Through the summer, Tribune readers learned of Holmes' other victims, including the Conner family. Holmes, one of the first serial killers in the United States, preyed mainly on naive and gullible women — young women who wouldn't be missed amid the thousands of World's Fair tourists streaming into Chicago's fashionable Englewood neighborhood. Winding passages brought the uninitiated with a frightful jerk back to where they had started from. Its stairways ended nowhere in particular. In the oven, "They found a woman's watch chain. There were rooms that had no doors. The swindler was revealed to be a serial killer. It also revealed his multiple wives, who were sometimes pretty but always wealthy.
A former secretary named Emeline Cigrand and her fiance also went missing. In that house occurred dark and eerie deeds. Little Howard was believed dead, but his body was still missing. But when a jury convicted him of Benjamin Pitzel's death, his facade began to crack. Holmes was hanged by his neck until he died. But in the following days, the Tribune's headlines revealed the growing, horrifying reality that Holmes wasn't just a con man: Holmes was sentenced on March 9, , to be executed. In all America there was none other like it. The story detailed his goofy swindles, such as his patented water-to-gas invention and his "discovery" of an artesian well in his basement that produced water with amazing curative powers. Whatever happened to Pitzel's three children? And it was the cellar of the "murder factory" where Holmes undoubtedly worked, the Tribune reported. There were doors that had no rooms. The Tribune reported, "Once in a reckless, or more likely cynical moment, Holmes announced, 'O, sure, I've killed twenty-seven people! His name lives on. The specter of anonymous victims murdered in the big city runs through our popular culture, kept alive by rare but notorious cases. As Chicago basked in the bright light of the White City, the Columbian Exposition that was making headlines around the world, Holmes was remorselessly collecting people, using them and efficiently discarding them. A hidden shaft to the cellar made for easy disposal of bodies. The Tribune described it in a article: A mysterious house it was indeed — a crooked house, a reflex of the builder's own distorted mind. Jeff Mudgett, who says he is Holmes' great-great-grandson, claims in a book that his ancestor was Jack the Ripper, who supposedly killed five prostitutes in London in Both she and her sister were missing. Holmes hired Ned Conner to handle the jewelry counter in his corner store, installed Julia as a bookkeeper and leased the family rooms in his hotel. Through the summer, Tribune readers learned of Holmes' other victims, including the Conner family. He said they came easier. Swindler of men, betrayer of women, he has left behind him a wake of ruin and tears that not all the courts of America can wash away," the Tribune reported.
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