H.H. Holmes the World’s Fair Hotel Serial Killer

World’s Fair Hotel, Chicago. Are you staying for long?

I FIRST HEARD of Herman Webster Mudgett (1861-1896) or H.H. Holmes, in Wonderpedia several years ago. I couldn’t believe what I was reading and why hadn’t I heard of him before?

The short version, is that Holmes, trained to be a surgeon, procured a lot in Chicago, and to coincide with the World’s Columbian Exposition and influx of visitors hoped to cash in – in more ways than one – by building a custom made hotel. A three story hotel in fcat, purpose built with one thing in mind: murder – and lots of it. Serial killers such as Jack the Ripper, were amateurish by comparison. I’m not sure if the Saw horror films were inspired by the events, but the contractors built in trap doors, doors that led nowhere, doors that only opened from the outside, a dungeon, an incinerator and various other terrifying ‘peculiarities’ to Holmes’ specifications. Then once the hotel was ready, many of the workmen disappeared.

What they had created for Dr. Holmes was a murder house, a hotel of terrors, that Holmes would utilise to kill guests and anyone else he managed to lure into the building. A room with piped gas could be used to kill Holmes’ victims. He had torture rooms where he’d dissect bodies and chutes to get rid of the remains in the basement, by burning them, or soaking them in lime and acid. Victims included men and children, but he had a predilection for women.

hh holmes hotel layout

Incredibly, Dr. Holmes was married several times and had children of his own. It’s hard to believe, and they must have had a horrifying existence, although the ones that didn’t die may never have known they were living with a homicidal psychopath, who once caught was found guilty by law of 27 murders. However, there were likely hundreds more. In an age without fingerprints or police databases combined with Dr. Holmes undoubted skill as a surgeon, it meant he was not caught for a long time, until in his mid thirties.

Several books have been written about the ‘first serial killer’ and in fact a film is in development by Martin Scorsese starring none other than Leonardo Di Caprio. The Devil in the White City written by Erik Larson is an intriguing whirlwind of architecture and historical information that plays alongside the dark and bloody story of H.H. Holmes.

16 thoughts on “H.H. Holmes the World’s Fair Hotel Serial Killer

  1. Wow. This is amazing–that this thing was even built, and that so many murders were committed there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s utterly chilling isn’t it. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  2. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You can check in. But you can never check out… Macabre!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds like it would make a good movie. I’ll definitely be watching for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely especially with Martin and Leo involved in it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. hello lion around writing its dennis the vizsla dog hay wow that sownds like the hotel kalifornya ware yoo kan chek owt enny time yoo like but yoo kan never leeve!!! see this is why i do not like to leev the howse!!! ok bye

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Isn’t this the craziest thing? The Devil in the White city is an amazing book. It also tells the story of the world’s fair, which is almost as fascinating as Holmes. I have family in Chicago, so reading that book and recognizing some of the locations was a bit surreal.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow I can imagine seeing the place would be weird even though the building got knocked down.


  7. Whoa… I can’t believe I haven’t heard about this before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Crazy isn’t it? Other serial killers are notorious, yet Holmes was operating on a whole other level of evil i didnt think was possible.


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