"Born With The Devil In Me": America's First Serial Killer

true crime conversations

06 May 2020 · 33 minutes

"Born With The Devil In Me": America's First Serial Killer
play Episode

Dr Henry Howard Holmes was America’s first serial killer. The charismatic criminal lured his victims to his hotel dubbed “the murder castle” during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The building was riddled with trap doors and booby traps, a crematorium and gas chambers. The rumours of his depravity were far reaching and propelled H. H. Holmes to infamy. However the man dubbed America’s first serial killer may not have been responsible for the murders of as many people as he claimed.

As director and author John Borowski explains,  Holmes derived pleasure from the planning of his crimes, not necessarily carrying them out. Borowski has written a book about Holmes, and directed a true crime documentary following his life and crimes. Once arrested, Holmes was prolific in claiming murders to have been by his hand, though some alleged victims came forward to attest that they were very much alive and unharmed. 

Fuelled by desire for fame, or bloodlust, the case of H. H. Holmes and the murder hotel has as many twists and turns as the hotel in which they were carried out.


Guest: John Borowski http://johnborowski.com/ 

Host: Jessie Stephens

Technical Producer: Luca Lavigne

Executive Producer and Editor: Elise Cooper


  • Borowski, John (November 2005). Estrada, Dimas (ed.). The Strange Case of Dr. H. H. Holmes. West Hollywood, California: Waterfront Productions https://bit.ly/hhholmesdoco 
  • ‘Holmes Cool To The End; Under the Noose He Says He Only Killed Two Women. New York Times Archive https://bit.ly/hhholmes 
  • ‘Murders By Doctors; The Great Tragedies of the Century Have Medical Men as Their Central Figure.’  The Anaconda standard. May 01, 1896, p. 12. via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov. https://bit.ly/murderbydoctors 


Tell us what you think of the show via email at [email protected]

Join our closed Facebook community to discuss this episode. Just search True Crime Conversations on Facebook or follow this link https://bit.ly/3982S5P

If any of the contents in this episode have cause distress know that there is help available via Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636

More Episodes

Load More
00:00 / ???