Monday, March 21, 2016

Holmes Doomed to Misfortune

In its April 19, 1896 edition, the New York Herald ran an astrology article that boldly predicted misfortune for Dr. Henry H. Holmes, then on death row and three weeks from execution. The forecast might have had more authority if they didn't use an incorrect birth date. Holmes was born on May 16, 1861 (or perhaps May 17) not May 16, 1860.

The article read:

Horoscope of the Murderer Shows That Evil Planets Predominated at His Birth.
Crimes, Imprisonment and an Early and Sorrowful End Were Clearly Foreshadowed.
HERE is a horoscope of the notorious murderer, Herman Webster Mudgett, or, as he has of late years preferred, H.H. Holmes. It is based not on the ordinary astrological rules, as they would yield only a poor result, the man's birth hour being unattainable, but on the old rules of the Kabbala and on the unerring principles of the ancient Tarot.

The full name and the date of birth are first to be considered. The name Holmes plays no part in the work, being probably a mask and certainly assumed. Mudgett is the family name, and a cacophonous word it is. But many excellent persons have borne ugly names, and there are doubtless to-day many estimable persons named Mudgett. This Mudgett, however, was born on May 16, 1860, and precisely because he was born on that day he was bound to be unfortunate.

If we convert his full name and the day of his birth into numerals we obtain 28 and, as the year 1860 was ruled by the sun, his key number is 28 in the sun's year. Turning to this point we find the moon, and thus gain a clew to the character. The moon, in this instance, denotes many changes in life, much mystery, extraordinary conduct, a fanciful emotional temperament and a most fickle character. We next turn to the ascending sign and find the third decanate of Taurus, the violent sign of the Bull. Here we note infallible tokens of disaster, for this decanate foreshadows failure of business enterprises, great likelihood of poverty and unhappiness and a turbulence of spirit that is bound to bring much woe. The Bull, too, ascending, shows great danger of trouble through women and secret enemies and many short journeys for mysterious reasons.


Looking now at the positions of the planets, we find a clear forecast of the unfortunate man's doom and of the causes which led to it. Venus, the planet of love and ruler of the horoscope, is in the sign of the Crab and posited in the house of short journeys. She is also in conjunction with the Moon and in square to the baleful Saturn in the house of captivity. Her position and aspects denote much misfortune in marriage and through women, considerable success and much unhappiness, an inordinate passion for women, an utter lack of loyalty, much unscrupulous, and, without a shadow of doubt, imprisonment and an unhappy end to life. This is bad enough, but even worse is shown, for not only are the Sun, Moon, Saturn and Mars in angles, which generally betokens a violent death, but Saturn, lord of the tenth house, is in the house of captivity and the house of death, and and from the latter he casts a malignant ray into the fourth house, which signifies the end of all things. As he rules the tenth house, his presence in the house of captivity is a clear indication of imprisonment through the verdict of a judge, the tenth being the house of persons in authority, and his presence in the house of death foreshadows that imprisonment would only end with life.

But not much time will be spent in prison, for note Points VIII. and XV., one in the third and the other in the eighth house. The eighth point always symbolizes man's justice and the fifteenth in this instance shows a sudden and unexpected end. In the divine world this fifteenth point signifies predestination, and in any one's horoscope it shows that the career will be marred by invincible obstacles, which are the clear results of unrestrained passions. All this seems clear enough, but to make sure, let us glance at the other planets. Mars, the planet of violence, is in Pisces and lords it over the house of friends and children. Considering that he rules the houses of marriage, enemies and captivity, his position is, indeed, remarkable. Does not the world know how Holmes murdered children and friends and deceived the women who confided in him? All this is shown by Mars in his horoscope. But the Sun, too, is in an uncongenial position, and this again shows dangers to children and imminent peril of a violent death. Again, Jupiter is in Pisces, and this shows more than one marriage and many troubles in married life. Finally, the Sun, Jupiter and Mars are in conjunction, and while this shows considerable success, which was certainly true in Holmes' case, it also shows that the success would not last.


The time of death, too, is clearly pointed out. Holmes is now in his thirty-sixth year, and according to this system of astrology, certain planets are in conjunction during this and every other year in a man's life, and from such planetary conjunctions predictions are largely made in regard to events of each year. Now Jupiter and the Sun, though naturally beneficent planets, are in this horoscope sorely afflicted, and, as one rules the end of life and the other is lord of the house of death, it is far to assume that their conjunction will be ominous, which it is certainly is, since it denotes death in the thirty-sixth year. If we need further testimony, we may only look at the hateful Saturn in the house of death afflicting the fourth course, which symbolizes the grave. Note, too, that the lord of this house is in a weak sign and in very evil company. Of death untimely and violent there are, indeed several indications.

April 19, 1896, New York Herald, Sixth Section, Page 9

A Predator's Game is available in soft-cover and ebook editions through Amazon and other online retailers.

A Predator's Game, now available, Rook's Page Publishing.

Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my thriller, A Predator's Game.

Back page blurb.

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.


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