Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Cricket Q and A Involves Jack
Interesting to note that a series of questions to a cricket writer includes one about whether or not Jack was a cricketer. From the article:
Is it true that the notorious murderer Jack the Ripper was a cricketer? asked Ken Mountford from London
The identity of "Jack the Ripper", who carried out a series of grisly murders in London's East End in 1888, has never been conclusively proved. Various suspects have been put forward over the years, and one of them was indeed a reputable cricketer - Montague Druitt, who played in trial matches while up at Oxford without getting into the university side, was a member of MCC, and also played for the prominent London club Blackheath. A bowler, he took five wickets for Bournemouth against the touring Parsees from India in 1888. Druitt was found drowned in December of that year, a month after the last confirmed "Ripper" murder.
posted by Unknown @ 8:48 PM | 0 comments

Sunday, March 28, 2010
TeenForumz is an online forum where teens can ask for advice and discuss whatever issues they choose. Yesterday someone started a thread on Jack the Ripper and it's interesting reading, as it gives us insight into what popular surrounds the case.
posted by Unknown @ 8:13 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
The Gray Man
I recently watched the movie The Gray Man, which centers around the early-20th Century killer Albert Fish. It wasn't an awful movie, but only those with prior knowledge of the case will really enjoy it, as it puts in many details out of context.

I first learned about Fish through Harold Schechter's book Deranged. Schechter wrote to Robert Bloch (author of Psycho) when Schechter was doing a book on Ed Gein, since Bloch's book was based in part on Gein. Schechter states that he asked Bloch why Gein was still so fascinating and creepy to people. Bloch replied, "Because nobody remembers Albert Fish."

That led Schechter to research and publish Deranged, and it, like most of Schechter's work, is required reading for true-crime buffs.

Click on the link above to read more about Fish, but there is much, much more to Fish and his proclivities than is mentioned on most sites, and I highly recommend Schechter's book for those truly interested in a fascinating character.

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posted by Unknown @ 9:20 PM | 0 comments

"Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" Comic
One of my earliest memories of hearing the name Jack the Ripper came from the short story, "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" by Robert Bloch. Of course, Bloch is most famous as the author of Psycho, but he wrote a few stories about Jack including "Yours Truly," which I think is one of the best horror stories ever. Bloch's mixture of humor and horror made him stand out as an artist of the short story form. It was announced today that there will be a release Bloch's story in comic book form.
Psycho author Robert Bloch's seminal tale of the Ripper in then-contemporary times was originally published in Weird Tales in '43. Now it's getting adapted to comics for the first time ever, by acclaimed writer Joe R. Lansdale and John L. Lansdale, and featuring art and colors by Eisner-nominated artist Kevin Colden (Fishtown).

32 pages, $3.99.

Coming in June.

Joe Lansdale is a great choice for the writing portion, as his Southern Gothic style combines the same elements of humor and horror that Bloch excelled at. If you have a chance and are not squeamish, check out Lansdale's zombie short story "On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks," one of the few great zombie stories.

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posted by Unknown @ 9:08 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Yet Another Ripper Video Game/Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper review
After a late 2009 rumor that Electronic Arts copyrighting the name "The Ripper" meant that the company was designing a Jack the Ripper-based video game, the company, along with developer Visceral Games, confirmed that story today. According to the website IGN:
This new game will reportedly be a download-only title for PlayStation Network and Xbox LIVE...Given that The Ripper is a download title, we should assume this is a small title with a significantly smaller development team. With Dead Space 2 set for release in early 2011, it's possible EA could release the game sometime this year.

I don't know a lot about the intricacies of game development, but doesn't "small title" and "smaller development team," along with it being a downloadable game, mean that not a lot of effort is being put into it?

This follows the announcement that the game Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper is to be released as an XBox360 game on April 20th. I've played this one on a PC, and it's very entertaining. I enjoyed the in-depth crime scenes and the sleuthing the player is allowed to do on each victim, which allows you to see the surroundings that can be hard to visualize in a 3-D setting. While of course not exactly true to the facts, it does stay pretty close to the official reports on each victim and it's exciting to have a way to actively work with the reports, statements, objects, etc. of the crime in a virtual world.
posted by Unknown @ 10:19 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, March 09, 2010
Sky News Story about JtR
The strangest things about this story are the accompanying photos. What the heck?

posted by Unknown @ 7:17 PM | 0 comments

Saturday, March 06, 2010
Jack the Ripper’s Secret Confession

My Secret Life
is a fascinating glimpse into the patriarchal mind in the Victorian Era, as it touches on the privileges of wealth and men's attitudes toward woman, especially in sexual contexts. It is one of the most banned books in history. This website has a chronology of the people who tried to publish it over the years.

Recently, David Monaghan and Nigel Cawthorne published their book Jack the Ripper's Secret Confession, which points to "Walter," the pseudonymous author of My Secret Life, as the Ripper. To begin with, we must assume that the authors are correct in pegging Henry Spencer Ashbee, as the book never mentions the true author by name. Only then can we parse My Secret Life with the authors to deduce whether Ashbee fits the profile of Jack the Ripper. For me, this is a bit too much of a leap to take, while at the same time being one of the most original theories to date. "Walter" wrote of sexual proclivities that included violence, but he stopped short of murder (or at least does not admit to it). If he did commit the crimes and had the book published under a pseudonym, why admit what he did yet not at least allude to the rest? In the book he admits to rape and other crimes, and the book does not shy away from unpleasant topics. Those who say he would fear legal retribution are missing the fact that even now there is nothing to tie Ashbee to the book except hearsay, and he could have merely denied authorship. Records show that publishers were jailed attempting to publish the book, while the issue of the author and his confessed crimes were not really discussed. Therefore, it was more a matter of prudery and fear of such scandalous reading material readily available that drove authorities to censor the work. The book was published and quickly repressed and/or forgotten, so much so that it was only in 1932 that it resurfaces, and only then due to the publisher being arrested. Conversely, another train of thought runs that the book is most if not all fiction, so this explains the focus on the publication rather than the veracity of the content. Also, the very crimes they wish to tie Ashbee to are not mentioned in My Secret Life. If Walter/Ashbee believed he had anonymity, and time has borne this out, then why not mention, at least in passing, these seminal crimes? One possible explanation is that all the events portrayed in the memoir took place prior to August, 1888. Ashbee would have been 54 years old in 1888, which is hardly in keeping with witness descriptions of Jack the Ripper. Moreover, it seems a bit of a stretch to believe that he began killing at age 54, which would explain the absence of such events in his memoir. Conversely, the authors of Jack the Ripper's Secret Confession are intimating that a man with such fierce sexual appetites is clearly capable of the types of murders attributed to Jack the Ripper. While I believe the crimes are sexual in nature, there is a difference between the overactive libido of Walter and the terrifically repressed and violent nature of the person who killed the women in Whitechapel in 1888. Even Walter's violent tendencies and acting out of sexual fantasies involving knives seems part of his desire for new experiences and thrills. It remains a step from this to the hatred evident in the Whitechapel murders. Still, it's a fascinating addition to the canon.

I do have to give credit to David Monaghan for joining Casebook and answering questions of the people there. It shows the seriousness in which the book was written and while it may be too speculative for me, it does at least deserve a hearing.

From the publishers:

With several million copies sold in the last fifty years, My Secret Life, first published by Grove Press in the 1960s, is one of the most famous pornographic works in literary history. What readers of this long-banned and troubling book of violent sexual fantasies failed to realize is that it is also the confession of history’s most fiendish killer. Written during the era of Jack the Ripper, it’s narrated by “Walter,” the pseudonym of textile millionaire Henry Spencer Ashbee. Walter was a voyeur and rapist obsessed with prostitutes, and his writing revealed his darkest sexual secrets. He died in 1901, long before his book would be widely read. Only now have researchers finally come to the conclusion that “Walter” and Jack the Ripper were, in fact, one and the same. Jack the Ripper’s Secret Confession puts all the pieces together, and its new theory will amaze and titillate scholars who for generations have pondered the true identity of history’s most brutal murderer.
posted by Unknown @ 7:22 PM | 0 comments

Friday, March 05, 2010
Jack the Ripper Rap
I've heard LL Cool J's rap song and some other metal/rap hybrids that mention Jack the Ripper, but this is the first Russian rap song I've heard with Jack. Might be the first Russian rap song I've heard, period!

posted by Unknown @ 10:39 PM | 0 comments

Here's another Jack the Ripper-themed musical, this one being presented in Dallas, Texas.

Donald Fowler has written and produced Creep: The Very, Very Sad but Unfortunately True and Completely Fabricated Tale of Jack the Ripper, and he has an interesting take on the story:

Although Fowler is well-versed in Ripperology, he felt empowered to defy the accepted mythology and invent people and events to serve his artistic sentiments. Purists may sniff, he admits, but for him, it was about being true to his vision...“The beauty I find is in the desperation of all these people, and then they get murdered. You can only take so much of that. I didn’t want to tell a literal tale, just something really interesting and melodramatic and fun. This piece is a puzzle. You get all the pieces throughout the musical until we finally find out who Jack the Ripper is when he finds out.”

I like Fowler's approach here, as it's always been more fascinating to me to delve into the lives of the victims and those who had to live in such conditions, as well as possible motives for the crimes from the individual murderer's point of view. To me, this is what will lead to understanding such behavior and perhaps preventing it in the future.
posted by Unknown @ 10:24 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, March 03, 2010
A college in Lancashire is taking on Jack the Ripper as a musical. Uniquely, the school uses the production to showcase student endeavors in many different departments.
Performed by a cast of 13 drama students, the show links all of the College’s departments together with a cumulative effort from textiles, music, graphic design, production and the marketing departments.

Ian Clinton, Principal at Blackburn College, said: “This is set to be an excellent production and performance and has proven to be a very ‘hands on’ experience for all crew members involved.”

The show runs March 2nd to March 5th.
posted by Unknown @ 8:25 PM | 0 comments

Thomas Neill Cream
Thomas Griffiths Wainewright
Frederick Deeming
The Bravo Case
Madeleine Smith
Constance Kent
William Palmer
My Ripper Inventory
Ripper Notes
Hollywood Ripper
Jack the Ripper Forum
Archives: Jack the Ripper
The Whitechapel Society
Largest German Jack the Ripper Site
The Victorian Web
Victorian Dictionary
Victoria Research Web

The Final Solution by Walter Harmidarow
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