Dr H.H. Holmes
Myrta and me had a child Lucy Theodate Holmes, born July 4, 1889. I also had a mistress Julia Smythe, who helped out at the check in desk. Julia was a whore, but then again, I did have those good looks and charming mien. Her husband Ned Conner was running a jewelry counter in my pharmacy. They rented an apartment there too, with their daughter Pearl. When he got wind of the dirty, he just upped and ran, which made me feel the better man. That made me want to kill him just for fun. Killing people isn’t just about necessity, like you might surmise from the tales of wars like the great Civil, all that valorous bullshit ethos. No, people will go to war to kill people just for fun, or thrill, take your pick.
O.K., so the Castle was growing nicely, and the Expo was coming to town. You may have heard of the famous one in London in 1851, at the Crystal Palace (which burnt down), and my must that have bee quite a show. Well, for some reason unknown to bee, some Joes in office thought it would bee Jim dandy to invite the show over here, to that ever-expanding shitheel-ville-metropolis. And their Joes must have bee on laudanum since they agreed and it up and took and came, like a carney troupe, or maybe our Joes just imitated theirs, I really don’t know. That meant a whole bunch of people would be coming outta town, and they would want accommodation, and they would bee unknown here, and I could take them as easy as a dog will take a piece of jerky, or a bumbler bee a nice poesy. It seemed I was the apple in Satan’s eye.
So, I had to make the Castle ship-shape and ready; come on, even serial killers have standards – I was house proud. Initially, I had to make the beds up, then I got a filly to do it. I really did make sure the place was perfect, in ways that were typical. But then there were the amendments. And the amendments were a very tricky affair, because it was a ‘House of Horrors’ for Chrissakes, and I’d be letting you down if I hadn’t made it into the promoted outlet. It was going to be just what you’d envisaged from what you’d read, and lashings and lashings beyond (so you might want to thank me, like in a beéance) (And I should add, that you must be a bunch of sick S.O.Bs to be reading this so far, your appetite whetted, just waiting for the juicy stuff to materialize. Don’t worry, I understand – completely)
You see, I was something of a conjurer by nature, even if I didn’t properly know it, and I was inclined to perform tricks, and those would become to kill people. It was smoke and mirror stuff, and smoke was certainly a part of it, but it was of an invisible kind, like knockout-vapor.
I’d known about it for some time subliminally at least. Under the eave on 63rd and Wallace corner. Those vicious white-faced toy-like little critters had been busy-busy and built a whole Papier-Mache castle trying to rival mine in the miniature, no doubt. (My do they get on to the job sharpish - I must have been remiss). It was a large slightly-bluish-grey affair. I noticed them when inspecting the outside and one came and buzzed me, like I was a shitheel come to wreak havoc unto their nation, and promptly delivered the coupe-de-G, on my right earlobe, which subsequently swelled a good deal. No warnings 1.2. or 3 – bam! I had honestly had respect for their creed, but was deeply offended, appalled. Unable to tolerate that, this is what I did: I leant out the window with a hoe and a big hessian sack held open with a withy ring and severed the offending nest and into the sack it fell, like the noddle of a French aristo, then popped the withy ring and tied up sharply. Then I watched as the crew came back to…well nothing at all, saw their confusion, and laughed like I was Mr Smartypants allover, on laudanum as it happened.
Now, there were some really dirty, perverted hobos – just like Caleb – in the park not so far away, and I had some mischief in my mind (like from the early days), and I thought up a scheme, and it went like this: I placed a full bottle of bourbon in that buzzing sack (don’t think I was completely unfair), and that was a nifty affair, some escapees but no stings, the bottle top just protruding and tied up, so a hobo (or anyone you please), would see that treasure in there and come investigate, and as strange as the encompassing arrangement appeared, likely avail themselves. I surreptitiously dumped it under a catalpa-tree and scarpered a good viewing distance, then waited for the unlucky customer, and I waited for nearly two hours until just about evening, when this terrible-looking wretch came and had a sniff at it and promptly walked off for pickings elsewhere. Not long after, a pair of equally dejected types came, and they were sold hook line and sinker. (By then, you’d have thought the captives were so riled, the whole business would have taken flight, like a balloon, the bottle dangling down.) They seemed to fight over it, but who could say. Anyhow, they ripped it open like hounds will rip ole Reynard after their baying hunt comes good. Oh my, did I laugh fantastic. The sight of them fleeing the scene, like they were dancing a jig, a reel, mad-capering as they hied it like a pair of bona fide shitheels afire, and being such, they left the bourbon pat, and I recovered it once the baldies had dispersed to where I don’t know except it wasn’t home. A marvelous evening’s entertainment, that spectacle along with the L.
It has been stated that the Castle wasn’t a hostel at all (I mean the designated portions), just apartments. Well, I don’t get the Goddamn difference, since the rooms I let were to transients, some of whom stayed a few hours, some a day, some a week, some a month, and some of them were 24 carat shitheels, and some of them stayed until they were exhumed, or if you consider that their flesh and ashes were assimilated into the cellar ground, they never left at all. The Castle was a Goddamn compound business/hostel affair, nothing like the Ritz I’ll grant you; no fancy catering or room service (well there was something along those lines, but a whole lot different from theirs), but the Ritz never retained their clientele the way I did. Anyhow, I was really getting the place ready for those unfortunate guests, getting the whole shebang perfect for the visitors, like a demon carney show, the ingenious perfectionist that I was. If there was some envoy of Satan that rated such places, he’d have given me five of whatever symbols, at least when it was truly finished.
One day in May 1893, I rented room number 18 to a pair of quite well-dressed very pretty young women that I took for whores, although I think the modern term would be escorts, since they were so refined. By that time, my peepholes were coming along nicely, and that room had six (three doubles), in the interconnected crawlspace between the rooms 17, 19, and the exterior below the window (the Castle made no sense architecturally, if you were to really survey it), and I told them that I’d charge them three cents extra for any other ‘guests’ that came up there, and they agreed, and seemed somewhat abashed. Well, whatever they were going to get up to in there I was going to see for free, S-P that I was.
Well, I had work to do on the premises, so wasn’t aware of what was going on in there for the most part of the early evening, a lot of banging going on on my part. Then Julia came up and said a woman had come to stay with the ladies of dubious repute, and would I let her in. Well, when I came down and saw her, the answer was hell-yeah – she was the best looking of the troupe. I was starting to think about that scenario, so hung around up there awhile after she’d gone in. There was a lot of laughter and some whooping, and the sound of corks being popped, and I knew they were up to some kind of dickens but couldn’t quite fathom what. I just thought, let it mature for an hour or two then go in the crawlspace and have a peep, test those peepholes out.
When the noise from there became really quite too much, I felt it was time to check up on them, and if Julia had let some ‘guests’ in without them paying, or kept any money, I’d be plenty riled. I went in there from room 17 and crawled and took up position by room 19, which had the better view of the bed. What I saw going on would turn a Methodist preacher’s hair white or drop him stone-cold dead: it was quite extraordinary, the three of them up to such carnal dickens as I never knew went on, even though I knew what the likes of Caleb got up to, and what really got me was the instrument that resembled a man’s…you know what I mean! They were making sounds that were quite enchanting, and the whole business gave me the bulge, but I felt that I should put a stop to it, it being so unnatural – but I didn’t.
So, the Expo was nearly here and there were some prospective guests sniffing around through agents, even though I hadn’t made it entirely clear I was open for business for outta-towners, even though it was nearing high season. And I must admit that I wasn’t entirely on the job. I mean, there were some rooms free, but others were occupied by people I wanted rid of, whether they left or stayed. I was giving serious consideration to exactly how I would get onto the primary business, which was to kill those people that I thought I could and get away with. And what exactly was the point in killing them? Well…Apart from it being fun, and so in a kind of sexual way, and to dissect them to see what was going on in there, and out of pure evil, I really couldn’t say – but it was on the cards, and those were aces high.
Julia and her daughter Pearl were getting on my nerves, for various reasons including that Julia – who couldn’t afford rent – was asking for more pay, and she was making noises intimating informing Myrta on the dirty if I didn’t cough up, and she intimated I’d intimated doing the dirty with and to Pearl (who was about that age) which was partly true. I had a distinct feeling that their lives had been over-lived. I was having some very strange dreams about that time, including one in which I had a huge yellajacket nest attached to my back, and another in which I was a brook trout and was about to eat a yellajacket then it went and flew off then stung my noddle, and another in which there was a huge nest surrounding the Castle and I had to register with the commandant each time I went in and out, and he sat at a desk – and although human – had his retractable stinger protruding under it, so long that it was a gatekeep. I was going to kill them. Dissect them. And this is how it went: Julia was clearly pregnant, and I suggested so given her dimensions had changed so, as had her mien, and having pointed this out she said, well now you mention it, I have the impression that might be true, and I’d rather not be, and while we’re at it, Pearl has been mentioning problems in that department too, cramps, itching, pain, etc, etc the naughty girl she is, and me being a doctor, could I help to solve those problems? Well yes, I could, and then you’d shut your Goddamn trap about spilling the beans on the dirty and more pay, and I gave her an elaborate but plausible short anatomical lesson on the area in question, then explained the possible issues therein, then a possible course of treatment, and it was a sale. But with their means they couldn’t pay could they! Well, they could: I’d get my pound of flesh (to bee or not to bee).
With the ‘appointment’, I took them down to the cellar, promptly knocked them out with chloroform. I performed the most awful, savage backstreet surgery on them imaginable using a stout piece of wire bent for the purpose with a thick cork handle, and they simply never recovered from it down there. And that is where they stayed, until I cut them up and burnt their bits in the boiler-furnace, and they were cremated without ceremony.
I had to take laudanum after that to fell the bad emotions and felt the coward for it. I had a very strange sense that I had done something wrong when I disposed of the bodies in that incinerator, because I had the impression that the soil of the cellar was after it for nutrition, to keep the whole premises alive. The Castle had grown prodigiously and rewarded me well, but it was distinctly obvious that there was a quid pro quo, a debt to be paid up. Well, people dropped like flies, and there were plenty of them to feed the Castle, as greedy as it might have bee.