Lonely Planet Writer

Haunted house in Indiana will explore the real horrors of 19th-century killer H. H. Holmes

If true crime frightens you more than any ghosts and ghouls, a new haunted house in Indianapolis may be the place to spend your Halloween.

Hotel Holmes haunted house opens for Halloween in Irvington.
Hotel Holmes haunted house opens for Halloween in Irvington. Image by Hotel Holmes

According to organisers, Hotel Holmes will delve into the history of “American’s first serial killer H.H. Holmes, the medical student turned nefarious hotelier”, and the historic neighbourhood of Irvington in Indianapolis where he had lived and committed murder.

Hotel Holmes haunted house opens for Halloween in Irvington.
Hotel Holmes haunted house opens for Halloween in Irvington. Image by Hotel Holmes

Holmes, who is suspected of as many as 200 murders, is perhaps most well-known for his “murder castle” in Chicago, a three-storey hotel where guests checked in but never checked out during the World Fair of 1893. The story of Holmes was also captured in the 2003 non-fiction book The Devil in the White City.

Hotel Holmes haunted house opens for Halloween in Irvington.
Hotel Holmes haunted house opens for Halloween in Irvington. Image by Hotel Holmes

However, the event, which is organised by the Bindy Agency, will not just be an exploration of the gruesome; it will also raise funds for charity. A dollar from each ticket price will be donated to charities helping those affected by tornadoes that hit Indiana in the summer time. Hotel Holmes will operate from 27 to 31 October at the Playground Production Studio on Bonna Avenue.

The hotel attraction is a new addition to the Historic Irvington Halloween Festival, which has some less horrifying offerings for people who love Halloween, like ghost tours and a masquerade ball. There is also a “night out in Sleepy Hollow” event, as the neighbourhood took its name from Washington Irving, who wrote “the Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.