Optograms, autobiography, and the image of Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper
A September 13, 1888, article in the London Star questioned whether "an image" of the Whitechapel killer "capable of reproduction" may have been imprinted inadvertently upon the retina of Annie Chapman, as the unfortunate victim took a final glimpse of her killer less than a week before ("Whitechapel Crimes" 3). The discovery of a body with its throat cut and its abdomen slashed in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields had further contributed to a gathering commotion in the newspapers described as "a brushfire" by historian Philip Sugden. "The press, by giving currency to inaccuracy and rumour, and by resort to the most sensational language imaginable," he argues, "did much to promote alarm" (118).
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