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H. H. Holmes (1861 - 1896)

A photo of H. H. Holmes
H H Holmes
1861 - 1896
Born
May 16, 1861
Gilmanton, New Hampshire, United States
Death
May 7, 1896
Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States
Other Names
Herman Webster Mudgett, Henry Howard Holmes
Summary
H. H. Holmes was born on May 16, 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, United States. He is the child of Theodate Mudgett. He died on May 7, 1896 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States at 34 years of age.
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Updated: May 17, 2022
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Introduction
I cannot tell a lie? George Washington may have said that but it's certainly not something Herman Webster Mudgett, aka H H Holmes, would have said. He couldn't tell the truth! He was the 3rd born of Levi Horton Mudgett and Theodate Page Price, having an older brother and sister and a younger brother and sister. Mudgett graduated from medical school in 1886 and moved to Chicago to set up a pharmacy. But he didn't stop with the pharmacy, he also built a hotel across the street which later became known as the "Murder Castle". Why? Because during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, he was thought to lure women to the hotel, make them get life insurance in order to work for him, and then kill them. No one caught on, the women simply disappeared. Several years later, however, a friend/accomplice in insurance fraud Ben Pritezel as well as his wife and 2 children were found murdered. Holmes was arrested in the murders. He was tried, found guilty, and hung in 1896. Per his request, his coffin was covered by concrete so no one could disturb his grave. (His request may have been influenced by the fact that when he was in medical school, he dug up graves and sold the cadavers to medical schools.) Mudgett/Holmes sold his story to Hearst Publications for approximately a quarter of a million dollars in today's money. In that story, he claimed to have killed 130 people. When he was arrested, he claimed to have killed 27. Holmes/Mudgett had married 3 times. He and his first wife had a son and he reportedly abused her. She left and never looked back. While still married to his first wife, he married his second wife, filing for divorce from his first wife a few weeks later (never finalized). He and his second wife had a daughter. Then while still married to his first and second wives, he married the third. Read his obituary H. H. Holmes: Obituary
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Biography
H. H. Holmes
Most commonly known as
H H Holmes
Full name
Herman Webster Mudgett, Henry Howard Holmes
Other names or aliases
Unknown. Did H move a lot? Where was his last known location?
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H Holmes was born on in Gilmanton, New Hampshire United States
Birth
H Holmes died on in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania United States
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English

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American
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Phillips Exeter Academy; University of Vermont (1879 - 80) and University of Michigan (1882 - 84)

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Methodist

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Obituary

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From Find A Grave: Serial Murderer. Born in Gilmantown, New Hampshire he studied medicine and worked as a druggist in Chicago. A good looking, natural born con man he had a special flair for attracting the ladies of that time. During the Chicago World Fair of 1893 he was the owner/proprietor of the infamous “Murder Castle”. It had hidden rooms, concealed stairways, trap doors, false walls, chutes, an elevator with no shaft and an elevator shaft with no elevator. He ran ads for a secretary in Chicago papers. Once employed he wooed them with promises of marriage. He convinced them to sign over their insurance and savings to him as a part of the “deal”. After spending the night in his bed, he chloroformed them as they slept, dragged them to the open elevator shaft and threw them in. Waiting for them to regain consciousness, he gassed them and watched them die. Afterwards he looped a rope around their neck, pulled them up the shaft, dumped their bodies down a chute leading to the basement and dismembered them. These were the “lucky” ones. Some were simply butchered alive and screaming inside his soundproofed rooms. The estimate is that over 200 women died there. Mudgett moved first to Texas and then to Philadelphia where he devised an insurance scam using a family named Pitezel as accomplices. He killed Mr. Pitezel with poison and he along with Mrs. Pitezel claimed the insurance monies. He killed the Pitezel children by gassing the two girls in a trunk and somehow killing the small boy whose skull was found in a stove. After getting a tip from a prison acquaintance of Mudgett advising them of the scam, the insurance company hired a Philadelphia “super detective”, Frank P. Geyer, to find him. Geyer tracked Mudgett down and brought him to trial for the murder of Mr. Pitezel. He was hanged on the Moyamensing Prison gallows May 7, 1896, the most prolific mass murderer in United States history. Bio by: Richard Blunk
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1861 - 1896 World Events

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In 1861, in the year that H. H. Holmes was born, on January 29th, Kansas became the 34th U.S. state. After skirmishes - often very bloody - between abolitionist and pro-slavery groups within the state, Kansas entered the Union as a free state.

In 1874, when he was only 13 years old, on September 14th, the Battle of Liberty Place occurred in New Orleans - the capital of Louisiana. Some members of the previous Confederate Army assembled for the purpose of "driving the usurpers from power" and the Republican Governor - William P. Kellogg - was physically driven from his office. The former Confederates temporarily replaced him with (the former) Democratic Governor John McEnery. Federal forces arrived, put down the insurrection, and five days later the legally elected government was restored.

In 1876, at the age of only 15 years old, H was alive when on November 2nd, a giant squid - a little over 20 feet long - washed up on a beach at Thimble Tickle Bay in Newfoundland. It's still a rare occurrence since giant squid live in deep sea at 1000 to 3000 foot depth.

In 1883, H was 22 years old when on July 4th, the first rodeo in the world was held in Pecos, Texas - according to its citizens. In the towns of Prescott and Payson Arizona, the same claim is made. All of these were gatherings of local cowboys, showing off their skills - no matter who was first.

In 1896, in the year of H. H. Holmes's passing, in April, the first study on global warming due to CO2 - carbon dioxide - in the atmosphere was published by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius. Arrhenius concluded that human activity due to the Industrial Revolution would amplify CO2 in the atmosphere, causing a greenhouse effect. His conclusions have been extensively tested in the ensuing 100+ years and are still seen to hold true.

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