• Switzerland's news in English

Hermit found dead with piles of explosives

Lyssandra Sears · 21 Aug 2012, 10:09

Published: 21 Aug 2012 10:09 GMT+02:00

Police from the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden responded to information that the man had not been seen for some time, and went to search the woods. There they found the man's body in illegally-built premises that were virtually invisible from the air.

They also discovered a large number of explosives.

The hut has a kind of living room and bedroom, and was powered by a diesel generator and wind turbine. A large number of barrels stored heating oil for the tank.

Further information also led police to a workshop kept by Manser where they found and confiscated a number of weapons.

The body was so decomposed that he must have been lying dead for some weeks, the Institute for Forensic Medicine in St. Gallen concluded. The police also confirmed that the man died from natural causes.

"Sepp was not a strange hermit. He was a dear man, certainly not dangerous," Esther Inauen, a 53-year-old waitress at the Schäfli restaurant in Steinegg, told news site Blick.

Manser had started building the hut in about 1962 on his brother’s land. After working gradually on the construction for years, he finally move there in October 1977.

“I don’t know why he moved to the woods,” Manser’s brother, Franz, told Blick.

Story continues below…

“I wanted no part of it.”

One of ten children, Sepp Manser had never received any formal training. He started life as a farm-hand and then worked in a gravel pit. He was married for a short time only, his brother told the website.

The explosives have already been disposed of by the environmental agency. 

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Neuchâtel votes no to foreigners running for office
Photo: kuhnmi/Flickr

Neuchâtel voted on Sunday against an initiative that would have made it the first Swiss canton to allow foreigners stand in cantonal elections.

Swiss voters say no to higher pensions
Photo: AFP

Swiss voters on Sunday rejected a plan to increase pension payments by ten percent.

Italians enraged by Ticino foreign worker vote
File picture of Lega Nord leader Roberto Maroni. Photo: AFP

The leader of Italy's Lega Nord is plotting "adequate counter-measures".

EU warns Swiss over vote to curb cross-border workers
Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann (R) and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker met in Zurich on September 19th to talk about the implementation of Swiss immigration restrictions. Photo: AFP

The EU warned Switzerland on Monday over a vote by one of its cantons backing curbs on migrants, an issue being closely watched in London as a possible template for Brexit negotiations.

Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Twelve thousand women participated in a race against breast cancer in Le Mans, France, October 2014. Photo: AFP

The study suggests a link between aluminium salts and breast cancer.

Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Airolo in the Gotthard Pass. Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl

Voters in Ticino on Sunday strongly backed an initiative giving preference to local workers over foreigners.

France demands 45,000 Swiss accounts in tax hunt
Photo: AFP

France is tracking down UBS account holders.

Swiss back new law to allow phone and email tapping
A security camera keeps watch over proceedings in Davos: Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP

Swiss voters approved a new surveillance law on Sunday, in a victory for the government.

Swiss politician argues against hijab in ID photos
The official guidelines should what ID photos allow. Photo: FedPol

Should the Islamic headscarf be banned in photographs for official Swiss documents?

Swiss driverless bus trial suspended after crash
Photo: PostBus

The pioneering self-driving bus was involved in a minor collision with a van.

Sponsored Article
7 tips for learning Swiss French
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
Photo: AFP
Swiss ‘slave children’ to finally get compensation
Photo: Jan Geerk/Swiss-image.ch
Zurich named ‘greenest’ city on the planet
Photo: Swiss
Brawl over seats forces Swiss to abort flight
Photo: Daniel Stockhammer
Research shows typical Swiss chalets ‘not actually Swiss’
Photo: AFP
Switzerland to get nationwide disaster alert system
Photo: S3
Swiss space firm boss left badly injured in violent attack
Photo: ETH Zurich
ETH Zurich crowned best uni in continental Europe – again
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Report: Swiss citizenship rules leave some stateless
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Fatal crash: pilot told to fly below safe altitude
Photo: Peter Linke
Business & Money
Elderly Italian on benefits stashed €1m in Swiss bank
Photo: Stuart Richards
Court sides with chickens in dispute over noisy henhouse
Photo: SAC
Hiking: 7 incredible Swiss Alpine Club cabins
Photo: David Abercrombie
Swiss politician arrested over illegal entry of migrants
Photo: Coiffure X
Chewbacca stolen in ‘terrorist attack’ on Swiss hair salon
Photo: AFP
Foreigners in Switzerland surpass 2 million mark
Photo: AFP
Expert predicts major quake for Switzerland by 2040
Photo: The Local
Geneva runs out of permits for non-EU workers
Photo:C Carlstead
Geneva advises teachers on religion in school
jobs available