Murder Hotel – H.H.Holmes: Murderer, Conman, Bigamist

Come stay at the Murder Hotel

The chances are that at some point in your life you have been in a creepy building, maybe a house with secret passageways and rooms, that sent chills down your spine and made you paranoid inexplicably. But probably not the building known as The Murder Hotel.

A building that seems like it should have been extremely creepy but that people willingly went stayed at. The Murder Hotel was designed and owned by a Dr H.H.Holmes.

Dr H.H.Holmes

murder hotel, H.H.Holmes

He lived between 1860 and 1896 during which time he designed and renovated a large building in Chicago. He built secret rooms and passageways. Doors that went nowhere and vents and pipes to transport noxious gas. He is said to be America’s first serial killer.

During the building process Holmes would use a number of contractors and each would build only a part of the overall design. Ensuring that he alone knew the layout. Thus creating a murder hotel that no-one could describe in its entirety.

He rented out the rooms of The Murder Hotel. Effectively bringing his victims to him. He earned money whilst indulging in his desire to kill. Obviously there wasn’t a sign outside declaring it The Murder Hotel, instead, it was called The World’s Fair Hotel because of it’s convenience to the 1893 World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition.

Choices Choices

With a macabre choice of methods available to him, Holmes could gas, torture, suffocate, burn, poison and easily dispose of the bodies. He would dissect and sell those parts of the body he could before using acid and lye to finish off the rest of the remains.

He was educated and had a level of respect from the community, that is until they learnt exactly what he had been up to. It was perhaps his high level of education that allowed him to be successful as a con artist and bigamist. Although, perhaps successful isn’t the word,  as he had over 50 lawsuits against him.

Holmes was finally arrested in Boston on the 17th of November in 1894. Tried for the murder of his friend Benjamin Pitezel in October of 1895, he confessed to 27 further murders and was sentenced to death.

Holmes was hung for his crimes on the 7th of May, 1896. His neck did not snap when the trap was released and he instead strangled to death. It took twenty minutes for him to die.