When Dr. Holmes concocted a potion, he did it with a flare as if he knew what he was doing. He had long surgeon’s fingers and well as a handsome face that got serious and blue eyes that shone. He was a gentleman of fashion and had a charming personality. His wit and humorous manner brought many new customers to the drug store, especially young ladies from the neighborhood. Dr. Holmes became a familiar face as he strolled down the street. Two years after Mrs. Dr. Holden supposedly moved out west, he bought a large lot across the street from the drug store. He planned to build it into a hotel for the Columbian Exposition in 1893. No one knew what he actually called the hotel, but to everyone else, it is known as “The Murder Castle.”
The structure was three stories high and had a basement along with false basements and wooden bay windows that were covered with sheet iron. There were 60 rooms with 51 doors that were cut oddly into walls. He acted as his own construction manager. He supervised many construction people, whom of which he fired and hired many times because he didn’t want anyone to know the layout of the full building. He would never pay them a cent, complaining about their work. As far as anyone can know, he never paid a single cent for anything that went into the building. Even with the weird design on the building, it also had trap doors, hidden staircases, secret passages, rooms without windows, and chutes that led into the basement and a staircase that opened out over a steep drop to the alley behind the house. There was even more to it than that!
“The first floor of the building contained stores and shops, while the upper floors could be used for spacious living quarters. Holmes also had an office on the second floor, but most of the rooms were to be used for guests -- guests that would never be seen again. Evidence would later be found to show that Holmes used some of the rooms as "asphyxiation chambers", where his victims were suffocated with gas. Other chambers were lined with iron plates and had blowtorch-like devices fitted into the walls. In the basement, Holmes installed a dissecting table and maintained his own crematory. There was also an acid vat and pits filled with quicklime, where bodies could be conveniently disposed of.”
He even had alarms that were hooked up to tell him when his victims w
ere trying to escape. It was finally finished in 1982 when Holmes told the public that he would rent out some of the rooms to tourist who came for the festival. Many of the people who went to the fair went missing. No less than 50 who were reported missing were traced to that place. That is where their trail ended. He would use other methods of gathering victims also. He would place fake ads in small town newspapers. The ads advertised jobs in his very secret business. He would lure the girls in with promises of a good job. All they had to do was pack they’re things as well as gather all of their money because they would need it to start off. When he was sure that they didn’t tell anyone of his “secret business,” he would hire them, and then they were doomed. He also placed marriage ads in the newspapers. They would get the same story about the job, and when they accepted, he would torture them into telling him where all their valuables are. He would keep these women and girls until he decided to dispose of them. He would torture them in soundproof and escape proof chambers fitted with gas lines that permitted him to asphyxiate the women at any time. He would do horrific things such as burn the flesh off of them or constantly cuts and carve them. Once dead, the victims' bodies went by chute to the basement, where they were either sold to medical schools or cremated and placed in lime pits for destruction. With all of those women going missing, he still did not get caught. He did this for four years! In that span of time, he slaughtered an unknown number of people, mostly women. Following the World Fair, he moved away from Chicago. He traveled around and killed where ever he went. It’s still not certain the number of people he murdered.