What Did H.H. Holmes Look Like? America's First Serial Killer Blended Right Into A Crowd
Ask any true crime fan to name the most notorious serial killers in history and you can bet that H.H. Holmes and Jack The Ripper will surely top their list. Well now, Holmes' great-great grandson Jeff Mudgett, is working alongside former C.I.A. operative Amaryllis Fox and History to prove his theory that Holmes and Jack The Ripper are the same person. The eight-part docuseries titled American Ripper will delve deep into Holmes' crimes, which mostly took place inside of his infamous "murder castle," a hotel he had built to accommodate his murderous intentions. Holmes' unique ability to convince his victims to willingly stay in this nightmare place was likely aided by his appearance. So what did H.H. Holmes look like in real life?
His fellow infamous serial killer, Ted Bundy, blended in as a normal, even slightly handsome guy. And a picture of Holmes could be confused with a picture of any other well-to-do businessman in 1890s Chicago. Usually seen with a strong, full mustache and a dapper derby or top hat, Holmes appears decidedly unremarkable. Though Jack The Ripper's identity is unknown, he often is presented or thought to have been a deceivingly charming gentleman in a top hat, which is exactly what one might think when looking at a picture of Holmes. Could their similar appearance possibly add to the conspiracy that these two infamous killers are actually one in the same? It is definitely an interesting note in favor of the theory, that's for sure.
In the same way that Bundy was successful at gaining his victims' trust because of his unremarkable appearance and friendly personality, Holmes also conned people into trusting him throughout his entire life. According to Biography, he stole corpses during his time in medical school to run insurance scams and continued his fraud schemes until he was caught and hung for his partner's murder in 1896. His gentlemanly appearance even allowed him to seduce and scam many of the downtrodden women who stayed at his hotel. This was presumably how he was able to successfully commit the 27 murders that he confessed to in a Philidephia newspaper. (Historians can't decide on the exact number of murders he committed, however.)
Whether Jack the Ripper and H.H. Holmes were two separate killers or the same man traveling the globe to commit his heinous deeds, true crime buffs will continue to be fascinated with their crimes. They may have not appeared to be monsters from the outside, but appearances and prejudices can be deceiving.