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Blimey, Gov'nor, It's Jack the Ripper!
Gigantic shadows, fires blazing on the corner, leering looks by the homeless, and the spirit of "Jack" himself: all may show up on one of London's most unforgettable experiences, the "Jack the Ripper Walk" that tracks the very footsteps of the world's most infamous serial killer. You'll see the deserted squares ("Did you know that you're standing on the very spot where his second victim was found?"), warehouse alleys, and the ground-floor flat—today occupied by an Indian restaurant—where he literally butchered one of his poor victims.
At No. 90 Whitechapel High Street once stood George Yard Buildings, where Jack the Ripper's first victim, Martha Turner, was discovered in August 1888. A second murder occurred some weeks later, and Hanbury Street, behind a seedy lodging house at No. 29, is where Jack the Ripper left his third mutilated victim, "Dark" Annie Chapman. A double murder followed, and then, after a month's lull, came the death on this street of Marie Kelly, the Ripper's last victim and his most revolting murder of all. He had been able to work indoors this time, and Kelly, a young widow, was found strewn all over the room, charred remains of her clothing in the fire grate. Jack the Ripper's identity never has been discovered, although theories abound, including, among others, the cover-up of a prominent member of the British aristocracy, the artist Walter Sickert, and Francis Tumblety, an American quack doctor.
Today, many outfitters offer walking tours of the Victorian slum streets that once Jack called his own: the most popular is run by Original London Walks (www.walks.com) and led by Donald Rumbelow, "the leading authority on Jack the Ripper"; it leaves every night from Tower Hill at 7:30 pm (Don only shows up a few nights a week).
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