Sunday, April 18, 2010
USC student's Jack the Ripper Walk/Question for Ripper Tour Guides
A student from the University of Southern California recently went on a Ripper Walk in London led by the legend Donald Rumbelow.  Melissa Leu writes:
Wind-blown and with my stomach in knots, I looked around in a frazzled daze. A large group had already assembled around the mysterious figure, and as I neared, his face came into view. The menacing shadow-lurker turned out to be Donald, our guide on a Jack the Ripper walking tour.

Donald Rumbelow, upon closer inspection, is not the fearsome character I had aggrandized from afar. His monstrous size could be attributed to the plastic stool he stood on, and his sinister appearance was more from a lack of sleep and an overactive imagination than any real threat.
It's funny that there is the sense of a "haunted house" tour to the Ripper Walk. I wonder, do Ripper tour guides feel pressure to liven up the tour to compete with other types of tours?

Another question comes out of this quote by Leu:
As we followed in Ripper’s footsteps, tracking back and forth between the invisible boundary lines, Rumbelow intertwined stories of the five murders — all East End prostitutes, most in their 40s — with a dramatic air, revealing the attitudes and ineptitudes of law enforcement at the time.

However, just as he began describing Ripper’s narrow escape from two incoming search parties, a heckler rode by on his bike shouting indecipherable obscenities, breaking the mood that Rumbelow had tried so hard to craft.

Do Ripper guides find it difficult to conduct the tours amidst the general public, especially as incidents like these occur? How often do people disrupt the tours?
posted by Lavaughn Towell @ 9:26 PM | 2 comments

2 Comments:
At 12:14 PM, Blogger Meg said...

My goodness, I could go on and on about being a tour guide. I give tours at the Longfellow House in Portland, Maine. There's a funny ratio: about 30% of the people actually want to be there and are interested; everybody else is bored or dragged there. So you do run into common problems: keeping their attention, keeping history alive, being a security guard, dealing with unexpected events. It's fun but can be exhausting. I've wanted to take the Ripper tour for years. Someday!

 
At 3:13 PM, Blogger Lavaughn said...

I would love to take the tour, also. I know that not much is left from the era, but I do think that experiencing that atmosphere would be fascinating. I hear from some tour guides that a great many are dragged there or think it would be different--sort of like a Haunted House tour complete with frights and chills.

 

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