For most, the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 was a place for visitors to marvel at the wonders of progress. For the charismatic physician Dr. Holmes, the influx of young men and women offered a lucrative yet deeply morbid business opportunity. Dr. Holmes built a hotel, attracting traveling victims to his house of horrors, later known as the Murder Castle, within it a maze of gas chambers, doors leading nowhere, secret passageways, and asphyxiation cells. All built for the sole purpose to industrialize his killings and sell the human remains to medical institutes. It is said that hundreds of people checked in to the hotel but never checked out.
When Charlene Weatherford’s sister, who had left their small town to look for work in Chicago, started to send cryptic letters, Charlie packed her bags and headed for Chicago and her sister’s last known residence; The World Fair Hotel, on the corner of 63rd Street and Wallace, Chicago.
Overview: 63rd & Wallace takes active listeners on a terrifying journey for survival through the murder castle, exploring and unraveling its darkest secrets. For each puzzle solved, they come one step closer towards the inevitable encounter with Dr. H..H Holmes himself.
Excerpts: Charlie’s bloodied hands came up to her mouth to trap in her scream but Holmes paid no attention to her. His focus remained fixed on the scene below him. On the woman. The pregnant woman screamed again and her feet pulsed and pushed against those unforgiving stirrups until Charlie feared they would break. Before Charlie could think to run, the image before her flickered. Or stopped and then reappeared. She couldn’t be sure. It reminded her of stories she’d heard about the new pictures. But she’d yet to see one. The image was there and then it wasn’t and then it was once more. As Charlie stifled her distress with her bloodied hands she heard Holmes speak. “I was born with the Devil in me. I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than a poet can help the inspiration to sing… I was born with the Evil One standing as my sponsor beside the bed where I was ushered into the world, and he has been with me since”. Charlie stepped back and ran from the room.
About the author: Natalie French grew up moving - a lot - all over Southern California and St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, but spent her teens and early 20's near Denver. Thirteen years ago, she settled in the Seattle area. Natalie's days are spent working full time and enjoying her two children, a boy and a girl, for whom wrestling on the stairs is a serious sport. At night, when the house is quiet, she writes.
Cover art: Christina Ergonis
Music & sound: Mark Tintinger