More on Dr. H.Holmes


Your readers may enjoy Erik Larson’s telling of Dr. H.Holmes’ exploits in “The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America”. Larson tells of the heroic efforts to pull off the Chicago World’s Fair in parallel with the demonic actions of Holmes preying on the innocents at the end of the 19th century.

Many of the daily conveniences we take for granted in today’s world were just being conceived and developed during this time period. The Chicago World’s Fair was huge undertaking to exploit and expand the latest technologies for world display. Along with the technology changes, massive social change was underway as well. Holmes was an opportunist who took advantage of this turmoil for his own ends.

It’s a great read!

It is the Chicago World’s Fair that is alluded to in the “alabaster cities” line of America the Beautiful, and it was also the inspiration for the Emerald City of Oz.

I heartily agree with the OP. It’s a great book, engrossing and informative. (Only one tiny flaw that I found - Larson refers to Chicago’s “Miracle Mile,” rather than the correctly named “Magnificent Mile.”)

what’s the deal with lime pits? what does lime do to bones or what not?

Lime, alias quicklime, alias calcium oxide, dissolves bones. It has sometimes been used as a final insult to executed traitors.

There is of course, the case of Harry Dobkin. He murdered his wife in the early 1940’s but didn’t know the difference between quicklime and Builder’s Lime. He used Builder’s Lime, which preserved the body and assisted in his murder conviction.

I actually have a piece of H. H. Holmes history. I own a few teeth from a skeleton sold to a university by H. H. Holmes. It was displayed for years in a touring sideshow. Is it possible that the teeth belong to one of his victims? Perhaps. Is it plausable? Probably not.