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Episode 63: Homecoming


Folklore and popular culture are filled with a type of event that seems both unusual and logical: time and time again, criminals return to the source. But as one man proved a century ago, it’s not always easy to go home.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
They call him the handsome bandit, and he was good, looking well groomed and according to the stories, quite a charmer, don't judge a book by its cover, though, yes, but this man was a smooth criminal born in eighteen. Forty five, he was wanted for murder and robbery in two states before the age of sixteen, and it only got worse from their without life of crime. Came with a string of prison terms. The first was a seven year: stay in Missouri State prison, ending with his release in eighteen. Ninety he was back in eighteen. Ninety three four fourteen more years as if he hadn't learned his lesson. Yet he was arrested and convict for burglary in nineteen O. Eight spent
one more year behind bars, and after that he told them it was done. He was ready to behave. The crime was like a well worn path in his life, and it was far too easy to slip back into the right. so on New year's eve of nineteen ten. He put on his best suit his freshly polish shoes, That bowler hat he always wore and headed out into the cold Chicago air. When he entered the pack saloon on West sixteenth Street, you pull the gun in our aid for everyone to fill his sack with their cash and jewelry, and you almost got away with it at last, though a police officer walked in and caught him in the act. Shots were fired. Bullets tore through the clothing of both but only the handsome bandit toppled over he died a few minutes later. Some people see more than a shoot out, though some believe there were other forces at work, a curse. They say
four betraying one of America's most notorious serial killers and even that killer had died. Fourteen years earlier, it was more than logical that the handsome bandit Marian hedge path was his newest victim from beyond the grave who was he well. Hedge path knew him as Henry Howard. That, of course, was just
an alias to you, and I will always be known as H. H, homes, I'm Erin Maggie, and this is lore the man that history has come to know as H. H, homes certainly built a legacy for himself, except his legacy was filled with secret chambers, trap doors, gas balance and a list of victims that some historians think exceeds two hundred
innocent lives, and we ve heard his story here before well. Part of it, you see. The lion's share of historical attention always falls on the castle. The apartment, complex, built by homes that function more like a dungeon than home, sweet home, were filled with a morbid fascination regarding his methods, is madness and its mastery of the art of murder, but in an effort to on over what went on behind the walls of the castle, we miss an entire chapter of his story, but first a reminder: the eighteen, ninety three Chicago worlds, fair that brought his victims into his web. Some came for work, some for pleasure and some for a chance to start anew life, most of them were young women and upon arriving needed a place to stay homes gladly com. it has many ass. He could and thanks to his methods, his tenant turnover rate was well risk.
When the world's fair ended on October thirtieth of eighteen. Ninety three it was like the fire hose had been turned off: rental income, along with that steady flow of new victims, dried up almost overnight. What didn't stop, though, was the knocking on the door by his creditors, who are starting to circle closer and closer, like vultures around a dying animal, so homes did something unthinkable. He abandoned ship think about it. For a moment. He spent years building the castle planning his crimes and then said during dozens, perhaps hundreds of people there, but it was either face the creditors and give them access to the building or make a run for it. While he still had a chance And he didn't run alone. Homes had a helper named Benjamin title who served as his right hand, man, and there was no one homes trusted more life, hadn't been kind to pencil, though jobs have been hard to come by and the work he performed for homes wasn't really this.
That left him feeling good about himself ad in the pressures of supporting a wife in five young hungry children and its wonder that he had a reputation for being an alcoholic. Literally one thousand eight hundred and ninety four, they made a run for it, hoping to find work on the road and their first stop was Fort Worth Texas. You see, one of the women homes had killed months We're many Williams had conveniently signed over her inheritance to him. It was Isabel son and he planned to collect it, but he entitle quickly. discovered that the authorities in Fort Worth were a bit too nosey for their taste, and they gave up before leaving Texas homes, managed to use forged documents and counterfeit money to purchase several train cars full of horses and then each I will north with him once in Saint Louis. He sold them, but the authorities, caught wind of it and tracked him down by July
one thousand. Eight hundred and ninety four he'd been arrested and sentenced to prison under the false name of Henry Howard. It was during this time in prison you got to know Marian hedge path, a handsome bandit hedge path seemed like a smart man. He was experienced and well connected Holmes began to tease more and more information out of him. Specifically, he was looking for a crooked
lawyer who could help him get away with future insurance fraud and offered five hundred dollars for a solid Tipp edge. Beth claimed that he knew just the man for the job after homes. Third wife build him out. He quickly moved on and forgot the deal you reconnected with title who'd recently brought his wife and children to Saint Louis, to resettle reached out to the attorney that hedge path had told him about. The man jumped the how agreed to meet and soon the three men began planning how with later declare homes to be- and this is a quote one of the smoothest and slickest men that he ever heard tell of it was impressed with the killers intellect and its ability to think around challenges, and they were going to need that for their next scheme,
arms. You see wanted to die welt, not really, but he wanted it to appear that he had and for a number of really good reasons. It was all that evidence hidden away in the castle is ever growing criminal record. Even the curious relatives of his victims, olive it threatened to catch up with him. It would be better if he just died. If only on paper, then there was the financial pay off because of course he had a life insurance policy. Two homes in pencil travelled to Rhode Island of all places where they watched the local morgue for a body that looked enough like homes to fool the authorities when they found one the corpse was taken to the each near one of the many luxury resorts and then burned. Holmes, somehow managed to get the corpse identified as himself and soon after his crooked lawyer file the claim with the insurance company, but after
thing they got through to get to that point. The plan began to fall apart. The insurance company didn't have a good feeling about the identity of the victim and refused to pay the policy now. Homes couldn't very well fight for the claim himself. There is way to prove the body was really his own other than the physical similarities with the insurance company. wanted irrefutable proof in either how nor homes could give them that so instead be entitle dropped. It moved on to Philadelphia Holmes had a new idea, and it was going to take a lot of work to set up and to do it. You, between heavily unpaid sulphur, help
But, as everyone knows, if you leave too hard you're liable to fall over an that's exactly what began to happen, but homes wouldn't go down alone, this time. It was Benjamin titles turn to die. It would be enough insurance scam involving yet another body double, but this time they needed to do it right in homes and finally figured it out. You see insurance. Company would want solid proof and a fake beitzel wouldn't be enough, because just pointing at a body in claiming it was a specific person, no longer work,
instead almost believed that the body needed to be found in a place. Only title should be the proof homes believed would be in the location of the body, not the appearance. but all this required a long game pyssel used a false identity to rent a storefront at one thousand three hundred and sixteen Callowhill street. The business would a patent office and inventors lab perfect for a girl city at the height of the second industrial revolution, then pipes all sent for his wife and children. We soon arrived to complete the picture of normal domestic life. At some point. In late August, pencil bumped into a man named Eugene Smith was a carpenter looking for work, still told him about his inventors laboratory and invited him to come by the following week to discuss employment and on the after noone of September third, eighteen, ninety four, that's just what Smith did. When he knocked on the shop window, no one answered, but the door was unlocked, and so he bought himself in
He probably shouted hello into the empty room, a bit of confusion in his voice. Any probably walked a few steps in the sea if the man he'd come to meet had somehow not heard him and that's when the smell reached his nose the sense of a charnel house, the acrid bitter smell of burnt flesh and blood, which would probably have sent most of us running in the other direction, but Smith needed a job and it was in inventors workshop. So he probably just told himself. It was part of some experiment enforced his feet to take him deeper in he pushed a curtain aside and stepped into the back room and then start there was a body on the floor, surrounded by a pool of crimson. The clothing looked familiar, but the head was horribly burn, almost beyond recognition almost if he squinted he was pretty sure
sort of that it might be. The man who asked him to come by that day and he thought so. He called the authorities, gave them his statement and then left them to do their job and the Philadelphia police fell for it. They connected the dots between Psmith story: the name on the shop least papers and stamped their seal of approval on the corpses, identity, which was what homes and the others had been waiting for. how filed the paperwork with Fidelity Mutual Life Association and soon the men were looking at a cheque for ten thousand dollars their hard work and paid off home
gave how a quarter of the money and another five hundred and two wife, her husband, had gone into hiding, which was pretty obvious. Given the circumstances except it was all a lie. After all, homes was very good line, Benjamin title wasn't in hiding and he would never return to claim his share of the money because he was dead. You see, while title was carrying out his part of the plan. Homes had begun a second scheme behind them back. It began with forged letters to Pitre from his wife carry homes. New pipes was an alcoholic and he knew stress at home, would set the man off. So he sent fake letters to him at the shop, hoping they would cause people to get drunk and worked early on the afternoon of September, Fit just a few hours before Eugene Smith showed up for his job interview, Alms, entered the shop and found pencil in a drunken stupor. I think about that for a second I
it's easy to hear all the commentary on how skilled homes was ambrosch it off as hyperbole, but this was a man that would make Dexter Jealous so, with a bit of smug satisfaction, he took a link the rope from the closet, untied titles hands and feet. Then he retrieved a bottle of benzene, a clear liquid used as an industrial solvent. That also happens to be incredibly flammable and then well. Why don't? We lead homes himself scribe what happened next, I proceeded to burn him alive. Homes later wrote, so horrible was this torture that in writing of it? I have been tempted to attribute his death to some humane means, not with the wish despair myself, but because I fear that it will not be believed that one could be so heartless and depraved, but that was homes in a nutshell, after all, heartless and depraved anything and everything was nothing more than a means to an end, and that end was almost always money.
So when he handed carry pipes all the five hundred dollars and lied to her about her husband, he did so with joy. He later told the police that he'd wanted to kill title. Since the moment he met the man morbid or not. Homes was feeling pretty good about his long term goals, but he wasn't done yet First, he took the money back from carry title telling her that he wanted to invest it for her and she hit It over without an ounce of worry, then homes, Others, everyone in his little community, his third wife Georgiana, carry petal in the five parts of children and ushered them onto a train out of town. The way, I'm sorry, I just call them his community. In reality, they were up essential witnesses, eyes and ears that might notice something inconvenient to his plans in this area too,
well, it might sound to our Hollywood influence minds. Homes didn't want any loose ends. The witnesses you see would have to disappear. It wasn't as easy as pushing everyone onto a train and leaving town, if only it were no homes had a problem. There were enough adults in the group that if they got to talking, they might start putting the pieces together, which would be a very bad thing for him. So homes flexed his manipulative muscles and men to split them into three separate groups. It looked his wife Georgiana in one train, car carry Pikesville,
Another with her oldest and youngest children, and then the three middle children Alice, Nellie and Howard into a third over the next few weeks. The group travelled in the most bizarre fashion, all painstakingly managed by homes and the entire time carry So an Georgiana were unaware of the other woman's presence when they stopped various cities homes would read how is a rooms for them all that we're just close enough, but never together often keeping carry separated from her children. They seem to travel everywhere, Indianapolis Detroit, since Eddie New York homes led them all across the eastern half of the United States, even slipped up into Canada for a short time spending a few days. In Toronto, where he rented a house at sixteen Saint Vincent Lane, not long after that, one of their many stops carry pizza asked homes if she could see her children, but he told her. No,
He left them with an old widow back and Indianapolis the promised they be reunited soon enough, which was another lie, one that carry fell for. The last big move happened in early November of eighteen. Ninety four Sent Georgiana to stay with her parents back in Indiana and then took carry title north to Vermont rents. her house, in Burlington, before heading EAST, to New Hampshire to visit his own elderly parents. Rumour says that while he was there, he also paid a visit to his first wife, Clara and even bought their son a suit. But this deeply tangled web of lies that homes with stringing together was about to come unravelled weeks. Before you see, Fidelity Mutual had become suspicious about the insurance claim that homes had collected on it's not that they doubted the identity of the body. No, it was the manner of death they did. It believed that it was an accident, so they hired an investigator named Frank Geier to help
Geier was a member of the Pinkerton detective Agency, sort of a private security and investigation company founded by Alan Pinkerton back in eighteen. Fifty women Geier was handed the job he dug in deep quickly discovering that Henry Howard, the false name used by homes, had a criminal record. That name took him to Missouri, where he interviewed. Homes is old, cellmate, Marian hedge path, the handsome bandit viviane you'll recall at homes had promised to pay five hundred dollars before Changing his mind, billing cheated edge path was more than eager to return the favour, so he confessed everything he knew about Howard to guire. After that it was a matter of following the clues of which there were few homes was good at being invisible. After all, the guire was also good at his job. Maybe it was the paper trail left by Georgiana when she bailed homes out of prison or their marriage. Certain
get whatever it was. Geier found it and was soon headed to Indiana, to find her parents in his surprise, then, when he found Georgiana herself and she pointed Geier to carry title in Burlington who in turn told him that homes had recently headed to Boston Geier moved quickly on November. Seventeenth of eighteen. Ninety four he and his associates finally caught up with homes, and he took him into custody. It was all after homes, had been locked up in a Philadelphia jail cell on charges of insurance fraud at two significant things happen. First the janitor for the building that homes had abandoned in Chicago decided to go to the police and tell them about the parts of the building that were off limits, which, of course evolved into the investigation. That's taught us everything we know about the castle, but the second was carry titles request for Geier to find her three missing children Alice now
in Howard is first, stop was Detroit, but he found no sign of them there. He did, however, find evidence that some of the floorboards had been pulled up. We're a shallow hole had been dug in the dirt It wasn't until guire arrived in Toronto that his investigation began to gain traction interviews led him to the car. age at sixteen Saint Vincent Lane were a neighbor recur Old, seen a man with two little girls, a man he said who had borrowed a shovel to dig a potato patch when the true meaning sank in dire must have felt sick. The bodies of Nellie and Alice Pencil were found beneath several feet of loose dirt. They ve been murdered that much was clear. How it had been done was mister
It was only after guire and the others discovered the large trunk in one of the upstairs bedrooms and the rubber to being that ran between it and a gas pipeline at the story came into focus miles from his precious castle. H, H, homes, crafted a temporary gas chamber tonight, the pipes, all girls, but eight year old, Howard title was still missing. So Geier pressed on with urgency, desperate travel back to Indiana, where he interviewed hundreds of people with the hope of finding the house that homes had Ended there near Indianapolis, some estimates claim Geier followed up on over nine hundred leads and persistence, eventually paid off. with a better understanding of how homes operated Geier had the house in property searched with incredible diligence when they identified a bone, fragments in the fireplace as human, the entire chimney was this.
And old which slowly exposed what little remains of young Howard later under oath homes described how he dragged the boy and then burn his body piece by piece to destroy the evidence. Howard title was the last innocent life to be taken away by the hands of h, H, homes, Herman Budget spend his life building. A tower of lies is business ventures. His love affairs is insurance schemes and his trail of bodies across so much of Northern America, Maybe that's why his Chicago murder Castle is such a powerful image in our minds
Warren of body shoots. Gas chambers and torture rooms the girl reminder of that world of lies. So it's no surprise. at the end of it all he headed backs wording. Only real life he ever had the only place where there were no lies home, maybe just maybe there was a small part of him that wished he could start over and do things differently. Then again, maybe not after his execution on May seventh of eighteen. Ninety six, an execution that didn't go according to plan. Mind you with his body, rising at the end of the news for over fifteen minutes much it was finally buried in Philadelphia, is wholly cross cemetery. At his request, his body was placed in a simple pine coffin, which was then filled with cement after it was placed
in the grave more cement was poured on top. There are rumours, of course, that budget faked his death Eddie somehow escaped to live on in Europe. Even as I record, this three of his great grandchildren have announced plans to exude his remains and test them, just to be sure But whether or not the body in the grave truly belongs to the man, we call h h homes. There are those who believe that Evil was so deep, so horrific and powerful, but I managed to live on that the noose and cement weren't enough to stop him from killing again. The first was a physician who testified during the trial, Dr William Madden. He died of blood poisoning shortly after Holmes was buried. A trial judge was next followed by, other of the medical witnesses, one of the priests who visited homes in his final hours died mysteriously near his own church and a member of the jury.
killed in an unusual electrical accident. Even Frank Guire, the man who brought homes to justice became seriously ill after the trial. Although he somehow managed to survive, there were others to the father of one of the victim sue passed away. Suddenly, the Fidelity Mutual Insurance office that burned to the ground, the prison Super tenant who committed suicide and, of course, the death of Marian hedge path
December of nineteen ten. They call it the homes, curse and its built on a premise that difficult to push aside completely, no matter how rational we might be some people, it said I just to evil to die for those who believe it. It paints a horrifying picture, h, H, homes, the heartless and depraved architect of the Chicago murder Castle might now be done after all, this episode of war was written and produced by me. Aaron monkey with research help from Marcel Crockett Lore is much more than upon gas. There's a book. Theories in bookstores around the country and online and the second season of the year,
design. Prime television show was recently released check them both out. If you want more lore in your life by also two other upon casts Erin, monkeys, cabinet of curiosities and unobserved, and I think you'd enjoy both each Monica floors other areas of our dark history, ranging from bite sized episodes to season long dives into a single topic. You can learn about both of those shows in everything, going on all over in one central place: Thou world of lore dot com, slash now,
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-13.