The Frankovich Witch Project
A tale of murder, deceit, and revenge in pioneer Upper Michigan

(note: In the absence of any responsible research into the actual facts of the Frankovich/Huber mystery, this report has been embellished slightly.  The editor's embellishments appear in italics)

Over Memorial Day weekend Melanie & I journeyed to tiny Stalwart, MI, in the remote eastern tip of the Upper Peninsula, to visit Melanie's grandparents.  Grandpa & Grandma Krzycki live in the same small farmhouse where Melanie's Mom and uncles grew up more than 40 years ago.  In fact, the oldest part of the farmhouse is a log cabin, built by previous generations of the Krzycki family.  The farm today has about a dozen head of cattle, which are taken care of by an uncle who lives on the farm next door.

Time slips by.  If you look closely in this picture you can see the remains of a log cabin, possibly the original dwelling on the Frankovich site.  The walls have collapsed towards the center, and a birch tree has sprouted up in the doorway. 

Towards the end of our walk we arrived at a haunting old farmstead which we spent about an hour exploring.  There was a barn which contained some old machinery and a loft still filled with hay.  The farmhouse was in much worse condition than the barn.  With extreme caution we entered the house, but there was not much left to see.  The windows were all smashed out, the floor and walls were collapsing into the basement, and most of the plaster had fallen off of the walls.  Lynn tried going into the basement but was chased out by a porcupine who had taken up residence there.

The kitchen of the Frankovich house.

 

The Huber house today, across the street and about 1/3 mile from the Frankovich house.

 

The interior of the one-room Huber house.  Frankovich's wife, bored by the elegant trappings of her fancy house and made sullen by her abusive, criminal husband, was drawn to the dashing Norwegian bachelor farmer across the road.  A sordid and tragic affair followed.

 

Melanie practiced her Shao Lin while I photographed the estate and looked for clues.

 

 

An abandoned car on the farm, not related to the mystery.

 

This tree on a remote corner of the farm is growing right through a large rock.  We surmise that the restless spirit of Frankovich is responsible for this oddity.

The Frankovich farmhouse as it appears today.  We could feel the presence of the murderous transvestite creeping out of the moldy, rotting ruins of the estate.

On Sunday we went on a nature walk through the back fields of the Krzycki farm, following winding ravines and small streams through the wilderness.  We wandered on and off of several parcels of land, both public and private.  Our guide was Melanie's cousin Lynn, who had grown up on a farm next door to Grandpa Krzycki's farm.  Lynn was a masterful guide, pointing out natural and historical features with equal fervor.

Here is an overview shot of the estate taken from the road.  The orchard is obscuring the barn in the background.  Behind and to the left of the house we found two definite foundations of cabin-sized buildings and a dump filled with cans, jars, and other items.  From his hilltop view Frankovich could spy the scandalous liaison of his fornicating wife with the dashing Huber.

 

After a long walk we arrived back at the Krzycki farm.  Melanie's family was interested to know where we had been and we talked about all the places we visited on our walk.  When we began to describe the abandoned farmhouse we had visited, Grandpa Krzycki nodded knowingly and told us the mystery of the old estate.  "That's the Frankovich farm, you know," he said, "That's where the mother and son lived when I was growing up here.  The father disappeared after he shot Huber.  No one knows what happened to him."

Grandpa Krzycki could offer us only a few tantalizing details to expand on this intriguing statement.  Mr. Krzycki was born in 1918 and has lived within a mile of the Frankovich estate his entire life.  A mother and son were living on the Frankovich farm while Mr. Krzycki was growing up.  The mother passed away at some point and the son stayed on for a few more years, leaving for a nursing home sometime around WWII.  Mr. Krzycki remembers being hired by the son to harvest potatoes on the Frankovich farm.  The son always paid him well and also treated Mr. Krzycki and his fellow workers to a meal on the days they worked.  The Frankovich home was well-known as the largest in the area.

It was also known that the elder Frankovich, the husband of the old woman and father to the man Krzycki used to work for, had disappeared after an unusual incident.  Many years before, the elder Frankovich had quarreled with his neighbor Huber, who lived across the street on a neighboring farm.  Frankovich eventually shot Huber as he was driving down the road on a horse and buggy.  Frankovich disappeared after the shooting, never to be seen again.  The authorities came to question Frankovich, but never found him.  One story says that he dressed as a woman on the day that the authorities came for him.  Another story says that he was shot and killed as revenge for shooting Huber. 

Unfortunately, Grandpa Krzycki could not offer any more clues to this intriguing tale, leaving us to put the pieces of the story together from what evidence we could find.  We made the following observations:

  • The Frankovich house was too big and fancy to have been bought and paid for by potato farming.  This means that the elder Frankovich was likely a retired bank robber who sought anonymity in the bleak and desolate Upper Michigan frontier.  The elegant home was paid for by his ill-gotten gains.

  •  Mrs. Frankovich was a woman of ill repute that Mr. Frankovich picked up during his gangster days.  She would have been easily bored by the isolation of the long Michigan winters and willing to use her wiles to persuade a naive Norwegian bachelor farmer to murder her husband in cold blood.

  • The hilltop location of the Frankovich house made it impossible for Mrs. Frankovich to carry out her liaison in secret.  She was spotted visiting Huber, which incited the elder Frankovich to shoot him as he passed by in his buggy.

  • To persuade Huber to murder her husband, Mrs. Frankovich told Huber about the cruelties inflicted upon her by her sadistic husband, and of his murderous background as a bank robber and mercenary for the railroads.  Huber, in his naive innocence, foolishly confronted Frankovich with this knowledge.  From this moment forward Huber was destined to join in deathly silence all the other men who came to this knowledge.  The cowardly Frankovich shot Huber from a hidden position shortly thereafter.

  • The story of Frankovich hiding from police by wearing a dress is probably true.  But once the authorities were gone he was murdered by Mrs. Frankovich or possibly her son.  His body was thrown into the well on the Huber farm.  No one ever investigated Frankovich's disappearance, because the only person who would have cared (Mrs. Frankovich), wanted him gone all along.

  • Years later, the ill-gotten gains of the elder Frankovich still bankrolled life on the farm.  This accounts for the good wages paid to farm workers like young Mr. Krzycki, wages that could not possibly be paid for by the sale of a few potatoes.  These high wages and friendly meals created enough good will in the community that no one has ever looked further into this murderous affair.