One of this group, Bob Farmer, climbed the tree looking for bird eggs. From the trunk he seen what he thought to be an animal skull. Retrieving it, he was horrified to find that it had been human. The boys panicked because they had trespassed, therefore they decided to not tell anyone. Afterwards, one of the boys felt guilty and informed his parents of the discovery and they called the police.
In the trunk was an almost complete skeleton, along with a shoe, a gold ring and pieces of clothes. A hand was found buried near the shrub. Forensics showed that the skeleton was a female, aged 35-40. She was dead for 18 months. Taffeta within the mouth suggested that she was asphyxiated and put into the cavity of this tree although still warm. The police trawled through missing person reports and dental documents to get an outcome, but to no avail. She seemed to have appeared from nowhere, and has been missed by no one.
Christmas arrived and graffiti started to appear. "Who set Luebella down the wych elm?" Said the one. "Hagley Wood Bella", said another. Became a common sight throughout the area. As recently as 1999, that message appeared on a 200 year-old obelisk in nearby Wychbury Hill. Two years following the discovery, an anthropologist set forth a concept that the buried hand indicated use in an occult ceremony called the"Hand of Glory" and that"Bella" had been a ritualistic murder. The idea of witchcraft captured the imagination of the public, but in 1953 a woman called Anna contacted a local newspaper claiming to know the killer's identity.
Bella, she stated was part of a spy ring amassing intelligence to aid the German bombing of Birmingham. Back in 1968, a publication titled"Murder by Witchcraft" claimed the documents of the Abwehr (a German intelligence agency) showed Bella had a turned into a Nazi Spy that had been parachuted into the West Midlands in 1941, but vanished without creating radio contact. Sometime after 1999, the declassified documents of the wartime MI5 divulged something intriguing. Back in January of 1941, a seized Gestapo agent, a Josef Jakobs, was carrying out a photo of a woman who he named as a German singer and performer, Clara Bauerle.
He revealed Clara, who had spent time prior to the war working in the music halls of the West Midlands, was expected to be parachuted into that region in 1941. Her career appears to come to a sudden stop at that time, making no looks after that date. Jakobs was convicted of being a spy and became the last man to be executed at the Tower of London. Another prostitute told police in 1944 that Bella had vanished three decades before.
Still another story that came out was reported by Una Mossop in 1953. She maintained her uncle, Jack, had confessed that he along with a Dutchmen was out drinking with a woman who had passed , and as a prank they had put her at the tree expecting so she would wake up the next morning scared and confused. She said Jack Mossop had been confined to a mental hospital, plagued by reoccurring dreams of a woman staring at him by a tree trunk. He died before the discovery of the body.
The official closure of the police investigation and book of the police files stated that although DNA evidence would prove invaluable, the whereabouts of these bones were now unknown. A sword being found inside a tree, certainly is odd!