Herman Webster Mudgett, or HH Holmes as America will always remember him, was one of the country’s first documented serial killers. Sentenced to death by hanging in May 1896, many believe the man escaped his predicament and fled to South America, living a long, murderous life. Now, a Chicago judge has agreed to allow Holmes’ exhumation in an attempt to silence rumors once and for all.
The Torture Doctor Supposedly Killed 200 People
In August 1886, Herman Webster Mudgett arrived in Chicago, receiving a job at the Elizabeth S. Holton pharmacy. A hard worker and overachiever, the man worked his way up, buying the business in just a few years.
Soon after he became a businessman, Mudgett, now known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, acquired an empty plot across the street from his pharmacy. There, he raised a three-storied building with mix purposes. A new pharmacy occupied the first floor, the second harbored a couple of rental apartments, while the third was supposed to serve as a hotel for the renowned World’s Fair.
Unfortunately, the third floor was never completed as a mysterious fire destroyed the construction in August 1893, killing tenants and employees alike. Those were the first people to lose their lives in the cursed building. Over the next six years, an assortment of beautiful and wealthy women disappeared without a trace after visiting Holmes’ luxurious abode.
Rumor has it, Holmes killed around 200 individuals in his Murder Castle. However, the man confessed to 27, while the official inquiry only found solid proof of 9 murders.
HH Holmes Was Brought Back into the Spotlight in 2003
As time passed, the legend of The Beast of Chicago slowly faded into oblivion. However, in 2003, Erik Larson published a nonfiction novel recounting the gruesome murders. The book quickly attracted a lot of attention. As Martin Scorsese will soon start working on the movie version of the events starring none other than Leonardo DiCaprio, the relatives of the serial killer want to prove, once and for all, that the man’s life ended on May 7, 1896, when the hangman placed the noose around his neck.
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