Danielle Stout

Devil Response #4

This historical figure I initially wanted to research was Detective Frank Geyer but after an enormous amount of searching the only information I could find about him was directly linked to his investigation of Holmes. Therefore I turned my search to the Pitezel’s. I wanted to find out what happened to Carrie after the trial. Yet, once again it seems Carrie’s life became of little importance after the Holmes trial. I feel this signifies the incredible “power” Holmes had. Those who were “famous” because they were affected by Holmes’ misdeeds were quickly forgotten once Holmes was executed. However I did find some interesting information regarding the Pitezels. Ben Pitezel and Carrie Canning were from the town of Galva in Illinois. They married after Carrie became pregnant at eighteen. It has been reported that Ben was an attractive men in those days except for a distinguishing mole on the back of his neck (If the information hasn’t been altered it is interesting that this is the mole that Holmes removed from the corpse to help identify Holmes). Together they had five children and were quite poor as Ben was forced to move from town to town to find work. It was also recorded that Ben had a special liking for liquor and this had nasty effects on his persona. During his career Mr. Pitezel worked as a janitor, lumber mill worker, railroad worker, and a circus roustabout. It is also reported that he had served several jail sentences for various petty crimes. Not much else was recorded about the Pitezel’s aside from the information gathered from the text. I did find one interesting web site with pictures of Holmes’ castle and of the Pitezel children and Minnie Williams. It is: www.prairieghosts.com/holmes.html. I would suggest that one avoids reading the text as a great deal of it seems to be hearsay.

The fourth section of this text was the most disturbing. However it was quite intriguing to read of how detective Geyer put the pieces together. I was also quite shocked by Holmes’ calling himself the devil. The insinuated connection between Holmes’ death and the illnesses and deaths of several of the men who worked on his case was quit interesting.

a. I would also like to discuss an interesting addition to the text found in the source section. In it the author discusses where he acquired his material. I found it intriguing that he never touched the internet. I think this adds a particular authenticity to his research for in my own pursuit of knowledge surrounding Holmes I was linked to a slew of internet sites that were incredibly off base if one uses Larsen’s text as a reference. I think he gives great advice however inadvertent. Stick with primary sources or scholarly websites!

3. For my comment section I would like to address some discussion that was had in class regarding the book. I found it quit interesting that many of the members of the class had fostered ideas that there was little important U.S. history between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of WWI. I then realized after closer observation that I too espoused such ideas. If I would have been asked to timeline the most important events in U.S. history it is likely I would have skipped over the Gilded Age entirely due to my lack of knowledge. I now would be able to pinpoint events like the Chicago World’s fair and the reconstruction amendments to name a few items…quite interesting!