Terrifying: Serial killer builds his own "Murder Castle"
Throughout history, horror books and movies have captured the imaginations of millions of people around the world. Many find it fascinating to deal with the most frightening situations that people can find themselves in. Some of these involve fantasy with scary monsters and supernatural creatures, but quite often the scariest stories are about the monsters among us who are all too real. The truly frightening stories are the ones that deal with real events and leave us asking ourselves how anyone could be capable of such horrible atrocities. One of those monsters was Henry Howard Holmes, a serial killer whose violent crimes make an average nightmare pale in comparison.
Holmes was born in 1860 in New Hampshire. When he was 21 he enrolled in medical school and it was this medical training that provided the foundation for his most horrifying crimes. Holmes's first marriage was short-lived and was soon followed by a second and a third. By all accounts he was apparently quite a charming man and had a talent for seducing young women who ended up disappearing under mysterious circumstances.
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Holmes was also a con artist and managed to accumulate a small fortune with his deceptions. At this point, the crimes that he would become famous for had not yet been committed, but the scene for his murderous career was set when he moved to Chicago and created his very own house of horrors.
With the 1893 World's Fair only a few years away, Holmes began construction on his infamous hotel telling investors that it would be one of the prime accommodation locations in the city during the prestigious exhibition. But what the investors didn't know was that the hotel had many dark secrets including hidden chambers, a torture dungeon and ramps that Holmes would use to transport the bodies of his victims into the cellar without being noticed. In the cellar, he chopped the bodies into pieces and dissolved them in acid. During construction, Holmes kept a close eye on things to make sure no one figured out what he was doing.
When the building was completed and opened for business, Holmes began luring in young women who were traveling alone by offering them cheap accommodation and even work. But once they were caught in his trap, there was no escape. Most of them disappeared without a trace and their fate only became known much later. Holmes would take them to his torture chamber, strap them to a bench, and brutally abuse them with knives, hooks and acid. He had even created a gas chamber where he could torture the young women by suffocating them. And while they writhed in agony, Holmes would watch through a hole in the wall as they died a slow and painful death.
One of Holmes's victims was a single mother with whom he was having an affair. She and her eight-year-old daughter had moved into the hotel after her husband found out about the affair and were looking forward to celebrating Christmas there. But one night, Holmes took the mother and daughter to his dungeon and they were never seen again.
Holmes's medical studies had been the perfect training for his gruesome career. He was easily able to dismember the bodies and dispose of them without leaving a trace. He was so confident that he would never be caught that he even started selling his victims' skeletons to the local university.
For years Holmes was able to carry out his dark deeds without raising suspicion. His ultimate arrest and conviction for some of the murders only came as the result of an accident. During his long killing spree, Holmes had also committed insurance fraud on a large scale. When he was confronted by an accomplice, he struck him dead and was arrested for that murder and the fraud that came to light as a result. While gathering evidence for the trial, police searched the hotel and discovered all of its dark secrets. Holmes confessed to 27 other murders during the subsequent interrogation.
1893 H.H. Holmes is America’s first well known serial killer. He built a "murder hotel" which allowed him to house victims and kill them. pic.twitter.com/Jm77S0bJx8
— Escape (@escapetv) 17. April 2017
Although he tried to repeal his confession, Holmes was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. On May 7, 1896, he was brought to the gallows and put to death. The exact number of his victims is still not known, but estimates range from 27 to 200. Only one thing is certain: Henry Howard Holmes was one of the most brutal serial killers to have ever lived.
His "Murder Castle" was meant to be turned into a museum but burnt down under suspicious circumstances. Yet although it is gone, this scene of so many inhuman atrocities and the man who committed them have created one of the darkest legends in American history.