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‘To Cure Me of My Fears’
H. H. Holmes by John Borowski: Masculine Axis Appendix

The Net Flix documentary of the man born as Herman Mudget makes for an excellent study of modernity’s first casualty, masculinity. In a world of universal emasculation, in which male fashion stressed narrowing shoulders and wide hips and in which women found “a slight. Elegant man” like Mudget “irresistible,” was a world already turned on its head by the time Herman Mudget simpered into it.

Incorrectly known as “the first serial killer,” [that politically incorrect honor goes to a black man with a hatchet] Mudget, known as the builder of his “Castle of Horrors” in Chicago, which was a hotel/body processing plant reminiscent of Robert E. Howards Shadows in Zamboula, Holmes seems to have committed most of his atrocious mayhem on the road, using the rail network to crisscross the United States, defrauding and murdering as he made his duplicitous way.

Mudget was a whining, feminine man, who had been beaten and educated in the strict protestant school of his New Hampshire parents. Becoming a doctor, Mudget uses his profession as a means of building a fraudulent identity, dealing insurance fraud, elixirs and anatomy skeletons, the latter cleaned and reassembled with his own hands. His crimes were abetted by the unsophisticated urban sprawl and mass transit, and police reliance on identifying humans via the burtillian body measuring method rather than finger prints.

An utter materialist, Mudget would have been a fine 21st Century politician or corporate CEO. In the end, he was nothing but a parody of a man, clinging to the very celebrity monster his greed had created. In his own autobiography he stated, “I was born with the Evil One standing as my sponsor.” Addicted to erasing the identity of those who remained more human than he, the dastardly conman known to history as H.H. Holmes was very possibly imitating the dark art of Edgar Allen Poe, rather than expressing some rage against the machine of society, for he targeted those most entrapped in the very inauthentic moral maze that had stripped him of his humanity as a child.

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