As some of you may know I have always been rather fascinated by the legend of Jack the Ripper. (Don’t look at my browsing history – I’m a writer so it’s a bit weird!). For anyone unfamiliar with him Jack the Ripper stalked the London streets in the Autumn of 1888 and left at least five women dead and mutilated. These poor women were prostitutes of the lowest class; it was a dangerous profession. In many ways the killings highlighted the plight of the Victorian poor, particularly for females. Who did not have much choice in how they supported themselves if a husband was not around, or the family was very poor.
There are hundreds of theories about who he (or she) was – ranging from the grandson of the Queen Victoria (Eddie – Duke of Clarence who might have had some rather dubious doings but was several hundred miles away in Scotland at the time of one of the killings), to a mad doctor, to a Jewish slaughterman, to a midwife, to a wealthy Liverpool businessman (who himself was (possibly murdered by his wife Florence Maybrick ).
Who was this person who left London in the grip of terror? This new murderer more wicked than any before him? Who knows? That is part of the enduring legend. Jack the Ripper was never caught and his legacy is such that writers and historians aplenty have fielded proof, disproof, and stories for over a hundred years.
Anyway enough background…. The story is from the point of view of the killer – and recounts his last known murder – that of Mary Jane Kelly. I am not putting forward names – other than Jack but there is a twist at the end of his identity.
This was previously published as an anthology piece for Tales from Darker Places and Boo Fore! but has been updated and revised for this version.
Welcome to the darkness of Victorian London….
The Watcher – A Jack the Ripper Story
The year is 1888, and the place is Whitechapel, in the very heart of London. But the heart is bleeding. A mysterious killer is stalking women of the streets – his true name is unknown but his legend will go down in history. This is a short tale of Jack the Ripper.
18 rated for scenes of violence.
Universal Link The Watcher – A Jack the Ripper Story
Bundle Rabbit https://bundlerabbit.com/products/detail/the-watcher
Background reading for those interested.
The Florence Maybrick case is fascinating in itself, tragic for all concerned and showed the morals of the time well enough. Mrs Maybrick was tried more for the fact she’d had affairs (including with her husband’s brother) than anything else. Her husband had a mistress, was a hypochondriac who took arsenic as a tonic, and in more than one case had struck his wife.
1888 – London Murders in the Year of the Ripper by Peter Stubley
#truecrime #LondonHistory #JacktheRipper
1888 is a year that entered history for all the wrong reasons – the Autumn of Terror was the time the unidentified serial killer known as Jack the Ripper stalked the streets of London. But these were not the only crimes in what was then the capital of the British Empire, and the primary trading port of the world.
This fascinating book recounts a whole year of killings; some were done in pitiful desperation, some for the usual reasons – greed or love, some were done on the spur of the moment, some were done in madness but all were tragic in their own way. In part this is a social commentary – almost all the killers and the majority of the victims were poor. This was a time without many rights for women or children, domestic violence was very common, families were often large and money was scarce. In, what was arguably, the most civilised city on Earth, life was cheap and crime was rife.
Most of these tragic tales are little known – forgotten by time, and overshadowed by the Ripper’s crimes. This is the first time I have seen some of these outlined, and I read a lot of true crime. The author deals with the subject sympathetically, non-judgementally and references particular articles, laws, biographies etc. It’s obvious a lot of research was done to select these accounts and to present them accurately, and in the context of the time. In the case of the Ripper, the author does not speculate on a possible perpetrator, as many crime writers do, he simply presents the facts and states that no one was ever identified as Jack the Ripper.
Overall I’d recommend this to readers of Victorian history, true crime, British history and those interested in the social commentary of the time.
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and Mad-Doctors in Victorian England.
This is a fascinating book covering the lives of lunatics and alleged lunatics in Victorian England. Mental illness was little understood and feared. Many people found it shameful to have a lunatic relative and so often such people were hidden away. The book covers several persons who, although eccentric, were misdiagnosed as insane, hauled away to either ‘private’ asylums or larger establishments, with little or no recourse to law.
The author often mentions fiction in which this occurs – namely Jane Eyre and Women in White but the truth was often not far, or sometimes even worse than fiction.
The reasons for incarceration ranged from relatives wanting control of finances; inconvenient wives; women who spoke out and behaved against the rigid, masculine status quo, and in one of the case studies a group involved with a cult. Each case is discussed in depth, sympathetically and the changes in law (if any applied) mentioned.
It is a good insight into the world of Victorian England, the rules governing the role of women, the sick, the upper-classes and how the populace reacted. Ignorance, spite, greed and misdirection fill these pages, along with love gone sour, obsession and most importantly – courage.
For anyone interested in Victorian history, the history of mental illness treatment or psychiatry might find this book a good read.