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The 'American Ripper' series - History Channel

I've decided to DVR the 'American Ripper' series airing on History Channel.

And despite the macabre topic, here's why:
1. I can watch after I've put my kids to bed. That way, they don't have to fear the atrocities humanity is capable of.

2. I harbor a longheld fascination with criminal justice and forensic science.

3. I was born and raised in Milwaukee, which is a quick train ride from Chicago.

And, of all the wonderful things to come out of the 1893 World's Fair (like the Ferris Wheel, and Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer WHICH is a Milwaukee icon by the way) that was held in Chicago, I was surprised to learn it had been touched by the devil.

Underfoot, was a serial killer.

Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, aka H. H. Holmes, actual name Herman Webster Mudgett; was busy luring victims including a number of fair-goers to a 3-story, block-long building known as "The Castle," (later, The Murder Castle) where they were tortured, mutilated and killed.

Now, imagine (in present time) researching your family history, only to learn of a family secret that you are the descendent of this devil.

Not me, but I can relate to the gentleman who learned this of himself.

I've written about our experiences with the Ancestry DNA kits. And Milwaukee is not immune to psychopaths (Jeffrey Dahmer, anyone?) so I was immediately, and instantly, consumed by and empathetic of what this man uncovered about his identity.

I mean, how do you sleep at night after learning that? And not because you did anything wrong, but because of what is embedded in your DNA. This man's great-great grandfather was H. H. Holmes.

He's since made it his mission to give the victims of his great-great grandfather a voice.

And what he's uncovered? Well, it's thought-provoking to say the least.

Remember when I said in my post about Amelia Earhart, that anything that incites a personal reaction of "maybe" inspires me to dig deeper?

Well, when this descendent mentioned he found circumstantial evidence that H. H. Holmes IS Jack the Ripper ...

I immediately DVR'd that shit.

And what has stuck with me, is that the site of the Murder Castle is adjacent to the Post Office in Chicago. Even 130 years later, there is potential for human remains and other evidence to be found at the site, since the Castle was simply demolished and left largely untouched by time.

But most of all, the first episode suggests Holmes left a very detailed paper trail in Chicago that catalogued numerous suspicious transactions as the Murder Castle was planned and purchased. These were filed on an almost daily basis. Now it's a known fact that, across the ocean in London, Jack the Ripper was "active" from August to November 1888. As investigators dig into the records, they find a very obvious gap in Holmes' Chicago paper trail from July 1888 through early 1889.

WHERE WAS HE, and was 'Jack the Ripper' merely a stepping stone in his evolution as the sickening mastermind of the Murder Castle?

Of course that's when the episode started rolling the end credits.

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