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An intriguing local mystery regarding a sinister murder that happened in the forties around Hagley. The case is unsolved to this day with various theories about the perptrators.


Story Location: Hagley, Nr Kidderminster, Worcestershire

Date Of Event: Discovered 18 April 1943 - Present

An Unsolved Murder Mystery

It all began with the chance discovery of human remains in the hollow shell of an ancient Wych-Hazel tree. The tree was located in Hagley Wood, outside the small village of Hagley on the road between Kidderminster and Birmingham.

The remains were discovered in the spring of 1943 by four teens. After some reticence they informed the police who carried out forensics on the remains. It transpired they were the remains of a 35 year old female, of undetermined origin.

Her remains in the tree were intact, apart from a missing hand, which was found near by. It would appear she was put into the tree whilst still warm. Whilst forensics were able to piece together an accurate representation of the woman, they as yet have been unable to establish her actual identity.

Various theories have been put forward as to her demise and who she was. Some say she was a spy working for the Germans during World War 2, others claim she was the victim of an ancient witchcraft ceremony known as the 'Hand Of Glory'. Simpler theories considered her a prostitute, the victim of a psychotic client or the mistake of a visiting GI.

What ever the reason for the murder, the case was given a sinister twist with the appearance of graffiti around the area in the winter of 1943 which read "Who put Luebella down the wych-elm?" and gave the mystery woman her nickname. Over time the graffiti mutated to the name Bella - a name the police adopted to identify the mystery female.

In a modern twist, back in the Summer of 1999, the grafitti reappeared on a 200 year old obelisk on the Hagley Hall estate. The case is still open and the police would be happy to hear from anyone with any new leads on this old case.

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