The Amazing Story Of The Woman Who Hid Her Lover In The Attic For 8 Years

For several years, Walburga “Dolly” Oesterreich was secretly hiding her lover in the attic. This bizarre story, which was the inspiration for the TV-movie “The Man in the Attic”, ended with the shooting of her husband.

Here’s how it goes.

In 1913, Dolly who was 33 at the time, was married to Fred, a wealthy textile manufacturer. During that period, she also developed a relationship with a man named Otto Sanhuber. For the first months of their relationship, Otto was just visiting Dolly’s house when her husband was at work but soon enough, the neighbours started noticing Otto’s frequent visits. So Dolly had an idea: why not Otto quit his job and secretly move in with them in the attic? (the article continues after the ad)

Well, as strange as it may sound, Otto agreed and so they did. He quit his job and moved in the upstair attic. For years he remained in the house, with Dolly’s husband being completely unaware of the situation. Even when the Oesterreichs moved to LA in 1918, Otto moved in to the attic of the new house, so they could just resume their affair!

This situation went on for years, up until 1922. But then… on August 22, 1922, the Oesterreichs had a fight. Believing Dolly was in danger, Otto rushed from the attic with a .25 caliber pistol and killed her husband, Fred. They then staged the scene making it look like a burglary. To make it more believable, Otto locked Dolly in a closet and threw away the key. Despite their suspicions, the police wasn’t able to connect Dolly with the murder. 

Photo: Creative Commons

The case was solved eight years later when Dolly’s attorney (and lover at the time) Herman Shapiro revealed to police the whole story. Both of them got away though because the statute of limitations had expired. Otto moved to Canada and Dolly remained in Los Angeles until her death in 1861.

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: The Weird Story Of Mr. 880, The 1$ Counterfeiter

Main Article Photos: Wikimedia, Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
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