H.H. Holmes: Americas First Serial Killer!
H.H. Holmes born Herman Webster Mudgett was a sadistic serial killer in the 19th century! Regarded as one of the world’s first, if not the first serial killer. Holmes was born in 1861 in New Hampshire and was born in to a very wealthy family. Although Holmes was regarded as being very intelligent it was apparent even as a child that something wasn’t right. He was truly fascinated with medicine and had an unhealthy obsession with the dissection of animals and it is reported he would conduct cruel and unjust experiments on animals and was even responsible for a death of a friend.
When Holmes got older he went to study medicine at the university of Michigan, at this time in his life he began to steal corpses, abandoning the bodies and then claiming that they were his relatives, so he could claim the insurance money.
In 1886 Holmes moved to Chicago and started using the name Dr Henry H Holmes. He began to work in a pharmacy and after a short time took it over many people believe that he killed the owner, however this can’t be known for certain. Shortly after taking over the pharmacy he bought a plot of land across from the pharmacy and began to build a 3-storey building which he had the sole intention to use as a place he could commit his terrible crimes!
The building was built with sound proof rooms a bank vault, so he could leave his victims in to slowly suffocate and die. A sealed off room which had a trap door in the roof, so once the victim was inside the room they couldn’t get out and would slowly die.
By 1893 Holmes had opened the building as a Hotel and most people who checked in never checked out! He would lure mostly women back to the hotel and once they were in their rooms he would gas them with secret pipes that were fitted in their rooms. He would then dissect the women and sell the skeletons to medical schools and then he would burn the remains in two large furnaces that he had in the basement of the building!
His crimes would have carried on had it not been for his greed of money, Holmes was reported to the police for not paying money he owed. Whilst on the run from the police he killed a con man friend Benjamin Pitezel and 3 of his children, before finally been arrested in Boston… When the police searched the hotel, they discovered the full horrors of what Holmes had been up to. In 1896 Holmes was finally hanged for his crimes. There is no way to say for definite how many people he killed estimate vary from 27 to over 200, it is also worth noting that it is theorized by some that Holmes was also responsible for the Ripper murders, Perhaps Americas first serial killer was also Jack the Ripper. The hotel, which was also known as the murder castle was eventually pulled down.