“The idea that Jack the Ripper was a female should not be overlooked.”
Here’s something else that should not be overlooked – there’s an amusement park in London that recreates macabre and worse events and people in that city’s history, including the Black Death, the Gunpowder Plot, Sweeney Todd, “The Plague Doctor” and the “drop ride to doom” where you can get the thrill of being hanged. The newest attraction, for a limited time only, will look at the controversial yet plausible idea that the still-not-positively-identified serial killer known as Jack the Ripper might be wrongly nicknamed and should actually be called Jackie the Ripper. Would you walk through a recreation of the dark streets of 19th century London with a nurse who may be the infamous killer? Where does the line start?
The London Dungeon, on the city’s South Bank, opened in 1976 as a wax museum., but later moved to using live actors to recreate the historical characters and scenarios. For a few weeks, the main attraction is a what-if depiction of the story of Jack the Ripper with a woman in the lead. While letters allegedly written by the killer were signed “Jack the Ripper,” some witnesses claimed they saw someone wearing the clothing of the final victim, Mary Jane Kelly, as they left the murder scene. That led people like John Morris, author of “The Hand of a Woman,” to consider the idea that the murderer was a woman.
“Four of the five Ripper victims had their uterus removed, with the fifth showing signs of an attempted removal.”
Morris thinks this indicates the murderer was not necessarily a doctor but a doctor’s assistant. He points a bloody finger at Lizzie Williams, a local doctor’s wife and assistant at the time of the murders who was unable to have children of her own, which manifested into a murderous hatred of prostitutes who were always pregnant (for obvious reasons). Morris also suggests that Lizzie’s husband may have been involved with Mary Jane Kelly, which may have driven Lizzie not only to kill her but to possibly dress in the victim’s clothing – perhaps to taunt her husband, Sir John Williams, who was a suspect in the killings. Lizzie was not, even though the victims were not sexually assaulted – something male killers would most likely do.
Morris points out that, although Lizzie was never questioned about the murders, she suffered a nervous breakdown shortly after the murder of Mary Jane Kelly in 1888 and died in 1912. Richard Quincey, the London Dungeon’s resident ‘Ripperologist’, buys into Morris’ theory, as does Andrew Walker, General Manager at Merlin Entertainments which owns the Dungeon.
“This theory makes you look at the Ripper story in a completely new way and this is definitely something we’d like to reflect within the attraction which is why we have taken our Jack the Ripper show and turned it on its head. This I believe will surprise and shock our audiences, just as much as this revelation shocks and surprises those with an interest in the Ripper story.”
The ”Jackie the Ripper Show” at The London Dungeon runs from August 13th through the 31st.
Can a fictional recreation lead to an investigation that might finally solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper? Can the world accept a Jackie the Ripper? Does anyone have the stomach for lunch after visiting the London Dungeon?