Fun Fact: H. H. Holmes Attended the University of Michigan
I had no idea that the infamous serial killer, H.H. Holmes, had ties to the University of Michigan.
Just yesterday, I was watching the very cheesy but entertaining show Haunted History on Hulu. The show covers different haunted locations, like Gettysburg, asylums, Salem, and a place called the Murder Mansion.
The Murder Mansion, of course, belonged to H.H. Holmes. I won't get into specific details about what he did because they are particularly gruesome. But, just in case you, dear reader, have somehow gone your entire life avoiding details about this monster, I'll give you a quick synopsis.
H.H. Holmes was born Herman Mudgett in 1861 in Wisconsin. He was considered intelligent and a charmer. Women were said to swoon over the man and he often could procure loans on properties without any money down. Or at least, that's according to the above-mentioned episode of Haunted History (S:1 Ep. 3).
While working as a pharmacist in Chicago, the man built a literal house of horrors and disguised it as a place to stay for out-of-town visitors during world fairs and expos. The house included secret doors and passageways, trapdoors, doors that locked only from the outside, gas lines that led directly to rooms, soundproof rooms, and beyond.
The man, finally being arrested for insurance fraud later in his life, confessed to 27 murders initially but later changed that number to more than 130. However, according to britannica.com, some researchers estimate that the number was well over 200.
Since I was interested in true crime when I was younger, I already knew the majority of that information before watching the episode of Haunted History.
What I didn't know is that this man attended the University of Michigan.
What Did He Study?
Medicine. Which, is a scary thought. But, he was apparently a "mediocre student".
Classmates remembered him as a sneak with,
an unnatural liking for dissection who once obtained permission to take a body home with him to cut up over spring vacation.
That's according to an article from the University of Michigan. So, it sounds like the signs were there.
However, Holmes is considered America's first serial killer so, you can't really blame the professors, family members, or peers for not immediately raising red flags about his behavior.
Holmes met his fate in 1894 and the Murder Mansion was torn down. Thank goodness. And while it is, for lack of a better term, a bummer that he's tied to U of M, it is but a small smudge on the school's otherwise rich history.
If you love the spooky, scary, or macabre, there's a list of spooky movies that actually have ties to Michigan. Check it out: