The Black Sheep Pub
247 S. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
University of Pennsylvania Museum
“Forensic Anthropology: Exhumation & Identification of America’s First Serial Killer”
The subject of, and inspiration for, numerous books, movies, and TV shows, the infamous H.H. Holmes is widely regarded as America’s ﬁrst serial killer. Hanged for murder in Philadelphia, in 1896, and recently most recognizable as “The Devil” in Erik Larson’s best-selling book The Devil in the White City, mystery has shrouded H.H. Holme’s life and death since he ﬁrst became a national phenomenon in the late 19th century. Buried in a block of concrete, Holmes has long been rumored to have secretly conspired to escape execution, and in 2017 the grave was excavated and the remains exhumed for forensic investigation. Using modern archaeological, anthropological, forensic, and DNA techniques, we analyzed every aspect of Holmes in an attempt to deﬁnitively identify the body found in his grave. Come out to learn about forensic archaeology and how history and technology helped us to unravel Holmes’ last conspiracy.