'Devil in the White City': The true story behind Keanu Reeves' TV series produced by Leonardo DiCaprio

Dr HH Holmes claimed to have killed at least 27 people, most of whom he’d lured to built his 'Murder Castle'


                            'Devil in the White City': The true story behind Keanu Reeves' TV series produced by Leonardo DiCaprio
Dr HH Holmes (L) was born as Herman Webster Mudgett in New Hampshire in 1861 (Robin L Marshall and Amy Sussman/Getty Images and Wikimedia)
ADVERTISEMENT

Keanu Reeves is all set to star in a TV adaptation of Erik Larson’s 'The Devil in the White City', the bestselling non-fiction thriller about a killer, Dr HH Holmes, and the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. ‘The Matrix’ star, who is also on board as an executive producer, will play the role of an architect, Daniel H Burnham, in the series which is set for a 2024 release with eight episodes on Hulu.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to Giant Freaking Robot, the series is also executive produced by Martin Scorsese, Rick Yorn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Davisson, Stacey Sher, Sam Shaw, Todd Field, and Mark Lafferty. Stacey is also on board as writer and showrunner, whereas Todd is on board now to direct the series. It has been confirmed that the role of the architect will be played by the 57-year-old Keanu; however, the other central role of the serial killer HH Holmes has yet to be cast.

ADVERTISEMENT

READ MORE

Is 'The Serpent' based on a true story? Inside bone-chilling saga of Charles Sobhraj aka the 'Bikini Killer'

Is Brian Laundrie a serial killer? Bizarre theory erupts after discovery of bodies

ADVERTISEMENT

The true story of serial killer Dr HH Holmes

HH Holmes was born as Herman Webster Mudgett in New Hampshire in 1861. After graduating high school at 16, he changed his name to Henry Howard Holmes and later became known as HH Holmes.

He studied medicine at a small school in Vermont before being accepted into the University of Michigan Medical School. According to Britannica, he moved to Chicago in 1886 and took a job as a pharmacist under the name, Dr HH Holmes. And soon, started killing people in order to capture their property. The house he built for himself, which is known as 'Murder Castle,' was equipped with secret passages, trapdoors, soundproof rooms, doors that could be locked from the outside, gas jets to asphyxiate victims, and a kiln to cremate the bodies. After construction was complete in 1891, he placed ads in newspapers offering jobs for young women and portrayed it as a place of lodging, according to Crime Museum.

ADVERTISEMENT

As per the site of Crime Museum, the first floor had several stores, the other two upper levels had his office and over 100 rooms that were used as living quarters. All of Holmes’ employees, hotel guests, fiancés, and wives were required to have life insurance policies.

In 1893, he was arrested for insurance fraud after a fire broke out at his home, but he was soon released. This got followed by defrauding an insurance company with his associate, Ben Pitezel, by faking Ben’s death. Soon, they received $10,000, they went to Colorado, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas, where they committed other frauds. However, this came under notice of insurance investigators. While returning to Missouri, he was arrested for fraud and got jailed in St Louis for a short period. After his release, he traveled to Philadelphia and killed Pitezel. Holmes claimed to have killed at least 27 people, most of whom he’d lured to built his castle. And finally, in May 1896, he was hanged.

ADVERTISEMENT