When you think about serial killers, you probably visualize them coming from big cities and more populated states.  Cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago.  States like California, New York, Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania.  You probably never think of them coming from rural New England.  Who ever heard of a serial killer from Augusta, Waterville, Portland, or Bangor?  Right?

Well, this is going to come as a surprise to you…  The first serial killer in America was from New England!

According to Wikipedia, Herman Webster Mudgett is widely believed to be the first serial killer in the United States of America.

Mudgett was born in Gilmanton, New Hampshire in May of 1861.  He was the middle child of five, having an older brother, an older sister, a younger brother, and a younger sister.  When he was 17, he married a woman named Clara and they had a son named Robert.  After spending a few years working as a teacher, Mudgett moved to Michigan to attend medical school.  Just before he graduated, Clara left Mudgett and moved back to New Hampshire, taking their child with her.

Over the next few years, Mudgett traveled the North East working as a pharmacist.  During that time, several people who had contact with him died under mysterious circumstances.  He was also, allegedly, involved in several insurance scams.

During that time, he also changed his name from Mudgett to Henry Howard Holmes (or, H. H. Holmes).

Holmes really rose to notoriety because of his “murder castle”.  After coming into a sum of money (supposedly, through several murders), Holmes constructed a large hotel in Chicago.  The hotel was loaded with secret passages, air tight rooms (perfect for gassing his victims), and a basement room where he allegedly dismembered his victims.  It is believed that, over the course of the 1893 World’s Fair, Holmes murdered dozens.

In the end, he was caught by law enforcement after Pinkerton detectives tracked him across country following a botched insurance scam.  He was eventually convicted and hanged on May 7th, 1896.

Some people also believe that Mudgett may have been famed British killer Jack The Ripper.  This has yet to be proven, however.

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