Herman Webster Mudgett (May 16, 1860 - May 7, 1896), better known under the alias of "Dr. Henry Howard Holmes", H.H. Holmes was an American serial killer. Holmes trapped and murdered possibly hundreds of guests at his Chicago hotel, which he opened for the 1893 World's Fair. He confessed to 27 murders, although only nine have been confirmed
America's first serial killer, H. H. Holmes started his criminal career as a medical student who stole corpses from the University of Michigan and using those corpses to collect insurance money taken under fictitious names. He then started a drug store empire and constructed a huge hundred-room mansion with trap doors, lime pits, fake walls, acid vats, and secret entrances.
Herman was born in New Hampshire and his father was very strict and often bullied his son. He had a well-known fear of the local doctor's office and due to this, other students in his school would often force him to touch human skeletons. What was meant to be a scare turned out to be a fascination, which led to him stealing corpses while in medical school. He started using the name "H.H. Holmes" after moving to Chicago and got engaged in a lot of shady activities. He was also a bigamist and married a second time and a third time, while still married to the first wife. He was known to be a charmer and a ladies' man.
He would rent rooms to visitors and then try and collect the insurance. He also used lure women to his "torture castle," promising marriage and would then throw them down the elevator shaft and gas them to death, but before that he would force them to sign all their life savings over to him.
Eventually, police grew suspicious about the activities in the castle and when he knew he was getting caught, he burnt the castle and vanished. Remains of more than two hundred people were found in the burnt debris. He was caught later and hanged to death.
His huge castle with secret passages had a drugstore and other shops on the ground floor and the upper offices were used for his office. There were more than a hundred rooms without windows and doorways that opened into brick walls, stairways to nowhere, doors that could not be opened from the inside and several other such rooms. This was to become his killing den. It was here that the killing spree unearthed over a period of three horrible years. Female victims were mostly his employees who were required to take a life insurance policy and Holmes would pay the premiums. Soundproof rooms with gas lines fitted in were used to kill people. These victims were asphyxiated and their screams went unnoticed and they suffocated. There was a chute that took the bodies to the basement, where some bodies were dissected, flesh removed and created into skeleton models. He sold these skeletons and other organs to medical schools.
He also performed illegal abortions in the castle and many of his patients died.
Eventually police grew suspicious about the activities in the castle and when he knew he was getting caught, he burnt the castle and vanished. Remains of more than two hundred people were found in the burnt debris. He was caught later and hanged to death.