Inside the murder hotel H.H. Holmes used to lure and torture his victims
Most people when they hear the name Holmes, likely think of the fictional detective Sherlock. But there’s another man, a real one, named Holmes who would make the blood of even Sherlock’s enemy Moriarty run cold.
H.H. Holmes has been deemed the first serial killer of the United States, and some believe he may well have the highest number of victims too. While the man only admitted to committing twenty-seven, estimates count the bodies well into 200.
H.H. Holmes lived in what is dubbed the murder castle. The first floor contained normal shops including a drugstore. Upstairs Holmes has his own apartment, as well as a labyrinth of “murder rooms”.
While there aren’t vast swaths of information on the forsaken building because it went up in flames just days after Holmes was arrested, we do know enough to say the man was a savage.
There were one hundred different rooms (without windows) built with one purpose, and one purpose only– to kill. Many rooms were soundproofed to aid the ghoulish acts.
The rooms were truly a maze of death. Some doors would open only to greet the opener with a solid wall, while others could only open from the outside. There were stairs leading to nowhere, and trapdoors or chutes to take corpses to the basement.
Once in the basement, the bodies were dealt with in various different ways. Some burned to ash, some buried in pits of quicklime, and the skeleton of others were sold to medical schools. In the late 1800s, people didn’t ask where that kind of thing came from.
Once a victim found a room, there were any number of ways the room might kill them. Some rooms were gas chambers meant to asphyxiate anyone who wandered in, while other people were burned to death by flamethrowers embedded in the walls. There were rooms with pits of acid, rooms to be hanged in, rooms for suffocation, and one with a stretching rack.
The rooms had false walls, hidden passages, and walls with hinges– all to aid in Holmes’s viewing. There was even stolen furniture utilized throughout the maze.
When authorities caught on to the depraved actions of H.H. Holmes and they entered his castle of insanity they were met with a gruesome sight. The torture chambers and passages were fully intact, there were still skeletons in the basement, human hair, dried blood on discarded clothing and a dissection table, and so many remains it was clear the man killed more than the twenty-seven he admitted to.
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