The Creepy 'Murder Hotel' In Chicago A Hotel Built By A Serial Killer With Murder In Mind!

The Creepy ‘Murder Hotel’ In Chicago | A Hotel Built By A Serial Killer With Murder In Mind!

Imagine a time when Chicago was bustling with excitement in 1893. Yet, something creepy was happening in plain sight! A man named Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as H.H. Holmes was setting the stage for a reign of terror. Holmes was known as an American con artist and a serial killer between 1891 and 1894. The man had committed many crimes including insurance scams, forgery, theft, and even murder. What’s more unbelievable is that he has built a hotel with murder in mind! His creepy hotel widely known as the ‘Murder Castle,’ has trap doors, gas chambers, and even a basement crematorium.

According to claims, he has killed between 20 to 200 people. The dark shadow of a curse known as the ‘Holmes Curse’ even followed after his death. Many whom he associated with suffered from serious misfortunes and deaths. Let’s dive in to know his crimes, the infamous ‘murder castle’ he built and his eerie last words. 

The Early Life of The Serial Killer: Stealing Cadavers!

Before he became notorious, H.H. Holmes was just Herman Webster Mudgett, a young man moving to Chicago with dark ambitions. His criminal career started with insurance fraud and bigamy but soon escalated. 

He married a local girl named ‘Clara Lovering’ and moved to New York for some time. Holmes worked as a teacher before getting the call of higher education. Holmes then decided to move to Michigan with Clara. He soon started medical school. The couple’s marriage was short-lived. So, Holmes sent his wife to her New Hampshire family. Soon after, he was caught for stealing cadavers from the anatomy lab. He had been using them for insurance scams. Holmes was then criminally charged and thrown out of school. He later “disappeared.”

After mysteriously disappearing for two years, he surfaced in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood as a drugstore employee. This job marked the beginning of his sinister plans.

murder hotel in chicago
Image source: New York Post (Early images of the serial killer, H.H Homes)

Construction of the Murder Castle

Holmes constructed a hotel with features straight out of a horror story. The building included around 60 rooms. But the most haunting things included in the hotel were trap doors, hidden staircases, windowless chambers, gas chambers, and even a crematorium in the basement. Officially, it was to house visitors of the 1893 World’s Fair, but its real purpose was far more sinister. The hotel’s eerie design captivates anyone interested in the odd and mysterious, standing as a testament to Holmes’s twisted mind.

“There’s a total of about nine [people] that we can say with some confidence he probably killed. He confessed to 27 at one point.”

Adam Selzer, the author of H.H. Holmes: The True History of the White City Devil
Image source: Hoosier State Chronicles / Reddit (On the left an early image of H. H Holmes and on the right is an architectural blueprint found of the building)
murder hotel in chicago
Image source: Caden Illustrations (Illustration of the design and inside of the ‘Murder Castle’)

Holmes Luring Victims

Holmes was not only a master builder but also a master manipulator. He used job and marriage ads to attract young women, promising good pay and secrecy. Among his victims were Julia Connor and Minnie Williams, whose tragic interactions with Holmes highlight his ruthless nature. Holmes’s motives remain a topic of debate and spine-chilling crimes.

Julia Connor and her six-year-old daughter disappeared in the Christmas of 1891. This is soon after the surfacing of Julia’s affair with Holmes. During his early years, Holmes denied killing her. However, he later confessed that he had accidentally killed her while trying to do an abortion on her.

His cruelty has not stopped there. Over the next couple of years, Holmes reportedly ended the lives of Emeline Cigrand, Minnie Williams, and her sister Nannie. They disappeared soon after starting personal and business relationships with Holmes.

Holmes was also convicted for the murder of Ben Pitezel and his three young children in 1894. Out of the 200 reported missing cases and deaths surrounding Holmes, he has confessed to the murders of 27.

murder hotel in chicago
Image source: American Ghost walks

The Fall of H.H. Holmes | Eerie Last Words!

The end of Holmes’s freedom came when an old accomplice, Marion Hedgepeth, betrayed him. This led to an investigation by Pinkerton detective Frank Geyer, culminating in Holmes’s arrest and trial. Despite his confession to numerous murders, the true extent of his crimes was shrouded in mystery.

Holmes was sentenced to death and executed in 1896. At the time of his death, he said his last words that sent chills down everyone’s spine! He said that he had the devil residing in him. But it gets even weirder as some say that he remained alive with a snapped neck for nearly 15 minutes! This added to the belief of him being possessed by the devil.

I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than a poet can help the inspiration to sing.” 

H. H Holmes (Last words before his execution)

“Holmes Curse”: Death For All Who He Associated!

Even Holmes’s death followed a dark shadow called “Holmes Curse.” A series of deaths and misfortunes took place with so many people who associated with Holmes. These deaths which started in 1896, continued until 1910!

The forensic expert Dr. William Matten, who had attested against Holmes, passed off due to an unexplained blood poisoning. Holmes’s prison superintendent also took his own life soon after his death. The trial judge and the head coroner also suffered terminal diseases afterward. N

Frank Geyer also fell mysteriously ill while the priest who visited Holmes before the execution was discovered beaten to death. Even the jury foreman who took part in the trial was found electrocuted.

Does the Murder Castle still exist?

After Holmes’s arrest, the “Murder Castle” was destroyed in a mysterious fire. Apart from the first floor, the rest of the building was destroyed. The three-story building was then torn down and turned into the Englewood Post Office that is there today.

Image source: FrightFind (Englewood Post office building stands today in the same place)


H.H. Holmes and the Murder Castle have left a lasting mark on society’s collective imagination, prompting us to explore the darker sides of human nature. This story raises questions about the allure of the macabre and the complexities of evil. 

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