Running head: SERIAL KILLER H. H. HOLMES H. H. Holmes Valerie Jones Theories of Criminal Behavior September 23, 2012 Phillip Neely Abstract The United States first known serial killer was named H. H. Holmes. H. H. Holmes would later be said to be an alias created by Herman Webster Mudgett who was a doctor. It was said that Herman as a child had a privileged childhood. As a young child Holmes appeared to be remarkably intellectual. According to Holmes’s personality traits; there were lingering signs of what was to come.
It was at an early age Holmes had a connected curiosity of medicine, which was apparently directed to medicine. During much of Dr. Holmes life he started doing shady things at an early age and was considered a loner. According to research the starting point in H. H. Holmes spiral to murder would be as a child bullies initially wanted to scare Herman, his schoolmates forced human skeletons on him. Holmes was not scared actuality Holmes became fascinated. Holmes soon became obsessed with death. H. H. Holmes would later become a brilliant swindler, a petty cheat, who turned out to be a mass murderer; whom also had a tortuous mind.
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Holmes pyramided fraud upon fraud upon people who later became his victims of his crime. Holmes was a young, attractive, superficial man, who fascinated professional men and mesmerized nice young women, later three of whom he wedded bigamously. H. H. Holmes deserves to be one of the greatest criminals of time. Crime writers have reserved the word “monster” for murderers like H. H. Holmes. H. H. Holmes met these certain rigid requirements as seen later in his life. Life History According to records Herman was born in 1861 to Theodate Paige Price and Levi Horton Mudgett of Gilmanton, New Hampshire.
They would be the first settlers in the area, Herman’s father became a vehement alcoholic and Herman’s mother was a God fearing woman who regularly read the Bible to her son. As Herman became older he studied medicine at The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. As a teenager, Herman would marry a daughter of a well-fixed New Hampshire family. It would be her and her family that would help educate Herman. It would be in mid-1878, in Alton, New Hampshire, When Herman would marry Clara Lovering, and have a son, Robert Lovering Mudgett, who would be born in February 1880 (As an adult Robert would become a CPA, in Orlando, Florida,).
In Early1887 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Herman wedded Clara. Herman also married Myrta Belknap, and they would have a daughter, Lucy Theodate Holmes, was born July 1889. They moved to Englewood, Illinois (Lucy as an adult became a public schoolteacher). At school Holmes began his lifelong preoccupation with cadavers. The Criminal Behavior In 1884, Herman would later graduate from the Medical School at the University of Michigan, after enrolling there he began to explore a new area or hobby. In medical school Holmes came up with the idea to take out insurance policies on bodies, that he would steal from the lab where he later disfigured them.
Herman killed innocent people to collect insurance money. After Graduation Herman began to dabble in shady works, like pharmaceuticals and real estate deals that would fall under his created alias H. H. Holmes. Holmes had the perfect idea on getting rich and getting away with murder, which he did for a long time. He was a smart man the reason he could go so long without getting caught. After Holmes became a doctor; his wife and children returned to New Hampshire. Holmes finished school and was not seen again for more than 10 years. Later Holmes would reappear to his family as a fugitive.
Holmes dabbled in paltry frauds swindling insurance companies of more than $15,000 which, did not always work in his favor. A daughter of a well-to-do family in Wilmette, Illinois, who lived in a wealthy suburb north of Chicago were Holmes would decide to marry her bigamously. In Chicago Holmes would set one more pattern pyramiding fraud upon credit. H. H. Holmes found time to father three more children and establish himself in the city of Wilmette as an unyielding citizen. Holmes wife did not recognize his countless activities, which were becoming more abundant and more secretive.
It is not known how he explained his long absences. The assignment was intimidating at best to lesser men, but probably simple for a man of Holmes supple imagination. Holmes was a widely read man, a student of hypnotism and the occult; Holmes prepared experiments on the human body. At this time Holmes’s childhood fixation with corpses had returned. In Holmes mind he would commit more significant crimes, for much bigger money. In 1892 Holmes began to build what was known as his murder castle. Several years’ later Holmes end result would be confinement.
It was believed that during this planetary of time; Holmes may have killed over 100 women. Newspapers hinted during that time the accurate total would be neighboring more than 200 people. People who visited The World Fair in 1893 had begun to disappear. They were believed to be Holmes victims. It became impossible to trace the fate of each of Holmes’s victims. Holmes was then living in Wilmette, Illinois with a lady by the name of Myrta whom he also decided to marry. Most of Holmes time was spent in Chicago leaning toward shady business deals.
After marrying Myrta, Holmes filed for divorce from Clara; but that divorce would never be finalized. In January 1894 while in Denver, Colorado, Holmes was still married to Clara and Myrta would marry again to Georgiana Yoke. It was during his time in Chicago; Holmes started to grow even more shady and criminal. Holmes took a job in a drugstore, which he later bought and promised to let the current store owner live in after her husband died. When her husband died however, she simply disappeared people began to question where she was. Holmes lied and told people she went to California she liked it so much that she decided to stay there.
These people actually would turn out to be his first victims in his long murder spree, and it is unknown how and when he murdered them. Not long after this Holmes would purchase several acres across from the drugstore and would build what would later be known as his Murder Castle (which is where it is believed that he hid the bodies of Dr. E. S. Holton and his wife). Holmes now centered on 63d Street and transferred his activities to the district of Chicago; it was here he would achieve fame. Once in Chicago Holmes would drive out a proprietress. Holmes worked in a drugstore.
Across the street from the drugstore he would begin to build an extremely large building 50 ft. wide and hundred and 150 ft. long this was a gigantic and obnoxious building. The place was more than three stories high and had a colossal basement. The first floor consisted of a variety stores as well as a drugstore that would sit on the corner; the building contained virtually more than 100 rooms. “Staircases that led nowhere,” existed along blind passageways, and fabricated barriers, along with rooms that contained many doors, rooms without any doors.
Altogether these rooms would focus on the second floor of the miserable, forbidden configuration that he built. Holmes’s would even have his own apartment at the front of the second floor. Holmes cut trick doors into the main bathroom wall, and there were many hidden stairways that led to windowless cubicles between some of the floors. They would end up the core of the household; bodies could drop from the chute into the cellar. In 1893, during the World’s Columbian Exposition, Holmes opened up the building as a hotel for patrons of the exhibition.
Many of the Patrons of the world’s exhibition would never be heard of. Much of the structure would be used as profit-making spaces. Holmes had personal offices and mazes of windowless rooms on the upper floors. Many doorways opened up to brick walls, there were odd angled hallways, many of these stairways lead to nowhere, doors could open from the outside, there were a multitude of other strange and convoluted erections done to the building. Holmes changed builders constantly so that no one would understand the design of the building. This would decrease any chances of Holmes reported to the police.
It was a requirement to take out life insurance policies as part of employment with him. Holmes regularly selected females as employees who would later become victims to him. Holmes had all his lovers and hotel guests do the same, Holmes later paid the premiums and become the benefactor. After construction was completed Holmes tortured and killed people in some of the worst possible ways imaginable. Some would be locked into soundproof rooms fitted with gas lines so that Holmes asphyxiated them whenever he was ready. Holmes locked people in sealed bank vaults near his office where he left their bodies to suffocate.
Holmes would take his victims’ bodies and drop them down secret chutes to the basement. Bodies were stripped of flesh, and methodically dissected, and fashioned into carcass bones and would later be sold to medical schools. Holmes would cremate a few bodies, and place the body in lime pits to be destroyed. Holmes used a giant furnace along with pits of acid, and various types of poisons, and a stretching rack to help him dispose of the bodies and any evidence. Holmes made connections in medical school, where he would sell skeletal remains and organs with little difficulty.
He was able to get rid of even more evidence. He had some of the best methods for disposing of all of his victims and there was no evidence that anything had ever even happened, which is why it is difficult to determine just how many victims he actually had and who they were. Holmes used trapdoors and chutes to move bodies down to the basement in which he was burning all his victims. During all of this Holmes would continue to work his insurance scams, one of these scams would lead to his undoing. There was a genuine haunted house; it was located on Chicago’s South Side.
Over more than three decades later, nobody would know how many persons became murdered. Body count estimates ranged from low 20s to several hundred. Individuals were believed to have been chloroformed, gassed, and strangled, or even perhaps beaten to death. Holmes went to Texas where he allegedly stole a horse. A young woman by the name of Minnie Williams later played an important part of his career. Later during this period Holmes met Benjamin F. Pitzel, a feeble man with larceny in his heart, it would be Pitzels murder That Dr. Holmes would one day hang. It was never known if He and Holmes lived together.
What was known was In 1892 Pitzel was in a Terre Haute jail being held on a fraudulent check charges, Holmes bailed him out. Holmes ended up joining forces with Benjamin Pitzel to collect $10,000 from a life insurance company. Many things were puzzling in regard to Holmes and Pitzels relationship as partners in a fraud scheme prior to the insurance swindle was unknown. What was known this would be Pitzel’s demise. Minnie Williams later came to Holmes house of horrors from Texas. Her role never became clear. She certainly became his victim. It was unknown if Minnie was his accomplice.
It was believed that Holmes used Minnie’s Fort Worth home in some of his fishy schemes, perhaps even without her knowledge. Minnie, being Holmes mistress had little doubt. Minnie played a strange role for a mistress to Holmes. Minnie served as a witness when he married his third (and last) wife. Holmes became less engaged in petty frauds; Holmes started branching into mass murder for profit. He reached the height of his powers mentally, and physically. Holmes left Chicago because of the economy and moved to Fort Worth, Texas, to a property that he inherited from two sisters he promised to marry and later murdered.
Holmes planned to build another castle, but abandon that idea and move about the United States as well as Canada he was believed to have killed several more victims on his travels, no evidence of this could be found. Conclusion Holmes’s murder spree finally ended after he was arrested in Boston in late November 1894, Holmes was later tracked to Philadelphia by (a detective agency) name Pinkertons. Holmes had an outstanding warrant and was wanted for a Texas horse theft. Police had nothing diminutive to go on other than uncertainties at this point. Holmes appeared ready to leave the country with his unwary third wife.
It would be a custodian for the Castle that would later inform the police that Holmes would not allow him to clean the upper floors of the building. Over the course of the next month, police began a systematic investigation uncovering Holmes’s efficient methods of how the murders would be committed and how Holmes disposed of the corpses. In Philadelphia Holmes sat in prison, waiting for the Chicago police detectives to probe his operations in that city; meanwhile later in Philadelphia the Police began to disentangle the Pitzel situation, and the fate of several missing children who were connected with the Pitzel investigation.
Detective Frank Geyer of the Philadelphia police department would be given the task of discovering Holmes quest for the children. After careful examination of Holmes’s murder castle, it would start to receive wide publicity. In the public mind the remains would seal Holmes’s fate. Holmes was placed on trial for the massacre of Pitzel where he would later confess. Holmes would later be convicted for many murders between Chicago, Indianapolis, in addition to Toronto; Holmes would also be tried for six attempted murders.
In exchange for a confession The Hearst Newspapers later paid Holmes $7,500 equal to ($197,340 in today’s dollars). Holmes would give countless clashing accounts of his life claiming of his innocence; Holmes would claim that he was possessed by Satan. Holmes lying made it difficult for researchers to ascertain any truth on the basis of his statements. In early May 1896, H. H. Holmes would go to the hangman’s noose. Holmes last meal consisted of three boiled eggs, several pieces of dry toast, and a cup of coffee. Even at the noose, Holmes changed his story. Holmes would only admit that he killed two people, at 10:13 a. . the trapdoor opened and Holmes was hung, it took 15 minutes for Holmes to strangle to death on the gallows. Holmes died on the gallows when he was 35, his criminalities became exposed. It would be at the unforgiving suspicions of a police informant this case would unravel. Holmes believed there may be body-snatchers wanting to take advantage of his dead body, So Holmes organized a request: Holmes required that no postmortem examination be done on his body. Holmes indicated to his attorneys to make sure he would be concealed in a coffin filled with cement.
Holmes coffin would be taken to Holy Cross Cemetery in Philadelphia, were Two Pinkerton guards would stand over the grave during the first night to make sure the body was entered in a double grave filled with cement. Nothing was established to mark Holmes grave. It was recorded in a cemetery registry. Holmes attorneys did not entertain any offers for his body, Holmes attorney’s declined to send Holmes brain to the Philadelphia’s Wistar Institute, who anticipated experts analyze Holmes organs for some understanding of his criminal mind.
It was recorded that a series of strange events followed after Holmes execution that gave credence to rumors about Holmes being on the crazy side, this would include several bizarre deaths and fires at the District Attorney’s Office everything recorded about Holmes murder expedition was destroyed. People became engrossed to see what was known as the Chicago Murder Castle site, retired police officers decided to remodel the infamous building and named it “Holmes’s Horror Castle,” to be used as an attraction that would offer conducted tours to see suffocation chambers, and torture rooms.
Before the castles renovation would be completed. The castles mysteriously burned to the ground. In December 1910, Marion Hedgepeth, was shot, and killed by a police officer during a holdup at a Chicago saloon after he was pardoned for informing on Holmes. It would be March 1914, when the Chicago Tribune reported on the death of the former caretaker of the Murder Castle. “Many mysteries of Holmes murder Castle” would remain unexplained. Holmes was one of the first serial killers, and one of the worst.
It was horrible what he did, and all of the lives lost because of this man. His request for a protected grave was to show you how crazy this man really was and how smart he was all at the same time. A theory that could be used to describe H. H, Holmes would be psychological trait theory. It was never said in my research that Herman was on any type of drugs or that he had a bad childhood growing up, it was just brought up that his father was an alcoholic. With this in mind the Psychological Trait Theory would best apply to H. H. Holmes, H. H.
Holmes showed signs of having a mental disorder, along with some personality development signs. His individual reasoning process showed that his behavior was irrational. His perceptions of right and wrong were distorted. The Moral and Developmental theory played a part of Holmes crimes. As he was growing up He would decide to commit frauds that would later lead to murder. References: http://www. harpers. org/archive/1943/12/0020617 Borowski, John, (November 2005). Estrada, Dimas. Ed. The Strange Case of Dr. H. H. Holmes: World’s First Serial Killer.
West Hollywood, California: Waterfront Productions. “H. H. Holmes Biography. ” 2011 (A&E Television Networks) http://www. biography. com/articles/H. -H. -Holmes-307622? part=1 Holmes, H. H. Holmes Own Story. Burk & McFetridge, 1895. Ramsland, Katherine. “H. H. Holmes: Master of Illusion. ” http://www. trutv. com/library/crime/serial_killers/history/holmes/. html Schechter, Harold, (August 2008). Depraved: The Definitive True Story of H. H. Holmes, Who’s Grotesque Crimes Shattered Turn-of-the-Century Chicago (2nd Ed. ). New York: Pocket Books