H. H. Holmes

Dr. Henry Howard Holmes
Birth Name:
Herman Webster Mudgett
Birth Date:
May 16, 1861
Birth Place:
Gilmanton, New Hampshire,
Death Date:
May 7, 1896
Place of Death:
Moyamensing Prison, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Cause of Death:
Execution by hanging
Cemetery Name:
Holy Cross Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Crime and their Victims
The country’s first serial killer was a smooth-talking doctor who ran a murder hotel in Chicago. The tale of H. H. Holmes and his Murder Castle is perhaps one of the most fascinating cases in American criminal history. Born Herman Webster Mudgett, he was a bright young doctor who had graduated from high school at sixteen and always had a penchant for anything to do with death. While enrolled in the University of Michigan’s Department of Medicine and Surgery, he worked under Professor William James Herdman in the university’s anatomy lab. The pair were said to have aided body snatching to supply bodies as medical cadavers, which Mudgett then burned or disfigured with acid, then planted to it look as if they had been killed in an accident. Mudgett began taking out insurance policies on these people—before he stole, disfigured, and planted them—and would later collect the insurance money once the bodies were discovered. After graduation, Mudgett started a new job working at a Philadelphia drugstore. When a child died after taking medicine purchased from the drugstore Mudgett was employed at, the young doctor denied any involvement and immediately left the city. Before he moved to Chicago, he changed his name to avoid any connection to his previous scams. Herman Webster Mudgett, M.D., donned the name Henry Howard Holmes. In 1893, the bustling city of Chicago won the honor of hosting the World’s Columbian Exposition. While the World’s Fair brought millions of visitors from all over the world, nearby, a clever killer hid in plain sight, capitalizing off of the slaughter of naive tourists. For the next two years Holmes either killed or is suspected of killing around two dozen people using his murder mansion residences to facility cruel and diabolical murder of men, women, and even children. He was finally caught and convicted of murder in 1894 and executed in 1985. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety, or depression. Despite this, he asked for his coffin to be contained in concrete and buried ten feet deep, because he was concerned grave robbers would steal his body and use it for dissection. Despite popular belief, Holmes's neck did not break; he instead strangled to death slowly, twitching for over fifteen minutes before being pronounced dead.


The commonly-repeated figure that Holmes killed as many as 200 people was first suggested in 1940. Before that, the high estimate had been 27 (the number he confessed to). But many of those people were still alive, apparently fictional, or known to have died of natural causes. The generally agreed figure stands at nine. Beyond that newspapers, letters, and legal documents over the years have introduce a host of other names, some of which were quickly debunked, and some of which were never fully investigated or can’t be investigated due time. The story that over fifty missing World’s Fair patrons could be traced to the “castle” was invented by Herbert Asbury, the same writer who first suggested that the total number of victims could be in the hundreds.

Holmes purchased an empty lot in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, and built a labyrinthine structure with shops on the first floor and small apartments above what is now known as The Murder Castle. According to sensationalist reports, the space featured soundproof rooms, secret passages and a disorienting maze of hallways and staircases. The rooms were also allegedly outfitted with trapdoors over chutes that dropped Holmes’ unsuspecting victims to the building’s basement The basement, claims said, was a macabre facility of acid vats, pits of quicklime (often used on decaying corpses) , which the killer used to finish off his victims. The basement of the property was equipped to dissect corpses, conceal or destroy corpses and to remove flesh and reassemble skeletons. The basement also contained a fully functional crematorium.

In 1937 the Murder Castle was then torn down and built into the Englewood Post Office that is there today. And yes, it is allegedly haunted.


Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Holy Cross Cemetery

626 Baily Road

Yeadon, Pennsylvania, 19050


North America


Map of Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania
Map of Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon, Pennsylvania

Grave Location:

Section 15, Range 10, Lot 41, Graves 3 and 4

Grave Location Description

As you enter the cemetery through the second Baily Road entrance take the second right just past mausoleum row. Take the second left and drive 1/4 mile and turn right at the 5th intersection. Drive 50 feet and look for the Qiulinao upright monument and park. Walk on the right side for 4 rows to the grave of serial killer H.H. Holmes located behind the John O’Neill monument and to the right.

Grave Location GPS

39.9276670876453, -75.257673732634



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