H.H. Holmes was an American con artist and serial killer active between 1891 and 1894. His death has still been a topic of discussion for many, and we will discuss details of H.H. Holmes’s death in this write-up for you to know how he died.
Who is H.H. Holmes?
H.H. Holmes was born on May 16, 1861, in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, as the third-born child of Levi Horton Mudgett and Theodate Page Price, both of whom were descended from the first English settlers in the area. As an adolescent, Holmes attended Phillips Exeter Academy before graduating high school with honours from Gilmanton Academy when he was 16. Holmes’s parents were both devout Methodists.
His father was from a farming family, and at times he worked as a farmer, trader, and house painter. He was also reportedly a heavy drinker who cruelly mistreated his family. He faced bullying by classmates due to his outstanding academic capabilities. In one incident, he was forced to stand in front of a human skeleton and put the skeleton’s hands on his face in an effort to frighten him.
Initially terrified, Holmes later discovered the experience to be intriguing and claimed that it helped him overcome his worries. Holmes subsequently developed an obsession with death as a result of the encounter and later took up the pastime of dissecting animals.
In 1882, H.H. Holmes entered the University of Michigan’s Department of Medicine and Surgery and graduated in June 1884 after passing his exams. While enrolled, he worked in the anatomy lab under Professor William James Herdman, then the chief anatomy instructor, and the two were said to have been engaged in facilitating graverobbing to supply medical cadavers.
H.H. Holmes had apprenticed in New Hampshire under Nahum Wight, a noted advocate of human dissection. Years later, when Holmes was suspected of murder and claimed to be nothing but an insurance fraudster, he admitted to using cadavers to defraud life insurance companies several times in college.
H. H. Holmes Murder Cases Explored
H. H. Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Benjamin Pitezel in 1985 and was found guilty and sentenced to death. By then, it was evident Holmes had also murdered the three missing Pitezel children. Following his conviction, Holmes confessed to twenty-seven murders in Chicago, Indianapolis, and Toronto and six attempted murders. Holmes was paid $7,500 by the Hearst newspapers in exchange for his confession.
Even before that, he had been involved in several high-profile murder cases. On July 18, 1894, Holmes was arrested and briefly jailed for the first time on the charge of selling mortgaged goods in St. Louis, Missouri. He was promptly bailed out, but while in jail he struck up a conversation with a convicted outlaw named Marion Hedgepeth, who was serving a 25-year sentence. Holmes had concocted a plan to swindle an insurance company out of $10,000 by taking out a policy on himself and then faking his death
While writing his confessions in prison, Holmes mentioned how drastically his facial appearance had changed since his imprisonment.
H.H. Holmes Death: How Did He Die?
On May 7, 1896, H.H. Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison for the murder of Pitezel. 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. Holmes’ neck did not break; he instead strangled to death slowly, twitching for over fifteen minutes before being pronounced dead.