Saturday, April 29, 2017

Day 180: Jack the Ripper

Some are saying we are halfway to Halloween, which would be true if years only had 360 days. As it stands, we are almost halfway to Halloween and it feel further away than ever.

Like the Bigfoot post, I am here today to write about Jack the Ripper. Why does he capture the imagination so? First, I would argue, is that he is a real monster. A real human living in the real world committed these depraved acts and, like any good serial killer, puts the fear in us that we could end up like his victims.

Oh, do I need to go into who Jack the Ripper is? Serial killer in 1890s London? Chopped up a bunch of prostitutes and was never caught? You know the guy. That guy.

Anyway, that whole "never was caught" thing is another scary thought. Surely, he is generations dead by now but there is the idea that he relocated and started a new life. Maybe he's your great-grandfather or he hung out with your distant relatives? He could be almost anyone and the endless theories about who he was and why he did what he did are fascinating to delve into. Hell, there is a field called Ripperology dedicated to learning as much about the case as possible.

Also, he taunted law enforcement like some kind of Batman villain, sending clues and riddles to the police while leaving all sorts of evidence at crime scenes. All this evidence is out there and he was still never identified, this implies an intelligence beyond killers like Otis Toole or Jeffrey Dahmer. He gamed the system (maybe from the inside?) and made his pursuers look like fools.

The brutality of the crimes is another factor in his legacy. Body parts were found splayed out all over the place, with bites taken out of some organs and others removed entirely. This wasn't a poisoner silently bringing death to his victims, this was a full on maniac who was somehow able to hide in polite society. Look around at your friends and family, could any of them harbor so dark an urge? It can be hard to tell and the not knowing is the most frightening aspect of all.

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