In 1893, America hit a big milestone – she discovered her first serial killer.
It was the year of Chicago’s World’s Fair, and H.H. Holmes had big plans for the property he had converted into a macabre, deadly hotel. By the time he was caught, it contained secret passageways, gas chambers, ovens, and a host of other nightmares that greeted the women unlucky enough to book a room.
Once caught, Holmes confessed to over two dozen murders and was sentenced to death by hanging in 1896.
Which should be the end of the story (unless you believe in ghosts)…but it’s not.
Holmes had some pretty strange requests regarding the burial of his earthly remains. He asked that his coffin sit on a bed of cement, then covered with more cememt before being interred in the earth. These odd demands led contemporary newspaper accounts to question whether they were meant to prevent police from double checking that it was truly Holmes who died in that noose – and that he had actually died – but there’s never been any proof that the serial killer wasn’t put to death as promised.
Now, the great-grandchildren of the notorious man (he had kids? There’s so much more I need to know about this man) have asked for his purported grave to be exhumed in order to settle the question once and for all. The remains will be removed to the Anthropology Department at the University of Pennsylvania for DNA testing.
We may all get the answers we need when The History Channel airs an upcoming special. Fingers crossed!
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