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The so-called ‘Murder Castle’ of serial killer H. H. Holmes.

Downstairs it housed perfectly respectable shopfronts while upstairs contained a bizarre mixture of living areas and killing rooms. Normal sleeping chambers were interspersed with maze-like corridors, doors that opened to walls, hidden doors, secret panels and other strangeness.

Unsuspecting women (as well as some men and children) who lodged here would sooner or later find themselves in a sealed, soundproofed room. Some were hooked to gas jets for suffocation, some were fireproofed and had blow-torch-like apparatus on the walls, many had chutes into the basement where Holmes kept his operating table and dissecting tools, which he reportedly used on both the living and the dead. The functions of some of the rooms were never discovered.

The basement contained more mysterious chambers, jars of poison, torture instruments (including a stretching rack) as well as pits of quicklime and vats of acid for dissolving corpses once he was finished with his experiments. From a footprint found in a pile of quicklime in a separate small room, it is possible Holmes experimented with using quicklime on living persons.

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