In Chicago at the time of the 1893 World’s Fair, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes (also known as Herman Webster Mudgett) built a hotel which became his base for murderous activity.
Holmes is actually one of the first documented American serial killers who eventually confessed to 27 murders.
Apparently his actual body count could be as high as 200…
The doctor’s hotel was initially opened as a hotel for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. It was a three-story, block-long structure that the locals nicknamed ‘The Castle’.
The ground floor of the hotel consisted of commercial spaces which included Holmes’s very own drugstore.
The upper two floors were made up of his office and over 100 windowless rooms. These rooms contained doors that opened up to reveal stone walls and staircases that lead nowhere.
Holmes would only employ women to work inside The Castle, many of whom were required as a condition of employment to take out life insurance policies.
Holmes always took it upon himself to pay the premiums of these life insurances…but he was the sole beneficiary.
The doctor killed employees, lovers and guests within the walls of his twisted castle. Many of his victims would be locked in soundproof bedrooms that were kitted out with gas lines that let him asphyxiate them whenever he felt like it.
He also locked victims in a special soundproof vault that he had fitted near his main office – these unfortunate individuals were left there to suffocate.
The bodies of his victims were thrown down a concealed chute that led to the basement of The Castle.
In this basement Holmes meticulously dissected the bodies and constructed skeleton models out of them. He would then sell these models on to various medical schools.
The basement was also fitted with cremation furnaces and pits of acid – not all of his victims ended up as skeleton models!
Holmes decided to move on after the World’s Fair due to pressure from the creditors and a slump in the country’s economy – he reappeared in Fort Worth, Texas.
The doctor ended up inheriting a property off two Texan railroad heiress sisters. He had promised to marry one of them…but ended up killing them both!
He planned to knock down the property and build up a new version of The Castle in Texas but for some reason he abandoned the project halfway through.
He continued to move throughout the United States and Canada. The only murders verified during this period were those of his longtime associate Benjamin Pitezel and three of Pitezel’s children.
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