As I probed the diabolic nature of Herman Webster Mudgett who later adopted the moniker of Dr. Henry Howard Holmes a.k.a. Dr. H. H. Holmes®, it became apparent that in some cases the human mind functions on a very different level than what humanity and society considers “acceptable.”
In the case of Dr. Holmes, the research in my upcoming book, Dr. H. H. Holmes and the Whitechapel Ripper, you will be introduced to a physician who took the child [Herman] under his wing and helped transform the innocent child into the heinous fiend the Chicago Daily Tribune cast with the headlines byname “Blue Beard of 63rd Street.”
Dr. Holmes methods of surgical experimentation and torture were unmatched at the time. They were the things nightmares were made of. Following Dr. Holmes murderous rampage the residents in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago where the doctor is suspected of killing more than 200 people in the cruelest an inhumane fashion, began looking at life in the peaceful community much differently.
Whereas Jack the Ripper rocked London with grotesque public displays of disfiguring and disemboweling those who were unlucky enough to be at the wrong place and time the Whitechapel district was an oppressed area, complete with streetwalkers, gangs, and plenty of drink and gambling to be had.
Recently, a friend, Craig McCue, posted a very interesting excerpt on a female serial killer on Facebook. I was immediately intrigued. Delphine LaLaurie resided in New Orleans. I adore New Orleans, and I am an author of true crime, hence the intrigue.
During a pre-Katrina visit to New Orleans, I visited many historic sites associated with Haitian and West African rites of religion e.g. voodoo, hoodoo, and the dark arts.
Craig’s post revealed somewhat disturbing details of a highly respected member of society, who threw some of the most memorable black-tie affairs and partied with the cream of New Orleans social elite. This social butterfly, Madame Delphine LaLaurie, was also someone we would normally consider a nurturer by nature, not a twisted psychopath.
I would like to share Craig’s original post…
Delphine LaLaurie was a sadistic socialite who lived in New Orleans. Her home was a chamber of horrors. On April 10, 1834, a fire broke out in the mansion’s kitchen, and firefighters found two slaves chained to the stove. They appeared to have started the fire themselves, in order to attract attention. The firefighters were led by other slaves to the attic, where the real surprise was. Over a dozen disfigured and maimed slaves were manacled to the walls or floors. Several had been the subjects of gruesome medical experiments. One man appeared to be part of some bizarre sex change, a woman was trapped in a small cage with her limbs broken and reset to look like a crab, and another woman with arms and legs removed, and patches of her flesh sliced off in a circular motion to resemble a caterpillar. Some had had their mouths sewn shut, and had subsequently starved to death, whilst others had their hands sewn to different parts of their bodies. Most were found dead, but some were alive and begging to be killed, to release them from the pain. LaLaurie fled before she could be brought to justice – she was never caught.
As you can see, Madame Delphine LaLaurie was quite the monster. I dug a little deeper (surprise!) and learned that Madame LaLaurie was a wealthy plantation owner, and she lived a mere two blocks from the famed Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. I have no doubt Madame LaLaurie and Marie Laveau were acquainted with one another. That begs the question. What role, if any, does Marie Laveau or the black arts play in the role of the atrocities found on the property of Madame LaLaurie’s plantation?
Coincidentally, Madame LaLaurie was described in such a manner as to possess physical beauty to match Helen of Troy. Her outward character appearance in society was that of a woman of refinement, cheerful and jovial.
As her crimes were against her slave of an African origin, Madam LaLaurie evaded the authorities as she fled the scene when the commotion of extinguishing her plantation mansion offered a diversion. She was never caught. Nor is there any proof that she was pursued, as slaves in 1834 were physical property of their owners.
Prior to 1811, the largest slave revolt in history took place just outside of New Orleans. As Madame LaLaurie was born in 1775, she would have been 36 years-old at the time of the revolt. What ensued in 1811 was truly horrific. As slaves revolted against the conditions of sugar plantation working conditions, a group of about 125 Caucasian men went up and down the east bank of the Mississippi river searching for African slaves of the revolt. When the slaves were apprehended, the slaves were hung or decapitated and their heads were placed on display atop spikes from the ground. Madame LaLaurie would have most certainly witnessed this spectacle of inhumane barbarous treatment against the African slaves.
The human condition and the brains psyche as it relates to serial killing and specifically those murderers who throughout history have crossed the lines of sanity to unimaginable realms of a diabolical nature are indeed fascinating. What causes an individual’s brain, conscience, and heart to hybridize or short-circuit into a savage beast?
As for Madame LaLaurie, by the very core of her role in society, that of a nurturer, to me, it is that much more beguiling and at the same time intimidating. I intend to investigate her case further as there are so many layers, which deserve researching these strange and inexplicable events.
And as for Dr. H. H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper, I delve further into their shocking crimes in Dr. H. H. Holmes and the Whitechapel Ripper, scheduled for release in November ’13.
I will say, on the surface, these serial killers do appear to share a theme. At the nucleus of their criminal acts, they target a specific group, motivated by subconscious or deep-rooted, albeit quite disturbed, maniacal emotional traumas. Dr. Holmes focused on women, specifically if they would benefit him financially. The Ripper directed his evil at prostitutes. Madame LaLaurie’s victims were men and women African slaves.
What triggers the alteration in the serial killers brain? This is the billion-dollar question. Greed, bigotry, prejudice, intolerance, and sex are just a few motivators behind hate-inspired crimes of all class. Although humans are (supposedly) at the top of the evolutionary chain, we are the only members of the food chain that turn on our own kind and murder them without provocation.
I do hope you have enjoyed this blog. Feel free to visit my site desiccated to Dr. H. H. Holmes and the Whitechapel Ripper http://www.holmestheripper.com/. The YouTube book video trailer has gone viral in its two short months http://youtu.be/BagndVCPZM8. Please visit, follow (“Like”) the Facebook Fan Page https://www.facebook.com/holmestheripper.
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