The Devil In The White City Summary

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Based on a study presented by the Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology featuring 50 serial killers, troubled childhoods showed a higher percentage than the societal average. “Over one-third were shown to have a history of physical abuse, 26 percent were sexually abused, 50 percent were psychologically abused and 18 percent were neglected.” The Devil in the White City by Eric Larson is a depiction of how H.H. Holmes (Herman Webster Mudgett) uses his skills of manipulation, charm, and deceit to commit several crimes, including theft, insurance fraud, and murder during the 1893 Chicago World 's Fair. Herman Webster Mudgett was a notorious criminal, responsible for hundreds of deaths, however he was not completely at fault. Many serial killers, …show more content…
He examines famous serials killers and professional theories, as well as studies concerning them and the general characteristic traits they possess. He states that serial killers are “frequently the products of broken or severely brutal homes, where they have themselves been subjected to gross cruelty, sexual abuse, and in some cases prolonged and systematic torture, in deprived childhood: negative parenting as the jargon has it. Vulgatim: the brutal father is the father to the brutal father.” (Egan 327). Serial killers bare painful memories from their childhood, of abuse, humiliation, frustration, or being bullied, they use fantasies to escape, comfort themselves, and even develop an alternate identity that feels more powerful or provides greater ego status. Herman Webster Mudgett became H.H. Holmes not only to hide his identity, but to become someone else, someone different from the weak-minded Herman that got abused by his parents and bullied in school. Because of the grisly childhood memories, Holmes led a life of crime and murder. He was a product or “brutal father” of his parents or his “brutal father”. This further proves that H.H. Holmes was not completely at fault for his crimes. He was a just a victim of his past and could not control the “monster” he has

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