Exhuming serial killer H.H. Holmes

H.H. Holmes Skeleton Found in Concrete with Brain Intact

What was found inside the grave of H.H. Holmes? Researcher Jeff Mudgett reveals the details of the exhumation.

Back in May news broke that the body of H.H. Holmes would be exhumed for a DNA test. Jeff Mudgett, the great-great-grandson of America’s first serial killer, is hoping to determine whether the rumors that Holmes escaped the gallows in 1896 are true or not. He believes Holmes may have been Jack the Ripper, which is the basis of the History channel series American Ripper, and is hoping to find supporting evidence.

So what exactly did they find when they dug Holmes out of his unmarked grave in Philadelphia’s Holy Cross Cemetery?

The dig, lead by archaeologists from the University of Pennsylvania, first uncovered an empty pine box, Mudgett told NBC. Then, a few feet deeper, they hit concrete.

Holmes feared that grave robbers would steal his body after burial, so he requested to be entombed in cement. The teamed cracked open the concrete sarcophagus and found a man’s skeleton inside.

“Chills went up and down my spine,” Mudgett said. “To see that skeleton and that skull with the brain still inside, which is a phenomenon that scientists still have not explained…scared the heck out of me.”

Anthropologists are still testing the remains at UPenn. If there is any substantial clues to be gleaned from the bones, it will likely be featured in a future episode of American Ripper.

Update: DNA proves Holmes didn’t escape the gallows

5 replies
  1. Avatar
    Kimm says:

    He wasn’t America’s first serial killer. That was the Austin axe murderer; although, I am sure there was someone before that. Just not on record. It amaze me with how many people call Holmes the first.

    • Avatar
      Yennefer says:

      He was the first given that distinction and the first when the title was used. That has nothing to do with if others had murdered multiple people, but rather when the distinction and use of the serial killer was first used to describe a murderer or their killings.


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