This man was born Herman Webster Mudgett, but he was best known as H.H. Holmes, one of the first documented serial killers in America. While he confessed to the murders of 27 people, it is estimated the body count is closer to 200. His most famous ploy was the World”s Fair Hotel, a hotel he owned and designed to be a labyrinth of murder.
Mudgett had already dabbled in nefarious activity under the pseudonym H.H. Holmes. He created shady businesses and real estate frauds. He would steal bodies in medical school, mutilate them, and claim they were murdered to collect insurance. It wasn”t until he moved to Chicago in 1886 when Mudgett decided to embrace H.H. Holmes and produce his own cadavers.
World”s Fair Hotel.
Holmes built his compound just in time for the Chicago World”s Fair. To promote business, he even named it World”s Fair Hotel. The ground floor was normal enough, with a drugstore and various other shops. But the top two floors (the hotel portion) was a purposefully confusing labyrinth. There were over 100 windowless rooms, doors leading to brick walls, and stairs to nowhere. He changed architects often, so only he knew the full layout of the maze.
The Cycle Of Death.
Most of Holmes”s victims were women. They were guests, lovers of his, and even some of his employees. He would lock them in windowless soundproof “bedrooms” where a gas line fed through and suffocated them to death. The bodies were then sent down a hidden chute in the basement. Holmes would then scrape their organs out and sell them to medical schools and hospitals, along with their bare skeletons.
Holmes couldn”t do this all on his own. Benjamin Piteze was a former carpenter with a criminal past who became Holmes”s most trusted murderous goon. It turns out Piteze”s loyalty would be his undoing. Holmes convinced him he should fake his own death so that he and Holmes can collect the insurance. Holmes volunteered he would provide a fake body, but ended up murdering Piteze instead. He took Piteze”s money and also somehow gained custody of his children. All three were murdered.
Holmes was arrested by Pinkertons in Philadelphia for an outstanding horse theft warrant. They were tipped off by former associates, including the new owner of the World”s Fair Hotel. Police investigated the compound and were astounded by Holmes”s horrifically efficient methods of murder.
Holmes” murder castle mysteriously burned down years ago, and the location now a post office in Chicago. Recently, a maintenance guy at the office found secret tunnels under the building that historians say may have lead to the evil building.Thank goodness it”s not there anymore.