ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

I am always excited for whatever role Leonardo DiCaprio throws himself into, not only because he is an incredibly talented actor, but also because the characters he chooses are like no other. And his upcoming persona is perhaps the most enigmatic of all!

As it stands, rumors are ripe that Leo will be stepping into the shoes of prolific serial killer H. H. Holmes, pushing the legendary actor to portray one of the darkest figures in American history. Ahead of this, let's educate ourselves on who this grisly character really was. Here's everything you need to know about the infamous serial killer H. H. Holmes.

1. His real name was Herman Webster Mudget

Born in May 16, 1861.

2. He was badly bullied by his classmates

Taunting him following the discovery that he was terrified of the local doctor, the bullies forced him to stare and touch a human skeleton. However, what was meant to scare the young boy actually led to his fascination with death.

3. In 1878, he married his first wife Clara

The same year, he commits his first murder of a former classmate. This is the first of many life insurance scams.

4. Holmes worked at a drugstore, that he eventually bought out

With this, he begins his extensive life insurance murder plot. To achieve this, he claims that any female employees that work in the store must take out life insurance policies as a condition of employment, of which he must be named the beneficiary. Naturally, these women do not last long in their position before they are mercilessly murdered by Holmes.

5. Between 1891 - 1892, Holmes builds his Murder Castle in Chicago

On paper, it is a hotel for the World's Columbian Exposition.

6. Holmes's murder castles contained the following:

  • 51 doorways that opened to brick walls
  • 100 windowless rooms
  • Stairways leading to nowhere, with dead ends
  • 2 furnaces
  • Oddly angled walls
  • Body shoots to the incinerator

7. He killed his victims in grotesque ways

Amongst other methods, he asphyxiated them in soundproofed bedrooms fixed with gas lines, while locking others in a huge bank vault. Eventually, all of them met the same fate, being stripped of flesh and being made into skeleton models for medical schools.

8. By January 1894, Holmes had 3 wives and at least one girlfriend

None of theses women knew about each other.

9. One man led to his gradual downfall!

Holmes set his sights on a man named Benjamin Pitezel, who he convinced to fake his own death for a $10,000 life insurance policy. The agreement was that Holmes would find a corpse to act like his dead body -- instead, the killer didn't stick to his word and killed Pitezel instead. A month long chase ensues as Pitezel's wife searched for her husband and her kidnapped children. On November 14, Holmes is arrested in Boston.

10. Holmes was tried for the murder of Pitezel and confessed to another 27 murders, 6 attempted

In reality, however, he is believed to have killed up to 250 people, many of which could not be proved.

11. He was paid by newspapers and publications in exchange for his confession

He enthusiastically gave many accounts of his life, admitting he was possessed by the Devil. Because of his extensive obsession with money, researchers later found it difficult to distinguish his lies from the truth. Some words attributed to him were:

"I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than a poet can help the inspiration to sing."

12. He was hanged at Moyamensing Prison on May 7, 1896

Apparently, his neck failed to snap immediately and he died slowly, erratically twitching for over 15 minutes before he was pronounced dead.

13. His request to be buried in concrete was granted

He wanted this so not nobody would ever dissect his own body, a concept he ironically greatly feared for himself.

Is Leonardo DiCaprio perfect for the role?



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