Dr. Henry H. Holmes (1861-1896)
The Arch Criminal of Our Age
career of hideous crimes does not find a parallel in the history of the
country. He was not only a multimurderer, but a bigamist, seducer,
resurrectionist, forger, thief and general rascal, villain and fiend.
(from: Holmes Hangs. Rock Island Argus, May 7, 1896)
Why the Legend of Holmes Endures
reality, few serial killers fit the popular conception provided by
fiction: that of the intelligent hunter. Most are misfits who prey on
Holmes wore the mask of success: an
entrepreneur, a small town kid made good. He was a medical doctor, a
stylish dresser, well-spoken and literate, a charmer, a veritable
He was fiendish, devising his tortures with the
methodical precision and unchained imagination. He fancied himself as
an inventor, promoting perpetual motion machines and a cure for
alcoholism. When a stretching rack was found in his basement he claimed
he wanted to experiment on creating a race of giants.
He built a Torture Castle as demented and diabolical as his own
mind. Odd angles, dead ends, killing chambers,
Although his murders displayed a wit in their
sadism, his cruelty was so depraved and bestial it can not be
romanticized, even by a nation who makes anti-heroes out of vicious
killers such as Bonnie and Clyde. He strung along his victims,
torturing them with the hope of freedom. The detectives assigned to his
case regularly underestimated his viciousness. The greater the
innocence, the crueler his crimes, with children counted among his
victims. He often killed for no apparent reason.
Holmes was the genuine nightmare.
More to the story
Holmes and The Resurrectionists
The Twenty Seven Murders of Henry H. Holmes
The Twenty Seven Murders of Henry H. Holmes has been compiled for a free download and available from Smashwords. Some images have been redacted due to the file size limit of Smashwords.
Purchase A Predatory Mind
Selzer of the blog Chicago Unbelievable has put together a series of
researched monographs detailing more aspects of the life of Dr. Holmes.
These include information about the Murder Castle, his confessions and
the story of the Holmes Curse. These are available for purchase at a
low price for the Amazon Kindle through the links on the covers presented below.
copyright 2013, Martin Hill Ortiz