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The First Reported American Serial Killer

Updated on March 16, 2017

H.H. holmes picture shortly before execution

H.H. Holmes

Herman Webster Muget, more commonly H.H. Holmes, was the first documented and perhaps one of the most interesting serial killers in american history. He was born In Gilmanton New Hampshire, in 1861. He killed at least 9 people but has confessed to up to 30 murders in his life time. But theorize that he could be responsible for the deaths of almost 200. Whats most interesting about his forms of killing, was that it took place in a custom renovated hotel, called the murder castle. It was a series of traps and dead ends.

Early life

He was born to Levi Mudget, and Theodate Price, who were devout methodists. He was one of 3 children, he had an older sister, as well as a younger brother. H.H. holmes father was a local farmer, who reportedly was a violent alcoholic. Holmes advanced rapidly in school, he often was bullied by envious classmates, and mentioned an experience where classmates shoved him in the school closet. They put a fake skeleton in-front of him, and made it touch his face. He talked about this experience curing him of his fears. As well as being a murder he was a successful con arist and a bigamist.

Murder Castle

The renovated hotel, turned into a murder castle

Shortly after Holmes arrived in Chicago, he found employment as a pharmacist while he started work on what would become his "Murder Castle". Otherwise referred too as the "worlds fair hotel". It was three stories tall, and the length of a full block. The site was designed to be a lodging space for visitors of the Chicago's worlds fair which was set to take place in 1893. During its construction, Holmes repeatedly replaced works, claiming there work to be inadequate. When in reality, this was to keep them from catching on to the sinister plan for the intended purpose of this building. The hotel wad filled with windowless rooms, stairways that led nowhere, doors that opened onto concrete walls. Other doors were filled with intricate locks that would allow a person in, but not out of the room. Rooms were made soundproof or equipped with gas lines that could be activated from the other side of the wall. Some rooms had no entry points except a trap door in the ceiling, while other rooms were fitted with alarms that tracked guests movement throughout the "murder castle". One room was even referred to by holmes as the "secret hanging chamber" which one can only imagine the purpose held by it. Once his vicoms were inside, he would killed them in many different ways. He would hang them, strangle them, or even seal them up and let them die or starvation or thirst.

Fate of the victims

In the basement, Holmes would dissect his victim's bodies, using his connections in the pharmacutical and medical field, he would sell their bones and organs. A giant crematory, lime pits, and pools and acid were used to dispose of the remains. Once the Fair ended , he left town and his Murder Castle behind. The authorities caught him in Boston in 1894, they soon traced back his trail to Chicago and the Castle he left behind. They were able to positively I.D him to 9 murders, but it is assumed he is responsible for many more. He was tried and found guilty. He was then hung from the gallows. His neck did not snap and it took him over 15 minutes to be pronounced dead. Payback if you ask me. His final request before execution was that his coffin be encased in concrete and placed 10 feet under to avoid excavation and dissection

Fate of the Castle

The Murder Castle itself, was mysteriously destroyed in a fired, which occurred in 1895. Two or three men were reportedly seen leaving the structure shortly before it burned down. Some beleive they were destroying evidence, while others argue that they knew victims of Holmes. Portions of the frame remained in use until 1938, were it was torn down completely.

Holmes famous Quote.

"I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that i was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing. I was born with the evil one standing as my sponsor beside the bed where i was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since."


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