An affair: the old fashioned way.

An affair: the old fashioned way.

As you may notice from reading my blog, from time to time I like to take a look at our old-fashoned ancestors’ misadventures in love. They seemed to be just as wild as we are, but more constrained in their social norms which, unfortunately, led to irresponsible people finding their groove in ways that hurt others. You could totally see someone with Ms. Oesterreich’s “interests” today entering into an open marriage and fulfilling her desires without having resort to an affair and betraying her husband (an act which ultimately got him killed). This is taken from the LA Times article, ‘Bat Man’ Case: a Lurid Tale of Love and Death.

Here’s the story:

The affair

The married Ms. Oesterreich was not into milkmen or mailmen. Instead, she chose to have her affair with her husband’s employee, a 17 year old sewing machine repairman named Otto Sanhuber. When her husband sent Otto to fix Ms. Oesterreich’s sewing machine, Ms. Oesterrech “greeted [Mr. Sanhuber] in a silk robe, stockings, heavy perfume and nothing else.” They began their affair that day, in the Fall of 2013.

The physical relationship between the two continued until 1923. Initially, they met in hotels. They soon ditched the hotels for Ms. Oesterreichs’ marital bed. Within months of having met, Otto had moved into the couple’s attic to avoid the prying eyes of neighbors who wondered about this frequent guest. Mr. Oesterrech was none the wiser that his wife’s lover was living in the attic.

Otto did not mind living in the attic because he had a dream of becoming a great dime novel writer. “At night, he read mysteries by candlelight and wrote stories of adventure and lust.” During the daytime, he continued his affair with Ms. Oesterreich. For 10 years, he did not leave Ms. Oesterreich’s home, in order not to arise suspicion.

The murder

However, one night, after Otto had been living in the attic for more than 9 years, he allegedly heard the Oesterreiches arguing:

As the fight grew louder, [Otto] Sanhuber hurried down from the attic to protect [Ms. Oesterreich], carrying two .25-caliber guns. When Oesterreich recognized Sanhuber, he flew into a rage. They struggled, the guns went off and Oesterreich was shot.

Mr. Oesterreich died from the wound.

The lovers

The police were initially suspicious of Ms. Oesterreich but were unable find enough evidence to pin the murder on her. However, newly single, she began simulataneous affairs with various men (one was her attorney) while Otto continued to live in her attic. These men ultimately proved to be her downfall, because she asked them to hide the firearms involved in the murder and also informed one of them of the full story surrounding her husband’s death. When the relationships did not work out, the men disclosed what they knew to the police.

The trial

Ultimately, both Otto and Ms. Oesterreich were tried around 1930. However, the statute of limitations had run out on Otto and Ms. Oesterreich’s trial resulted in a hung jury. Both walked free.


It appears that Ms. Oesterreich learned from her experiences and took her time to re-marry:

In 1961, [Ms. Oesterreich] died at age 75, less than two weeks after marrying her second husband and 30 year companion, Ray Bert Hendrick.

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