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An Easter Haunting

Updated: May 23, 2020

By Juliette Smith

Easter Sunday in 1975 went down in history and marked the deadliest Easter shooting to ever occur in a private home in American history. James Ruppert, has an abusive childhood. His aggressive father died in 1947, when James was 12 and his elder brother, Leonard, picked on him constantly. James attempted suicide at the age of 16, but survived and grew into adulthood and his resentment of his brother steadily grew. On the evening of 29th March 1975, James went out drinking and was seen shooting at cans with a .357 Magnum, by the Great Miami River in Hamilton. James was heard saying that he “needed to solve the problem”. On Easter Sunday, Leonard turned up at the family house with his wife and eight children, to see their Grandmother. James was upstairs after a night of drinking. The children enjoyed an Easter egg hunt outside, then went inside and played, whilst the family lunch preparations were being finished.

Around 4:00pm James awoke, loaded his .357 magnum, two .22 caliber handguns and a rifle and went downstairs. He entered the kitchen, killed his mother, brother and sister in law and some nephews. He then went into the living room and killed the remaining niece and nephews. Each victim was killed the same way; a disabling shot, then a close up shot to the head or heart. The massacre was done in less than five minutes.

James called the police three hours later from his home. Police arrived swiftly and described the scene as a “slaughterhouse”. Blood was dripping down the walls and drenched the floorboards. To this day, the bloodstains can still be seen on the wood. The house has been rented out since the massacre, to a family that knew nothing about the murders. They soon moved out. They claimed to hear voices and strange noises that they couldn’t explain. Lights turned on and off and doors slammed and footsteps where heard coming down the stairs. Several tenants reported strange goings on and didn’t stay long. The noises did eventually ceased and perhaps the souls of the Ruppert family finally found peace at last.

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