H.H. Holmes, byname of Herman Mudgett, (born May 16, 1861?, Gilmanton, New Hampshire, U.S.—died May 7, 1896, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), American swindler and confidence trickster who is widely considered the country’s first known serial killer.
Mudgett was born into a wealthy family and showed signs of high intelligence from an early age. Always interested in medicine, he allegedly trapped animals and performed surgery on them; some accounts of his life even suggest that he killed a childhood playmate. Mudgett attended medical school at the University of Michigan, where he was a mediocre student. In 1884 he was nearly prevented from graduating when a widowed hairdresser accused him of making a false promise of marriage to her.
In 1886 Mudgett moved to Chicago and took a job as a pharmacist under the name “Dr. H.H. Holmes.” Soon afterward he apparently began killing people in order to steal their property. The house he built for himself, which would become known as “Murder Castle,” was equipped with secret passages, trapdoors, soundproof rooms, doors that could be locked from the outside, gas jets to asphyxiate victims, and a kiln to cremate the bodies. At the reputed peak of his career, during the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, he allegedly seduced and murdered a number of women, typically by becoming engaged to them and then killing them after securing control of their life savings.
No Remorse, He was born to kill
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