I remember two examples. Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell take Jack’s story into one of the most revered comic strips in history: From Hell, published here by Veneta. In a completely different way, Joe Soares also took inspiration from the criminal in one of his books. In “O
Combined with a deluge of rumours, forgeries and fabricated documents, the lack of a real name, identity and face for Jack has contributed to creating a blank space for many stories about the Ripper. The mystery surrounding who the man was gave space to artists from different eras and different regions to create their own version of the killer. This wide-open door to superstition was also essential for the aura of mystery surrounding the criminal to keep his character in evidence, even moving tourist routes around London.
But things may have changed now. A few weeks ago a book was published in England called One-Armed Jack: Revealing the Real Jack the Ripper (Michael O’Mara Books), by Sarah Bax Horton. In it, the author points out the true identity of the criminal: Hyam Hyams, who, although he did not slaughter women in the dark streets, was an employee in a cigar factory.
Sarah is the granddaughter of the police officer who investigated Jack’s crimes. Characteristics attributed to the killer were also part of Hiyam’s description: his height, a serious knee problem, an untreated injury that made it difficult to express his left arm… Epilepsy and alcoholism were other characteristics that would torment the man’s life. He died in 1913 in a mental hospital, where he had been admitted since the end of 1889.
Sarah’s work is sure to be evaluated and validated by other researchers trying to unravel the mysteries in the story of Jack the Ripper. If it is confirmed that the killer is indeed Hyam Hyams, let us see what the developments will be. It is always interesting to follow the clash between the real and the fantastic construction around certain characters.
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