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Monsters and Myth!

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FRANKENSTEIN'S MONSTER

The Screen version of Mary Shelley's 1818 Horror Novel, was first put to film in 1910. Financed by Thomas Edison, the silent film ran for a mere 16-minutes. It was almost completely re-written (and bears only a slight resemblance to the book). Although, as with the book, it features an idealist Doctor who (intent on creating life from death)  gathers pieces of dead humans (arms, legs, internal organs etc). Sewing them together, he uses electricity to re-animate his creation  to horrible results. The Creature (shunned for his ugly and frightful appearance)  goes on a rampage. Wishing a mate (something of his own kind), he tried to manipulate our Doctor (with his own fiance). The Edison movie ends with the Monster being nothing but our good Doctors reflection (possibly alluding to his personality, ala Jekyll and Hyde). Another attempt was made in 1915 with Life Without Soul. This version was a whopping 70-minutes long (so long it was broken down into 5 parts). The Monster was depicted more as a Brutish Beast. It was not until 1931 (and the advent of Talkies just a few years prior) - that the first true Frankenstein Monster debuted. An unknown British Actor named Boris Karloff was projected into the starlight for his portrayal of Frankenstein's Monster. His image would serve as the template for most future versions of The Creation. Lucrative for The Studios, Frankenstein's Monster would be the fodder for 7 sequels (although Karloff only did 3). Although by 1956, our poor Monster had pretty much been worn out with audiences Worldwide. That was until a small (and relatively unknown independent Film Studio named Hammer, came along). Again, taking an unknown actor named Christopher Lee, Hammer Studios filmed and released The Curse of Frankenstein (1957). Different from other filmed versions, Hammer shocked their audiences with copious amounts of stage blood and terrifying make-up effects. Fans loved it. The Monster was again reborn. Hammer launches a series of 5 films between 1956 and 1970 (some scary some attempting humor. American film companies were not undone either. Our Monster was transformed into an alien, a hormone infused teenager- even a female monster/Jack The Ripper type! The Japanese also took a stab at our hero, turning him into a gigantic (of course), beast that fights himself. It was not until 1994, that a half-hearted attempt to remake the film as close to the novel was made. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein featured an unusual casting of American Gangster portrayer icon Robert DeNiro as The Monster. Many critics still felt the story did not hit the mark. The last attempt was the 2014  I, Frankenstein loosely based on a graphic novel which meshes The Frankenstein legend with a more supernatural overtone.

                                  Frankenstein_1.jpg     Frankenstein_2.jpg     Frankenstein_3.jpg    Frankenstein_4.jpg

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HYDRA

From Ancient Greece comes The Hydra. Born of two Gods (Typhon and Echidna). This serpent-like creature was said to be over 100 feet long. It possessed many heads, each shaped like a dragon. It's blood was so poisonous and dangerous, that it's mere odor could stop attackers. Further, if an attacker did get close enough to lop of a head, 2 identical ones would instantly grow to replace it. The Hydra lived in Lake Lerna (an isolated island in The Mediterranean Sea). Incredibly strong, it was said no mortal man could slay The Hydra. The hero Hercules (half-God), was given the job of killing The Hydra as part of his quest, The 12 Labors. The Hydra blood (though dangerous), was needed to kill another immortal beast. Hercules (using a Scythe), cut off all heads but one (at the same time). This severely weakened The Hydra so that it could not replace it' many missing heads at one time.

                                                                             Hydra.jpg

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CYCLOPS

Yet another legendary mythic creature from Ancient Greece was the Cyclops. Offspring of Poseidon, these gigantic creatures were humanoid in appearance. Said to be 50 feet tall and incredibly strong, their only flaw - was that they had but one, giant eye (on their forehead) with which to see! Although a group (brothers, really) lived on The Cyclopean Island (it's real name and location, unknown), the real job of The Cyclops was to guard the Gates to Tartarus. Most of their known legend, comes from Greek Writer Homer. His story of The Odyssey (which tells the story of Odysseus), tells of how Odysseus and his crew are trapped in a cave on The Cyclops Island. Facing death (The Cyclops was hungry), they used trickery to lure the Cyclops to sleep. They managed to blind the giant beast and escape. The Cyclops has been depicted in many other Greek stories (as well as Roman tales). The image of this monster (although altered by Period), always features it's enormous one eye. Often it is paired with the body of a horse (in Roman versions).

                                                                                            Cyclops.jpg

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TROLL

These popular legendary creatures have been talked about (and seen), in just about every Country and culture on The Planet. First seen in Nordic saga (around the 8th Century), Trolls were humanoid creatures that were very much smaller that a regular man. Often said to be 2 to 4 feet tall, (as small) to 6 foot tall for the bigger breeds) - they possessed green or dark faces and often were covered in warts. They were known to dress as common people. Trolls like to live in dark and isolated places. In Norse stories, Trolls lived high in isolated mountains. When the legend spread, (Germany, Scotland etc). - Trolls were found to live under bridges (and to guard their property to the death  of the trespasser). Trolls do not like humans (and try to avoid them at all costs). However, their knowledge of healing is much greater than humans. Often Shaman and Healers went to great length to find them. Capturing a Troll was extremely difficult. Any exposure to sunlight caused a Troll to turn to stone. That coupled with the fact that a deal had to be made with the Troll (often involving giving away one's own child as payment). Trolls were thought to be the evolution towards legends involving Elves and Leprechauns.

                                                                                     Troll.jpg

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GOLEM

This ancient Hebrew Monster was actually a protector of sorts. Created by a Priest or Rabbi - usually from large amounts of clay or fired mud. Shaped into a giant humanoid figure (10 to as much as 20 feet tall), this creature was activated by the use of Kabbalah (ritual magic). By carving 1 of the 72 ''hidden names'' of God into the creature's forehead, life would be given. Once living, The Golem would only obey the commands of the first person he saw when he was awoken. Another method to give life was the use of Shems (prayers).The Shem was carved with the Hebrew word for ''Truth'' onto the forehead. To de-activate The Golem, one simply had to remove the first letter of ''Truth''. This spelled ''Dead'' in Hebrew. Often, writing the same on a scroll and placing The Shem into The Golem's mouth would work just as well (with removal of same having a similar effect). The Golem were used to protect and avenge wronged or persecuted Jewish peoples (as per legends). Once activated, no force (other than removing The Shem), could stop The Golem. The most famous story of The Golem legends come from the 16th Century Germany. In this story, it is the desire for love and later revenge -  that spurs our Monster (a plot line very similar to Frankenstein). Much smaller Golem figures have been made over the centuries for good luck (and protection).

                                                                                          Golem.jpg

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THE DEVIL BABY OF HULL HOUSE

This unusual urban legend tells of a cursed child that is said to still lurk (or haunt) Hull House (in Chicago, Illinois/US). According to the legend, Hull House was one of the first experiments in creating a social welfare home for the poor (notably unwed mothers and their children). Founded by Jane Addams, she had spent much time in The Whitechapel District of London helping the poor. In the early 1890s, she purchased the Hotel-like Hull House and had it renovated for use by the poor. According to the rest of the story, one of her first Clients was a poor woman and child. According to her, she was a devout Catholic who fell in love with an Atheist. At the moment of giving birth to his child, she hung a picture of The Virgin Mary over her bed (to comfort her). Her husband tore down the picture and ripped it to shreds saying - ''I'd rather have a child of The Devil, that believe in this!'' When the child was born, it was described as having red skin, small sharp horns, glowing eyes and a tail . It was thought that this was a curse from God. The woman was admitted to the home (although she kept to herself on the upper most floors of Hull House). No one (not even Ms. Addams)  claimed to have ever SEEN the child (face to face). Soon strange and terrifying things began to happen in Hull House. People who spent the night there complained of bad dreams and seeing strange images dancing on the walls. It was said when the mother died (of natural causes), no one found the baby (or a body). It is said that the Devil Baby still haunts Hull House (which is now a Museum). Of note, the 1967 Hollywood film Rosemary's Baby - was based partly on the legend.

                                                                                     The_Devil_Baby_of_Hull_House.jpg

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THE LEGEND OF JACK-O'-LANTERN

According to an Irish tale, a lad named Jack was a notorious drunkard and loaf-about. His favorite place was at the local Pub or Inn. On October 31st (All Hallow's Eve) -  Jack wasn't in Church, he was so drunk that his soul started to actually leave his body!. The Devil (long awaiting Jack to finally stumble), stood by to claim it. Jack (knowing he was caught) begged The Devil to let him have one last drink with him before they left. The Devil agreed, but said that Jack would have to pay. Jack said that he too was  broke but convinced The Devil to turn into money (to pay for the drinks) and then return back to his true form. The Devil agreed. As soon as this happened, Jack snatched up the money and put into into his purse (which had a cross-shaped latch). This trapped The Devil. Jack told ''Old Scratch'' that if he would leave him alone for 1 year, Jack would let him out. The Devil agreed. Now shown the error of his ways, Jack tried to reform. He was good to his wife and children, gave to the poor and most importantly stopped drinking. Unfortunately (being Irish), this was next to impossible. Jack soon slipped back to his old habits. A year later, (again on Hallow's Eve)  Jack was drunk. Again The Devil came and tried to collect his soul. Jack (ever the thinker), said he wanted to have a last apple from a nearby tree, but that it was too high to climb. Jack asked The Devil to climb the tree to fetch it before they departed for Hell. As soon as The Devil was in the tree, Jack carved the sign of The Cross on the bark (trapping a very upset Devil). This time The Devil told Jack that if he removed the cross, he would never be troubled by him again. Jack took the deal. Jack's drinking took it's toll. He died and proceeded to Heaven. However, his life was poor and his soul judged not worthy. He was sent to Hell. There, The Devil took one look at Jack and said, ''I told you I would not harm you, so go away and back from whence you came''. Without heaven or hell, Jack was cursed to wander through the night. The Devil took pity on Jack and gave him a large hallowed out Turnip for a head a piece of lit coal so he could place it inside and use it as a lantern to light his way for all eternity. Wandering the countryside, children would run with fear (especially on All Hallow's Eve), when they saw Jack and his glowing head. Although every Country that observes the Halloween Tradition has a variation on this theme , by the time it came to America (1800s), it was somewhat incorporated by Washington Irving into his story of The Headless Horseman (pumpkins making more sense to Americans than Turnips!). Since then, the tradition of carving out the gourd and making scary faces on it's front (all together with a candle, for light - course), is a staple in American Halloween traditions.

                                                                                   The_Legend_of_Jack_O_Lantern.jpg

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LA LLORONA

Also known as The Weeping Woman. A tale from Ancient Mexico, (she may be as old as The Aztecs, by some accounts). Originally, she was a lowly Indian maiden that had fallen in love (and gave children to), a Royal Prince. Stalling her with intentions of marrying her and recognizing her children as his -  he lied. His father (The King) married him off to another member of Royalty. Enraged, La Llorona ran home and (using a knife) butchered her own children. Cursed for all eternity, she wanders the land weeping and crying for the evil act she committed. If she is seen (or her moaning heard), one must run (she is on the prowl to kill your children). It is said if she can find the spirits of her children, (and reconcile) - she will have peace. Variations of the legend also have La Llorona as a beautiful woman who lures drunken and unfaithful men to a horrible death. Her legend is still very much alive today in parts of Central America and in various American cities with a large Spanish population.

                                                                             La_LLorona.jpg

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KELPIE

A popular Scottish Beastie, The Kelpie legend goes back many centuries. Seen mostly as horses (and sometimes in their humanoid form of a shabby looking man), they are known to live near water. If a victims comes close enough o try and mount the Kelpie (to ride), they will jump into the water and drown them. Often, they will also lay in wait. Jumping on their victim's, they will tear them to pieces and devour them. They will avoid eating the Liver. Often they have a warning cry that sounds like thunder. In some Countries, the seeing of The Kelpie is a portent of death.

                                                                       Kelpie.jpg

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HERNE THE HUNTER

Herne is a spectral Huntsman who haunts the Royal forests in and around Windsor Castle in England. He is seen wearing chains and has deer antlers growing from his head. Often, he is seen with two spectral hounds (or sometimes riding a ghostly horse). As to the legend, Herne was a Royal Huntsman for King Henry VIII. While escorting The King on a hunt, Hernes saved Henry from being killed by a large Stag (by throwing himself in the beast's way). As he lay dying from impalement, a Healer appeared and told The King to cut off the Stag's antlers and tie them to his head. This would save Hernes. King Henry did and Herne was saved. Honored for his feat, Herne grew in fame and fortune (to the dislike of the other Royal Huntsman). Providing false information that Hernes was poaching The King's animals Hernes was fired. Distraught, he hung himself in the forest. From that point (until now), Herne haunts the Royal forest. To see him, invites not only a poor hunt  - but possibly falling prey to a wild animal in the forest.

                                                                                        Herne_The_Hunter.jpg

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GRAY LADIES

These spectral beings have been seen and recorded since well before the 14th Century. Called Gray Ladies, because they are always seen wearing gray or dark colors - they are phantoms. Said to be the spiritual remains of a woman who had lost her love (a man) too early, they wander the earth in search of him. Often associated with houses (often the one's owned by their lost love), they have been known to haunt these locations for centuries. England seems to have a large amount of Gray Ladies sightings. Gray Ladies do not communicate other than their crying and moaning (often heard). They are also not known to harm the living.

                                                                                   Gray_Ladies.jpg

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AFRIT

From Ancient Arabia and The Middle East comes The Afrit. These are dangerous spirit-demons. They are created when a person is murdered. Their spirit's need for justice causes them to be reborn as smoke (dark and violent). This smoke then searches the World for their murderer. When found, The Afrit surrounds the murderer in a violent and swirling whirlwind. As the wind speed picks up, the murderer is torn to bits. One way to stop The Afit, is to drive a nail into a puddle of the victim's blood (which will trap The Afrit).

                                                                                     Afrit.jpg

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ANKOU

An Ancient Celtic legend tells of The Ankou. As the story goes, the last person to pass away in a Parish  is elected by the Spirits to spend the next year gathering the soul's of that year. They are then replaced by the next last dead person of that year (and so forth). The Ankou is shown wearing a large hooded cloak. It's face is not seen. The Ankou drives a large spectral carriage with matching horses. If a member of the living is unfortunate enough to see The Ankou, he (or she) will let out a horrible scream. This legend can be traced back to the 14th Century.

                                                                                     Ankou.jpg

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BANSHEE

Known throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, these spectral beings are always female. Contrary to popular belief, Banshees do not scream - they cry and wail. The legends of Banshees go back to at least the 10th Century. Normally benevolent, some Banshee's are known to be evil. Normally, Banshee's are a signal to the living of a living person's impending death (some myths have her washing the bloody clothes of the person in a nearby stream). Described as a gaunt and frail woman -  she is also known to be a Hag (in some Region). Some Banshee's are said to be the ghosts of women who died during childbirth. An expectant mother hearing the wail of The Banshee was cursed to lose either her (or her child's life). More modern storytellers and writers (19th Century forward)  -  have turned The Banshee into more of a crazed evil spirit intent on spilling the blood of the living.

                                                                        Banshee.jpg

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ZOMBIE

The term Zombie has many different origins. In it's original context, the term appears in heavy cultural usage on the Island of Haiti. Most of the island's population was descended from the slaves that were brought to live and work on the Spanish and later French Plantations. Some African influences appears to had been incorporated (meaning a belief in them probably started in Africa), The word first appears around 1818. The legend states that a person need not be necessarily dead to become a zombie. The use of black magic better known as Voodoo is the prime source of creating zombies. The goal of creating an undead was to make a servant to do all bidding without question. No will power existed. Almost catatonic in action, the appearance of being dead (or heavily sedated), may have been the first real description of a Zombie. Many myths involve a person becoming sick and appearing to die. Buried, they would resurrect (as a result of powerful mind controlling drugs and potions). As time progressed, Zombies would be given a more modern make over. With the advent of science-fiction, Zombies could be given a more realistic (and terrifying) storyline. In 1968, American Director George Romero made his cult-classic Night of The Living Dead. In this film, the recently deceased are re-animated via a crashed space probe. A space virus is let loose in the atmosphere with the end result of creating human flesh eating, undead monsters. This one film launched a new dimension to the word Zombie. Time, better storylines and advances in makeup have turned Zombies into an apocalyptic main stream horror genre. Often involving some unknown virus, often the World is decimated and populated by these bloodthirsty creatures who have but one goal....to eat the living (those few survivors which always seem to be in the stories and movies). Further, the only way to kill a Zombie is by separating the head and or brain from the infected person. Also, if one is bitten by a Zombie in today's genre, he or she will soon turn into the Living Dead. Most Countries have some form of Zombie creature (either controlled by magic or some other form of supernatural force). Zombies have become so main stream now, they are even featured in their own Television show The Walking Dead based on a graphic novel of the same name.

                      Zombie_1.jpg    Zombie_2.jpg    Zombie_3.jpg    Zombie_4.jpg

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INCUBUS AND SUCCUBUS

Stories of Incubus and Succubus can be traced back to Ancient Mesopotamia. The myths carried well into The Middle Ages (and even into The Victorian Era). What is known of these demons is that they take the form of a seductive man or woman. They will drain a victim of their energy or youth until they are dead or well old for their age. Said to be from Hell, a person can become a Incubus (male) or Succubus (female), if one led an over sexualized lifestyle or gave into perversions. Upon death, their damnation was be to be reborn as one of these demons. Some tales link them to offspring of Lilith, Mother of All Monsters. Other legends have Incubus and Succubus turning themselves into old men or women, as a way of hiding their true appearance from the real World. They are only able to be stopped by abstaining from carnal and improper practices . Exorcism is not always effective.

                                                       Incubus.jpg       Succubus.jpg

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KLUDDE

The Kludde is from Belgium. It's legend goes back to the 12th Century. Part Evil Spirit and part Goblin, they are often seen as a winged wolf-life creature as well. In some Regions, Kludde can assume the appearance of a normal dog, cat or bird. They are thought to escaped demons from Hell. Kludde can speak the language of the Region they live in. They are deceptive and malicious creatures. Some Kludde try to lead their victims to an untimely death, while other just play pranks. It is said that the shaking of iron chains can scare or keep a Kludde at bay.

                                                                                Kludde.jpg

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THE FROM HELL LETTER

 

In keeping with the up-coming Halloween Traditions that you, My Readers,  may or may not celebrate (in some form), I am including this little story of one of my very favorites from Crime History -  the infamous Fiend of Whitechapel...none other than Yours, Truly...Jack The Ripper (note how I included as many Penny Dreadful -  titles as possible !)

 

All joking aside, the unknown figure of Jack The Ripper has possibly sparked more fear and interest than any known figure of the genre (from my point of view). Although not as prolific a killer as MANY future psychopaths, Jack The Ripper's murders of 5 known Prostitutes were so horrific in style and execution that it was almost unheard of. Certainly, London in the late 19th Century (especially in the slums of what Charles Dickens called Downcast London) - was a violent and dangerous place. The living conditions and social disorder (as well as the massive split between classes)  caused excessive crimes and uprisings/riots (further alienating the Lower Class from The Upper Class). Into this fertile breeding ground of misery, it is quite possible for a Jack to be born (or thrive). While MANY theories and suspects have been advanced over the 100 odd years since The Ripper walked the foggy streets of The Whitechapel District of London, England. We will never really know the ACTUAL killer's identity (we all have favorites in The Ripperologist Community, to be sure).

 

One of my favorites in the Casebook of evidence regarding ''Saucy Jack'' (as he was also known as), is the infamous From Hell Letter. More of a small note and postcard -  this quick missive was accompanied by a small box - which held a small piece of partially eaten human kidney! Sent on October 15th, 1888 to Mr. George Lusk of The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee (a Radical and Anarchal Group - pledged to do what The Police could not - namely, catch Jack!). While MANY of the so-called Ripper Letters to local Newspapers have by and large been denounced as frauds, this one is much more intriguing. While most of the other letters and notes specifically identify the writer as Jack The Ripper , the  From Hell letter does not. The language syntax used is also in keeping with what we perceive to be Jack's psyche. Finally, and most  damning (if you will) evidence,  is the piece of human kidney. It is known that one of Jack's victims  - Catherine Eddowes, had one of her Kidneys removed (during one of Jack's bizarre sadistic rituals). The kidney that accompanied the note was fresh, did belong to a female and could very well have been hers! Unfortunately the note and kidney disappeared shortly after they had been turned over to London Police. Fortunately for posterity, a well thinking Constable photographed the letter. I have provided you, my curious Readers - an photo of that exact letter from Jack (as well as an exact word per word translation)  for your late night pleasure

 

From hell

Mr Lusk

sSor

I send you half the

Kidne I took from one women

prasarved it for you tother pirce

I fried and ate it was very nise I

may send you the bloody knif that

took it out if you only wate a whil

Longer.

signed

Catch me when

you Can

Mishter Lusk

                                                                                           From_Hell_Letter.jpg

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JACK THE RIPPER

No other character is history is possible more known and notorious than the criminal known as Jack The Ripper. Known by many names (The Ripper, The Fiend of Whitechapel, Saucy Jack), he was a criminal known to have brutally killed at least 5 victims (with the strong possibility of 2 others). His reign of terror in 1888 London was carried by newspapers all over the World. Certainly not the most prolific serial killer in history, to be sure -  Jack was responsible for the need to create and develop modern Police Forensics. In fact Jack was also responsible for Yellow Journalism and the rise of sensationalism in print. His name -  The Ripper, given to him by the Press of the day, used a knife to cut the throats of his victims and perform ghastly dissection of their bodies. Jack has been the fodder of more books and movies about him than most traditional Monsters  (save perhaps The Vampire). To understand what makes a Jack, one must have a slight understanding of the World in which Jack was born into and lived.

 

DOWNCAST LONDON

London of the mid-19th Century (like most Urban centers near water), was a busy hub of import and export trade. Hundreds (if not thousands) of ships from all over the World brought in goods. Conversely, London also drew to her thousands of immigrants from all over the World -  all eager to make a go at a new life. While many of these people were skilled craftsmen, many were not. A major problem with London (again as with most Cities) was living space. With little usable land, most of London was built up upon itself (level by level). Older and easily uninhabitable building were constantly reused. Often, the poor and lower class were stuffed into cramped and unsanitary conditions. Structures built for 4 families were easily cramped with 8 to 10 in a room in some cases. Everybody worked for the paultry pennies they earned. Often, sickness and disease were common. Poorly preserved and cooked food would often help to lead to a high mortality rate for the very young and very old. Alcoholism and drug use were rampant. The breakup of the family unit was a common feature of everyday life. Women left windowed (or their husbands leaving)  left them with no choice but to resort to more unsavory means to earn money  -  namely prostitution. Common and rampant, it was speculated that 60% of all unmarried or widowed women in such poorer districts as Whitechapel were prostitutes. Known collectively as Shilling Whores, these poor women would ply their vocation throughout the dark and dank streets of lower class London. Earning barely enough for a Doss House (or room for a night), as well as more Gin (the drink of choice) -  many of these women were middle-aged and suffered from a collection of health problems (tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, etc). Although many of the Upper Class were aware of these unfortunate conditions few did anything to relieve it. The Church and various  Leagues were completely outmatched for the sheer numbers of poor and unfortunates. Indeed the Writer Charles Dickens said it best when he described the situations with the phrase Downcast London. It is into this said and sorrowful world that Jack The Ripper lived (or operated in).

 

THE START

The London Metropolitan Police Force (and Scotland Yard), were overwhelmed. This was a natural state for them. With thousands of poor, came a high level in simple and complex crimes. Murder and death were NOT uncommon (it was uncommon if a Constable didn't encounter at least 2 murders a week). This coupled with the distrust of the local poor for the Police did much to stop the flow of much needed information regarding crime and known criminals. Although not known as a brutal Force, several Police Administration has resorted to heavy handed tactics to maintain the peace. One such was The Bloody Sunday Incident of 1887. Protests of living conditions and fair working rates, were hijacked by anarchist elements (very common in London at the time). Socialists, Communists, all manner of anti-government radicals invaded the demonstrations. Unable to control the mobs, The Police called for reinforcements from The Army. 75 were killed and over 400 were arrested. Into this fertile ground comes Mary Ann Nichols. A 43 year old prostitute, her body was found on August 31, 1888 -  on a section of Whitechapel named Buck's Row. Her throat cut (almost down to the spine, she also had several deep slashes across her abdomen. What was odd was the little amount of blood at the crime scene. Still, Nichols was a prostitute (and they were killed quite often). The case was not that suspicious.......yet. September 8, 1888. Known prostitute Annie Chapman was found in Whitechapel -  dead. Her throat again cut so deep that the injury almost severed her head. This time the killer had spent more time dissecting his victim. Chapman had been literally splayed open with organs removed and repositioned around her body on the ground. The killer even took the time to carefully rearrange Chapman's personal possessions as well. The Police now felt that this murder (as well as the previous Nichols case) were related and the work of one person. Scotland Yard (London's Detective Bureau), began to look very seriously into the crimes.

 

THE PANIC

Word spread. Could a killer of prostitutes (or women at least), be prowling the streets of Whitechapel What were the Police going to do Would they do anything Little if any evidence was present. Modern Police Forensic simply did not exist yet. In fact the process of fingerprinting was a recent fad that most Police Departments were just starting to examine as a tool. Local newspapers and ''yellow rags'' that specialized in sensational news  (true or not), began to run articles regarding The Police's inability to find the killer. Pointing again to The Bloody Sunday Incident, more and more working class poor became worried that the Police (and Government), didn't care. Those women that could, began to arm themselves with knives and small guns. Prostitutes had no choice but to continue to work (although some now worked in teams ). Often, they entered into arrangements with local Gangs for protection (and having to pay monies they did not have). September 30, 1888. Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were working prostitutes in Whitechapel. Painfully aware that this killer was still on the loose, they still had to work. Both of which would become part of what is now known as The Double Event. The Ripper (so named by The Star Newspaper)  had killed BOTH women with 30-minutes of each other. Throats cut, some dissection. All fear. George Lusk (anarchist and founder of The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee)  took his group of private police and scoured the District. Falsely accusing several local men, neither of these suspects were the illusive Ripper. Police and Detectives were baffled. Scant few descriptions (all different), came in. Coroner Inquests stated that the killer had some medical knowledge based on the killers skill with his knife (and way he dissected the bodies). Distrust of Medical Doctors were now at the top of the list. 1888 - It truly was The Year of Fear.

 

THE CONCLUSION

Scant clues were found. A missive note left near the Double Event crime scene (written in chalk on a wall) read ''THE JUWES ARE THE MEN THAT WILL NOT BE BLAMED FOR NOTHING'' - lead to a possible backlash against the large Jewish population. Police Authorities ordered it removed before a photo could be taken. Desperate for clues, The Police EVEN resorted to the old technique of photographing the eyes of the victims (to see if the image of the killer was captured!). November 9, 1888. A pretty 25 year old (and relatively new) prostitute by the name of Mary Kelly live on Miller Court (near Whitechapel). She had a painfully small room that she maintained. On November 10, the Landlord came by to get his rent. What he found was possible the worst of The Ripper murders. Kelly had her throat cut (as the others), but being inside The Ripper had more time to play. He hacked Kelly with a axe-like object. Her face was practically removed. Blood was splattered throughout the room. Police took a crime scene photo. Then as quickly as it began......it stopped. Although several more murders where recorded (far from Whitechapel), but still very similar  Police attributed the killing to a copycat (although many still claim it was Jack). By 1892, almost all of The Ripper case evidence was mysteriously lost or misplaced.  Most people quickly forgot about the killings. A list on 10 possible suspects has always been put forward as the most likely  with each suspect death or disappearance the link to the end of the murders. From Queen Victoria's Grandson (Prince Albert Victor) or her personal Physician Dr. William Gull, to a mentally ill medical student, to a crazed foreigner bent on punishing all prostitutes for the disease he received from using their services - each Candidate has his own fans with equally plausible results.

 

We will NEVER really know who Jack The Ripper was. We will never really know his true motivations. Too much time has passed and too little survivable evidence remains. Jack has become much bigger in myth than his actual crimes. He has become an anti-hero of sorts, exposing the evils of class separation and struggles and the lack of Government edicts to correct the problems. These continuing conditions (no matter where)  will always lead to the creation of a Jack The Ripper.

 

                                                                      Jack_The_Ripper.jpg

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CENOBITES

Fictional creatures created by British horror Writer Clive Barker, The Cenobites inhabit the world of the Hellraiser film series. Their origins are extremely varied (but do feature a common bond in their mythos). Cenobites are viewed as either angels or demons (depending on your preference). Residing in Hell, they are religious Order members of a Hedonistic Cult. They explore man's depravity and sin (very similar to the Marquis de Sade). Brought into out world via a small puzzle box (upon which, when activated -  opens a doorway between Hell and our world). Each Cenobite appearance is based on their own depravity. By opening  The Box , one signals one's intention to be an explorer of pain, as The Cenobites are. They are unrelenting and will not stop until their victim is in Hell. Only very special transgressors can be advanced to the position of Cenobite. The Order is overseen by a particularly nasty demon named Pinhead (so named for the driven spikes that cover his head and face). The 1986 film was a very successful film franchise that spawned 6 sequels and numerous books and graphic novels.

                                    Cenobites_1.jpg      Cenobites_2.jpg

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THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON

Another of Universal Studios classic Screen Monsters  - The Creature From The Black Lagoon was a Black & White 1954 science-fiction/horror film. The film introduced audiences to a creature that was supposedly an evolutionary missing link between Man and Amphibian life. Humanoid meshes with basically and armored fish, The Creature was capable was breathing underwater and on land. Equipped with razor sharp claws, The Creature was capable of very fast swimming (although somewhat slow on land). An archaeological expedition sets out to The Amazon River Basin to search for more pieces of a recently discovered fossilized Creature hand. The discovery would be proof of a missing link in human evolution. What the scientists find is a living Creature (in a secluded and secret lagoon). As with most films of the Era, the Creature takes a human girl (for a Mate ) and is ultimately killed (presumably)  by the hero. Universal made 2 sequels (due to the popularity of the film). The creature is also referred to as The Gill Man.

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GODZILLA

Possibly no other Screen Monster has survived as long (and been so prolific), than Godzilla (Gojira). First gracing the Screen in a Black & White Japanese Science-Fiction film from 1954 (and starring American Actor Raymond Burr), Godzilla has spawned 28 films, uncounted books, toys (even a cartoon series). Originally created in the wake of the Atomic bombings of Japan in World War II and the rapid (and equally scary) advancement of nuclear weapons and power, Godzilla is simply a metaphor (and cautionary tale)  for Man's lack of control (and how we can easily create our own versions of Godzilla). Estimated at some 400 feet tall, Godzilla was initially a prehistoric creature, reanimated by atomic waste. His origins seem to be changed from time to time (as is his disposition). Seen originally malevolent, then evil then good  Godzilla is changed to fit the Writers mood. Seen in later incarnations as helping Man fight other monsters and creatures (some from our World, others from Space)  Godzilla has truly fought all comers to his title of King of The Monsters. Possessed of a fire-like Atomic Breath and trademark Roar, he is easily recognizable throughout the World. Early versions of Godzilla feature an Actor in a rubber suit (albeit a good one). Much later incarnations have our Lizard somewhat CGI (as technology does). Regards of Godzilla stomping small models of Tokyo or smashing through the skyscrapers of New York City, Godzilla is an important part of Screen Monster mythology.

                                                               Godzilla.jpg

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WOLFMAN

The Screen version of The Wolfman, (which was originally part of Universal Studios Classic Monster series), was first seen in 1943. Starring the Son of Screen Movie Monster make-up great Lon Cheney (Lon Cheney Jr.), The Wolfman borrowed from the many legends and myths regarding Lycanthropy. The so-called condition involves a human who can turn into a man-wolf creature. According to mythos (and the Movie, of course), a victim is attacked and bitten by an existing Wolfman. Several days later, at the rising of the full Moon, the victim will become a Wolfman as well. Prowling the night for victims, The Wolfman will kill and rend his prey to bits. With the rising of The Sun, our beast will revert back into his human form (only to change back at the next rising). Only able to be released from this curse by a silver bullet m(fired through the heart) -  will the curse be lifted (with the death of the afflicted, of course).The Wolfman (and some Wolfwomen of course), have graced the Screen consistently since. Many Actors have portrayed this creature. Although the legend and genesis of the Screen creature has changed and been added to, many successful franchises have been advanced to today's Screen. Special effect Make-Up has also changed greatly (now enhancing the famous transformation scenes critial to most versions). The Wolfman has also been coupled with other Famous Monsters as a natural adversary (Dracula, Frankenstein, etc.) Even comedy has been fodder for our Wolfman. Still, no comedy can match the fear of a dark sky with a full Moon and the inevitable howl of The Wolfman!

                                           Wolfman_1.jpg    Wolfman_2.jpg    Wolfman_3.jpg    Wolfman_4.jpg

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INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS

                                   Body_Snatchers_1.jpg        Body_Snatchers_2.jpg

Possibly no film of The mid-1950s has created more fans (and thought provoking ideas), than the 1956 American film Invasion of The Body Snatchers. Made at a time when Science-Fiction was King and the skies were  full of UFO sightings - this movie advanced the terrifying prospect of an alien invasion of Earth (one that made somewhat sense). Set in a small California town, our hero is the local Physician. He starts to notice that seemingly normal people in Town are slowing beginning to change. They are completely devoid of all human emotion and appear to possess a singular hive-like mentality. Other than his small group of friends (one a love interest, of course) - it appears that alien parasites have invaded Earth. Developing in large seed-like pods, they are placed and grow near their victims. While asleep, they duplicate the entirety of their Host. The aliens feel that human emotions are Man's undoing (so they remove all traces). Devoid of this handicap, they assume their role as worker-bee type of robots. Our hero is able to escape this fate (everybody else is taken over with large scale plans by the aliens to take over the planet -  one pod at a time). Authorities thinking him insane, they listen to his fantastic tale as trucks filled with pods make their way across the Country! The film was remade in 1978 (in color), with a far more terrifying (and classic film ending), that is easily a candidate for top scariest moments in Film History.

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THE FLY

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Another classic of Screen monsters, this Sci-Fi/Horror, involves Man vs Science (with horrifying result). Made in 1958 (in color), our Scientist is trying to perfect molecular teleportation (ala Star Trek). Creating a machine that breaks downs a subjects into sub-atomic particles, these are them sent at the speed of light (it's Science-Fiction, of course), the molecules are then reassembled into their original form and shape. After a successful test of first an inanimate object and then a small lifeform, he is ready to try it on himself! Unknown to him, a small housefly is trapped inside the teleportation chamber with him. Upon being resembled, (to his and the audiences horror), his atoms have merged with some portions of the fly (and visa versa). He now had the enormous head and forearm of a fly (while the fly takes his arm and head). Slowly reverting to the fly's instincts, he was find the fly with his components and try to re-merge them. Unfortunately, he is unable to locate the bug, and has his wife assist him in crushing his head and arm in a mechanical press (to destroy all evidence of the experiment. Later, the Scientist's young Son find a small fly trapped in a spider's web (soon to be eaten by a hungry spider. The small human head screams in a tiny voice ''Help Me!'' The boy's Uncle (nearby) see's the horrible truth -  and quickly crushes the fly (and poor spider!). The movie was a cult classic that was eventually remade into several movies and sequels.

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