This week’s research topic for me has been H.H. Holmes, one of Chicago’s most prolific serial killers. Getting to the bottom of this story is just about impossible; when you get right down to the old files, you find entire storylines and characters that never turn up in any of the books nowadays, and some stories that changed a lot after 1895. The fact that Holmes had countless aliases makes it even trickier to find his trail.
Take, for instance, the case of Emily Van Tassel, one of his supposed victims. Most things written since 1896 say that she was an employee (usually a secretary) of Holmes who worked for him at the murder castle. However, prior to 1896, every mention of her said that she worked at Frank Wilde’s fruit and candy store on the North side and disappeared after meeting Holmes three or four times. At the time, it was suspected that Frank Wilde may not have existed, but, in fact, that candy store was actually run by Holmes, but this is tough to confirm, especially in that the tribune gave two slightly different addresses for the place. I hope to have an update about this north side candy store – and the Van Tassel residence – very soon!
While digging through the archives, I finally found a good, legible copy of the Murder Castle map.
Sorry about the watermark, but a certain person has been ripping us off a lot lately.
update: for several more diagrams, drawings, and everything else you need to know about the castle, right down to the combination to the soundproof vault, check out our Murder Castle ebook, newly expanded for 2014:
Just 3.99 on Kindle!
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