November 19, 2019
Henry Howard Holmes, also known was H.H. Holmes was the serial killer that started off the actions of mass murdering in America. After Holmes was caught with the claim of killing 24 people. Many people went to the building he had built and started naming each room for what the room consist of, like was on the walls, the amount of doors in the room, or what was found there. Later on someone made a map that consisted of all the names and rooms of the building. You would think that Holmes would be caught faster with how all the things about him seem suspicious. This case would bring many people, in any work environment, to change the way they observe things going around them. Although H.H. Holmes was the first known serial killer, to have the ability to not get caught for change names, building a suspicious house, and females around him going missing is fault on the police and Community lack of commonsense.
Throughout the year from 1891 to 1894, America’s first serial killer was known to the whole world. H. H. Holmes was a man born with the name Herman Webster Mudgett. Before he became Holmes he was a family man. In order to do his crimes without anybody noticing he chooses to leave his family and pursue murder and fraud. “As an adult, he abandoned his young wife and child in 1885 to move to Illinois, (History)”. He knew that if he stayed with his family they would’ve found out what he was doing and he would have to silence them to keep his secret. In this part of time Holmes moves from city to city in order not to get caught by the police. People started to notice that they were getting ripped off and having fraud used on them. So he chose to move and start his crime somewhere else. Finally, Holmes landed in Chicago and he decided to stay for awhile. He got a job under the name H. H. Holmes, so he would fit in good and people wouldn’t get suspicious of him. “Holmes took up work at a pharmacy located near Jackson Park, (History)”. This pharmacy that he worked at was in fact his. He brought the place and used the job to help him integrate himself with the people in that community and get to know what the city was about.
Holmes was indeed a smart and charming man but he had gone unnoticed from all the crimes he did and suspicious behavior. Holmes was a man who was intelligent enough to know what to do when trying to pull off a crime. He knew what he can do without his neighbors or the police catching on what he is doing. Holmes brought a piece of land that was right across from his pharmacy he owned. “He required a plot of land at an intersection. Here he began the construction of the murder castle,” (Zepherus, YouTube). Holmes had the whole building plan out. He brought workers to build this building but he didn’t pay them any money. The building had many trao rooms, doors with no room behind it, trap door and vents that lead to the basement in every room. Holmes had this places figure out for his killings. The map (the one explain in the beginning) shows us what his building looked like on the second floor. There are rooms that were named after what was found in them. Like the hanging room, the secret hiding place, or the asphyxiation chamber. This building he also used as a hotel to get his victims. Holmes was assumed to have killed five people in the hotel. The five victims were all young females, Julia and her daughter Pearl Connor, Emeline Cigrand and sisters named Minnie and Nannie Willians. These victims (expect Pearl) were all somehow tricked into leaving their partners, getting married, or sleeping with him. Even though all these women around him have gone missing, the police did nothing to look into his reason or background. Later on, when they finally caught Holmes for killing his partner in crime, for an insurance fraud, and asked him about his women victims. He stated “that Julia and Emeline died while undergoing illegal abortions,” (Biography) and ‘that Minnie was the one that killed Nannie, after Nannie fall into a jealous rage when she walked in on them. He claimed that after that happened, he helps her dispose of the body and leave the country’ (Joe, YouTube). Holmes wouldn’t claim theses women as his victims even when there was evidence piling up stating he clearly did.
Even though Holmes did get caught and sentenced to be hung in the year 1896, the police and community he lived in took too long to catch him for his crimes. Holmes neighbors or even the people who lived in his hotel for long periods of time should have found it suspicious that whenever someone went missing he would use the same excuse, “they lifted to a different country or city”. There’s a report that a man who was living in the hotel found it weird that “he saw rooms of furniture that were just empty the next day,” (Joe, YouTube), but he didn’t find weird that women he probably knew and interacted with just one day disappeared without telling anyone but Holmes. Given the benefit of the doubt, people did just go missing a lot back then because there were no phones to track or credit card purchases to go through. However, that doesn’t give the people in that community and the police to not have common sense to think it is suspicious that people are going missing and all the evidence they have lead up to Holmes. I believe Holmes know this very well and used it to his advantage. He knew that he could use the people lack of attention to gain more victims. All he had to do was lie a little bit, use his charm and show some intelligence and manipulate some people in order to not get caught and for his it work for some years. Another thing that nobody thought was suspicious was the layout of his hotel. The building was built for one purpose only, to confuse and keep something in. However, when the worker building this hotel didn’t seem that concerned on what they were building. Did they ever question why they were building false walls, trap doors or vents that were big enough to fit an adult human was in every room? ‘Even when the hotel was finished being built, he started donating skeletons “he made” to universities to help them in their medical department’ (Hulu).
Of course, many people will probably disagree on the grounds that H. H. Holmes was caught in reasonable time and the community and police did everything they could to catch him when Holmes had a warrant for his arrest. However, the only reason Holmes had a warrant out for his arrest was because he got to cocky, due to the fact no one suspected a thing about him, which led him to make some mistakes that caught people’s eyes. His arrest wasn’t even for the murders, it was for stealing a horse in Texas. The police was also able to get Holmes arrest for his insurance crimes he did. Holmes was in jail on bail for selling mortgaged goods and while he was in jail , he told his former cellmate at the time, Marion Hedgepeth, all about his “schemes for swindling an insurance company of $10,000. And promised Hedgepeth that, if he would recommend him a lawyer suitable for such an enterprise, he should have $500 promised him,” (Mentalfloss). After Holmes got out on bail, he just never paid Hedgepeth what he promised, so Hedgepeth got his revenge by telling the police about his insurance scams. This led to Holmes getting arrested and being caught for the murders he did a few days later. After Holmes execution everyone found out what his hotel actually was and got the name, Murder Castle. This is where my map comes in. My map, like I explained previously, is a layout of Holmes hotel second floor. This blueprint shows everything like the layout of the rooms, which rooms had trap doors, nooses, how many people die there, and the piping, the red lines, that Holmes used to put his victims to sleep. The way I connect to this topic is the way Holmes used his intelligence to help him get things done they way he wanted and not having people notice. What I mean by that is he didn’t use his murders to gain power or attention. I can relate to that, on a sense of using my intelligence to get something done but not wanting attention for it.
Word Cited Page
History.com Editors. “Murder Castle.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 13 July 2017, https://www.history.com/topics/crime/murder-castle.
Scott, Joe. YouTube, YouTube, 9 May 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAYeIXTc1NQ&feature=youtu.be.
Staff, Bio. “The Victims of Chicago’s First Serial Murderer, H.H. Holmes.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 19 June 2019, https://www.biography.com/news/hh-holmes-victims.
TheFamousPeople.com, Editor. “Who Was H. H. Holmes? Everything You Need to Know.” H.H. Holmes Biography – Facts, Childhood & Family of Serial Killer, 18 July 2019, https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/h-h-holmes-29982.php.
Warycka, Andrew. “H H Holmes: America’s First Serial Killer: Who He Murdered, the Way He Operated, and How He Was Caught.” Click Americana, 10 Dec. 2019, https://clickamericana.com/topics/crime/h-h-holmes-hanged-for-his-many-crimes-1896#H_H_Holmes_many_crimes_1896.
“Watch H. H. Holmes: Original Evil Streaming Online: Hulu (Free Trial).” Watch H. H. Holmes: Original Evil Streaming Online | Hulu (Free Trial), https://www.hulu.com/movie/h-h-holmes-original-evil-a03abb70-ff02-4302-9734-c4f54114895c
Zepherus. YouTube, YouTube, February 8, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drfRQvK0jUw&t=130s.
“9 Things You Didn’t Know About America’s First Serial Killer, H.H. Holmes.” Mental Floss, 16 May 2017, https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/72642/9-things-you-didnt-know-about-americas-first-serial-killer-hh-holmes.