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Americas First Serial Killers Essay

2918 words - 12 pages

Kevin Hutter |
10/20/2011 |


Herman Webster Mudgett, better known under the alias of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, was one of the first documented American serial killers in the modern sense of the term.
Mudgett was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire [4] to Levi Horton Mudgett and Theodore Page Price, both of whom were descended from the first non-native settlers in the area. According to the 2007 Most Evil profile ...view middle of the document...

From there, he served a stint as a doctor in an insane asylum, which haunted him for years. He changed his name to H.H. Holmes and posed as a pharmacist in Chicago. That was an ominous start to his career. [7]
Herman (H.H Holmes) moved to the Chicago suburb of Englewood, Ill, in 1886, after abandoning his wife and committing a variety of felonies, even defrauding one of his own in-laws. He was known as a swindler, and decided it was time for a new lease on life and took on the alias: Henry Howard Holmes, AKA: "DR H.H. Holmes". In 1888 Holmes was hired as a chemist at a popular Chicago area drugstore located in the suburb of Englewood. [4]
In 1890 the proprietress of the drugstore, an elderly widow, mysteriously disappeared. Holmes quickly took over the business, and began selling patent medicines of his own invention by mail order, including fake "cures" for alcoholism. [4] Holmes eventually amassed a nice fortune. Holmes soon wed Myrta Z. Belknap, without even bothering to divorce his first wife. Myrta soon bare foot and pregnant, left him within a year, and moved in with her parents.
In 1888, Holmes bought a vacant lot across from his pharmacy business and began to build a "hotel". During construction Holmes changed contractors several times and shuffled the workers around frequently so that no one was ever able to get a clear idea of the floor plan or what the building, was for. Most of the rooms had gas vents that could let off lethal or sleep inducing gases, the vents could only be controlled from a closet in Holmes's bedroom. [9] Many of the rooms were soundproof and could not be unlocked from inside. It was a three-story building with shops on the first floor and a bizarre labyrinth of windowless rooms, false floors, secret passages, trapdoors, a well-equipped surgery area as well as several instruments of torture, such as an "elasticity determinator," a contraption he claimed could stretch experimental subjects to twice their normal length. Those who viewed it said it appeared to be a medieval torture rack. A few rooms were lined with asbestos, and the place was filled with doors that opened to brick walls, stairways to nowhere, an elevator without a shaft and a shaft without an elevator. There was an airtight and soundproof vault, human-sized greased chutes leading from the living quarters to the cellar. The bedrooms had peepholes and were equipped with asphyxiating gas pipes connected to a control panel in Dr. Holmes' closet. [9] Holmes was nothing if not thorough. Holmes had no remorse and didn’t think twice about killing his victims.
During the Great Chicago World Fair in 1893, when the city filled with visitors, Holmes would rent rooms and/or lure girls and young ladies to his "castle" where he would attempt to seduce them before drugging them. They were then popped into one of the empty shafts that ran through the building. The hapless girls would come round only to find themselves trapped behind a glass panel in an airtight...

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