'The people who own it don’t want to live there': House abandoned after bizarre exorcism

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Brutally killed at the hands of her husband and an extreme religious group 23-years ago, Joan Vollmer’s infamous exorcism has left a lasting impact on the regional Victorian town of Antwerp.

Just a 356km drive northwest of Melbourne, the violent exorcism of the "god fearing" Vollmer has made the tiny town a hot-spot for teens who dare to break into the murder-house.

Joan Vollmer pictured outside her family home where she was killed
Joan Vollmer pictured outside her family home where she was killed

“The verandas have been taken off, and kids get into it from time to time,” a long-term Antwerp local told news.com.au.

“They’re all scared of it, not me of course, it’s just a house. But the people who own it don’t want to live there. They feel it’s not right.”

The abandoned house has become a hotspot for daring teens who sneak through a hole in the wall
The abandoned house has become a hotspot for daring teens who sneak through a hole in the wall

In the decades since Vollmer was tied to a chair as an exorcist tried to “rid her of her demons”, the murder-house has been sold twice, but no occupants ever moved in.

Joan Vollmer was said to be in an unstable condition for many years leading into her death, allegedly stemming from the suicide of her first husband and the sexual abuse she allegedly endured as a child.

As time went on, her condition reportedly detoriated and she was committed to a psychiatric ward where she was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Ralph Vollmer sought out the help of an exorcist to help rid the demons from his wife's body
Ralph Vollmer sought out the help of an exorcist to help rid the demons from his wife's body

Returning home from the hospital, she reportedly stopped taking her medication, while her second husband Ralph sought out self-proclaimed “exorcism experts”, Leanne Reichenbach and farmer David Klingner to help remove the demons from his wife's body in 1993.

Vollmer was 49 when she died.

The three of them were convicted of recklessly causing Vollmer serious injury and false imprisonment while the self-proclaimed exorcist, Matthew Nuske, was also found guilty of falsely imprisoning the 49-year-old in the family’s Antwerp pig farm.

A German migrant, Ralph Vollmer later invited the media to his wife’s funeral to witness and film her resurrection. He eventually, like the media, lost interest and moved on with a third wife.

Ralph Vollmer can be seen praying for the resurrection of his dead wife. Photo: HWT library
Ralph Vollmer can be seen praying for the resurrection of his dead wife. Photo: HWT library

While all doors and windows to the house have been boarded by corrugated iron, dare-devils enter the abandoned property via a hole kicked into the side of the house.

“It put Antwerp on the map so to speak,” a resident told news.com.au.

“People still talk about what happened in that house.”

Detective Superintendent Paul Sheridan described the entire ordeal as the weirdest he had ever encountered.

“He believed they were doing the right thing in trying to exorcise demons but they weren’t innocent and they certainly weren’t doing the right thing,” he told the Herald Sun.

The tiny town of Antwerp, 356km northwest of Melbourne, where the Vollmer's lived
The tiny town of Antwerp, 356km northwest of Melbourne, where the Vollmer's lived
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