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|Acclaimed investigative historian Gian Quasar returns to BoA:Audio for an in-depth discussion on his latest work, the outstanding Scarlet Autumn: The Crimes and Seasons of Jack the Ripper. Over the course of this comprehensive conversation, we'll retrace the events of the Ripper slayings, looking specifically at the killer's 'canonical five' victims,' and learn about the clues from the crimes that were uncovered by investigators of the era but seem to have been forgotten as time has passed.
Altogether, this is an episode that will provide listeners a far better understanding of what really happened during that terrifying autumn in London of 1888 as we strip away the mythology of the case and focus on the facts rather than the fiction surrounding the infamous Ripper killings with the incomparable Gian Quasar.
Full Preview: We kick things off by bringing folks up to speed on Gian Quasar's background and find out how he ended up researching and writing about strange mysteries. We then find out what was the initial seed that led Gian to look at the Jack the Ripper mystery. Gian goes on to talk about how the popular depiction of Jack the Ripper differs greatly from the actual accounts of the handful of witnesses who likely spotted the man. Gian then details the atmosphere, culturally and economically, of London's East End in 1888 at the time of the Ripper's infamous killing spree.
Continuing to convey the actual reality of the time and story, Gian also details the true nature of the Ripper's prostitute victims as well as the rudimentary level of criminal investigation that was undertaken by the authorities at that time, including how the case may have spawned the first-ever crime scene photographs (and only for the Ripper's final victim). We then dive into the events of Ripper killing spree, beginning with the murder of Martha Tabram in August of 1888 and we learn how her death was unlikely to be a Ripper crime, but also may have served as the impetus and inspiration for Jack's crimes.
Gian then details the first in the 'canonical five' Ripper victims: Mary Ann Nichols, who was found at the end of August 1888 with her throat slashed and almost no blood at the scene of the crime, despite also being stabbed repeatedly in her abdomen. Following the story as it unfolded, we then learn about the Ripper's second victim, Annie Chapman, and how the nature of her murder, specifically the removal of her uterus, seemed to confuse the investigation as it moved forward. Gian goes on to explain how the act of removing Chapman's uterus led to the longstanding concept of the Ripper as a doctor.
Next we look at one of the more titillating and perplexing parts of the Ripper mythos: the 'double event,' where the killer apparently struck twice in one night, killing both Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes with only a scant amount of time and distance between each slaying. Closing out the 'canonical five,' Gian details the death of Mary Jane Kelly, who is generally believed to be the final 'true' Ripper victim. We then talk about a couple of subsequent murders and discuss why they didn't seem to be Ripper murders although they were very similar.
From there, we clear up one 'urban legend' surrounding the case, which is that the Ripper almost certainly gained his infamous name as a result of a hoaxed letter which was published by one of the newspapers at the time. This leads to some discussion on how the coroner's inquests surrounding the Ripper murders provide the critical historical information surrounding the killings and allowed for a wealth of information and insights to survive the sands of time. Gian also details the extensive nature of the press coverage of the crimes as well as how, in light of what we know from the inquests, incorrectly they depicted the Ripper.
Circling back to the infamous 'double event' killings, we talk about how the first victim was positioned perfectly, in total darkness, over a rut in an alley so that her blood carefully flowed away from the murderer. Additionally, we examine how the events of the 'double event' seem to suggest that there was a pressing need, of some sort, for the killing to be done in a specific way, which may be why a second victim was felled and why her kidney was stolen when the first victim was simply killed without losing any organs. In light of the pattern of organ removal from victims, we have Gian speculate on what may have been the motivation behind the killings.
Following that, we get Gian's opinion on the possibility that the Ripper had some kind of inside knowledge of the investigation which allowed him to stay a step ahead of the police at the time. Gian also dispels the idea, put forward by one newspaper at the time, that the Ripper relied on the prostitutes' knowledge of the area in order to avoid police patrols. We return, once again, to the incredible 'skill' displayed by Ripper, specifically in the Eddowes case, where he killed her and removed her organs all while operating in total darkness and without making a sound or leaving any clues behind.
He then discusses how graffiti left near the murder scene of Eddowes added a whole new layer to the mystery as the Ripper infused an anti-Semitic message into his deeds, likely as a way of further distracting the police as to his true agenda. Gian connects this to the newspaper-created suspect known as 'Leather Apron,' which set the stage for the anti-Semitic elements which the Ripper used to his own ends. He also reflects on how suspects at the time as well as in the present day have centered around Jewish men, which seems incongruous with the actions of the Ripper and suggests that he was actually trying to incite social unrest by implicating the Jews, himself.
In light of the apparent medical or anatomical knowledge displayed in the crimes, we have Gian speculate on what sort of vocation or training the Ripper may have had. We also reflect on how the pattern of organ removal was completely overlooked by investigators of the time in favor of the simple view of a maniac on the loose. Considering the 'canonical five' as the only Ripper murders, we have Gian speculate on why the killer stopped after those victims.
We then learn about the 'Torso Killer,' who was another serial killer that was committing equally mysterious and gruesome murders at the same time as the Ripper. Gian details how the Torso Killer stunningly managed to deposit the torso of one of his victims in the basement of the new Scotland Yard that was under construction at the time. Gian also speculates on whether there was any connection, either overt or inspirational, between Jack the Ripper and the Torso Killer.
Moving beyond the events of 1888, we then look at the world of Ripperology, which is the study of the crimes and the suspects proposed over the years. We talk about how proposed suspects are often the result of information gleaned from urban legend and facts that do not fit with what we know from the inquests at the time. We also revisit another aspect of the case, where the man in charge of a concerned citizens group was mailed a kidney that may have come from one of the Ripper's victims.
Years and decades after the Ripper killings, the detectives and investigators of the time began giving interviews and writing books about the case, which Gian responds to and details why these recollections and speculation about potential suspects are faulty at best. Gian goes on to detail a number of suspects that were implicated by these investigators and explains why they do not fit the description of the Ripper. We then find out if Gian has any 'pet suspect' of his own as well as whether or not we can ever truly know who Jack the Ripper was.
Heading towards the close, we find out what became of the clothes from the Ripper victims and if there is anything that can be done, forensically, to provide additional evidence towards the case. Looking ahead to the future, we find out what's next from Gian Quasar including a look at the Zodiac mystery, where Gian believes he may have solved, and the Amelia Earhart mystery, where Gian plans to unveil some new found material and insights that show why the fate of the famed aviatrix has remained an enigma for all these years.
His website is bermuda-triangle.org
LIVE -- Thursday, 2/27 @ 3 PM (ET)