Friday, October 31, 2008

Jack The Ripper: A Halloween Related Post

Find out about Jack The Ripper, who terrorized Whitechapel and gave London nightmares over 100 years ago:

Jack the Ripper is an alias given to an unidentified serial killer[1] active in the largely impoverished Whitechapel area and adjacent districts of London, England, in the autumn of 1888. The name originated in a letter sent to the London Central News Agency by someone claiming to be the murderer.

The victims were women allegedly earning income as prostitutes, who were killed in public or semi-public places at night or in the early morning. Each victim's throat was cut, after which her body was mutilated. Theories suggest that the victims first were strangled, in order to silence them, which may explain the reported lack of blood at the crime scenes. The removal of internal organs from three of the victims led some officials at the time of the murders to propose that the killer possessed anatomical or surgical knowledge.[2]

Newspapers, whose circulation had been growing during this era,[3] bestowed widespread and enduring notoriety on the killer because of the attacks' savagery and the police's failure to capture the murderer (they sometimes missed him at the crime scenes by mere minutes).[4][5]

Because the killer's identity has never been confirmed, the legends surrounding the murders have become a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. Many authors, historians, and amateur detectives have proposed theories about the identity of the killer and his victims.

Gruesome crime scene photo:

See also: Casebook: Jack the Ripper for an extensive collection of contemporary newspaper reports related to the murders as well as articles by modern authors.

Somehow silly Halloween songs such as Screaming Lord Sutch's aptly named Jack The Ripper:

1963 version:

1977 version:
---do not seem to evoke the sheer sense of terror and panic London felt all those years ago.

For another Jack that terrorized London's city streets see:

Spring Heeled Jack (also Springheel Jack, Spring-heel Jack, etc), is a character from English folklore said to have existed during the Victorian era and able to jump extraordinarily high. The first claimed sighting of Spring Heeled Jack that is known occurred in 1837.[1] Later alleged sightings were reported all over England, from London up to Sheffield and Liverpool, but they were especially prevalent in suburban London and later in the Midlands and Scotland.[2]

Many theories have been proposed to ascertain the nature and identity of Spring Heeled Jack. The urban legend of Spring Heeled Jack gained immense popularity in its time due to the tales of his bizarre appearance and ability to make extraordinary leaps, to the point where he became the topic of several works of fiction.

Spring Heeled Jack was described by people claiming to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with diabolical physiognomy that included clawed hands and eyes that "resembled red balls of fire". One report claimed that, beneath a black cloak, he wore a helmet and a tight-fitting white garment like an "oilskin". Many stories also mention a "Devil-like" aspect. Spring Heeled Jack was said to be tall and thin, with the appearance of a gentleman, and capable of making great leaps. Several reports mention that he could breathe blue and white flames and that he wore sharp metallic claws at his fingertips. At least two people claimed that he was able to speak in comprehensible English.

No comments: