Why People Think Meghan Markle Is Related To Serial Killer H.H. Holmes

It's no surprise that Prince Harry is related to some horrible people — after all, he's part of an extended family that includes a king who had two wives beheaded and another king who probably killed his nephews. But apparently Meghan Markle may also be related to a killer: the first known serial killer in American history, no less.

According to "Meet the Markles," a 2018 television documentary, the Duchess of Sussex is the eighth cousin of Jeff Mudgett, who is the great-great-grandson of serial killer H.H. Holmes, who was born Herman Mudgett in approximately 1861 (via Mental Floss). Holmes confessed to the murders of 27 people after his arrest, most of them women whom he had seduced (via Britannica). "I am not proud he is my ancestor," Mudgett said in the documentary. "Meghan won't be either."

If the research by Mudgett and the documentarians is true, then one of Markle's ancestors is the murderer whom author Erik Larson called "The Devil in the White City" in his nonfiction bestseller of the same name. Situated as a pharmacist in Chicago, Holmes would become engaged to women, secure access to their finances, and then kill them (via Britannica). Reportedly, the peak of his murder spree was the 1893 World's Columbian Expedition, better known as Chicago's World Fair.

The most striking part of Holmes' story may be his house. Befitting of a royal relative, Holmes lived in a castle — or rather, he lived in a mansion in Chicago that got the nickname of the "Murder Castle."

An American Ripper?

This monstrous home was fitted with gas vents, soundproofing, secret passages, and, according to Britannica, kilns for the on-site cremation of his victims. (Other historians think that's largely a fabrication by the yellow journalism of the day, says History.) Jeff Mudgett has another nasty shock for Meghan. He believes their ancestor also operated in England, and that H.H. Holmes was Jack the Ripper.

Jack the Ripper had an M.O. quite different from Holmes. The five women whom the British serial killer is suspected of killing were all sex workers, for one, unlike Holmes' victims (via Britannica). However, it is believed that the Ripper may have had a background in medicine, due to his knowledge of anatomy (via History). Holmes, a medical school graduate, would fit the bill.

There is evidence that a man named "H. Holmes" traveled from England to America after the final Ripper killing, according to Crime and Investigation. The so-called "Dear Boss" letter, supposedly written by the Ripper and sent to the media, uses syntax and slang that might be more typical for an American of the time than an Englishman. (You can see the letter at the National Archives website, along with the conclusion that it is likely a hoax.)

In the "Meet the Markles" documentary, Jeff Mudgett says that the handwriting of his murderous ancestor and the Ripper letter is a match. "We did a study with the FBI and CIA and Scotland Yard regarding handwriting analysis," he claimed (via Mental Floss). "It turns out [H. H. Holmes] was Jack the Ripper. This means Meghan is related to Jack the Ripper." He added, "I don't think the Queen knows."