her bed, choke the mother to death, then set the place ablaze before attempting escape. The dad made it out alive, and the two men were eventually arrested. Had the cops descended faster, contend the neighbors, perhaps more lives would have been saved.


Home invasions don’t get more sinister than the 6-hour time-frame that occurred in Colorado on January 16, 1984. Upon noticing an intruder in the middle of the night, 27 year old Bruce Bennett got into a tussle with the invader, only to be bludgeoned with a blunt instrument (likely a hammer) and his throat slashed to death. The killer then entered 26 year old mother Debra’s room, where he sexually assaulted both her and her 7 year old daughter Melissa before murdering them with blunt force trauma. The killer then attacked 3 year old Vanessa, leaving her to die with severe facial battery. Shockingly, the toddler survived the ordeal. Worse yet is how the same hammer-wielding suspect was thought to have attacked four others earlier in the month, one of which (Patricia Louise) died as a result of her wounds.


In late March of 1922, a snowy German farmhouse was breached and the entire Hinterkaifeck family – father, Andreas Gruber, his wife, their three children Cazilia, Josef and Viktoria, and their maid – were all gorily beaten to death with a mattock. 94 years later, and no arrest has been made. What makes this case extra eerie is the so-called evidence the Gruber family reportedly ignored in the lead up to the invasion. Footprints in the snow leading to the house, but not out, were disregarded. So too were a set of house keys that went missing only days earlier. Authorities believe the killer cased the place, hid in the attic, lured the family members into the barn one by one to hack them up with a digging tool. The killer apparently stayed in the house for days after, feeding the cattle and heating the chimney. Cold blooded!


The first triple homicide in the history of Vancouver is still, almost 60 years later, unsolved. And it happens to fall under the home invasion variety. On June 10, 1958 – an unknown madman snuck into the Paul family abode and killed the patriarch, David Paul, by beating and shooting him in the basement. David’s 11 year old daughter Dorothy was then targeted and beaten to death in her bed. Unsatisfied, the killer then waited a good deal of time for the wife Helen to arrive home from work. When she did, he shot her in the face before maniacally wailing on her corpse. If that wasn’t grueling enough, a bloody hand-print was left on the wall of Dorothy’s bedroom, though it couldn’t be linked to a single person…now or then.

Tags: Hollywood

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