Background Information

Famous People included in Episode 203

We like to include current events in our podcast to give our listeners an idea as to what people were discussing in the late 1800’s. In “The Haunted Laboratory” we include a serial killer and someone just beginning his famous career in psychology.

H. H. HolmesHerman Webster Mudgett, or more commonly known as H.H. Holmes was a serial killer in the late 19th century America. News of his exploits filled the news during the time of Sage and Savant, so he would have been a topic of interest.

While he confessed to 27 murders, only nine could be plausibly confirmed and several of the people whom he claimed to have murdered were still alive. He is commonly said to have killed as many as 200, though this figure is traceable only to 1940s pulp magazines.Many victims were said to have been killed in a mixed-use building he owned, located about 3 miles (4.8 km) west of the 1893 World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, supposedly called World’s Fair Hotel (informally “The Murder Hotel”), though evidence suggests that the hotel portion was never truly open for business.

Besides being a serial killer, Holmes was also a con artist and a bigamist, the subject of more than 50 lawsuits in Chicago alone. Many now-common stories of his crimes sprang from fictional accounts that later authors took for fact; however, in a 2017 biography, Adam Selzer wrote that Holmes’ story is “effectively a new American tall tale – and, like all the best tall tales, it sprang from a kernel of truth”.

H. H. Holmes was executed on May 7, 1896, for the murder of friend and accomplice Benjamin Pitezel. During his murder trial for Pitezel, H. H. Holmes confessed to numerous other killings.

– from Wikipedia

Sigmund FreudAnother noted figure of the time was Sigmund Freud. He published Studies on Hysteria in 1895 and established himself as a potential leader in the field of psychology.

In creating psychoanalysis, Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process. Freud’s redefinition of sexuality to include its infantile forms led him to formulate the Oedipus complex as the central tenet of psychoanalytical theory. His analysis of dreams as wish-fulfillments provided him with models for the clinical analysis of symptom formation and the underlying mechanisms of repression. On this basis Freud elaborated his theory of the unconscious and went on to develop a model of psychic structure comprising id, ego and super-ego.

– from Wikipedia

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