There is a great documentary on him on Netflix I definitely recommend!! I was glued to my seat by the thought that was put into his plot and how easy it was to get a way with it back then. If you disappeared no one could notice for months or even years.
Herman Webster Mudgett (May 16, 1861 – May 7, 1896), better known under the alias of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, was one of the first documented American serial killers in the modern sense of the term. In Chicago at the time of the 1893 World’s Fair, Holmes opened a hotel which he had designed and built for himself specifically with murder in mind, and which was the location of many of his murders. While he confessed to 27 murders, of which four were confirmed, his actual body count could be as high as 200. He took an unknown number of his victims from the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, which was less than two miles away, to his “World’s Fair” hotel.
Holmes had acquired a vacant lot on the corner of Wallace and 63rd Street, Chicago, shortly before the Fair’s opening, and had quickly built his three-story block long “Castle” on the site. The ground floor contained only run of the mill shops, including Holmes’s drugstore, but the upper two floors gained international notoriety after they were found to contain, apart from innocent seeming guest suites, a maze of over one hundred interconnected hallways and smaller rooms. Blind corridors, secret passageways and senseless stairways that lead nowhere abounded and at least one chute lead directly from the suites down into Holmes’s basement torture chambers.
Holmes was not picky and his victims were culled mainly from ex-lovers who had originally been tricked into visiting him by reading his enticing advertisements in lonely hearts’ publications. He also preyed freely on hotel guests and hotel employees. He usually killed his victims by gassing them in the hotel rooms, whose doors, once closed, could not be opened from the inside. He would then maneuver the corpses down to the basement via the chute. Once in the basement, he either dismembered the bodies and disposed of the pieces in lime pits, or dissected them and sold the skeletons to a nearby medical school. He also apparently ran an abortion clinic from the hotel premises but this clinic quickly gained a reputation for one where the patients had an extremely high fatality rate …
Holmes also forced all of his employees to take out insurance policies on their lives with him as their beneficiary. After these employees had disappeared, and were presumed dead by the various insurance companies involved, Holmes would then cash the policies in. And although this happened time and time again, no one realized that Holmes was killing these people simply to file claims on their policies. Towards the end of his career, Holmes rightly considered himself to be an expert on insurance fraud and it is therefore ironic that, despite his undeniable talent in this area, he was finally brought low because of a botched insurance scam.