Serial Killer H.H. Holmes' Bizarre Dying Request

Herman Webster Mudgett, known by many as H.H. Holmes, was a con artist who became one of the United States' first and most infamous serial killers (via Biography). Holmes, sometimes referred to as the "Beast of Chicago," had a specially constructed home like something straight out of a horror movie, where he killed as many as 200 people before his eventual capture in 1894.

Along with running a hotel in his so-called "Murder Castle" during the 1893 Columbian Exposition where few of his tenants would survive, Holmes was also involved in many cons and fraud schemes. According to Biography, many of Holme's victims were women he seduced and tricked or people he lured with the promise of a job. In one case he faked an associate's death to collect the life insurance money — later killing that man. It was this murder that would become Holmes' downfall and lead to his death sentence. Before his hanging, Holmes made one odd request: he wished to be buried in a cement coffin (via All That's Interesting).

Some suspected Holmes faked his death

According to All That's Interesting, not only did Holmes request a cement coffin, he also requested to be buried "double deep," 10 feet under the ground. Authorities granted his wish, burying the killer "double deep" and covering his casket with cement, per Philly Voice. The reason for Holmes' unusual request is unknown, though considering that Holmes spent much of his life violating the dead bodies of his victims, dissecting them to sell their organs before cremating or chemically destroying them, it's likely that he didn't want his own grave to be disturbed. It didn't take long for conspiracy theories to arise that Holmes, ever the con artist, had faked his death.

In fact, the rumors persisted for so long that in 2017, distant descendants of the infamous killer had to have their ancestor exhumed in order to dispel the claims that Holmes faked his death. Ironically, the one thing Holmes wanted to prevent with his odd final request — getting his grave dug up — eventually did happen at the request from his family, but given the heinous crimes he committed in such a short time, and the reputation he earned that made people doubt his death, it's unlikely anyone will be concerned about keeping the gravesite of H.H. Holmes sacred.