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Hermann Mudgett Case Study
Nathan Hanis
PSY 410
April 16, 2012
Sarah Wyckoff

Hermann Mudgett Case Study
“Hermann Webster Mudgett was born into a strict Methodist family on May 16, 1860, in Gilmanton, an isolated village in New Hampshire’s Lake District,” (Meyer & Weaver, 2009). His parents were Levi Horton Mudgett and Theodate Page Price. His mother was a devout Methodist always reading the bible to Hermann, while his father was more of a disciplinarian and alcoholic. “Hermann was a “delicately built boy, blue eyed and brown haired, with a reputation as ‘the brightest lad in town’ … his father… beat the boy with savage regularity,” (Meyer & Weaver, 2009). After a beating, Hermann would ordinarily spend a day in solitary confinement in the attic with no food or water. It was not only his father that was malicious toward him many children were too. “On one occasion they grabbed him, dragged him into the office of the village doctor, who was out on a call, and forced his face into the hands of the skeleton the doctor used for demonstrations,” (Meyer & Weaver). This experience led to his fascination with anatomy. When Hermann was 11 years, he began to dissect live animals and kept their bones. “His closest and possibly only childhood friend was killed in a suspicious “fall” while the two of them were playing in an abandoned house,” and he was apparently standing behind his friend during the incident, (Meyer & Weaver, 2009).
When Hermann was 17 he married for the first time to Clara Lovering. Clara was wealthy and Hermann used that to his advantage. After the use of the money, Hermann left Clara. He then decided he wanted to become a physician and enrolled in school. He first attended a small college in Vermont and later transferred to University of Michigan. “His early criminal career (mostly using the pseudonym Dr. H. H. Holmes) was based on fraud and forgery, including a cure for alcoholism, real estate scams, and a machine that made natural gas from water,” (True-Crimes, 2012). He is most famous for his insurance scams; Hermann would set up a false insurance policy, steal a corpse, and claim it. After he graduated in 1884, he moved around a bit taking a series of jobs, such as, a pharmacist and an attendant of an insane asylum. During his traveling there was an unexplained amount of deaths within his area.
He landed in Chicago and decided to build a castle. At the age of 26, he changed his name to Henry Howard Holmes. Before his castle he worked at Holton Pharmacy. He ended up buying the pharmacy from the widow of Mr. Holton but, stopped payments and end up with a law suit. When this occurred he confessed that Mrs. Holton decided to abruptly “move out west” never to be heard of again. He built his castle across the street from the pharmacy and employed 500 people. His assistant Benjamin Pitezal was the only individual who was aware of the castles purpose.
According to Meyer & Weaver (2009): The Castle had many hidden peepholes, various soundproof chambers, hidden gas jets in the guest rooms, several rooms ideal for surgery, a 3' × 3' × 8' oven that would fire at 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit “for bending glass,” various body-sized chutes leading to the cellar, which had several steel-lined acid vats and a lime pit.
He acquired many people mostly females through wanted ads, visitors, and approximately 50 people from the Columbian Exposition of 1893. Sooner or later he ended up killing everyone that was close to him, including Pitezal and his three children. No person is sure as to how many people Hermann killed but it is thought to be somewhere around 200. On May 7, 1896, “as the hangman prepared the noose, Holmes joked to him, “Take your time, old man. I’m in no hurry,” (Meyer & Weaver, 2009).
Hermann Mudgett is a sociopath. A sociopath is an individual with a psychopathic personality; their behavior is antisocial and lacks a sense of moral responsibility and/or social conscience. Psychopathic personalities can be anything from the lack to establish meaningful relationships or the ability to love; these personalities can also be tremendously inconsiderate and lack the ability to learn from experiences.
Hermann Mudgett experienced child abuse making him have low self-esteem. He grew up with the feeling of being unwanted and unloved by his father, resulting in extreme violence. Because of the low self-esteem and the rebuff he experienced, Hermann Mudgett inhumanly murdered hundreds of innocent people. Hermann Mudgett was not born being a sociopath but developed it as a child. Some of the incidents he encountered as a child contributed to his sociopathological disorder.
Individuals who have an antisocial disorder often have vivid imaginations. These imaginations lead to some gruesome thoughts. When an individual has psychopathic personalities along with antisocial disorders results in using what they learn from their imagination and putting it to use. Hermann Mudgett’s castle is a good example of this. He thought of many ways to torture innocent people. His behavior was obviously fooling to his new victims. Most sociopaths or psychopaths have a way to transform their inner beast into a kind and gentle creature.

References
True-Crimes. (2011). H.H. HOLMES, aka, HERMAN MUDGETT. Retrieved 2012, from True-Crimes.com: http://www.true-crimes.com/holmes.html
Meyer, R., Chapman, L. K., & Weaver, C. M. (2009). Case studies in abnormal behavior. (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson/Allyn & Bacon…...

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