Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Was ‘Jack the Ripper’ a Famous Celebrity?

1888 AD. Whitechapel , London: Five cold-blooded murders. Over a hundred suspects.  And an unknown killer on the lose, never cornered. Even the best of the best Hollywood Movies cannot possibly give us as petrifying a plot of a crime as this. Such was the brutality involved in the still unravelled mystery of Jack the Ripper, with a series of murders that shook England from August to November of that year.

This is one intriguing story you have probably heard over and over again. In fact, I remember, the Ripper Stories that were doing rounds in Kerala when I was a kid. That was long after Jack the Ripper was dead and gone. The Malayali Ripper was someone who killed his victims with a hammer and not a knife. Apparently, he would knock the hell out of the victim’s head with a big, really big hammer. I do not know what ever had happened to that Ripper. All that I know is there were some news going around and the people in my village were scared to venture out at night as they were worried any time the Ripper might attack. I still remember my mother scaring me when I was a kid saying she would call the Ripper if I did not behave and be a nice kid. That was long ago!
Jack the Ripper came back last week, as I was watching the film, From Hell. Initially, I did not know that the film was about Jack The Ripper and how and why he butchered five prostitutes from East London. As the story unfolded I could see the horror and brutality of the crime and a conspiracy theory to back it up. According to the film, Sir William Gull, the doctor of the Royal Family, killed the five prostitutes who were “witnesses to Prince Eddy's (forbidden) Catholic marriage to a whore who bears his legitimate daughter (Alice), who is therefore the heir to the British throne.”
Now, the involvement of the Royal Family in the crime [perhaps, that is the reason why Jack the Ripper was never caught!] is not just the film director’s imagination. Sir William Withey Gull in fact was one of the suspects, as the mutilation and evisceration of the bodies after the murders pointed to someone who had knowledge of surgical procedure. Once, Stephen King wrote a book, titled Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, naming Gull as Jack the Ripper, he became the favourite suspect of filmmakers. Stephen King claimed that the murders were to cover up the secret marriage between Prince Albert Victor and Annie Elizabeth Crook, a working class girl. That is an old story from a book written in 1976, probably true or probably not. We will never know! Any way, filmmakers now have a more interesting suspect, thanks to Richard Wallace.
In 1996, Richard Wallace published a book: Jack the Ripper, Light Hearted Friend. He wrote:
This is my story of Jack the Ripper, the man behind Britain's worst unsolved murders. It is a story that points to the unlikeliest of suspects: a man who wrote children's stories. That man is Charles Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, author of such beloved books as Alice in Wonderland.
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson! The all-time children’s favourite Lewis Carroll? The man who wrote my all time favourite, Alice in Wonderland? I know that the man is blamed for disagreeing to be a priest though he was groomed to be one. I know that four volumes of Carroll’s diaries are missing and 13 pages are deliberately removed from one of his diaries. and no one knows why. Some say he was a paedophile and proposed to 11 year old Alice Liddell to marry him. Now here is Richard, claiming that he thinks Carroll is Jack the Ripper.
Richard says there are several anagrams in his book, openly confessing about the murders. I could read from Karoline Leach’s  rebuttal, Jack Through the Looking-Glass (or Wallace in Wonderland) that the book also suggests a connection between Rule 42 in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the age of the five women who were killed. They were three years less or more than 42. The last one was 24, which is 42 backwards. Karoline strongly argues against the proposition. She goes on to show how the ‘Rule 42’ and the anagrams are bullshit. However, apparently, the book includes a motive, psychological profile, knowledge, and opportunity, along with a specially commissioned forensic handwriting analysis of the infamous letters written by the Ripper.
I don’t know if all that Wallace wrote is true. I have not read the book, and haven’t had a chance to see how he is saying and why he is saying it. One thing I am sure about, the book is going to be hot material for film makers. The movie rights to the book are already sold. And I am waiting to lay my hands on the book!

Update: Read the Jack the Ripper case files. It has every single thing about the Whitechapel Murders and all so famous photographs.