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H. H. Holmes Essay

949 words - 4 pages

H.H. Holmes, born Herman Webster Mudgett on May 16, 1861 in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, is widely regarded as one of America’s first serial killers. Among a multitude of insurance scams and frauds, Holmes constructed a three story “hotel” that essentially served as an intricate death maze with over 60 rooms and 51 doors placed in walls, ceilings, and even floors. This torturous creation came to be known infamously as the “Murder Castle.” It is estimated the number of murders committed by Holmes falls somewhere between 27 and upwards of 200.
Herman Mudgett was born into a very affluent family and lived a comfortable life as a child. He showed high, almost unusual, levels of intelligence from ...view middle of the document...

The first floor consisted of small businesses, while the second and third consisted of his office, living quarters, and over 60 windowless rooms equipped with asphyxiation chambers, iron plates, blowtorches, a stretching rack, dissecting tables, alarms, trapdoors and chutes of quick and efficient removal of bodies. Underneath this establishment stood the basement in which there rested a crematory and acid vats to effectively rid Holmes of bodies. He also dissected many bodies and sold organs and skeletons to medical schools using his old connections.
In 1893, during the Columbian Exposition, Holmes opened up his “castle” as a hotel for visitors to the world’s fair. Many of his victims were women (particularly blondes, it has been told) whom he became engaged to, placed life insurance on, and then murdered. Others were employees whom were required to file for life insurance policies paid for by Holmes but also naming him beneficiary. It was during this time that the majority of his victim’s were executed.
During this lengthy succession of murders, Holmes continued his insurance schemes with a dense lackey, Ben Pitezel. Holmes convinced Pitezel to take part in a scheme to defraud an insurance company by faking Pitezel’s death. After taking out a $10,000 insurance policy on himself, Pitezel and Holmes committed many acts of fraud in Colorado, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas where Holmes was a jailed for a short amount of time trying to defraud a drug company. Here, Holmes met Marion Hedgepeth who agreed to help with the insurance scheme involving Pitezel’s death for a share of the money. Upon his release from jail, Holmes tracked down Pitezel who had moved to Philadelphia and killed him. Aware of her husband’s involvement in the insurance scheme, it was simple work for...

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