UPDATE: This essay was nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize. Thank you to Bernard Meisler at Sensitive Skin.
Sensitive Skin Magazine published my essay Jack the Ripper, Performance, Participation, Fans and Trolls. The introduction is reproduced below, but you can read the full essay HERE.
“During the autumn of 1888, the period of the Jack the Ripper murders in Whitechapel, London, an ephemeral canon of “Ripper letters” was established, notably the so-called “Dear Boss” letter delivered on September 27th, the “Saucy Jacky” postcard of October 1st that inspired Spinal Tap’s vaudeville music hall period, and the “From Hell” letter with its peripheral matchbox-worth of kidney delivered on October 16th, as mopped up by graphic novelist Alan Moore. These are relatively well-known. Yet, perhaps more interesting are the hundreds of other letters, certainly fakes, forgeries, and hoaxes, purporting to be from Jack the Ripper, evidence of a concerted participatory culture of scrawlers inserting themselves into the case, interfering with an already bewildered constabulary, and entering into the persona of the Ripper himself. Many of these were tabloid fabrications, Victorian click-bait, hysterical epistles from Fleet Street hacks, but many of them came from a quasi-literate underground of fanatics and fantasists.” – Extracted from Sensitive Skin Magazine