Graveyard Shift

Terrifying Death Traps From A Real Serial Killer’s Murder Castle

Plenty of hotels have a few ghost stories to their name, but the sinister presence that stalked and murdered visitors to the World's Fair Hotel—widely known today as the spooky Chicago Murder Castle—was very human. The castle was a sprawling three-story labyrinth of deadly traps and torture chambers designed by one of the most twisted serial killers in American history, Herman Webster Mudgett, better known as H. H. Holmes. Nobody knows exactly how many people Holmes really killed, but before his death, he confessed to at least 27 murders—which, according to his descendant Jeff Mudget, might have even included the killings of Jack the Ripper.

The true nature of H. H. Holmes's murder castle was kept so secret that not even its architects understood the whole layout. Holmes used the hotel's confusing, claustrophobic design to isolate and trap his victims, and until his capture in 1894, he was the only one who knew every grisly secret of the building. The Chicago Tribune published a lurid description of all the crazy death traps in Holmes's murder castle in an 1895 article, and any unsuspecting former guests finally found out about the horrific ways H. H. Holmes murdered people in soundproof, airtight, pitch-black rooms just a wall away.

Today, a post office occupies the same land where the Murder Castle once stood. Maintenance workers have reported feeling and seeing strange things in the basement, where Holmes kept the nightmarish collection of tools and torture devices that many visitors only discovered when it was too late.

Read on about H. H. Holmes's devious murder traps. They may just make you think twice about booking your next hotel room.