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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Two Names, One Killer?

Our interview with Jeff Mudgett this past Sunday night is now up on podcast - - it can also be found at Stitcher at This is a brutal and riveting story centered around his great-great grandfather Herman Webster Mudgett...better known as H. H. Holmes, America's 1st and most notorious serial killer.

In his book Bloodstains Jeff also theorizes that H. H. Holmes may have been the infamous fiend 'Jack the Ripper.' The evidence presented in the book and during the interview is compelling. In fact, I was so impressed by what I heard I plan to research this caveat on my own.

I'm not going to go into detail, but during the time period that the Ripper murders occurred, Holmes was not seen or accounted for. He later returned to Chicago. Here is the link with the entire timeline.

The following narrative is an interesting original 1888 account from the British press referencing the 'Whitechapel Murderer':

Infamous Whitechapel Murderer Suggested to be “Mad Scientist”


All Sorts of Frivolous Theories as to the Whitechapel Murderer Discussed

LONDON, 8 Oct. 1888 –In deference to the general desire that bloodhounds be used in the search of the Whitechapel murderer, the police have procured several of these animals and put them in training. They are not stationed at Whitechapel district, however, but are located in stalls in out-of-the-way places, so that nobody will know from what quarter to expect them.

An American who used to live in New York keeps an herb shop now in the Whitechapel district. A detective called at his place this week and asked him if he had sold any unusual compound of herbs to a customer since August. Similar inquiries were made at other shops in the neighborhood. The basis of this investigation has a startling Shakespearean flavor. An eminent engineer in London suggested to the the police the theory that the murderer was a medical maniac trying to find the elixir of life, and was looking for the essential ingredients in the parts taken from the murdered bodies; that, like the witches in “Macbeth,” he spent the time over a bubbling cauldron of the hellbroth made from the gory ingredients, looking for the charm.

When 'Bloodstains' was published, Jeff Mudgett's theory was highlighted by the media:

H.H. Holmes Was Jack The Ripper? Great-Great Grandson Of Chicago Serial Killer Floats Theory

Could two of the most notorious serial killers of the 19th century be the same man?

That's what Jeff Mudgett, the great-great grandson of Chicago murderer H.H. Holmes believes. Mudgett says that writing samples from his notorious ancestor examined by experts suggest that Holmes and Jack the Ripper are, in fact, the same person, the Daily Mail reports.

One handwriting analyst fed the two samples into a computer program that determined there was a 97.95 percent chance the samples are a match, WGN reported. The theory is also presented in Mudgett's book, "Bloodstains."

Holmes, who admitted to killing 27 people in the late 1890s, also apparently had a similar modus operandi to Jack the Ripper. After killing his victims, Holmes would dissect the corpses, selling the skeletons to medical schools, according to the Daily Mail.

Jack the Ripper mutilated the internal organs of his victims, which caused many to believe the killer was surgically trained.

The Chicago Sun Times reports that Holmes allegedly traveled to London in 1888, the year of the Ripper's murders.

Mudgett blasted critics who said his theory is trumped up to sell books. On his website, the author said, "Anyone familiar with writing these days knows there may be a hundred, maybe two, writers making a living these days from what turns out for the majority a hobby. And self-published first timers, well forget it." - THP

There have been dozens of suspects named as possibly being 'Jack the Ripper.' Here are just a few links that offer arguments to the identity:

Jack the Ripper's identity finally uncovered?

OK....Who Was 'Jack the Ripper' Really?

Police make bizarre legal battle to keep Jack the Ripper files secret so Victorian sources keep their 'confidentiality'

Is this Jack the Ripper? Scotland Yard's Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline named as serial killer in new investigation

Is this the face of Jack the Ripper?

Jack the Ripper: Is this six-inch knife used by Victorian serial killer?

British author claims serial killer 'Jack the Ripper' was a woman in new book

Was Chicago doctor serial killer London's Jack the Ripper? Descendant of American murderer investigates links between the notorious criminals


Here's my post in January 2011 after Jeff Mudgett started to publicize his theory:

Jack the Ripper's Identity Discovered via Forensic Evidence...Whoa!

Well, here's a new twist to an old story! Author Jeff Mudgett, the great, great grandson of the first documented American serial killer, has offered proof, believed to be substantial enough to withstand any court's inquiries, allegedly showing his distant relative, H. H. Holmes, was not only the first American serial killer, he was also the man who struck terror into the hearts of 19th century Londoners.

A Brief Bio of H.H.Holmes

Dr. Henry Howard Holmes (May 16, 1861 – May 7, 1896), was one of the first documented American serial killers in the modern sense of the term. Holmes opened a hotel in Chicago for the 1893 World’s Fair, which he built himself and which was the location of many of his murders. While he confessed to 27 murders, of which nine were confirmed, his actual body count could be higher.

Holmes purchased a lot across from the drugstore which he manipulated a widow to sell to him, where he built his three-story, block-long “Castle”—as it was dubbed by those in the neighborhood. It was opened as a hotel for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, with part of the structure used as commercial space. The ground floor of the Castle contained Holmes’s own relocated drugstore and various shops, while the upper two floors contained his personal office and a maze of over one hundred windowless rooms with doorways opening to brick walls, oddly angled hallways, stairways to nowhere, doors openable only from the outside, and a host of other strange and labyrinthine constructions. Holmes repeatedly changed builders during the construction of the Castle so only he fully understood the design of the house, thus decreasing the chance of being reported to the police.

After the completion of the hotel, Holmes selected mostly female victims from among his employees (many of whom were required as a condition of employment to take out life insurance policies for which Holmes would pay the premiums but also be the beneficiary), lovers and hotel guests, torturing and killing them. Some were locked in soundproof bedrooms fitted with gas lines that let him asphyxiate them at any time. Some victims were locked in a huge soundproof bank vault near his office where they were left to suffocate. The victims’ bodies were dropped by secret chute to the basement, where some were meticulously dissected, stripped of flesh, crafted into skeleton models, and then sold to medical schools. Holmes also cremated some of the bodies or placed them in lime pits for destruction. Holmes had two giant furnaces as well as pits of acid, bottles of various poisons, and even a stretching rack. Through the connections he had gained in medical school, he sold skeletons and organs with little difficulty.

On May 7, 1896, Holmes was hanged at Moyamensing Prison, also known as the Philadelphia County Prison. Until the moment of his death, Holmes remained calm and amiable, showing very few signs of fear, anxiety or depression. Holmes’s neck did not snap immediately; he instead died slowly, twitching over 15 minutes before being pronounced dead 20 minutes after the trap had been sprung. He requested that he be buried in concrete so that no one could ever dig him up and dissect his body, as he had dissected so many others. This request was granted.

NOTE: After listening to the discussion on the interview (I highly recommend you read the book 'Bloodstains'...go to Bloodstains: The Book), tell me what you think of the theory. Like I stated previously, I'm going to 'join the hunt'...I really believe that there may be a connection to this. Lon

Devil's Disciple: The Deadly Dr. H.H. Holmes

The Serial Killer Files: The Who, What, Where, How, and Why of the World's Most Terrifying Murderers

The Encyclopedia of Serial Killers