Sure, I have a shower you can use.....

The Bates Motel is a prime example of why you should always stay at a Holiday Inn Express.

Motels sometimes have an unsavory reputation. They're dirty, roach-infested, flea-ridden, rent-by-the-hour dumps. They're the cheap, road-side stops that you stay in only if you have to. At least, that's the reputation some have.

And, no, in case you're wondering, I'm not going to explain the part about the Holiday Inn Express. Figure it out yourself.

Hotels, on the other hand, are generally thought of as nicer places to stay. One of the reasons is, hotels are usually chains, and motels are usually not. But, there are hotels that you really don't want to stay in.


One of them was built to house visitors to the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893. At least, that's what the owner claimed.

Herman Webster Mudgett graduated medical school in 1884. It seemed like he was headed towards a prosperous life. He had a wife, Clara, and a son. He also had a bank accout with a small chunk of savings.

You may wonder how a man who put himself through medical school, while supporting a wife and son, could save any money. It turns out, Mudgett would steal bodies from the lab and mutilate them. He then filled out fake death certificates for them so he could collect the money from the life insurance policies he took out on them.


Shortly after graduating, Mudgett moved to Chicago, leaving wife and child behind in New Hampshire, to start a pharmaceutical business. To supplement his income, he made some questionable deals in business and real estate under the alias H. H. Holmes.

In 1887, Mudgett/Holmes married a woman named Myrta, and together, they had a daughter. It wasn't until after the marriage that he decided to ask Clara for a divorce. It was never finalized, so he was married to two different women.

He wasn't done, though. In 1894, while in Denver, he married a woman named Georgette. Of course, he was still married to Clara and Myrta. And while married to all three, he had an affair with Julia.


So, Mudgett was a busy man. Somehow, though, he found time to get a business up and running. Well, not really. In 1885 he met Dr. E. S. Holton in Chicago. Holton had a drugstore, a wife, and cancer. Mudgett charmed the wife and she gave him a job working in the drugstore while she cared for her dying husband.

It didn't take long for Holton to succumb to the cancer, and while his wife was greiving, Mudgett convinced her to sell the drugstore to him. For her, the deal was sweet. She got to continue living upstairs, and he paid her about $100 a month. (hey, that was good money back then)

Before long, Mudgett couldn't afford to pay the widow, though. She started talking about taking legal action. Then, one day, she was gone. Mudgett told everyone she had gone to California to visit relatives. After she had been gone a while, he told people she loved California so much, she decided to stay.


Using his shady business dealings, he was able to purchase the lot across from the drugstore. He started construction on a block-long hotel. Or, as the people in the neighborhood called it, a castle.

Construction was completed in time for the hotel to open for the Chicago Worlds Fair in 1893. He had reserved the ground floor for the drugstore, which he relocated, and other shops. The second floor, where his office was, also had one hundred windowless rooms. And hallways and doors that went nowhere. And doors you couldn't open from the inside.

What Mudgett did was, to take women, and trap them in one of the rooms on the second floor. Most were sound proof. Some of the women were his employees and some were guests at the hotel. Since the women were trapped, he killed them at his leisure.


Some were suffocated in air tight rooms, while others were gassed. All were disposed of by dumping them down a chute into the basement.

In the basement, Mudgett would dissect some and reassemble their skeletons. Others had their organs harvested, and some were just disposed of in a large boiler, or a pit of lime.

Using his connections he made while in medical school, he had no problems selling his skeletons to medical schools, and the harvested organs to hospitals.


Mudgett made money, but not enough to support his life style. (not to mention his wives). With creditors starting to hound him, he took off.

He reappeared in Texas, and started going by the Holmes alias. He had a plan to build another 'hotel' in Texas by swindling sisters who had inherited a lot of money. He was going to marry one, but ended up killing both. Finding the police in Texas to be a bit sharper than in Chicago, he decided to leave.

He was caught and jailed in St. Louis for a short period when a horse swindle went wrong. He was promptly bailed out and faded from sight again. While jailed, though, he had learned the name of a crooked lawyer. He met with the lawyer and hatched a plan to fake his own death for an insurance claim he would make.


It didn't work. The insurance company had doubts, so they refused to pay. Instead of pushing it, he decided to try again. Except this time, he would have his old buddy Benjamin Pitezel fake his death. He had met Pitezel when he had been a worker building the original hotel in Chicago.

Instead of finding a cadaver to use, Holmes just killed Pitezel. (it was easier). He split the proceeds with Pitezels widow, (she thought he was hiding in London), and they took off on a round about trip to 'join' him. Somehow Holmes convinced the widow to allow three of their four children to travel with him.

They traveled to Toronto where Holmes stayed with one of his wives. (she had no clue about what was going on). While in Toronto, he killed two of the children. Then he took the third child and went to Indianapolis. There he killed the boy.


But things were starting to unravel for Holmes.

The person in the St. Louis jail who gave Holmes the name of the crooked lawyer had never received his promised cut. So he decided to spill the beans about the plot. This got the police looking. And they started to find things.

And the things they found caught the notice of the Pinkertons.

In November of 1894, while in Boston with his third wife, (who was clueless about everything), the Pinkertons caught up with him. They held him on a warrant from Texas and he was refused bail as he and his wife had been planing on leaving the country.


While being held. the police finally woke up. They traced his path back, and ended up connecting him to the hotel. While questioning the caretaker, the police were told no one was allowed on the second floor, or in the basement.

The jig, as they say, was finally up.

Mudgett/Holmes was put on trial for the murder of Pitezel, and was convicted. Upon his conviction, he confessed to 30 more murders. He was sentenced to death.


On May 7th, 1896, Mudgett/Holmes was hung in Philadelphia. As a bit of delayed justice, the hangman miscalculated, and his neck did not snap when he dropped. He twitched for 15 minutes as he slowly strangled to death.

None of his wives ever knew a thing bout his secret life.

Twenty Seven victims have been verified to have been killed by Mudgett/Holmes. Some people say the number could be as high as 200. Records at the time weren't as good as they are now, so it's hard to say.


One thing I will say is, make sure you trust the next hotel you stay in.