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H. Holmes: America's Most Successful Serial Killer?

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posted on Apr, 27 2003 @ 02:05 PM
I read a book about this person about 15 years ago, it's a chilling early tale of psychopathic / systematic muder in America.

In the early 1890's, Chicago became the site of a kind of world's fare celebrating the four hundred year anniversary of Columbus's voyage to America. Holmes's castle was a perfect place to lure tourists, steal their money and murder them. There were gas jets in the rooms to asphyxiate the victims and the kilns below to cremate the bodies. Fifty tourists who visited the Columbian Exposition and took rooms in the Castle never returned home. Many of those who met their doom in the "Castle of Horrors" were young women.

At 63rd and Wallace, Holmes began the construction of his castle. The 50-foot x 162-foot corner lot took on a mystery of its own. When the workers started to ask questions, they were replaced, usually within a week or two. In fact, by the end of the construction over 500 carpenters, laborers, and other craftsmen had been employed. An amazing fact considering the building was only three stories. One of the requirements of employment with Holmes was a life insurance policy for $5000 naming Holmes as beneficiary. This was money in the bank in case his other swindles slacked off.

Holmes began his seduction: sightseeing, flowers, dinner, jewelry and compliments. By summer they were lovers and Emeline had written back home about her fianc, Robert E. Phelps, an alias Holmes told her to use so as not to jeopardize his eminent divorce from Myrta. Emeline wrote her sister Philomena, that they might be moving to England to share an estate with her beloveds father, an English lord.

Another victim, Mrs. Pansy Lee, a widow from New Orleans, took a room in the Castle. Holmes used his usual charm after learning Pansy had $4000 in a false bottom of her trunk. He asked her to let him put it into his vault for safekeeping. Pansy refused, insisting she could take care of the money as she had done travelling all over the United States. Holmes killed her and cremated her body in his custom built oven.

Atricle Link

posted on Apr, 27 2003 @ 02:12 PM
For a second I thought this was going to be a twist on Sherlock.

posted on Apr, 27 2003 @ 02:14 PM
Good story Deep
. Can you tell me the name of the book? I would really love to read it.

posted on Apr, 27 2003 @ 02:56 PM
there are a couple movies being made currently about Holmes. One starring George Clooney and one starring Leonardo DiCaprio i believe. Not sure when exactly they're coming out, but it should be by the end of the year.

posted on Apr, 27 2003 @ 02:58 PM
I honestly can't recall the title of the paperback book that I read, it may be out of print by this time. However, there is a new film that's been produced about H. Holmes, see this link -

There's also a recent book release about the man called "Devil In The White City" by Erik Larson.

"Erik Larson's Devil in The White City is an enormously satisfying tale of the building of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, The White City, and the parallel story of murder and mayhem perpetrated by the notorious Henry H. Holmes. Larson's research is impeccable and the details and surprises he reveals as the story unfolds keep the reader fully engaged. I was riveted by both the scale of the achievement of the bold men who designed and built the fair and by the twisted horror of Henry Holmes' deceitful and murderous schemes which play out in the fair's shadow. The Devil in The White City is a rare treat. It is a true story written in beautiful prose, tightly edited, packed with fascinating details and populated with a cast of characters that will delight, appall, and amaze. "Couldn't put it down" would be an understatement.

Link 1

Link 2

CNN Link

posted on Apr, 27 2003 @ 03:31 PM
I haven't heard about a film starring George Clooney, but he may do a good job portraying H. Holmes.

Here's a really weird twist to this thread: I had never heard of H. Holmes in 1971 when a buddy of mine happened to blurt out that name (by complete chance I believe). Something about it caught my attention and I automatically clamined it as my stage name. Ever since then, whenever I play guitar, I play using the stage name of H. Holmes! I have no urge to harm others or inflict pain, but just the sound of the name is soooo cool to me, that it's stuck for over 30 years.

Isn't that the strangest co-incidence ever? And, please don't anyone say it's deja-vu, cause it isn't.

Life is both weird & wonderful,

posted on Apr, 27 2003 @ 06:40 PM
facinating! thanks for the links! I've been reading about Jack the Ripper lately, so might as well expand my morbid serial killer interest horizon

posted on Apr, 27 2003 @ 10:40 PM
There's a somewhat older book called "Depraved" by Harold Schechter on Holmes ( real; name Herman or Henry Mudget, apparently) - this is somewhat more critical as far as "proven" details are concerned.
It's still available, I believe (1998 or thereabouts)

posted on Apr, 27 2003 @ 10:44 PM
and a decent link here on another 2003 book on the topic:

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