Hinterkaifeck Murders

Date of murders: March 31st of 1922
Location: Bavarian farmstead in modern-day Waidhofen, Bavaria, Germany

Disclaimer: Tarot readings should not be taken as absolute claims that something did or did not happen. I only report the meaning of the cards, their relationships and the meaning in the context of those relationships, as well as intuitions I have based entirely on the cards presented in the reading. Tarot reading is an art and not a science.

Summary:

The Hinterkaifeck murders are said to have occurred on the night of March 31st of 1922. Six people were murdered inside the home: Andreas Gruber (63 years old), Cazilia Gruber (72 years old), Viktoria Gabriel (35 years old), Cazilia (7 years old), Josef (2 years old), and Maria Baumgartner (44 years old). Four people were found deceased and in the barn. Two were found inside the home. Maria was new to her job as a maid because the prior one had quit – reportedly after hearing strange noises in the attic at night. The murders remain unsolved to this day.

Question: Who murdered the six people living at the farmstead referred to as Hinterkaifeck?

Row 1
Temperance (reversed) – Queen of Wands (reversed) – High Priestess (reversed)
Card pulled for the Queen of Wands (r): King of Cups
Card pulled for the King of Cups: King of Wands
Card pulled for the King of Wands: 6 of Pentacles

Row 2
Queen of Swords – 7 of Wands – 8 of Wands (reversed)
Card pulled for the Queen of Swords: 8 of Pentacles (reversed)

Row 3
9 of Cups (reversed) – 10 of Swords (reversed) – Ace of Swords

Reading 1

Reading:

It seems as though the person/people responsible for the murders had some kind of ongoing situation or conflict with the family. I’m not sure if it was well known, but Temperance reversed came up first which is telling me that this conflict (these issues that a person/s had with one or more members of the family) is at the heart of why it happened, and who did it.

The Queen of Wands reversed is depicting an adult female as being involved or having direct knowledge about the murders. This person is coming up early which tells me they likely knew they were going to happen before they did. There are two adult males associated with the Queen: the King of Cups and the King of Wands. So it’s looking like there were three people somehow involved and/or had inside knowledge about what happened.

The Six of Pentacles is saying that one of these people gave someone in the family something. I don’t know if it was a single item, multiple items, or what. It could have been money or something else. Something was given and there was no known or communicated expectation of the receiving person to reciprocate. For some reason, this process of giving and receiving is important to this case because it’s coming up in the reading. It is probably something that would identify at least one of the people involved.

The High Priestess reversed is associated with secrets and hidden enemies and this all suggests that the murders were not completely random. There may have been one or two people in the background that would not seem to have an obvious motive or issue with anyone in the family. It doesn’t seem like someone came across the farm and just killed everyone for the sake of committing murder. There does appear to have been a plan and more than one person assisted in carrying all of it out – to varying degrees, I would say.

The Queen of Swords, and the Eight of Pentacles reversed, is pointing to a woman involved who appears to have had some kind of financial or material motive. This is likely the same person referenced in the first row. I don’t know why or how she thought she would profit or benefit from the murders, but it’s showing me this. Also, she might have been the ring-leader so to speak because the Queen of Swords is someone who is strategic and plans ahead of time.

The Seven of Wands shows at least one of the people involved as having been on the defensive –like they were blamed or accused of something – possibly after the murders, but not necessarily. It’s like someone was trying to force them to take blame or responsibility for something and they didn’t want to do that. There is also a territorial component to these murders. I do think there’s a good possibility there had been one or more past fights or arguments between one or more of the people responsible and someone (or multiple people) living at the farmstead where the murder occurred. However, I don’t think everyone with knowledge, or that was involved, had a direct negative history with anyone in the family. The High Priestess points to one or more hidden enemies – with secret motives and a secret agenda.

The Eight of Wands shows waiting and delays. There are a couple things I am getting from this. One is that I think one or more hung around the crime scene after the fact. I don’t mean the time between the murders happening and the discovery of them; I am referring to immediately after that when it was clear everyone had been killed. I’m getting this repeating thought of the word “loitering” and so at least one of the people came around – probably to get an idea if they were suspected and possibly to intentionally create delays or setbacks – and it was probably more than once.

Someone involved had a hard time with the murders in that the Nine of Cups reversed is a card of nightmares, self-hate, and misery. I don’t know which person this refers to, but I think the murders took a toll on someone and could have led them down a path of addiction – or exacerbated any already existing vices they might have had. At least one of the people involved, or a person with direct knowledge, did not cope with the aftermath well at all. They were haunted by it – figurately, and perhaps literally. To the point where it would have been noticeable. They could have tried to explain their mental state away and attributed all this to something else entirely, but it would have been known to people around this individual that they were struggling mentally/emotionally.

The Ten of Swords reversed is really interesting because it tells me that at least one of the people responsible came extremely close to getting caught. The whole ordeal almost ended in total ruin and disaster for them. They did something, left something, or said something that tripped them up. I’m not sure why they still got away with the murders. But they did. That is potentially another means of identifying them.

The Ace of Swords is when someone asserts their truth and tells it like it is. One of the people involved did eventually talk about it to someone, or multiple people. What I mean is that they talked to someone who wasn’t involved. They told someone. I have no idea which person did this or who they told. I don’t know why it wasn’t taken seriously – or if it was to some degree, but there just wasn’t evidence to back it up. But there was information shared about what happened that was truthful and accurate. Perhaps people thought they were making it up? I don’t know. They weren’t though. They told someone.

Question: What caused the murders?

Row 1
Death – Ace of Cups – 9 of Wands (reversed)

Row 2
Page of Pentacles – 5 of Pentacles (reversed) – The Star
Card pulled for the Page of Pentacles: 3 of Wands (reversed)

Row 3
King of Swords – 7 of Wands (reversed) – 9 of Pentacles (reversed)
Card pulled for the King of Swords: 6 of Swords (reversed)

Reading 2

Reading:

The first row is suggesting that at least one of the people involved had a motive that pertained to an emotions and/or family-based matter. Death is showing there was some impending and significant change that was going to occur. The Ace of Cups tells me it is related to matters such as pregnancy, emotions, family, and/or situations in their early stages of existence. The Nine of Wands reversed is someone refusing to compromise and someone who is stubborn. This person didn’t want to do something, or back down from something, having to do with the Ace of Cups. It’s almost like they felt the murders would be easier than going about getting their way using other means. I don’t really understand what that is saying here, but this person did not want to deal with some transition or change-related matter that was looming.

The Page of Pentacles, and the Three of Wands reversed, could mean a couple of things. First, the Page could refer to a child or a message. If it is referencing a child, then the Three of Wands reversed is showing them as being an obstacle and a source of frustration. The card can also reference a failed relationship or a relationship that has kind of taken place at a distance. However, if the Page refers to some kind of news or message, then it was likely one pertaining to money or material matters.

The Five of Pentacles reversed shows someone as wanting to improve their financial situation and put an end to some kind of hardship they were enduring. And the Star tells me that the murders accomplished this specific goal – at least for one of the people involved. So I don’t know if someone owed a debt to the family, or one person in the family, or had some kind of financial hardship associated with one or more members but figuring that out would provide some insight here because the murders wiped that slate clean. Successfully.

One of the people involved – most likely one of the adult males – felt they could not get away from the situation any other way. They felt trapped and the situation didn’t seem like it would get better any time soon. The Six of Swords reversed is often a warning of trouble to come and so I think that something must have happened to make this person feel like their situation would become even worse than it already was. It is like they were anticipating that a problem would get worse, and they felt they needed to address it.

The Seven of Wands reversed is a card associated with being weak or timid in a situation. It could be someone who went along with the plan, despite not really wanting to get involved, because they didn’t feel they had any real power. The card could have more meaning than that, but that’s the gist of what it means in that position. It’s basically someone giving up and giving in.

The Nine of Pentacles reversed often refers to lies and theft. There is definitely a money motive here and the weirdest part about it is the appearance of the Star – in the second row. That card is telling me that the person got what they wanted out of this in that the murders fixed the material or money issue. Another factor associated with the Nine of Pentacles is the possibility that someone did, or had considered, marrying for money. That meaning may or may not apply here; it’s just a secondary one I thought about when trying to figure out what this money matter is all about.

So it seems like one or two of the people involved were a lot more invested in carrying out the plan than anyone else involved. There was at least one person who was kind of caught up in the middle of it somehow. I’m not saying they don’t have culpability or anything like that. I’m just thinking back to Temperance reversed – from the first reading – and the possibility of a power imbalance between those involved. The King and Queen of Wands were the aggressors and more action-oriented, while the King of Cups was more go inclined to go along with it all.

The Watts Family

Shanann, Bella, Celeste, and Nico Watts

Disappearance and death: August 13, 2018
Location: Frederick, Colorado

Disclaimer: Tarot readings should not be taken as absolute claims that something did or did not happen. I only report the meaning of the cards, their relationships and the meaning in the context of those relationships, as well as intuitions I have based entirely on the cards presented in the reading. Tarot reading is an art and not a science.

Summary:

I received a request to do a reading about whether anyone else was involved in the murders of Shanann, Bella, Celeste, and Nico Watts (her unborn son). Chris Watts confessed to killing his entire family in August of 2018. For a time, he said his wife had murdered the two girls. However, he recanted that statement and has not since – at least not to my knowledge – named any other person as having been involved. I will also do a second reading to ask, specifically, if Nichol Kessinger was involved or had direct knowledge about it.

Question: Was anyone else responsible, or directly involved in, the one or more of the deaths of Shanann, Bella, Celeste, and Nico?

Row 1
King of Wands – The Moon – Hierophant (reversed)
Card pulled for the King of Wands: Ace of Swords

Row 2
4 of Wands – 4 of Pentacles – 5 of Swords

Row 3
King of Pentacles – Page of Pentacles (reversed) – 5 of Wands (reversed)
Card pulled for the King of Pentacles: 8 of Pentacles (reversed)
Card pulled for the Page of Pentacles (r): 5 of Pentacles

Watts family reading 1

Reading:

Something that is standing out to me, right out of the gate, is the abundance of pentacles. If this reading is accurate, it is telling me that money or material matters were a major motive here – perhaps even more than people might think. The King of Wands is someone who comes across as someone who is action-oriented, often flirty, funny, protective, and can be self-centered. This card is reading as though it is referring to Chris. If so, then this is the image he wanted to portray to others; it is not necessarily an accurate description of his nature in general. I say this because it is a generally positive card in the upright position, though it does point to reckless and impulsive tendencies.

The Ace of Swords, in connection with the King of Wands, is conveying that this person felt they had an epiphany or realization. They believed they had come to know the truth about their situation and what they thought they were meant to do in life. They had a vision of a new beginning and planned accordingly.

The Moon, in response to my question, is saying that we don’t know the whole story. There is more going on here. Efforts to deceive have been significant. The Moon sometimes signifies hidden enemies and unknown danger as well – which seems to point to the possibility that someone else was involved besides just Chris. This is a tarot reading, and people should never take it as factual. I’m just relaying what the cards are communicating.

The Hierophant reversed seems to point to the dissolution of the relationship between Chris and Shanann. However, it also serves as a reminder that an affair seemed to act as the catalyst – or at least one of the major ones – for the murders. He went against the tradition of acting as a loyal and faithful husband. Even though we already know this information, the cards are emphasizing that aspect of the situation.

Okay, so in the second row we have some interesting dynamics that are presenting. The first, in the Four of Wands, is the vision or hope for a happy family. It is often a card of celebration. It is also a card depicting teamwork. Intuitively, I’m reading this as a statement that the goal was to clear the way for Chris to have all of those things with someone other than Shanann. I’m also wondering if it is trying to tell me that the murders were meant to clear the way for a wedding. I see this card come up often for engagements and weddings. Again, there is a sense of working together or doing something collaboratively with this card also. Which could also be answering the question as to whether anyone else was involved.

The Four of Pentacles is showing a situation where someone is possessive, materialistic, and has a strong desire to have control over people and situations. They can be territorial over people and/or places. Such a person may have a past that includes events or occurrences that have contributed to these tendencies. It can point to deep-seated underlying issues that someone has.

The Five of Swords is no surprise in this reading. It’s a card that conveys conflict. Sometimes it is minimal, but other times it can represent murder, rape, and violence. This is a weird reading for me because I keep having some repeating thoughts, but I don’t want to say them because they’re awful. If true, there’s an element to Shanann’s murder that people might not have not picked up on. It’s dark and I don’t feel good about articulating or communicating it. Plus, some of it just seems bizarre to me.

So it’s important to explain what the three cards on the second row signify because I often see people say in cases like this, “Well, why didn’t he just get a divorce?” There was no way Chris was going to let Shanann start a new life with someone else. If I am reading these correctly, he did not want anyone else raising his children. But there’s a financial motive here as well. Divorce would have looked like the more expensive option. There is this idea that stands out where his family “belongs” to him. He owned them, but he wanted a different life. He did not want them to have a different – and possibly better – life though. It’s hard to fully explain it. It was an all or absolutely nothing type of situation in his mind. Either they exist fully in his life or they cease to exist at all. We already know which one he chose.

The King of Pentacles is likely an adult male who places a lot of emphasis on material aspects of life. The Eight of Pentacles reversed is suggesting that the person was bored with their job, unhappy with the direction their career was going (or not going), etc. Moreover, the card points to financial instability and problems that were heavily weighing on this person. This is a situation where someone feels like they can’t and don’t measure up.

The Page of Pentacles reversed is either negative news that set all of this into motion, or it represents someone who is lazy, doesn’t want to work as hard as necessary to achieve goals, and someone who is unusually intense. If it’s representative of negative news, it would likely be Shanann’s pregnancy. If this is the case, the pregnancy was a significant motivator.

The Five of Pentacles, pulled for the Page of Pentacles reversed, is a card that depicts people who perceive their circumstances as negative. A person might feel as though they are being left out in the cold. It can represent breakups and divorces, as well as a lack of a spiritual connection that would help to ground a person.

The Five of Wands is showing people at cross-purposes. This is conflict over differing agendas or goals. The card is one that denotes struggles, disagreements, ego clashes, etc. However, interestingly enough, it also can show someone who is feeling defensive and territorial.

The reading does hint at possible outside involvement, beyond Chris, but it isn’t coming right out and saying it in a way that is clear to me. It seems that the cards are trying to answer the question by showing me the primary motivations. The first is financial and/or material. The second is the desire to start a new life – without having to give up one’s ownership over people and things. Chris may have hated Shanann, but he did not want someone stepping in and taking his place. The reading comes across like his ego was not remotely equipped to deal with that. And he didn’t want the financial burden either.

Question: Did Nichol Kessinger have direct knowledge or involvement in the Watts family murders?

Row 1
King of Wands (reversed) – Queen of Pentacles – Page of Wands (reversed)
Card pulled for the King of Wands (r): Knight of Swords (reversed)
Card pulled for the Knight of Swords (r): 7 of Wands

Row 2
7 of Pentacles (reversed) – 5 of Swords (reversed) – 6 of Swords (reversed)

Row 3
9 of Swords – The World – Ace of Swords (reversed)

Watts family reading 2

Reading

The first reading only partially answered my question and so I am narrowing it down by asking specifically about Nichol. The top row is showing me the major players. The King of Wands reversed is Chris. The Queen of Pentacles is Shanann (I’ll explain in a moment how I know this card does not depict Nichol). The Page of Wands reversed is coming across as Nichol.

The King of Wands reversed is linked to two other cards. The first is the Knight of Swords reversed and the second is the Seven of Wands. Okay, this is really interesting. There appears to be another man involved in this somehow. I’m not saying they took part in the murders since that is unclear here. I don’t know who on earth this represents, but I can describe them as a person with regard to their personality. But first, let’s start with the King of Wands reversed. In the first reading, the King of Wands presented in its upright position – which emphasizes some of the more positive attributes associated with people that are depicted by this card. In it’s reversed position, it is showing someone who can become quite nasty. People represented by this card tend to have a hot temper and they can be disloyal.

The card pulled in connection with the King of Wands reversed is the Knight of Swords reversed. Is this someone else linked to all this somehow? Or is it merely adding on to the descriptions or behaviors and attributes of the first card? The card often depicts younger adult males, or people who behave as though they are in their teens or twenties. In its reversed position, the negative attributes of the card are enhanced and show someone who can become verbally abusive or aggressive. It can also refer to someone who has a hard time expressing themselves to others.

The Seven of Wands, pulled in connection with the Knight of Swords reversed, shows this person as taking a defensive position in which they feel they need to protect what is theirs or they feel under attack. It is coming across like there was some issue between Chris and this other person that the reading is putting out there right in the beginning. A specific trigger.

The Queen of Pentacles is an adult motherly figure who has good business sense and is able to provide for herself, and her family, when needed. It describes Shanann perfectly. There are a lot of other attributes that come with this card, such as a person who is social, generous, successful, down-to-earth, and a good mother. The Tower shows a sudden and unexpected event that caused a major upheaval. On it’s face, it suggests the event might have been her murder. It could have been a revelation as well though that rocked her core and foundation. If the Tower does represent her murder, it’s highly unlikely she even saw it coming. As though she was attacked very suddenly and when she wasn’t anticipating it. If that’s true, then I don’t think the story Chris tells about them having an emotional conversation just before is true. The Tower suggests a sneaky type of attack – something that happens very suddenly and is not expected.

The Page of Wands reversed – when depicting a person – represents either a child or someone that has childish tendencies. Such a person can behave in ways that are impatient, gullible, moody, and impulsive. If representative of Nichol, it shows a side to her that she may have tried to keep hidden – one that reveals a deep sense of self-consciousness, fear, and pessimism. It would be someone with issues that are not necessarily immediately obvious to others in ordinary circumstances. The Devil, the card connected to the Page of Wands, is all about the chains that bind. There can be so many facets to this card. It could indicate she had a full-blown obsession with Chris and/or Shanann that may or may not have been shared/reciprocated (though circumstances suggest it was). It depicts someone who uses things like their sexuality to manipulate and control people- seduction. It can also show cruel and malicious intentions. So this card does not paint Nichol in a positive light at all. I would not be at all surprised if she’s still trying to pull strings or exert an influence in his life. To this day. And if she is, people should ask themselves WHY. Again, this is a tarot reading. I’m not saying any of these things are facts. I have no way of knowing. I’m just communicating the story the cards are telling.

The second row begins with the Seven of Pentacles reversed and the cards on this one pertains to Nichol, since the question is about whether she had direct involvement. The Seven of Pentacles reversed depicts people who are impatient and unwilling to put in the work to achieve their goals. They want the easiest methods possible. People that get this card might demonstrate a desire to find ways to get their needs or wants met in a way that is easy for them. It also depicts a lack of growth. Time keeps going by, but this person doesn’t grow emotionally or spiritually in a positive way.

The Five of Swords reversed can go a couple of ways. On one hand, it can denote the end to struggles through peaceful means. On the other, it can depict a situation in which there is an escalation in violence or a non-peaceful resolution. It’s also a card of sacrifice – maybe doing something or agreeing to something to end conflict. The implications of that, if true, are unpleasant.

The Six of Swords reversed is showing a person as being stuck in a particular situation and it represents a situation where trouble is, and has been, brewing in the times surrounding the murders – trouble that a person does not feel they can run or hide from entirely.

The Nine of Swords is showing Nichol as having a burden and/or darkness that hangs over her. It’s often thought of as a nightmare card in which people are the most troubled by the thoughts or visions in their mind. It can be a card of regret and remorse. It can be someone with psychological issues too.

The Ace of Swords reversed shows a plan that has failed and can represent a wrong decision that a person has made. It is also a card that shows poor planning. I’ve seen it come up in cases where a person was kidnapped and/or murdered and attempts to get away with it were ultimately unsuccessful – due to an overall failure to plan properly. The Ace of Swords upright is someone speaking and asserting their truth. In it’s reversed position, it’s someone that is trying to hide the truth.

An odd, and somewhat interesting, thing about the World card is that I have it come up in a fair number of readings pertaining to murders. I have never really figured out precisely how or why it appears in these instances, but it seems to denote circumstances coming full circle – whether they succeeded or failed.

Some things that stood out to me, after analyzing both readings, is that there appears to be at least some knowledge and involvement on the part of one or two people (besides Chris). Like I said before, no one should take tarot readings as fact. But if any of this is accurate, it seems that Nichol knew much more than she let on. How do I put this? She had much more control and influence, is the best way I can think to try to explain this. If there had been no Nichol, this all reads like there would have been no murders (no outside influence). Which is such a strange and weird thought. That one person can exert that much control over people and situations. There are cards that depict Nichol as being involved in – or having knowledge of – an overall plan. To what extent, I don’t know. If the cards are to be believed, she’s not being truthful.

I want to mention something else. A while back, I was practicing these kinds of readings by doing ones on cases I had little to no knowledge about. I did one reading on this case and recorded the cards that I pulled. Since Chris had already confessed and been convicted by the time I did the reading, I asked about motive. The cards I pulled were the Lovers reversed, the Page of Wands (with the 3 of Cups), and the Hierophant.

I was baffled by these cards at the time – especially since I had little knowledge of the case (to the point where I didn’t even know Chris was cheating prior to the reading) – and I spent a lot of time thinking about these cards after the reading was finished. One day, I was going over it in my mind when I realized that the Three of Cups and the Hierophant were showing me a very specific motive: the murders could have been intended to pave the way for Chris to have a more “traditional” relationship with Nichol. If accurate, they were telling me there was a plan for Chris and Nichol to marry. Both the Three of Cups and the Hierophant may represent a marriage or plans to marry as a primary motive, suggesting a greater degree of knowledge than Nichol has claimed to have. If true.

And who is this second male person that came up in the second reading?