Pennsylvania November 07, 2017
The Story Of This Serial Killer In Pennsylvania Will Give You Chills
H.H. Holmes left a trail of destruction behind him when in 1896 he met his fate at the end of a hangman’s noose. But, with his death, the nation’s first known serial killer left behind something of a mystery. Had the infamous serial killer talked his way out of execution? If so, who was buried in his grave in a Pennsylvania cemetery?
H.H. Holmes, a master manipulator, became America's first known serial killer. His killing spree started in the mid-1880's in Chicago.
The New Hampshire-born physician, whose real name was Herman Webster Mudgett, moved to Chicago around 1885 where he worked as a pharmacist. During his stint as a pharmacist, he hired contractors to build a three-story home.
In that building, eventually dubbed Murder Castle, Holmes would live and torture, murder, and dispose of countless victims. The master con artist claimed he killed more than 30 people.
Holmes opened his home to visitors during the 1893 World's Fair. Many of those guests who checked in, however, mysteriously disappeared. Little did anyone at the time know but Holmes' home had myriad of disturbing features, including windowless and soundproof rooms, trapdoors, and doors that locked from the outside.
A serial killer
and a con artist, Holmes eventually left Chicago, ending up in the Philadelphia-area. (The photo below is of the post office that now stands where Holmes' Murder Castle used to be.)
But, this time, Holmes was not alone. He brought with him Benjamin Pitezel. Together, the two had concocted a plan to "fake" Pietzel's death for a princely life insurance sum of $10,000. Little did Pietzel know, however, that he'd signed a deal with the devil or, more precisely, his own murderer.
Pitezel, pictured below, had a wife and several children. Holmes assured his family that Pitezel, was alive, well, and in hiding until things calmed down.
The seasoned conman easily convinced Mrs. Pitezel that her husband was still alive. Confident in Holmes' word, the woman and three of her children traveled with Holmes to see Benjamin. But, as we now know, Benjamin was already dead. And, soon the four other Pitezels would also die at the hands of Holmes,
Benjamin Pitezel's murder certainly didn't go unnoticed. Holmes, pictured below in his mugshot, was apprehended and later hanged in 1896. But, the story doesn't end there. In fact, whispers throughout the decades questioned whether Holmes ever really met the executioner's noose.
That rumor remained just that until
the History Channel aired a show about Jack the Ripper. (Some believe that Holmes was, in fact, the infamous serial killer.) At the same time, the show traveled to Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon to exhume his grave.
And, in early September 2017, the results came back. H.H. Holmes had indeed been executed and buried. Because his body had not been preserved, his identity was confirmed through dental records.
Did you think the serial killer H.H. Holmes had outsmarted authorities and escaped execution? Share your thoughts below. Then,
click here to read about 10 murders Pennsylvanians will never forget.