Excerpt from my new novel 'The Story of Jack the Ripper a Paradox'
I've just finished my novel that places the English Poet Francis Thompson as the ripper suspect. I think it's a great story and the preface gives some idea in minature of the genre and approach of the novel. If you like it please tell others about it.
Preface- A Ghost Story.
Do you want to hear scary story? In London, the largest and most powerful city in world on a very dark night well over a century ago, the body of a woman was found. She lay on a footpath. Her throat had been cut and although they could not find the knife, the police first thought that it was simply a case of suicide. The woman was obviously very poor and there was no reason to rob and kill her. Back then, in 1888, there was no such thing as serial killers. Today, there are thousands of all over the world. They kill between two to hundreds of people and they seemingly kill for almost any reason - because they do not like blonde-haired people or tall women, nurses, people called Ann or Margaret, anyone who resembles their mother, or women with bows or ribbons. It is felt that they kill for the sake of killing. They find it fun watch the blood spurt. It thrills them to hear their victims beg for their lives, such evil is almost inconceivable to us now. In 1888, when this woman was found dead on the pavement, it was. People killed for known reason. They did it for money, for revenge, when they were fighting in a war, or if they had gone mad with a brain disease or unfettered power.
It was not until the police had taken the body to the morgue, and attendants undressed her that they found that her stomach had been cut open and her intestines protruded from it. Then the police realised the woman had been murdered. It was possible that she had cut her own throat but it was highly unlikely to accept that she had also cut her own stomach and pulled out part of her intestine. The police guessed that the murderer was the random act of someone who had went insane and it was a once off freak event, but then, about a week later, the killer struck again.
The area that these murders were taking place was rather small, less than a square kilometre. This second woman was found in the backyard of some flats and like the first, her throat had been cut and her intestines were dragged out. It was then that the police understood that there was a killer on the streets. The slayer was someone who was willing to kill repeatedly with no known motive. The police stepped up their patrols and they paid particular attention to anyone acting suspiciously or appearing unusual, but they could not find the murderer. They were at a loss as to what to do when they had a stroke of luck. The killer wrote a letter for the police to read. The killer called himself Jack the Ripper and he told them that he loved his work and his knife was nice and sharp. He also let them know what night he was going to kill again. He promised that he would slaughter two women this time, writing, ‘Just for jolly wouldn’t you.’ The police were shocked, but also relieved that they could be ready to catch him. They sent out even more constables, with each officer having a lantern and a whistle. They made sure that they patrolled every street and that they would be in hearing distance or in sight of each other. If the murderer attempted to fulfil his promise of a double killing, then he was sure to be caught. Then the police found the body of a woman with her throat cut, and another body a seven-minute walk away. The second woman had been cut up so badly that as well removing parts of body and taking them away, he had time to cut small shapes under her eyelids. Beneath all this slaughter, it was discovered that the killer had such knowledge of anatomy to have caused in her instant death with little more than a needle. The surgeons, who had years of experience, said they could only have made the same injuries in just under half an hour in a brightly lit operating theatre. The killer had done them in less than fifteen minutes in almost total darkness. It was then that people began to panic.
The newspapers told of rumours amongst those investigating that whatever was doing this was possibly not human. How could anyone slip passed so many police, kill these women and simply disappear? Everyone who lived in London grew fearful. People banded together in mobs and searched the streets at night. In a city of five million people, no woman felt safe to be alone outside. Even if she were to live across the road, a woman would ask to be escorted when walking home at night. Many families fled the city. The Queen grew concerned and urged that the killer be stopped. Radicals and extremists used the murders to justify the failure of authorities to protect the people and they called for revolution. The highest officials in the land warned that these murders might topple the government. During all this, people at least felt safe in their homes. The killer had struck on the streets, in alleyways, backyards and courtyards, but as long as you stayed indoors, you were going to be all right… The last, and the most horrible murder, happened in a bedroom. The woman had been cut up so badly that some of the people who saw her remains later killed themselves. Bits of her flesh were hanging from nails on the walls. Her breasts had been cut off and her arm pushed into her stomach. Her womb had been taken and her face had been so badly cut that all that her husband could identify were her ears and eyeballs. The Queen called the head of the police only to be told that he had quit. In a time of worldwide military and political conflict, Britain fought to control its dominion against a legion of warring armies and armed anti-colonial radicals. However, India and Africa were very far away. People felt safe home in England, now it seemed as if the entire city were besieged by the murderer. There were whisperings in parliament that these killings might spur revolution and it seemed that everything had fallen apart. Then, when even all hope was lost, the killings stopped. Things came back together and the wanted man simply vanished, - not!
Today serial killers all over the world worship and envy Jack the Ripper. Many of their killings are copycat murders of the Rippers. Numerous serial killers, when they are finally caught, admit their admiration of his deeds. For a hundred years, the best and brightest scholars and researchers have sought to find out who he was. It is reasoned that if we could only know his name then we could gain an insight not only of him but also into the mind of all serial killers. We could find out what drives them-what makes them tick, and maybe stop them even before they begin and save possibly many thousands of lives. Some believe such people have no souls that they are possessed, or out of their minds. Human are not perfect, we all have or are missing something. Our mistakes make us human but what if serial killers are simply not endowed with what makes us human? They are the modern monster. They are feared and reviled universally; they gain no sympathy and nothing they say could redeem them. In our civilisation, worse than terrorists, traffic accidents, and cancers must be the idea that the stranger you pass is a serial killer. Our society with all its elegance and subtlety has in its own centre such fears. Humanity revolves thus about inhumanity like a black hole in the sky. Uncovering the invisible mask with which the serial killer hides would mean all this would be undone and the dawning of a new star, if one could only find the key.
In 1997, while in Australia studying at university a student of philosophy was asked to write upon murderers. He happened to discover what he thought was a new suspect for Jack the Ripper. He told his tutor and his professor of history, that he believed it was an English poet named Francis Thompson. They suggested that he write to a society in England that has an interest in the case but he gained no reply. Then he started to receive letters from around the world, some of them contained cheques asking him to send them a book he had supposedly written. He then found out that the society had published his findings and told their readers that he had a book on his theory for sale. Not having yet having had written such a book, he ignored the cheques, but he also wondered why some of the people who wrote to him were curious as to his real name. Often writers like to use a pseudonym for their books. Most do so because they wish to have privacy. This is usually even truer for those who write books about serial killing. The society in England however had printed his actual name. He wrote to one customer asking him why he thought the name that the society had printed was not his own; his answer was sensible. The student’s name - Richard Patterson - if you just take away some of the letters, spells ‘Riperson’ -son of the ripper.
Eventually this student took a leave of absence from his studies and did write a slim book. He travelled around the world, including the UK and the US, in researching the theory. He visited the murder sights, and the grave of his suspect. He examined the actual letters of Jack the Ripper, and had template copies undergo forensics examination. He read confidential notebooks of those involve. He read volumes published decades ago that being uncut (printed with still joined pages) showed to never have been read. He spoke with officials and descendants of the victim’s family. He was a delegate at an international conferences on the Ripper and had articles on his theory published. Although it can now fill a book this is just a little of what he found out about his suspect.
Francis Joseph Thompson was born in a busy English town in 1859 and by the first years of his life, he was familiar with violent deaths. His twin brother died at birth. By the time he reached maturity his mother, younger sister and grandfather were also dead. He was a Catholic and when he was young, many Englanders hated his religion. He was only eight years old when an angry mob rioted against the Catholics in an industrial city that his family had moved to. The rioters attacked people before the boy’s eyes and he and his family were forced to flee and seek shelter inside a church. While his father, without anaesthetics, performed surgery on the wounded, the boy looked on. To steady his nerves he turned to the pages of the bible, The section of the New Testament that he choose to escape into, on that fiery doom-laden night which saw at least one other church be burned to the ground, must have been fearful comfort indeed. It was The “Apocalypse”about the end of the world. The boy afterwards decided that the apocalypse was at hand in a world in which the Antichrist had been made flesh.
Master Thomson was sent away to school to learn to become a priest. While there, he set a church on fire because he was not allowed to wear the robes that high officials were permitted to put on. He thought that he should be able to, as if it should be his special right. By now, the school knew him as a genius; he could read at least twenty words a second, learnt several languages fluently and wrote award winning essays amongst thousands of students competitors. He was told that his talents meant that he could have reached any position in the church but the priests felt that there was something not quite right about him and they refused to have him made priest. His father then decided that he should become a surgeon. The young man studied for six years but spent much of his time and a small fortune in interests such cutting up bodies in the college mortuary or in taking drugs. On the day, that Thompson turned twenty-one and became an adult, his mother died in their home. After having a massive argument with his father over his plans to remarry, Thompson ran away to London. The day he ran away was exactly three years to the day that the Ripper mutilated his last victim in her bedroom. It is not a coincidence that owner of the house where one the Ripper murders took place had the same name as Thompson’s stepmother. It is also not a coincidence that both the Ripper’s first and last victims shared the name of Thompson’s mother.
After reaching London, with a dissecting scalpel most likely gained from having had just worked at a medical instrument factory, Thompson had become a homeless drug addict and had read volumes on the occult. In particular, on black masses and necromancy, this is the magical doctrine of the raising of the dead. He then fell in love with a prostitute. One day he found that some poems that he had sent into a magazine had been published and that he was going to become famous. It had taken more than a year to gain a response to his submission. During which time he attempted to take his own life though a drug overdose. He attests that he was at the gates of oblivion when he was rescued by the ghost of a suicide. This ghost, with its lifeless hand resting on Thompson’s shoulder, pleaded with him be patient and gave reassurances that his destiny had not yet been fulfilled. Now that was so near to be accepted as a worthy poet he went to his prostitute lover and told her of his impending fame. That is great she said, but she also added that she could never see him again. When he asked why, she told him that nobody was going to accept the relationship- him being a Catholic poet and her a prostitute. That was the last time that she was seen alive. He grew shocked and acted impulsively in growing delirium. When he regained his senses, he understood that he had lost her. He was full of sorrow and bewilderment but he was not without certain kinds of knowledge. He began to form a plan. Now, here is the scary bit. You are going to learn why he killed these women.
Thompson decided to bring her back, but he was anxious about what she would do. What, he asked himself, would prevent her from leaving him again? There was only one way that she could not. He would bring her back in such a way that her spirit would encompass the earth. He would kill in the cultural and political centre of the Earth by, following ancient occult rites, so that when she came back, her spirit would spread outwards on the waves of energies until she would be like a spirit existing everywhere. His plan was that by killing these five women on special days, in particular places, and in a certain way. He would engineer a sort of resurrection. He believed that after the last murder was committed, she would rise up so that when he would step in a puddle the sound of the water splashing would be her laughter, when he felt a table he would feel her skin, when he sipped a cup of tea, he would taste sweet kisses. Oh, and the wind would echo his name whispered by her, but to Thompson’s dismay, what was finally revealed was far from what he had hoped.
After the killing, he did believe that she had returned but not but she was not herself. Instead, he had spawned a demonic creation made from the five victims. From the last murder until the day he died, to him, puddles would splash out the cries of pain of the murdered women. Whatever he touched was that of clammy cold dead skin. The wind was heard as moans of agony and his tea tasted like spilled blood.
Although he had created the legend of the Ripper he had failed in his aims, but ever resourceful and genius that he was, he came up with another and even greater plan. Thompson was by now, immersing himself in esoteric laws, philosophy, physics and sacred geometry. He claimed that he had become a magician and a prophet and that he could predict the future and it seems a few of his predictions were correct. His great plan became his obsession during the last years of his life. There was only one way that he would ever meet his love again. Being a believer in God, he knew that he was destined for the lower reaches of hell while she, his prostitute-cum-victim, was surely destined for a better place. There was one way in which they could meet again and that was if he could live forever- if he were somehow to be present on Judgment day, at the end of the world. Thompson began intensive studies into mystic cults and religions throughout the ages and he made careful preparations. He had found a way in which he could invest his spirit into his writing, into the patterns of the words themselves. After he died, his spirit would be preserved in his literature and it would be his readers, his admirers and followers, who would breathe life into him.
Scientists tell us that we only ever use a small percentage of our brains. Francis Thompson found those empty spaces in our minds and climbed in- It is as if humankind has been ‘hi-jacked’. Have you sometimes felt not quite right - not all there? Have you found yourself missing moments or saying and doing little things that you could not explain? Ask yourself this. Before the Ripper murders, is there any record that people ever experienced this. You think you are interested in this book. You believe that you want to read about Jack the Ripper, but it is he inside of you wanting to read about him.