Today we’re headed to Chicago, cause there’s a man, and his castle that I want to tell you folks about. This dude was born with the name, Herman Mudgett, which kind of sounds like a Looney Tunes character, I guess he knew that, so he changed his name and became notorious while he was known as, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes. And Dr. Holmes is said to be the United States very first serial killer.
According to a recent profile on Holmes, he was the son of a violent alcoholic Father, but apparently the abuse didn’t stop when he was at school. Because his home life had made him anti social, his classmates tormented the hell out of him. One time he was forced to stand face to face with a human skeleton when he had admitted that he was terrified of Doctors. Yeah, the mold of a sociopath is born right! So the despite all of this, he manages to graduate from the University of Michigan in 1884 get this, he graduates as a Doctor.
Even though he’d earned this prestigious title, Holmes was known to most as a swindler. So it was no surprise that he decided to build an elaborate hotel at the site of the Colombian Exposition for the upcoming Worlds Fair. From the outside, it was gorgeous, in fact on the inside it was even more elaborate but there was a lot going on here that the average guy doesn’t notice when they walk in. Beneath the guise of this fantastic castle was nothing more than an elaborate prison designed to capture, torture and murder his unsuspecting guests.
So, the whole time this place is being built, Holmes would hire, and fire, crews before they finished their tasks. This way he could both stiff them on their pay as well as ensure that he was the only person than knew the complex layout of his hotel. There were stairs that led to nowhere, doors that opened to brick walls, doors that could only open from the outside and over 100 windowless rooms with some elaborate yet “unusual” features.
Now, it’s true that Holmes built the joint to cash in on the massive visiting crowds, but as we all know there was definitely a hidden agenda going on here! and the modern decor of his hotel lured the vacationers into this deadly hotel in freaking droves. These poor oblivious bastards had no clue of the carefully constructed traps that masqueraded as quiet, comfortable rooms.
Holmes christened the joint with personally invited guests and well, hookers. They were like his guinea pigs in testing his devices and means. Other than fulfilling his sadistic urges, there were always financial gains to be had. So once he finishes tormenting, murdering and dismembering or burning his victims bodies, he robs them. But sometimes he’d cut out a few internal organs and sell them to nearby medical schools or research laboratories.
I know it all sounds chaotic and macabre, well the macabre part is straight up, that’s for sure but as far as chaos, no way. This sadistic bastard was as crazy as shit but he was meticulous and each murder was carefully orchestrated from start to finish.
Some of his victims were trapped inside a soundproof vault, or a luxury suite, whichever way you want to look at it. Holmes had some rooms that had metal walls that were painted and trimmed then decorated with wall art and gas lights, once inside, the door could only be opened from outside. They were screwed. As they’re suffering through the pains of suffocation, Holmes looked on from specially designed peep holes. As the oxygen was inhaled, carbon dioxide was exhaled. They suffered with dizziness, panic and fear all while they lay convulsing. Their last living moments were consumed with the question of why they were dying this way.
Others victims met their fate locked inside the very rooms they paid to stay in overnight, thinking they’d be safe there resting after spending the day at the fair, not so much…. When they’d return to the hotel to crash for the night, Holmes released gas from hidden lines inside the room, so the guests went to sleep then never woke up.
There were other rooms that were constructed with iron covered walls that actually had hidden blowtorches. Yeah he’d torch the guests while he stood on the other side of the wall, peeking through those peep holes watching his victims slowly burn to death. From there they’d be tossed down a hidden trapdoor that opened to a makeshift shaft which led to, the basement of course! In the basement are these two massive incinerators which erased all signs of his dirty deeds, or at least so he thought.
In 1894, the police investigated a tip from a custodian of the hotel that led to Holme’s arrest. The janitor told the authorities that he was never allowed to clean the upper floors. A month-long investigation revealed secret passageways and torture chambers. These atrocities paled in comparison to the mound of human remains like, bones and hair that were found in the basement. The walls, floors and ceilings were covered in dried blood. Based on the human remains, missing persons reports and testimony of hotel workers who saw Holmes escort women into the hotel but then were never seen leaving, it’s estimated that he killed around 200 people, mostly women and often blonde. Wait! say what!
Holmes was found guilty of masterminding the horrific events and evil attacks that occurred inside the hotel’s walls, which had then earned the tag of “Murder Castle.” He was sentenced to death, ya think! He did his damnedest trying to lie his way out of it, but at the end, he did admit to 30 murders, even though we know there were way more, I guess standing in his shoes, what difference does it make, he’s gonna be a dead man too.
In response to his atrocities, he was quoted as saying, “I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing…I was born with the evil one standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since.”
Murder Castle suffered destruction from several unexplained explosions prior to Holmes’ death in an apparent attempt at an insurance scam. His partner, Mrs. Quinian, confessed to an un-awarded policy and the rest of the castle was demolished.
A Post Office was built on the site in 1938 and guess what! Folks start reporting paranormal activity! Ghostly apparitions, strange noises and even reports that dogs will run across the street to avoid walking near the building. Postal workers have reported hearing screams and cries for help, they believe are the tortured spirits of Holmes’s victims.
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