Henry Howard Holmes was born in 1861 in New Hampshire and went down in history as one of the biggest and worst serial killers in America. His original name was Herman Webster Mudgett and he was the third child of an alcoholic and abusive father. As a little boy, he was terrified of doctors until some local residents locked him in an office alone with a doctor’s skeleton. That way his fear would be “cured”. And it actually did, because Holmes that day decided that he would be a doctor when he grew up, just not the kind that cures people, but kills them. In his life there was a lot of romance as he got married 4 times. However, in 1878 he marries a wealthywoman called Clara Lovering and haves a baby boy with her, and uses her just to have enough money to get into medical school, but shortly after he gets what he wants, he abandons her. He joins medical school in 1882, but he has to pay a lot of money in order to stay there. The way he made money however is utterly disturbing. He stole dead bodies and sold them to the medical school as cadavers*. After he finished Med School, he travelled around cities, killing innocent people, mostly children and women to sell their bodies. He kept getting away with his crimes thanks to his remarkable charm and way to enchant people, which he also uses to get a job at a Medical Store in Chicago in 1884. The store was a building which had different levels. The store was on the first level and just upstairs was the apartment of the owner Misses Holton and her dying of cancer husband. Because Misses Holton could not take care of both her husband and the store, she sells the store to Holmes, but shortly after she mysteriously disappears. Another love story begins in 1887 when he marries Myrta Belknap which had a daughter with, even though he never actually took a divorce with his first wife Clara. When the baby was born Myrta moved back with her parents because Holmes did not want her and their child in his “business”.He rebuilds the drug store with his very own design. Now there is the drug store in the first level, a hotel on the second, apartments on the third, and he also creates a soundproof basement, and that is the creation of what went down in history as The Murder Castle.
-The murder castle-
What did he do:
What he did, was building this hotel that was previously mentioned as The Murder Castle. The castle’s purpose was to lure, trap, dismember and of course murder. The hotel’s clients were mostly women to prey on. Each woman that entered the hotel was never seen again. When people asked Holmes where their loved ones were at, he told them that they had left town, but he did not mention that they left without their belongings. His office was at the second floor. It was soundproof and connected with a gas line. The basement was outfitted with a kiln that as he said was used for blowing glass, but as experts said, it was not the right size for blowing glass, but just the right size to burn bodies.
Serial killers are known for having their victims locked up somewhere, but what HH Holmes had created, was something out of this world. He had created a factory of killing people. The hotel was a gigantic maze that had doors that could only open from the outside, areas that were completely dark, and hallways that ended nowhere just to confuse the guests. The rooms he had built were killing machines all connected to each other, in a way that everything could get in and out without being seen. They were all soundproof; the doors were only accessible from the outside. Some of them had gas pipes to suffocate the victims in their sleep. He had also created chambers for specific ways of murder. Some of the chambers were:
The hanging chamber: It was a room that had ropes hanging from the ceiling, and the victims were left hanging until they died. They were later thrown down to the basement though other secret rooms that lead them there.
The closed chamber: A room with no doors, no windows, no light, just a little access from the ceiling to throw the victims in there. Anyone who was left down there, died ofdehydration, starvation, and madness.
The iron chamber: A room completely covered in iron. The walls, the ceiling, the floor, everything covered in iron. Blowtorches were behind the iron to make the victim burn to their death. This room was basically a stove for humans.
He had an affair with a woman who worked there, called Julia. Julia had an eight year old daughter Pearl when she got pregnant by Holmes. He promised that he would marry her only if she let him perform the abortion. Of course that was not the case. He killed Julia by chloroform overdose and slaughtered Pearl as he considered her “a witness willing to tell on him”.He committed many murders in the next few years. One of them was the murder of his best friend to get his life insurance, and of his friend’s 3 children which he kidnapped and murdered.
On November 17th 1894, HH Holmes was arrested, sent to court and sentenced to death. He admitted 27 murders; however they are probably more than 200. Some call it karma, some call it justice, but his punishment was death by hanging. Instead of having his neck snapped and instantly die, he suffocated to his death just like he did to his victims.