A house which lay witness to a chilling murder more than 20 years ago has been abandoned and sits, decaying, in a rural town in outback Victoria. 

Joan Vollmer was 49 years old when her husband became convinced that she had been possessed by demons; according to news.com.au, he told friends, who had been ex-communicated from a local church, that “evil spirits were making Joan dance outside, use bad language, act ‘like a prostitute’ and behave like a pig or dog.”

Ralph started tying Joan to their bed and locking her in the basement, but as she grew more hysterical, his neighbours John and Leanne Reichenbach and their ousted Lutheran leader Leah Clugston agreed that Joan’s body had been inhabited by  demons.

The group, “so as not to feed the beasts inside her”, began starving Joan, and kept her restrained as they prayed over her.

As the days progressed and Joan continued to scream for food and water, Ralph called on another church member, 28-year-old David Klinger, and 23-year-old Matthew Nuske, a local man whose mother believed he had “special powers”.

After blessing some olive oil, Nuske encouraged the group to wrap the house in cling film, circling it seven times, in order to seal the “doors and windows against demons”; Joan was then repeatedly slapped, and her head slammed against the wall to expel the “Legion” of demons.

Joan endured hours more torture at the hands of her “exorcists” before falling quiet, at which point Nuske declared victory and assured the others that she would wake by morning, having been returned to normal.


It was a further 48-hours before Ralph sent for help, calling on a local Baptist minister who arrived at the house to find “the group eating lunch as Joan’s body lay covered in flies, bloating and decomposing in the 40 degree heat.”

Unbelievably, Ralph and Nuske walked free on suspended sentences, though Leanne Reichenbach and David Klinger spent four and three months in prison respectively; Ralph continued to live at the house before moving to Queensland with his new wife.

And, since then, the house has been empty, despite being sold twice in the intervening years. 

In fact, the only people who venture near the property are teenagers on a dare, according to a neighbour.


“The verandas have been taken off, and kids get into it from time to time,” Ivan Pollack explained. 

“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.

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