“American Horror Story: Hotel” is off to one of its most gory seasons yet thanks to fictional characters like The Countess and James March. While The Countess, a blood-sucking vampire played by Lady Gaga, might have been fabricated by producer Ryan Murphy, there could be a link between Evan Peter’s character James March and Henry Howard Holmes, the man touted as America’s first serial killer. FX has not confirmed March is based off Holmes, but there are striking similarities.
Unlike March, whose hotel resides in sunny California, Holmes opened a hotel in Illinois for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Immigrants and young travelers flocked to the area, and subsequently to the hotel, which is also known as the “Murder Castle.”
He constructed the three-story building so he could carry out his killings, TV Guide wrote in March. There were dozens of windowless rooms -- some had gas lines installed so Holmes could suffocate his victims. The hotel also had fake walls, secret passageways and trap doors -- just like the Hotel Cortez from "AHS."
Once his victims were dead, Holmes would send their bodies down a secret chute, which led to the basement. There, he would turn the corpses into skeleton models and sell to schools. He apparently had connections in the medical community, so selling a skeleton wasn’t difficult for him. But that wasn't the only way Holmes got rid of his bodies: He additionally had two giant furnaces, pits of acid and bottles of numerous poisons.
Holmes is credited with saying: "I was born with the devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than a poet can help the inspiration to sing … I was born with the evil one standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since.”
When Holmes was finally caught, he confessed to 27 killings, but it’s believed he could have slayed as many as 200 people, Bloody Disgusting wrote.
The main difference between Holmes and March is the location of the hotels and their minion of choice. While Holmes was helped by Benjamin Pitezel, a fellow criminal, March’s trusted crony is the laundress Miss Evers, played by Mare Winningham. Also, March kills himself and Miss Evers when police come to talk to him, but in real life Holmes was hanged.
So, what do you think? Were the "AHS" writers inspired by Holmes?
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