Born Herbert Webster Mudgett, Dr. Holmes started his criminal career as a medical student by stealing corpses from the University of Michigan. He used them to collect insurance money from policies taken out under fictitious names.
When he moved to Chicago he started a drugstore empire from which he made a fortune. He built a hundred-room mansion complete with gas chambers, trap doors, acid vats, lime pits, fake walls and secret entrances. During 1893 World's Fair he rented rooms to visitors. He killed most of his renters and continued his insurance fraud scheme. He also lured women to his "torture castle" with the promise of marriage. Instead, he would force them to sign over their savings. After he would throw them down an elevator shaft and gas them to death. In the basement of the castle he dimembered and skinned his prey and experimented with thier corpses. When police grew suspicious about H.H.'s activities, he torched the castle and fled. In the burnt hulk of the building , authorities found the remains of over two hundred people. H.H. was caught and hanged on May, 7, 1896, leaving behind an impressive trail of blood unequaled for almost eighty years.