The psychopathic woman who posed as a helpless girl and inspired the movie “The Orphan”

If evil had limits, without a doubt, Barbora Skrlova I would have crossed them all. His cute face, his unique braids and his colorful outfits no longer fool anyone, but they did for a long time.

The uncontrolled crying of a scared and anguished little girl who cried out for help still echoes in the minds of the police. In that cage with a cold and damp floor, she reported having been a victim, along with two other children, of brutal abuse by her mother and her aunt.

The story would have been different if ‘Anika’, as the helpless girl identified herself at the time, had been telling the truth. Perhaps there would not be one of the most macabre and terrifying horror movies of all time. That, so far, is the only thing that can be thanked for Barbora Skrlova, a psychopath who had little as a child and a lot as perverse.

This 33-year-old Czechoslovakian woman was responsible for sowing terror in the community while showing the world that evil sometimes hides in places and, above all, in unsuspected people. To this day, her face is the living embodiment of wickedness and cruelty.

Who is Barbora Skrlová?

Both his crimes and his family life remain a mystery to the millions of people who have followed his trail. Born in the 1970s in the then Republic of Czechoslovakia, Barbora’s psychiatric disorders were visible from her childhood and adolescence.

Hypopituitarism was, precisely, one of the first conditions that were diagnosed. This condition, which damages the pituitary gland, was responsible for Skrlová being able to pass herself off as a 13-year-old girl to manipulate left and right. It was her most precious façade to keep herself in the shadows of criminality.

However, behind that tender girl’s face, even more secrets were hidden than anyone could imagine. Multiple identity disorder along with psychopathic, schizophrenic, and violent traits were the perfect mix of potential torturer and cannibal. It was only a matter of time before Barbora brought her true identity to light.

Contrary to what everyone might think, Barbora turned her weaknesses into her greatest weapons against those who tried to stop her sinister plans. She was as chameleon-like as she was manipulative that her place in her world was opening up to herself while she left in her wake countless victims of hers. When she reached adolescence she was already a professional in the intricate art of deception.

A new dream family

Once again, Barbora made use of her practiced talent for lying. This time it would be the sisters Klara and Katherina Mauerová who would fall into her audacious trap.

Her nickname (‘The Orphan’) had never made so much sense until, taking advantage of the fact that both women suffered from mental problems, Barbora decided to show herself as a helpless girl in order to be adopted by them. This is how the protagonist of this story came into the lives of those who would become, if not her new victims, at least her faithful henchmen.

Klara, who had recently divorced and was studying pedagogy at university, did not hesitate to take what she believed to be a poor orphan to live with her children and her sister at her home in Kurim, in the southwest of the country.

Would it be the end of a dream chapter or rather the beginning of a horror movie? The events that took place later would show that evil, sometimes, is hereditary.

Victims or henchmen?

The years passed between camps, funny anecdotes and pleasant family moments. Whoever saw them on the streets always came to the same conclusion: they are a happy family. However, the fullness would not last long either, Barbora would be in charge of, for the first time, revealing her true psychopathic instincts.

Skillful and captivating, the ‘girl’ decided to involve the Mauerová in The Grail Movement, a sect that would lead them directly to the path of perdition. Promiscuity, cannibalism and incest were some of the teachings professed by the group under the supposed mandates of the work ‘In the light of truth: Message from the grail’, by Abd-ru-shin.

The Grail Movement encouraged its followers to practice promiscuity, cannibalism, and incest. Photo: Alexander Bernhardt Publishing House

From strange sacrifices to rituals of incestuous sex, Klara and Katherina carried out the orders of ‘The Doctor’, who at that time was the supreme leader of the sect. Not only were they fascinated by the macabre requests that tested their knowledge of the world and of God, but their sinful desires increased as they delved deeper into that dark world.

The real nightmare began when, according to the English newspaper ‘Daily Mail’, Barbora began to feel jealous of her adoptive brothers Jakub and Ondrej, 10 and 8 years old, respectively. Eager and bold, she always found a way to put the blame for her pranks on her adoptive mother’s children.

Influenced by ‘The Doctor’ and Skrlová, the sisters chose to put the children in a cage where they were victims of all kinds of harassment. Naked, without food, and living in their own excrement, they held the little ones captive for what seemed like an eternity. They even made them bathe in ice water, put cigarettes on their bodies and, on several occasions, even tried to tear off their skin to eat them.

In the apparently quiet house of the Mauerovás, a hell was lived that no one, except Barbora, ‘The Doctor’ and those directly involved, had knowledge of. If at that time there had been a prize for the most perfect macabre plan, without a doubt, Barbora would have taken first place. And it all could have stayed that way, if not for a baby monitor and a kind-hearted family who got in their way.

a fateful discovery

The Czechoslovakian policemen could not believe what their eyes were seeing. Three children: one of them was passed out, the other in a deplorable state and the last one was submerged in a sea of ​​tears in a corner of the cage, almost imperceptible to the eyes of those who dared to peek.

The scene was bleak. Although the neighboring family who had mistakenly gained access to the Mauerová’s security system had described the harassment as appalling, nothing could compare to witnessing the event live and direct. It was just sinister, executed by someone inhuman and planned by someone even more evil.

By the time they got to the hospital it was already too late. One of the children lay dead on the stretcher while the other had not been quick enough to reveal the truth to the authorities. Barbora had escaped and was on her way to Norway to find new victims.

From Anika to Adam, Barbora not only changed her country, but also her name and gender. As she had done on previous occasions, she managed to trick a family who decided to adopt her, take care of her and send her to a well-known school.

According to the Argentine newspaper ‘El Clarín’: “His strange behavior at school caught the attention of the teachers. Extremely intelligent of hers, her introverted nature and her refusal to play group sports gave her away and made the teachers try to research her story.

Even the most brilliant criminals are brought to justice and Barbora would be no exception. In January 2008 she was captured in northern Norway after Czech police issued an international arrest warrant. As multifaceted as she was, there was no longer a place in the world for her to hide.

In 2009, new news shook the world again: Klara was sentenced to 12 years in prison as the perpetrator of the crimes along with her sister Katherina, who received a 10-year prison sentence.

The surprise came when, laughably, Barbora was sentenced to pay five years behind bars as the mastermind. In 2011, she appealed and was released.

From that moment, there is no known trace of what happened to the life of the renowned orphan girl whose story managed to cross continents, reach Hollywood and inspire a film that will have not only one, but two installments in theaters. Will evil manage to stay out of crime?


  • Psychopath
  • Killer women
  • horror stories
  • Barbora Skrlova
  • The orphan
  • GDA

The psychopathic woman who posed as a helpless girl and inspired the movie “The Orphan”