Jack the Ripper “Unmasked”



Jack the Ripper’s identity may finally be revealed, bringing a new level of horror to the story.

I should preface by saying that my attitude toward the recent mitochondrial DNA evidence is one of cautious optimism. Disregarding for the moment that the evidence has yet to undergo peer review, it’s a bit shocking to have a face and name for what was, for over 125 years, an unfathomable monster. Aaron Kosminski may be the name, the face of whom is a mentally ill survivor of yet another type of horrific violence: the pogroms of Tsarist Russia (which included modern-day Poland).

“Pogrom” is another word for a massacre; it’s like a riot that erupts in violence that targets a specific ethnic or religious group. In Kosminski’s homeland, anti-Semitic demonstrations and mass murders took place throughout most of the 1800s; Kosminski and his family were impoverished Jews who fled in the 1880s to Whitechapel, London.

This was less than a decade before Jack the Ripper terrorized Whitechapel, which was, at that time, a slum. Its population consisted mostly of Irish and Jewish immigrants, who were deemed the lowest of the low in Victorian England, possibly lower than the 1200 prostitutes who worked Whitechapel’s streets. What I’m saying is, Kosminski may have led the most pathetic life imaginable in post-Medieval Europe.

Man, the more we find out about this guy, the more of that sexy edge we lose from the story of Jack the Ripper. Kosminski was a refugee, with stints in mental hospitals, and, according to testimony from his day, had a history of “self-abuse” (the 19th century euphemism for jerking his chicken, or stroking his bishop, or masturbating at every opportunity even if it involved horrified onlookers). I’m starting to understand why this guy was a chief suspect for over a century.

The DNA evidence, by the way, was in the form of ejaculate found on a shawl belonging to one of the Ripper’s final victims. So even if a match is confirmed, there will always be detractors who say that Kisminski’s DNA could have ended up on Catharine Eddoews’ shawl due to circumstances unrelated to her murder. After all, the man apparently had a habit of leaving his semen in every corner of Whitechapel. He and Eddowes may have even had consensual sex hours before she died.

What this news story brings us, however, is not the possibility of a resolution to one of the world’s most famous cold cases; it is just another piece of the puzzle that is the human mind.

Kosminski was a mentally troubled person (to say the least), targeted in his homeland with anti-semitic violence, which likely exacerbated his issues. He lived in a time when the mental health industry was not remotely a thing. There were no psychologists or therapists or counselors; if you were weird, they locked you in a building far away, whether you were an epileptic or liked to fingerpaint with your own feces.

So the horror of the Jack the Ripper story has not diminished, but the nature of it has changed. Now, instead of a faceless demon, Jack the Ripper represents the evil within the mind, kept in check only by mental processes that are immeasurable and unquantifiable; an evil that is unleashed and fed by nonsensical violence in perpetuity.

Jack the Ripper’s story will never be over. He was not a man, but the personification of human psychosis. And he’s still out there.



M. N. Hanson has been published previously in Vine Leaves, Burningword, Revolver, and Gothic Blue Books I & II. M is a student of the absurd bordering on the grotesque. Favorite word: Diapsalmata. Second favorite word: Ithyphallophobia. Please visit http://mnhanson.com to complain.


The Ceremony

Jerome Teelucksingh is a lecturer from the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago. His poems have been published in anthologies such as Meanderings: A Collection of Poetic Verse. Also, my poems have appeared in the Trinidad and Tobago ReviewTaj Mahal ReviewIn Search of FatherhoodCaribbean VoiceThe Poetry Box Dark & Horror Poetry Magazine Monthly and Diálogos. Also, he has published two collections of poetry- A Stroll Through History and Memories and Musings.


The Ceremony

Macabre, mysterious men of sinister secret societies,
plot to pierce a puerile worshipper.
A ceramic bowl collects blood from a dying chicken.
A recent recruit reluctantly drinks the blood and
awaits entrance into the dark side.

Hooded followers chant satanic prayers amidst photos of the undead.
A goat’s head with curved horns and bloody eyes stares at the fearsome and feared.
The cult leader sharpens a knife, the excited recruit does not realize his life to soon end.
He feels weak, collapses in pain,
as blood spurts from his jugular vein.
Another victory for voodoo.


Dibs Parking

Winter seems so long ago but its wicked ways are not forgotten. Read “Dibs” by Kurt C. Schuett


Upon graduating from high school, Kurt Schuett won the Gwendolyn Brooks Award for Poetry in 1993; this honor, coupled with professional publication in The American Goat literary anthology in 1993 with “The First Time” and Harmony literary magazine, where he won the esteemed Guy Cooper Poetry award for “Tree House Blues,” all fueled the realization that Kurt could and should write, dabbling in everything from poetry and short works of fiction to professional essays and lengthier works of fiction during and after his college years.  He completed his undergraduate in English at Culver-Stockton College before tackling a Masters of Education at Graceland University.  Currently, he is entering his eighteenth year as an educator, formerly as a German instructor and presently as a high school English teacher, working in the suburbs of Chicago.  He lives in the northern suburb of Libertyville, Illinois.


Kurt recently published a Southern Gothic ghost story titled “Calamity James” in the Belle Reve Literary Journal, a work that was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  In addition, two of his poems, “A Response to Charles Bukowski: Yes I’m Drinking Today” and “The Bohemian Waitress” were featured in the 69th edition of the Burningword Literary Journal.  Kurt’s short story “The Last Supper Redux” will be the top-slot in an upcoming anthology launching this fall, highlighting local Chicago horror writers.


Insurgency is Kurt Schuett’s debut novel, a speculative work of fiction that encompasses elements of urban suspense, thriller, and horror.  This novel will be released by Bad Day Books, an imprint of Assent Publishing, August 2nd in print and all e-book platforms.


For more on Kurt visit:

http://www.kurtschuettauthor.com – I write
http://www.kurtschuett.com – I blog
https://twitter.com/kurtschuett – I tweet
https://www.facebook.com/kurt.schuett.7 – I facebook
Continue reading “Dibs” »

Folklore, Legends, and Myth


Now that the media stories behind the brutal stabbings in Wisconsin have somewhat quieted, I wanted to spend some time discussing legend, urban legend, folklore and myth since we have heard these words very often these past few weeks. http://time.com/2817725/slender-man-killing/


However, first and foremost, as a publisher of horror we want to say that we do not condone any real-world violence. Horror fiction is just that, it is fiction. Our goal with Burial Day Books has always been to highlight new and emerging horror authors, and ultimately to celebrate good writing. Our thoughts are with the victim and her family.

In the news stories, many of you read mention of myth, folklore, urban legends, and creepypasta. We wanted to go through and discuss some of those terms.

A myth is a story based on a tradition. Some do have factual origins, but some are completely fictional. These stories tend to explain experiences of man and nature. Their endings are not always optimistic. Gods, fantastic creatures and super humans are often featured in mythology. Popular myths include stories of the gods and goddesses of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece.

Folklore, or folk tales consist of legends, stories, and tales that are written, spoken, or communicated through music that are tied to a specific culture or group of people. Artifacts can also be connected to folklore.

A legend is a popular story often thought to be based on historic events. The Brother’s Grimm defined legend as a story that has historical origins. Examples of legends include the story of the Fountain of Youth, the story of Atlantis, Robin Hood, and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Urban Legend
Urban legends are modern legends. Despite its name, an urban legend does not necessarily mean it originated in an urban setting. The name ‘Urban’ associates it with taking place in contemporary settings and for this many folklorists prefer the term “contemporary legend.” Examples of urban legends include Bloody Mary, The Hook, the Vanishing Hitchhiker, or even the story of cryptid Chupacabra.

Internet Urban Legends
A phenomena on the rise is that of urban legends circulating on the internet. Internet urban legends spread through posts on various blogs, chat rooms and other social media settings. Creepypasta is part of this grouping. The word creepypasta is a mutation of the words “copy paste.” “Copy pasta” is an internet term for a block of text that is copy and pasted from website to website. Creepypasta are horror stories that are posted on multiple sites. Creepypasta can include images, audio and video. Creepypasta, is a literary sub-genre of horror that originated on the internet.

Many of us are familiar with the stock of characters that appear in myth, folklore, legend, and urban legend. However, we are not all clear on the emerging cast popular in internet legends and creepypasta tales. In our next post, we will explore some of these individuals and their origin story.



Happy birthday to the fantastic, Mr. Vincent Price!

Vincent Price

When many of us think of Vincent Price our memories turn to the brilliant, and often, diabolical characters he played in film, on the stage and on television.


Below is a list compiled on Wikipedia of Price’s films. Which ones have you seen? Which ones are your favorites? If it’s been a while since you have seen one of his movies then it’s time to spend some time with him, alone, in the dark.

Year Film
1938 Service de Luxe
1939 The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
Tower of London
1940 The Invisible Man Returns
Green Hell
The House of the Seven Gables
Brigham Young
1941 Hudson’s Bay
1943 The Song of Bernadette
1944 The Eve of St. Mark
The Keys of the Kingdom
1945 A Royal Scandal
Leave Her to Heaven
1946 Shock
1947 The Web
The Long Night
Moss Rose
1948 Up in Central Park
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
Rogues’ Regiment
The Three Musketeers
1949 The Bribe
1950 The Baron of Arizona
Champagne for Caesar
Curtain Call at Cactus Creek
1951 Adventures of Captain Fabian
His Kind of Woman
Pictura: An Adventure in Art
Notes on the Port of St. Francis
1952 The Las Vegas Story
1953 House of Wax
1954 Dangerous Mission
Born in Freedom: The Story of Colonel Drake
Casanova’s Big Night
The Mad Magician
1955 Son of Sinbad
1956 Serenade
While the City Sleeps
The Vagabond King
The Ten Commandments
1957 The Story of Mankind
1958 The Fly
1959 House on Haunted Hill
The Big Circus
The Tingler
Return of the Fly
The Bat
1960 House of Usher
1961 Master of the World
Pit and the Pendulum
Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile
Rage of the Buccaneers