Investigative Research
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historic research

Private residence, Irvington and H.H. Holmes
Irvington, Indiana is a town rich with history, both good and bad. Every year the town holds a Halloween Party, where activities include ghost stories and haunted ghost walks.

We had the opportunity to investigate one of the houses located on the property associated with the infamous Dr. H.H. Holmes, who murdered a young boy in a rented house in Irvington, which no longer stands.

We were unable to document any activity scientifically, but one of our psychic investigators felt a presence trying to keep him out of the house.

Since the Irvington Historical Society has been so diligent about preserving the history of the area, I was able to find many references to H.H. Holmes throughout my research, as well as maps of the area.


A one and a half story cottage, a little distance from Union Ave. on the extreme East side of Irvington. It was secluded and no other houses were located in the immediate neighborhood. Located across the street from the Methodist Church (1895-1899), and about 200 yds. north of the Pennsylvania RR tracks (now Bonna Ave.) To the West was a small grove of young Catalpa trees, to the East a large common. There were 2 roads leading to the street cars that ran into Indy.

Cottage Rear

Detective Frank P. Geyer and Mr. Gary, investigator with the insurance company, took the trolley from Indy to Irvington on August 27, 1895 to search for Howard Pitezel.

Mr. Brown, a real estate agent in Inrvington identified the photo of Holmes. On October 5, 1894, Holmes had rented the house from J.C. Wands in Indianapolis, paying one month's rent in advance.

Howard Teeth

The cottage was owned by Dr. J.L. Thompson, his employee, Elvet Moorman, had seen Holmes and Howard and helped to move a "Peninsular Oak" coal stove into the barn.

Dr. Barnhill, partner of Dr. Thompson, found pieces of charred bone from a femur and skull in the chimney of the house located in the cellar. Detective Geyer returned to the house and found teeth and a jaw, which were identified by Dr. John Quincy Byram, dentist. Also found at the bottom of the chimney was a large charred mass that was discovered to be a portion of the stomach, liver and spleen. The pelvis was also found.

Howard was murdered on October 10, 1894, and later that evening Holmes left Irvington with the rest of the Pitezel family.

H.H. Holmes had planned to kill Mrs. Pitezel, her baby and 16 year old daughter in Vermont after leaving Toronto (where he killed Alice and Nellie). After moving his parties to Vermont, he went to New Hampshire to visit the first woman he married, but he was being watched and tried to escape to Boston where he was aprehended.

The destruction of Pitezel and his family without detection, would have left Holmes the sole and undisputed owner of the real estate , they jointly held, as well as of the money received from the Insurance Company.

Text and pictures from THE HOLMES-PITEZEL CASE written by Dectective Frank P. Geyer in 1896.

I was also able to find historical maps at Odyssey Map Store, and original plat maps of the area in Irvington at the county tax assessor's office.

Irv1886 Irv1903

IrvJohn Irvplat

Holmes Born Herman Webster Mudgett in 1861, and described as an unruly school boy who enjoyed being cruel to and even killing animals for fun, Holmes was also amazingly smart. The first documented serial killer, H.H. Holmes, holds a dubious and gruesome record that few serial killers in history have broken.
Castle After his arrest in 1894, Holmes confessed to 27 murders, but the actual number could be as high as 230. Most of these were committed during the World's Fair of 1893 in Chicago, in a structure that would become known as the Murder Castle--a real American dungeon.
bluprint This image is the blueprint of the building constructed in 1893 and fittingly called 'Murder Castle' by so many of those in law enforcement – though no record of the hotel's actual name was ever recorded.
PostOffice The Castle burned to the ground in 1895. It was suspected that an accomplice who didn't want to be held accountable for his part in the killings made the place go up in flames. On the very spot the chamber of horrors was located a post office now stands.

THE HOLMES-PITEZEL CASE; a history of the greatest crime of the century and of the search for the missing Pitezel children by Frank P. Geyer (1896) A complete history of the case including the evidence excluded in court. The story of the search for the children reads like a romance, and its almost miraculous conclusion is another proof that detective acumen and tireless patience will find the unguarded spot which always exsists in the armor of the most wily criminal. "The truth is stranger than fiction, and this story is stranger than any novel ever written."



THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson (2004) This book describes the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

DEPRAVED: The Definitive True Story of H.H. Holmes, Whose Grotesque Crimes Shattered Turn-of-the-Century Chicago by Harold Schechter (2008) The heinous bloodlust of Dr. H.H. Holmes is notorious -- but only Harold Schechter's Depraved tells the complete story of the killer whose evil acts of torture and murder flourished within miles of the Chicago World's Fair. This authoritative account chronicles the methods and madness of a monster who slipped easily into a bright, affluent Midwestern suburb, where no one suspected the dapper, charming Holmes -- who alternately posed as doctor, druggist, and inventor to snare his prey -- was the architect of a labyrinthine "Castle of Horrors."

The World's Columbian Exposition: The Chicago World's Fair of 1893 byNorman Bolotin (2002) This exceptional chronicle takes readers on a visual tour of the glittering "white city" that emerged along the swampy south shore of Lake Michigan as a symbol of Chicago's rebirth and pride twenty-two years after the Great Fire. The World's Columbian Exposition, which commemorated the 400th anniversary of Columbus' voyage to America, was held from April to October in 1893.