Music By: Regan Ryzuk
Book & Lyrics By: Mary Ryzuk
The murder of Long Liz Stride
|The “Jack the Ripper” murders is still one of the most notorious of all unsolved serial murder cases. The key word underlying every aspect of the story, both factual and fictional, is “passion”: The passion of lovers…the passion of unrequited love…the passion that underlies obsessively brutal murders…the passion of terror such murders evoke.
The Ten Bells, a local East End pub where the murder victims were known to frequent, is still extant and is a major tourist attraction to this day- a “must see” during the many walking tours that specialize in routing the murder scenes and “Jack’s” known haunts.
The Ten Bells Pub as it appears today.
Suspects were many. Evidence was almost non-existent. Solutions- none. Children sang macabre nursery rhymes dedicated to the killer. Pulpits rang with recriminations against the sinners who had gone to their deaths. In the parks of London, “Tub-thumpers” gave heated diatribes and sermons against sin and sinners. Accusations, theories, charges and countercharges of ineptness and indifference abounded. Journalists were avid in their coverage. The killer’s gruesome handiwork was reported in ghastly detail in the press, particularly the penny-dreadfuls, The Pall Mall Gazette and Punch which made jokes at the expense of an ineffectual Scotland Yard and bumbling high government officials.
Ralph Wallace as The Bartender
reads to the frightened East Enders of “another ghastly murder!”
Since the murders occurred in the Stepney district of London in the very heart of Whitechapel, a district that consisted of 95% Jewish immigrants, Jews, particularly Jewish butchers, were frequently accosted in the streets and beaten by gangs of thugs. No one was immune from the terror or exempt from suspicion. High class society, the lower class East Enders, Parliament and journalists went wild with speculation. Even Queen Victoria showed an intense interest in the murders and demanded action of her Home Secretary. The reign of terror created such an untoward atmosphere of Victorian recriminations that the case was even heatedly debated in Parliament. The furor was such that it caused the resignation of the police commissioner and almost unseated her majesty’s Secretary For Home Affairs who was treated unmercifully by the press.
Who was the Ripper who preyed upon London’s underclass women? What caused his lust for murder? Revenge? Guilt? No one knew. The only constant was that the savagery increased with each successive murder.