Author Topic: THE ENIGMA OF PETER HAUER  (Read 530 times)

Offline rhychydwr1

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THE ENIGMA OF PETER HAUER
« on: March 27, 2021, 04:11:08 pm »
THE ENIGMA OF PETER HAUER

Fellow of the National Speleological Society and Treasurer/Secretary of the American Spelean History Association.

It is always a shock to find that a friend has died suddenly, but an even greater horror surrounds the disappearance of Peter Hauer.  The F.B.I. were searching for a Walter T Smith, last seen in the Lobelia area.  At Pete Hauer’s farm, they found a gruesome typewritten confession on the kitchen table to the effect that Hauer had killed Smith and hidden his body in a cave.  That weekend 125 cavers searched the local caves and found the body of the 18 year old Watogo State Park Lifeguard – Walter T Smith, carefully concealed beneath a pile of rocks and carved with cabalistic signs.  He had been shot through the eye and behind the ears.

A search for Hauer which included diving did not reveal any trace.  Some sources think he is still alive.

As well as the "confession” the F.B.I. also found Hauer’s Will on the table.  There was a suggestion that Hauer had been taken in by a hippy coven hiding out in the nearby thick forest and would be a sacrifice and eaten by the next full moon.  There are still many unanswered questions.  Did Hauer type the “confession”-? Or was he framed?  Is he still alive?

References:
BC 58 12-17 for details of Pete Hauer’s farm and
Cleve-o-Grotto News 21 (6) 73 for the report of Hauer’s disappearance.

POSTSCRIPT

The last episode of the tragic tale occurred on November 25th 1975.  Some hunters found a body, in an advanced state of decay hanging from a tree about 2½ miles from Lobelia.  Dental and skull x-rays confirmed identification.  The bones were cremated and a close friend Jack H Speece, a caver who is a Mormon minister, conducted a committal service on Pete’s farm.   The F.B.I. closed the case but still many questions remain unanswered.  Where is the murder weapon?  What was the motive?  For several months before the incident Pete was known to have been fearful, of his life, so perhaps he was framed for this murder and hung to keep his quiet.  Certainly all who knew Pete do not believe he could have committed this terrible crime and we all feel a very deep sympathy for the family whom have had to go through this terrible ordeal.

Reference:
The British Caver 64 55, August 1976.
 
« Last Edit: March 27, 2021, 05:09:28 pm by rhychydwr1 »


Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: THE ENIGMA OF PETER HAUER
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2021, 01:20:45 pm »
and there is a book...


Offline rhychydwr1

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Re: THE ENIGMA OF PETER HAUER
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2021, 10:19:34 am »
and here is the book:

The Ballard of Pete Hauer / It Was Caves that Pete loved the Best by Roland Vinyard 2020, 237 pp, 13 colour and many B&W photos, location maps, and a cave survey. SB  US$23.00 + postage US$24.50

Published by the National Speleological Society, this book brings the story of Pete Hauer up-to-date but it still does not explain what really happened.   

First, the title of the book.  The Ballard was played at a NSS Convention in c2011 by the author and briefly it describes the events of 1975.  I will attempt to sum up in a few lines what the author describes in 237 pages.

In 1970 Pete bought a farm with a cave: Lobelia Saltpetre Cave.  Land was cheap and he bought 28 acres for four thousand US dollars, in those days the price of a car.  I knew Pete quite well and I visited Pete at his farm in 1971 during a caving trip to America.  In 1975 the F.B.I. were searching for a Walter T Smith, last seen in the Lobelia area.  At Pete Hauer’s farm, they found a gruesome typewritten confession on the kitchen table to the effect that Hauer had killed Walter and hidden his body in a cave.  A search of Lobelia Saltpetre Cave revealed the body of Walter, but there was no sign of Peter until November 1975 when the remains of his body was found hanging from a tree about 2½ mile from his farm.  At first it looked like suicide except that the body had a broken femur and a hole in the skull.  The author has interviewed numerous cavers and friends, searched  the F.B.I. files and finds Pete guilty.  I am not sure.  Too many things do not add up.  I find him not guilty.


 

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