Herb Baumeister – known by those closest to him as a successful businessman, family man, and later, one of America’s most notorious serial killers. But there must be a reason for such a transition, right? Read this book and uncover the horror he visited on his victims while living a convincing double life as a contributing member of society.

The following is the first chapter from the book “The Garden of Evil: The True Story of Herbert Baumeister and the Disturbing Horror at Fox Hollow Farm”

The Doctor’s Son

As many true crime enthusiasts know, the early life of a serial killer is often fraught with abuse, neglect, and suffering of all kinds. There may even be a specific incident that one could point to as being instrumental in their descent into utter depravity, foretelling of the horrors to come. The great tragedy, revealed only by studying the past, is that someone could have prevented the crimes had they only known to intervene.

This is not the case for Herbert Baumeister, which perhaps makes his story all the more unsettling.


Herbert Richard Baumeister was born April 7, 1947, to Herbert Baumeister Sr., a successful anesthesiologist, and his wife, Elizabeth. He would be the first of the couple’s four children and spent his early years in Westfield, a well-to-do suburb just north of Indianapolis, Indiana. Shortly after the younger Herbert’s arrival in 1948, his parents welcomed a second child and only daughter, Barbara. The early 1950s would also see the births of two little brothers: Brad, born in 1954, and Richard, born in 1956.


It is said that the four Baumeister children had a happy childhood, and if young Herbert had any grievances about his home life, it would be that the family home was not large enough to accommodate six people. The crowded house was uncomfortable for the boy, though the issue was a temporary one.

Photo Credit: www.wrtv.com

The 1950s was the era of upward mobility for many Americans, and the post-war economy made it possible for more people to make real money than ever before. The elder Baumeister made some notable advances in his career during this time, earning him enough money to move his family to a larger home.

Indeed, what is known about the boyhood of this future monster brings to mind the typical image of mid-century suburban Americana. His father was a hard worker, so much so that he often had little leisure time to spend with his children. His mother was a devoted housewife, loving and attentive, and was said to have doted on her oldest boy. Little Herbert was talkative and friendly and was not known to have gotten into trouble any worse than typical childhood antics.


If he had suffered any major trauma in his formative years, no one could recall it. He was treated well by his family and peers at school. There were no major illnesses or head injuries that could have caused a disturbance in his still-developing brain.


So where did things go so wrong?

Things began to take a weird turn for the younger Herbert around the time he began puberty. Though never a popular child, he still maintained a small circle of close friends. One thing they all seemed to appreciate about the boy was his sense of humor, which was already dark and sometimes irreverent. No one suspected anything was amiss when Herbert’s jokes grew more and more disturbing.


The truth was that his “jokes” were no longer just jokes; he was rapidly developing an interest in morbid topics such as death and violence, and it would not be long before he sought to indulge his curiosity.


One thing that especially fascinated him was dead animals, particularly roadkill. On one occasion, he happened upon the corpse of a small crow. He waved away a swarm of flies that had gathered over it and then bent over to pick up the animal, its fragile body stiff with rigor mortis. It exuded a pungent smell that lingered sweetly on his mind. He wondered how long it had been lying there, a treasure ignored by the rest of the world.

Fox Hollow Farm

Photo Credit : inmagazine.ca

It was a stench that hypnotized him and made him want to get it all inside him. Herbert brought the carcass up to his face so that the feathers were close enough to brush against his trembling lips.

In that moment, he loved the dead bird so much he wanted to destroy it, feel the crush of its hollow little bones against the might of his fingers. The black feathers would come away—he would rip them off if they did not—and he would take them home to savor this memory whenever he wanted.

But as he pressed his thumbs into the bird’s flesh, he felt something unexpected. There was writhing just beneath the skin that seemed to grow more frantic the longer he held on. Maggots were wriggling about, more than he could count.

Herbert took one and pinched it between his fingers, feeling a subtle pop. He rubbed the white mush and focused on the swarm inside the body. Tightening his grip on the carcass exposed even more of them, and they fell all over him, landing on his sleeves and pant legs.

It was an exciting moment unlike anything he had ever known or thought he could know. His breath caught in his throat, and his blood was running hot. There was an unfamiliar sensation in his groin that took over his mind.

It was an exciting moment unlike anything he had ever known or thought he could know. His breath caught in his throat, and his blood was running hot. There was an unfamiliar sensation in his groin that took over his mind.

What exactly did Herbert plan to do with the dead crow? Whatever it was, his plans were foiled when he heard the voice of another boy calling out to him and snapped out of his daze.

He must have realized how crazy he looked when his friend, Bill Donovan, approached him. In that moment, he nearly let the crow fall back onto the roadside, but then he got an idea—something delightfully twisted that was sure to make Bill and all the other boys laugh.

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Written by : Sajjad A

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