Murder Castle

Not your typical princess living quarters

The name itself just catches your attention. I mean who wouldn’t be curious?

H.H.Holmes was an infamous serial killer born in 1861. Originally named Herman Webster Mudgett, he decided to change his name to model Sherlock Holmes’ while abruptly leaving his wife and child in New Hampshire to move to Illinois. In 1893, the World’s Fair in Chicago–known at the time as the Columbian Exposition–was celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival to the Americas. The fair attracting more than 27 million people, Holmes began his reign of terror by taking advantage of the many people who came looking for work.

Now here comes the doozy:

It is believed that he cheated his employers at the pharmacy he worked at and used the money to buy an empty lot in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. Here he built an interesting “labyrinthine structure” with stores at the bottom and apartments at the top. This structure included things like sound-proof rooms, endless hallways, secret passageways, and weirdly a crematorium, acid vats, and pits of quicklime in the basement. This building became known as Holmes’ Murder Castle infested with booby traps where his unsuspecting victims would live.

Following the conclusion of the World’s Fair in October 1893, Holmes fled Chicago making his way to Boston where he was ultimately arrested. Holmes claimed to have killed 200 people in his Murder Castle but this number is debated by historians to this day. While in prison, Holmes wrote an autobiography called Holmes’ Own Story. One of the most famous quotes in the book was, “I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing.” HA! What a funny guy he was.

Holmes was later hanged in Philadelphia in 1896. But because of many theories on whether or not it was him who was executed that day, his descendants decided to have his remains disinterred in 2017 to test those theories. The DNA test results came back positive that those remains were his.

As for his Murder Castle, it stayed up until 1938 when it was finally torn down. The Englewood branch of the U.S. post office now takes its place. I’m sure old Herman would really be happy about that!