Born in 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, Dr. H. H. Holmes (an alias) was one of America's first serial murderers. He took over a Chicago pharmacy and built it into an elaborate maze of death traps to which he lured numerous victims during the 1893 Columbian Exposition. He was eventually captured and hanged in 1896. Erik Larson portrayed Holmes in the book "The Devil in the White City." Early Life
Serial killer, con artist. Born Herman Webster Mudgett in 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Sometimes referred as the Beast of Chicago, H. H. Holmes killed many of the city’s inhabitants in his specially constructed home later nicknamed the Murder Castle. He has also been linked to deaths in other parts of the United States and Canada. Born to an affluent family, Holmes had a privileged childhood. It has been said that he appeared to be unusually intelligent at an early age. Still there were haunting signs of what was to come. He expressed an interest in medicine, which reportedly led him to practice surgery on animals. Some accounts indicate that he may have been responsible for the death of a friend. His life of crime started out with various frauds and scams. As a medical student at the University of Michigan, he stole corpses, which he used to make false insurance claims. Holmes may have also used the bodies for experiments as well.
Murder Castle is Built
In 1886, Holmes moved to Chicago. He soon found work in a pharmacy, using his now infamous alias, Dr. Henry H. Holmes. Eventually he took over the business and its original owner mysteriously disappeared. Holmes had a three-story building constructed, creating an elaborate house of horrors. The upper floors contained his living quarters and many small rooms where he tortured and killed his victims. Some of these rooms had gas jets so that Holmes could asphyxiate his victims. There were also trapdoors and chutes so that he could move the bodies down to the basement where he could burn his victims’ remains in...
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