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1971 Ripper Tour

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1971 Ripper Tour

Post by Karen on Fri 3 Jun 2011 - 18:29

Homage to Jack the Ripper.
Ghost Went West for Waiting East Enders.

By MARY ANN REESE
London Bureau Chief

LONDON (S&S) - Three dozen Londoners and tourists walked for two hours through the dark back streets of East London Thursday night and waited a third hour Friday morning in a dismal square, but the guest of honor never showed.
But then women are like that. Especially when they've been dead 83 years.
It was the anniversary of the death of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim of Jack the Ripper, and rumor has it that the former lady of the streets comes back to haunt the ground where she was murdered each anniversary of her death, between 1 and 2 a.m. - the time when her mutilated body was found on Mitre Square in the heart of London.

Last Seen in '64.

Her ghost was last seen in 1964.
So an enterprising Australian, Keith Bauerstock, who conducts offbeat tours of London several nights each week promised his patrons a vigil.
"I've never seen a ghost myself," confided Bauerstock, "but I believe in them."
About 35 people met at the Whitechapel Tube Station at 11 p.m. to travel the paths of the man who terrorized the hearts of all Victorian London in the autumn of 1888 with the grisly murders - at least five and maybe more.
His victims were prostitutes. Not only did he slit their throats, but he severely mutilated their bodies and he taunted the police with brazen letters to the press predicting his next moves. To this day his identity has not been established.

Gladstone's Bag?

No fewer than 27 people have been named and discussed at great length as possible culprits - including Gladstone, a distant cousin of the royal family, a mad midwife (Jill the Ripper), a Reverend Ripper, a Russian spy.
We were a strange and assorted collection hovering together after the pubs had closed. Housewives, a few businessmen, a college professor, a tourist from Germany who didn't believe in ghosts but wanted to see London at night, two young lovers who believed, because they had seen a ghost recently......."sort of a mist."
Also a reporter from The Times anxious to expose any fakery, a tall young man with long, wavy blond hair and a purse, a WAF and an Air Force captain who came to humor me, a student with a gold plastic butterfly on his chest.
We crept silently, almost reverently, through the back alleys of what remains London's slum area, and Bauerstock recounted anecdotes of Ripper's day. Like police forensics of those times left something to be desired:
"The police photographed the eyes of the victims, convinced that when the pictures were developed they'd see the face of the culprit in their terrified eyes."
Or social commentary:
"George Bernard Shaw described Jack the Ripper as a social reformer before his times. Because of him and his murders hundreds of tourists came to the East End and were so appalled by the living conditions there that charities raised funds to build better houses."
Much of Jack the Ripper's London is being torn down and soon, predicts Bauerstock, "nothing of it will remain, since there is no Jack the Ripper Preservation Society."
At one dark intersection, surrounded by decaying buildings and full of broken pavingstones and shattered glass, one of our pilgrims fainted and cut his head. Some wondered if this were an omen.
Finally, shortly before 1 a.m., we arrived at Mitre Square. It was at this spot that Miss Eddowes crossed after leaving the police station where she had been held for "impersonating a fire engine while under the influence of alcohol."

Never Found.

She never left the square. Her mutilated body was found in the square by a police officer. Police pursued the murderer's trail and came so close that "blood washed from his hands in public troughs was still gurgling down the drains." But he was never found.
By now our numbers had grown to at least 50. Most of the group sat silently, without smiling, almost like social demonstrators, or guests at a wake.
We stared intently into the dark corner where our guide thought "she" might appear if she were going to.

Unpredictable.

A few there had seen ghosts before. A few wanted to know how they'd react if they saw a ghost. Some said they wanted to see what sort of people came to ghost watches, and one or two doubted ghosts exist at all, but just in case they peered into the dark anyway.
The minutes ticked away, a generator hummed, and finally it was 2 a.m. Bauerstock got up to leave. A few stayed behind to continue the vigil.
"I'm sorry," he said. "You just can't tell about these things."
His followers nodded gravely, and then disappeared into the silent London night.

Source: The Stars and Stripes, Saturday October 2, 1971, Page 4


***************************************
Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"
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