6 Siblings Found in Secret Basement After Being Held 9 Years ‘Waiting for the World To End’

Farm in Holland

Police in the Netherlands have discovered a kind of underground bunker on a remote Dutch farm, where a family of six siblings and one man were found living in seclusion, as they waited for the "end of the world" to come for nearly a decade. The family was reportedly found hiding in a secret only after one of the siblings escaped, made his way to a local pub, drank five beers, and only then revealed where he'd come from and asked for help.

  • According to the BBC, the family (which has not been named publicly) included six siblings ranging in age from 18 to 25 and one 58-year-old man.

    As of this time, it's unclear what the relationship between the 58-year-old and the siblings is, but he was reportedly not the father.

    The siblings were discovered in the basement of a farm in Drenthe, where they'd remained in captivity for nine years before the eldest child, 25, somehow escaped. He was able to slip undetected into the nearby village of Ruinerwold, which is where he found the aforementioned pub and drank beers before sharing with the bartender who he really was.

    "I had a chat with him and he revealed he had run away and needed help ... then we called the police," bar owner Chris Westerbeek told the BBC. "He had long hair, a dirty beard, wore old clothes and looked confused. He said he'd never been to school and hadn't been to the barber for nine years."

    According to RTV, the siblings didn't know there were any other people left in the world before police came to save them. 

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  • The eldest sibling admitted to the bar owner that he had brothers and sisters back at the farm, which is what ultimately led investigators to them.

    "He said he was the oldest and wanted to end the way they were living," the bartender shared.

    The young man explained that he was “worried about the living conditions of his family,” according to the Washington Post. Before long, authorities arrived back at the home, where a search led them to a hidden staircase behind a cupboard in the living room. Once it was opened, they peered down a staircase that led into a basement, which is where the family was discovered.

    The 58-year-old was taken into custody, and the siblings were released and transported somewhere authorities will only describe as "a safe place."

  • Authorities are still looking to get to the bottom of just who the 58-year-old man truly is, and why he was keeping the family in captivity.

    Not only was he not the father of the siblings, but the BBC reports that he is also not the owner of the farmhouse where the family was hiding. Those facts only create even more questions investigators are trying hard to answer. 

    Why did the family think the end of the world was coming or had already hit? And what kind of treatment and living conditions were they under in the nine years since they'd communicated with others?

    "I've never seen anything like it," Mayor Roger de Groot told the BBC. He shared that it's believed the siblings' mother had died before they moved into the farm basement. Groot also explained that when police first searched the property, they found “a number of rooms with makeshift furnishings where a family was living an isolated existence.” 

    That shocked the property owner, who believed she'd been renting the unkept farm to a single man over the last decade.

  • The fact that the siblings remained undetected in hiding for so long is certainly a head-scratcher, although it's probably due to the home's remote location.

    The BBC reports that the village of Ruinerwold has fewer than 3,000 residents and the farm itself sits just outside the village, closely surrounded by trees. The only way to get there is to cross a bridge that stretches over a canal, and the farm itself is partially hidden. 

    In other words: This wasn't exactly in the middle of New York City, which is probably why the siblings were able to go undetected for so long and remain unaware that the end of the world had not, in fact, come. But still: Where were their parents? And didn't friends notice they were missing? Six siblings vanishing overnight certainly draws attention, doesn't it?

  • The family is said to have survived on vegetation from a single garden and several animals on the farm.

    Still, there were rarely, if ever, any visitors, and neighbors assumed the home belonged to the old man, who lived alone.

    Even the local mailman, who was interviewed by the BBC, said he doesn't recall delivering so much as a single letter to the residence. 

    "It's actually pretty strange, now I come to think about it," he told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. 

    For now, investigators are still trying to untangle the truly confusing tale, but news that all of the siblings are safe and out of harm's way certainly has locals breathing a sigh of relief.