H.H. Holmes real name was Herman Mudgett. He was born in the southern end of New Hampshire’s Lake District. He was born in 1860. He had the reputation of being one of the smartest children in town but was known to be slightly odd as well. Herman’s father showed him “love” by beating him on a pretty regular basis.
Herman kept to himself during his childhood. He did manage to have one friend by the name of Tom but he died in an accident while exploring with Herman. Tom had fallen from the upstairs landing of an old house the two were in and Herman saw the accident very clearly.
Since Herman was a smaller boy, he was an easy target for the bullies around town. One incident stuck with him. Two older classmates waited until the doctor left his office. Once the doctor left, the two older boys forced Herman into the office where they forced him over to a skeleton. Herman was hysterical as the skeletons bony fingers touched his face. The boys finally let him go and Herman said shrieking on the office floor.
By the age of 11, he was conducting “experiments” on animals. After a year of college in Vermont, Herman transferred to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He graduated with a medical degree in 1884. By then he was a con artist who would claim thousands from insurance companies. He would take out a policy in a fake name, would then find a corpse and then tell the insurance company that the dead body was the person on the claim.
In 1886, he moved to Chicago and was by now known as Dr. Henry Howard Holmes. He found work at a local drug store that was owned by an elderly old woman. Before the year was out though, the owner had suddenly disappeared. When someone would ask about her, Dr. Holmes would explain she was away visiting relatives.
With the money from the business and his schemes, he built a new home in a lot across from the pharmacy. He would call this building The Castle. It contained over 100 rooms that were linked by secret passage ways, fake walls, concealed shafts and trap doors. Some of the rooms were sound proof and had peepholes. Some even were attached to gas pipes that were connected to a large tank in the basement. With these pipes, he could fill any room with deadly gas. In the basement he kept surgical tools and even an oven that was large enough for a human body.
After moving into the Castle, Holmes invited a watchmaker named Conner to set up shop in a section of the pharmacy. Conner had a lovely wife and an infant daughter. Holmes soon made Julia, Conner’s wife, his mistess. Julie became pregnant by Holmes and when Conner found out he left. Holmes was not prepared to be father. He performed a crude abortion on Julie which killed her. He then kill her infant daugher with chloroform.
In 1893 the Chicago World’s Fair was going on and rooms were hard to come by. Holmes took advantaged of the situation of rented out his rooms to visitors. Few of his guests were ever seen alive again. During this period, local medical school would receive a regular supply of skeletons from Dr. Holmes. No questions were ever asked.
Holmes was finally arrested when he was caught trying to conduct another insurance fraud claim. Not only did he kill Ben Pitezel in order to file a claim, but he killed three of his children as well. The horros that were found inside the Murder Castly sent shockwaves through the area. After his conviction he confessed to 27 murders, although authorities thought the count was closer to 50.