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Monday, 3 August 2015

Jack The Ripper - The Everlasting Mystery - #MonsterMondays 13

So I decided on this topic weeks ago, but it nicely coincides with some news I read over the weekend. I have always been interested in serial killers because of the dark look into the human soul that they provide and Jack the Ripper has to be one of the most famous.
Monster Mondays posts may be fiction, film reviews, book reviews or me waxing lyrical about a particular monster. Monsters can be paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy or even simply human. So basically, anything monster goes. I also invite anyone who would like to, to join in with their own post. (See end for details).
Jack the Ripper - The Everlasting Mystery

I'm not sure when I first heard of Jack the Ripper, but I think it might actually have been a bad made for TV movie :). However, he is still a fascinating character who has led to some of the most elaborate theories over the years since his crimes were never solved.

Jack killed five women in the Whitechapel area of London in 1888, each murder growing increasingly brutal as he mutilated his victims, except for Elizabeth Stride, where it is hypothesised that Jack was interrupted during the act. What made Jack famous, however, was not really the brutality of the killings. Like with many things today, it was the fact the press caught on to the story and ran with it, immortalising Jack forever in the group consciousness.

There have been many suspects over the nearly a century and a half since the murders, which just stopped with no apparent explanation. The latest theory is that Jack actually killed the first four women simply to cover his tracks for the murder of the last, Mary Jane Kelly. The new theory is detailed in the new book The Real Mary Kelly, written by Dr Wynne Weston-Davies. According to this article in The Independent the Ministry of Justice is willing to grant an exhumation order for Mary Jane Kelly for evidence to be gathered.

According to this theory Jack is a man called Francis Spurzheim Craig, the husband of Kelly who also happened to be a journalist who reported on the police courts. He planned the murder of Kelly as revenge when she went back to prostitution after their marriage and that the other killings were clever decoys.

I have to admit it's one of the more interesting theories.

Everyone from royalty to a simple butcher have been in the frame over the years, adding more and more layers to the mythos of Jack the Ripper. Was he a man who ended up in an asylum, deemed unfit to stand trial and hence never revealed to the public? Was he a traveller who escaped to the USA? Was he a prince, protected by his royal title? It's is likely we will never know, but it won't stop people from speculating.

I think the positive thing to come out of such gruesome crimes is all the wonderful stories that have used Jack as inspiration. My favourite is Jack's Back (1988) starting James Spader. I first saw this film on VHS when Soph and I bought a previous viewed tape of it from Blockbuster.

Spader plays twins in it, so that's a plus already, and someone is recreating the Ripper murders in L.A. one hundred years later. One of the brothers, a doctor, is killed and framed for the murders and the other sees his twin's death in a dream. Of course he tries to prove his brother's innocence, only to end up in the frame himself. They finally brought it out on DVD the other year and I managed to get a new copy :)

So, do you have any favourite Jack the Ripper theories? Was is a madman or a cover up or something even more sinister?

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  1. I'm actually a reading a thriller about Jack the Ripper called I, Ripper. It's a dual POV between a reporter who reported on the crimes and Jack himself. I'm a little over halfway through. I think my favorite Ripper story is From Hell.

  2. From Hell was a good one, I will admit :) I, Ripper sounds like an interesting book.


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