Stalking Jack the Ripper – Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper front cover

About the author

Kerri Maniscalco is an American young adult author best known for the Stalking Jack the Ripper quartet; a series of Gothic thrillers. Her next series Kingdom of the Wicked, a young adult fantasy, is slated for a fall 2020 release.

Her grandmother was an avid reader who instilled a love of books in her mother who passed it along to both of her daughters. Growing up, Maniscalco’s parents took her and her sister Kelli to libraries and bookstores most weekends where she fell in love with stories. To this day her mom and dad gift her with a new leather-bound book each Christmas to add to her library, and it’s one of her favorite family traditions.

As a child, her grandmother was chronically ill and taught the importance of always being able to escape on an adventure between the pages of a book, regardless of any physical limitations. Maniscalco credits her grandmother with fostering her imagination. And if she looked closely enough, her grandmother promised she might see fairies dancing around the ring of flowers in the backyard.

Her father, a retired chiropractor, had anatomy books and sculptures in his office, which introduced her to her interest in forensics when she was a teen. She was fascinated with his stories of college, where he studied cadavers as part of his degree. It would later spark the idea for her medical-minded heroine, Audrey Rose.

At one point in college, Maniscalco switched schools and majors, and took Criminal Justice and Science courses, and considered becoming a forensic psychologist. She ultimately decided to turn her love of reading and writing into a career as a novelist instead.

My Thoughts

I always wanted to write a piece on “Jack the Ripper”, the most notorious criminal of the 19th century. One of the unsolved cases of the Scotland Yard. Jack the Ripper was responsible for the serial killing of the prostitutes. He terrorized London for a long time and all his killing stopped abruptly during the fall of 1888. We can still find many stories and claims about Jack the Ripper and many copycats of his work. There are many trills seeks who are still fascinated about him, I’m one of them. Many young Profilers and Criminal physiologists in the FBI refer to the Jack the Ripper case for their study references. While gathering information for Jack the Ripper I came across an article where the FBI claims created the Jack the Ripper’s profile.

Profiling the Ripper

DATED: 19.06.18

Criminal-profiling Psychopaths and sociopaths are popular psychological terms when describing violent monsters which haunt our worst nightmares. In modern culture, characters such as Hannibal Lecter from the movie “Silence of the Lambs” and even Norman Bates in the Alfred Hitchcock classic “Psycho” have painted an image of what real monsters could look like into our minds. But what makes them who they are? And can we learn from them to prevent or capture the serial killers of tomorrow?

In the 1970s, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) started a specialized unit to monitor and record the behavioral characteristics of serial killers. Since then, the art and craft of criminal profiling have become a household name, largely due to books, documentaries, and the recent television hit show “Mindhunter“. Currently showing on Netflix, the show is based in part on the writings of best-selling author Mark Olshaker and legendary FBI profiler John Douglas.

Douglas was one of several pioneering FBI agents who invented computer-based, modern-day criminal profiling in the 1980s. His research has aided law enforcement across the globe in capturing some of the world’s most dangerous killers. But could it solve the most infamous cold case in the world?

Stalking Jack the Ripper Profile

The Jack the Ripper murders were a series of prostitute killings that took place in London, England, in the autumn of 1888. Nobody knows for sure just how many victims the Ripper claimed, but his usual calling card came in the shape of a horrifically mutilated corpse. The murders created a scandal that struck right at the heart of the British establishment and for over 100 years, a mountain of research and countless books have attempted to unmask the elusive fiend – but to no avail.

In 1988, John Douglas and Roy Hazelwood of the FBI were asked to use their acquired knowledge and collected data to prepare a psychological profile of the Ripper, made especially for the television documentary “The Secret Identity of Jack the Ripper”.

Stalking Jack the Ripper murder victim

Taking all the known evidence, eyewitness statements, and police reports, they looked once again at the Jack the Ripper murders. They concluded the following features of the profile:
Local, resident male in his late 20s

*Probably employed (murders generally occurred at the weekends)
*Single, without family ties (murders took place between 12.00 am and 6.00 am)
*Of low class (murders showed lack of care/attention to detail)
*Not surgically skilled or possessing anatomical knowledge
*Probably known to the police as a past offender
*Seen by family and acquaintances as a loner
*Probably abused or deserted as a child by his mother

What is interesting about the profile is that it closely resembled another profile carried out at the time of the murders by Dr. Thomas Bond. In 1888, Dr. Bond, who had carried out the autopsy on the Ripper’s final victim, Mary Jane Kelly, also looked at the previous victims and wrote down his thoughts about the type of individual that the police should be looking for.

His report on 10 November 1888 described the following features of the murderer:

*Probably middle-aged
*Probably not in regular employment
*Physically strong
*Quiet and inoffensive in appearance; neatly and respectably dressed
*Probably lacked anatomical knowledge
*Most likely solitary or a loner
*Probably eccentric or odd in behavior
*Differences and Similarities
*It is perhaps unsurprising to find small differences in the profiling from 1888 and 1988. At the same time, certain features in the perception of what sort of person Jack the Ripper was have remained the same.

It would seem from the expert’s point of view that Jack the Ripper was an unremarkable middle-aged man and a resident of the Whitechapel area. He kept himself to himself, had no real close ties with people, and his behavior, although considered odd by those who knew him, would not be enough to arouse suspicion.

His brutality and hatred lay buried beneath a mask of normality until he suffered from a low bout of self-esteem and on more than several occasions, gave way to murder.

When faced with the criminal profile of the Ripper, it becomes clear why the police of 1888 were unable to catch him. They were searching for an obvious-looking madman, but the real killer was quite the opposite.

The excitement doesn’t stop here

While browsing for more details, the came across one more article by Cynthia Dite Sirni to have found out the real name of Jack the Ripper.

A Serial Killer Revealed: The Real Name of Jack the Ripper is…
by Cynthia Dite Sirni
Enjoy And Share

Aaron Kosminski. Until today it was an obscure name of a Polish immigrant in Britain who died in an asylum of gangrene of the leg. Now, according to Russell Edwards, a self-professed, “armchair detective” the world may come to know this name as the identity of the man behind the name Jack the Ripper.

Long have there been theories and ideas as to whom the vicious killer was, everything from a woman to a member of the Royal family. Now, thanks to DNA and 14 years of research, Russell Edwards believes he has finally linked irrefutable evidence to Jack the Ripper. A shawl won at a 2007 auction in Bury St. Edmunds is heralded as the only piece of forensic evidence that identifies the killer.

The shawl is said to belong to Catherine Eddowes, one of Jack the Ripper’s victims. The acting Sergeant Amos Simpson took the shawl from the crime scene for his wife. Since it was covered in blood, she simply stored the shawl and never washed it or used it. It stayed within the family, being passed down as a bit of urban legend. It wasn’t until Russell Edwards won it in the auction that he was able to collaborate with a molecular biologist, Jari Louhelainen.

Together, they embarked on a journey that took three and a half years, but using DNA evidence, they were able to trace back and prove that Aaron Kosminski is in fact, Jack the Ripper. The shawl, made in Eastern Europe where Kosminski was from had DNA belonging to Catherine Eddowes. By taking DNA samples from her known descendants,

Edwards was able to prove that the shawl was authentic. Semen stains on the shawl led to further research. Edwards and Louhelainen were able to track down relatives of Kosminski’s and proved without a doubt that the stains were his.

Jack the Ripper, one of the world’s most famous serial killers, went on his spree in 1888 in London’s East End. He killed at least five women. Kosminski, at the time, was a suspect. Because Scotland Yard couldn’t prove he was guilty, and they didn’t have enough evidence, he was never arrested. His mental state took him in and out of asylums, and as his health deteriorated, so too did Jack the Ripper.

Experts speculate that the atrocities he saw in Poland committed by the Russians may have been what sent his mind over the edge. Edwards’ book, Naming Jack the Ripper goes on sale this week.

Of course, with as riveting a story as Jack the Ripper has become over the years, even DNA evidence is unlikely to sway everybody. It’s likely the ghost of the real murderer could show up and turn himself into Scotland Yard, and people would still argue the identity. But for now, this new evidence seems to put the mystery to rest.

What I liked about the Novel

The whole novel is based on the 19th Century London. Everything was different at that time. Women were not allowed to engage themselves in any of the Men’s work. Women were very conserved in their thoughts. They were thought all the household works, they were prepped about everything. You would find a few handful of people with a broad mind to create a change in the society in that era.

Life of a Forensic Scientist

As the story revolves around Audrey Rose who wants to be a Forensic Scientist like her uncle. She loves to solve the mysteries behind death. While listening about the dissection procedure of a body, made me wonder about the life of the Forensic scientist and how mentally strong would they be?

They go to different and savage crime scenes and then go through everything horrible and mind-cracking things to collect the evidence. Later they go on with dissecting the bodies, opening them in and out noting down all the details with ease. Normal people like you and me might throw up or even faint out looking at those bodies. Still, they go on with their work every day to find out the cause and problems, so that the family close to the decreased could get some closure.

How do these people sitting for dinner? Maybe this line of work makes you more strong than you imagine one to be.

Women’s doing Men Job

Now, we all live in an era where everyone is considered to be on an equal level. Men, women, and even transgender are considered equal on all grounds. But have ever wondered what could it be like living in the older centuries. Women were only considered to be a mode of entertainment, in-charged to take of the children and the house, learn all household works, keep the husband happy, be very sophisticated and well behaved so that they would get good suitors for marriage.

But there were still many women who like or you can say love to bend those man-made laws and made their ways. Challenging life and men to make their name in the society. Some were lucky, some weren’t. Some men never thought that women were only supposed to take care of the house, some even encourage them to help to build their own identity.

Losing your parent in sickness

Losing your parent is the biggest heartbreak that anyone can suffer no matter how young or older. Life teaches you all the hardship and these things get difficult when you lose the only protective guidance that is your parent. I could relate to the pain of Audrey Rose because I have lost my Father too. I could understand the emptiness that she or you can say I’m going through. Life is never the same without them. Though you remember all the good times, at some corner of your heart you know there is a space.

About the Characters

Audrey Rose Wadsworth :

A very strong-headed girl for her age and era too. I loved her passion for her aim and dream of being a Forensic scientist and conquest to prove that she is not less than any man. She is clever, strong, bold, and doesn’t hesitate to keep a strong opinion about her point. No matter whatever the danger is, she has the bravest of heart to face her face and quest.

She wasn’t like any of most girls in that era and neither she had the desire to be like them. She has her view and dreams and she is ready to fight for her dreams. As most of her friends and cousin are prepped to learn embroidery; looking for suitors to get married, but Miss Audrey Rose Wadsworth is looking forward to learning about forensic science all thanks to her uncle Johnthan Wadsworth who supports her

Jonathan Wadsworth:

A forensic scientist himself and an expert in his job. He has unique expertise to understand forensic. What I liked about Jonathan Wadsworth apart from all the odds he understands his niece Audrey Rose capacity and supported her dreams. He doesn’t care that if she is a girl, he lets her do all the hardship of a man. He loves her intelligence and her interest to understand and know about the autopsy and molds her to the best of his abilities.

Nathaniel Wadsworth/Thomas Cresswell:

Nathaniel Wadsworth big brother for a heroine of our story Audrey Rose and her closest friend. No matter what the situation is he always stands up to his little sister Audrey. Since, their mother’s died both have been very close to each other, as “two against the whole world.” Even after knowing that Audrey is interest lays in Forensic science; she even assists their uncle in secret. He still stands for his sister and hides her secret from his father who is overprotective about Audrey after his wife’s death.

Thomas Cresswell, love interest of Audrey Rose and an apprentice to her Johnthan Wadsworth. Equally intelligent, charming, and arrogant according to Audrey which makes her fancy him secretly. Though he first met her uncle’s laboratory he never considers Audrey any less or inferior than any male subordinates. He loves her passion towards Forensic science.

My Review

If you are as thrilled as I’m to read about Jack the Ripper, this would be one of the best novels related to his legacy.

About the Novel

He murdered women in cold blood.
terrorized an entire city.
He taunted those of us who hunted him down.
But despite all the horrors
In the end, I could not deny it…

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Somebody’s Baby – Charlotte Vale-Allen
The Mountain Shadow – Gregory David Robert
Gondwana Chronicles Part 1- The Genius of Indraprastha
Lethal Seduction – Jackie Collins
The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
Hardy Boys – The Tower Treasure – Franklin W Dixon

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