Case study on Dr. H. H. Holmes

Topics: H. H. Holmes, Serial killer, The Devil in the White City Pages: 4 (1256 words) Published: October 23, 2013
Kristin Parramore-Eaker
Clinical Psychology
Case study of Dr. H.H. Holmes

Case Overview
Dr. H.H. Holmes is considered America's first serial killer. The number of victims is estimated to be 27, and later discoveries of corpses revealed as many as 200. Holmes initially committed crimes such as fraud and forgery. In 1893 he built a three story building and named it the "castle" as a hotel, drug store, and commercial store fronts for the Chicago World's Fair. Holmes used the windowless hotel to lure his victims in to torture and kill. He was arrested by Pinkertons for horse thieving in 1895. While the investigations for fraud and theft were ongoing police discovered his connection to his assistant Benjamin Pitezel, and three of his children. Holmes was put on trial for the murder confessing to 27 murders claiming to be the devil himself (Lane & Gregg, 1994). The Biological, Psychological, and Social Factors

Dr. Henry Holmes was born Henry Mudgett in Gilmantown, New Hampshire 1860. Holmes was born to an affluent family and there is no sign of neglect in the family history. Henry’s family claimed he had above level intelligence at an early age. His father was noted as a stern man that never spared the rod in his punishment of Henry. Henry’s mother was devoutly religious and read the bible often to him as a child. There is no documented history of mental, physical, or sexual abuse in Henry’s family or childhood (Beasley, 2004). There is no biological history of abnormalities in his family history. The only negative psychological history in childhood is Henry’s claims he was bullied classmates who dragged him to his doctor’s office and forced him to touch a skeleton after discovering that Henry was scared of his doctor. After the incident, Holmes developed a fascination and obsession with death. This is reportedly the beginning of the killing and experimental surgeries on animals (Beasley, 2004). Henry was suspected of the involvement in his best friend’s...

References: Beasley, J. O. (2004). Serial murder in America: case studies of seven offenders. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 22(3), 395-414.
Heide, K. M., & Keeney, B. (1995). Serial murder: A more accurate and inclusive definition. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 39(4), 299-306.
Iserson, K. V. (2002). Demon doctors: Physicians as serial killers. Galen Press.
Kennedy, J. E. (2006). Facing evil.
Lane, B., & Gregg, W. (1994). The encyclopedia of serial killers. Ace Books.
Myers, W. C. (2002). Demon Doctors: Physicians as Serial Killers: JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 288(22), 2896-2897.
Schechter, H. (2012). The A to Z encyclopedia of serial killers. Simon and Schuster.
Schmid, D. (2006). Natural born celebrities: Serial killers in American culture. University of Chicago Press.
Seltzer, M. (1998). Serial killers: Death and life in America 's wound culture. Psychology Press.
Wilson, C., & Seaman, D. (2011). The serial killers: A study in the psychology of violence. Random House.
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