Below is episode 96's full show notes that I took prior to recording. These notes do not include impromptu banter, jokes, etc., just the story behind the topic.
Around 11 pm on the night of October 25th, 1984, unemployed food engineer Gunther Stoll sat in his house before shouting “now I’ve got it!” and leaving his house. He actually said “jetzt geht mir ein Licht auf!” which directly translates to English as “now a light comes on!” When he left, his wife didn’t suspect anything was wrong with him since he had been acting this way for some time. Or at least she wasn’t concerned until she heard news that her husband was found dead in his car after a car accident. Gunther Stoll’s death set in motion an investigation of wild proportions and a case that still has his native Germany and anyone that hears about it enthralled. The key piece of this case was a note Gunther left behind before he hurriedly fled his house – the note that is the namesake for this case. This case has been called the “Autobahn Riddle” but it more commonly referred to as the…
YOGTZE Case – Episode 96
My sources for this research are as follows: both the English and German Wikipedia articles on the case, Les Hewitt’s article on the case on Historic Mysteries, Rob Schwarz’ article on the case on Stranger Dimensions, and, as you heard, Google Translate.
I couldn’t find any information about Gunther’s life before the incident, except for that his wife said he often talked of “they” and “them” and how “they” were out to kill him. She chalked it up to his paranoia or stress about losing his job. On the night of the incident, he talked again about how “they” were out to get him. As mentioned in the intro, he exclaimed “now I’ve got it” before writing the letters Y-O-G-T-Z-E on a piece of paper before fleeing his house. It still is not known whether or not the G is supposed to be a G or is meant to be a 6, or whether or not the O is mean to be a 0, or whether or not the Z is meant to be a 2. There is also an apostrophe between the G and T. If you look at the note, it is somewhat hard to tell.
When he left his house, he went to his favorite pub in Wilnsdorf. There, he ordered a drink and proceeded to fall onto the ground as if intoxicated. Everyone at the bar that testified said he was not drunk, and that this behavior was a little strange. They also said he was acting paranoid or stressed when at the bar. When he woke up and gathered his bearings, he left and drove away. This incident happened around 11:00 pm on October 25th, 1984.
For the next two hours, his whereabouts are unknown. Around 1:00 am on October 26th, he showed up in the town he grew up to talk to an older woman he knew. He told her of a “horrible accident that might happen tonight” before the woman told him to go to his parents’ house to talk to them.
For the next two hours after this, his whereabout are again unknown. Around 3:00 am, Gunther’s car was discovered by two truck drivers. Gunther had gotten into a car accident. But, if things aren’t already weird enough for you, they get weirder, so strap in.
The drivers discovered Gunther’s naked body in his car’s passenger seat along the side of Autobahn A45. He was still alive when the drivers found him and when the police arrived. He was quickly questioned as he was removed the car and taken to the hospital. When asked what happened, he said there were four male people in the car with him when it crashed. When asked if he knew these people or if they were his friends, he responded that the men were not his friends. Unfortunately, he died on the way to the hospital.
When the truck drivers were questioned, they both said they bore witness to an injured man in a white jacket walking near the car when they started to stop to help. Several other drivers on the nearby Hagen-Sud exit reported seeing a hitchhiker. Neither the hitchhiker or the person in the white jacket were ever identified.
When investigated, it was found that Gunther was hit by another car prior to the accident. He was then placed into his car. It was also found that he was naked when he was hit by the other car. This is where the first bit of speculation truly comes in. People wonder if Gunther had stripped down in his paranoia, crashed his car, got onto the nearby road, was hit, and the driver in a panic placed Gunther in his car before driving away. This is a bit fuzzy because the autopsy showed he had been hit before the accident. So, the second bit here is that he was hit by one of these men, placed into his car, the driver crashed, and everyone fled, leaving Gunther to die in his car.
Interestingly enough, in the German Wikipedia article, it states that Gunther was hit somewhere else and driven to the place of the crash. In the English version, it speculates that this is a possibility. It could just be spotty translating, but I found it interesting nonetheless. The official cause of death is vehicle manslaughter. Along with that, from what I could find, Gunther sustained no injuries from the car crash.
Speculation is rife with what YOGTZE might mean. Many opt for the explanation that Gunther had an undiagnosed mental health condition that caused him to be consistently paranoid, and the note was just a peek inside of his mind. This explanation concludes that this note is in no way connected to his death, rather just a coincidence that Gunther wrote a mysterious note hours before his death.
Other people, though, think there’s more to YOGTZE than meets the eye. Some people say YOGTZE could have been a license plate, which is a popular theory. The problem there, though, is that no plate in Germany has ever had YOGTZE or any of its variants.
Another popular theory revolves around Gunther’s former job: a food engineer. TZE is a flavoring used in yogurt, so people speculate that Gunther had found some secret about the TZE flavoring, and his former employer fired him. Out of fear that that would not be enough, however, his former employer had Gunther killed. This could explain his paranoia, how he thought “they” were after him, and how he was able to warn an older woman in his hometown that there would be an accident that night. People that claim this theory is true cling to the apostrophe between the G and T. They say that the YOG is not important, or that Gunther used it as a decoy, or that it could be initials or something similar.
Another theory says that YOGTZE should be read upside down, which would read as 027,906. This could be part of a phone number or coordinates or something completely different.
Another theory explains that YOGTZE could be an anagram. The most popular anagram is “zygote.” If you’re like me and need a refresher from high school science class, a zygote is the earliest developmental of the majority of multicellular organisms. People wonder if he had discovered something very similar to the food flavoring theory and was killed for his finding.
Some speculate that if he meant to write YO6TZE, he was talking about a call sign of a radio station in Romania. However, nothing was ever found to connect Gunther to Romania in any way.
There are countless other theories, but the vast majority of those hold no actual weight compared to the ones listed. All in all, that is the mysterious death of Gunther Stoll, often referred to the YOGTZE case.