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Halloween Countdown, Day 1

I'm off today to speak at the PotterWatch 2011 scholarly conference. I look forward to seeing gods_lil_rocker, amedia, and lots of other fantastic people there. But first: the countdown!

And we're off! Welcome to the 2011 Countdown to Halloween. I hope you'll join me every day. If you have friends who might be interested in this countdown, please invite them to join us!

Be sure to check out other blogs that likewise are celebrating Halloween all October long. The wonderful Countdown to Halloween 2011 is a clearinghouse site that links to this and other blogs with similar month-long posts.

Today I'd like to point out some great links about one of the scariest "real life" monsters who continues to fascinate the popular imagination: Jack the Ripper.
  • A new update from The Los Angeles Times of 20 September, 2011: "The Cold, Cold Case of Jack the Ripper." A retired homicide detective is trying to force Scotland Yard to release uncensored versions of files that might offer fresh leads on the identity of Britain's most notorious serial killer.
  • Casebook: Jack the Ripper is the world's largest repository of Ripper-related information. It's the best single website on the topic.
  • Watch the Jack the Ripper video tour part 1 and part 2.
  • Listen to a fascinating podcast on the latest historical research on Jack the Ripper, RipperCast: The Whitechapel Murders Podcast.

Jack the Ripper

Why all of this talk of Jack the Ripper? Our text of the day, of course!

Text of the Day: Today's text is The Lodger, a hugely influential 1913 horror novel by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes, which was directly inspired by the Jack the Ripper murders.

Thus far the novel has inspired a number of different works, including, among others, the following:

Since our countdown starts on a weekend, I thought it fitting to begin with a text that's a little longer… and extra spooky! Is the new lodger renting the room upstairs, that mysterious and secretive man, really a mass murderer who stalks the streets at night in search of human prey?

jack the ripper 9 Pictures, Images and Photos

Excerpt from The Lodger (1913) by Marie Adelaide Belloc Lowndes:

Of course, the lodger was eccentric, otherwise he wouldn't be their lodger at all —- he would be living in quite a different sort of way with some of his relations, or with a friend in his own class.

While these thoughts galloped disconnectedly through her mind, Mrs. Bunting went on with her cooking, preparing the cheese, cutting it up into little shreds, carefully measuring out the butter, doing everything, as was always her way, with a certain delicate and cleanly precision.

And then, while in the middle of toasting the bread on which was to be poured the melted cheese, she suddenly heard sounds which startled her, made her feel uncomfortable.

Shuffling, hesitating steps were creaking down the house.

She looked up and listened.

Surely the lodger was not going out again into the cold and foggy night—going out, as he had done the other evening, for a second time?

Read the complete text.

Download an unabridged narration from Librivox.org.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 1st, 2011 11:11 am (UTC)
Yay! I love your Countdown to Halloween and am looking forward to all the fun!
Oct. 2nd, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm so glad. I hope you enjoy! Thanks for joining me.
Oct. 1st, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on being the Keynote speaker! I hope you publish at least an excerpt of your speech here.

I have never witnessed a Halloween countdown before. I'm looking forward to it.

I didn't know that Jack the Ripper attracted quite so much attention, but he is a fascinating look at a serial killer. The files should be released. It would be helpful to those criminologists who are interested in behavior.
Oct. 2nd, 2011 12:43 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! My talk was an updated/truncated version of my "Harry Potter is a Hobbit" essay, first published in CSL. (I can email you the PDF, if you'd like to message me with the email address you prefer.) Thanks so much for being interested!

I hope you enjoy the countdown!

I agree with you wholeheartedly that those Jack the Ripper files should be released.
Oct. 1st, 2011 09:28 pm (UTC)
Ooooh, yes, Jack the Ripper! I'm reading Dust and Shadow now, and am enjoying it so much!
Oct. 2nd, 2011 12:36 pm (UTC)
I'm so, so glad to hear you're enjoying Dust and Shadow! I thought it was well done.
Oct. 1st, 2011 10:42 pm (UTC)
Hooray! It starts today!
We are SO excited! This is our favorite time of the year and one of the reasons is your blog goes Halloween! :D

Big hugs,
Rebecca and Dwight
Oct. 2nd, 2011 12:36 pm (UTC)
Re: Hooray! It starts today!
Yay! Thanks so much for joining me. And Happy Halloween Season! Bug hugs to you both.
Oct. 2nd, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
I used to be obsessed with Jack the Ripper growing up. I had so many books and movies and documentaries... and now I have no idea where they are.

Thanks for all the info, I'm looking forward to going through it all!
Oct. 2nd, 2011 12:37 pm (UTC)
You're most welcome! I'm so glad this is "right up your alley." Happy reading!
Oct. 2nd, 2011 03:58 am (UTC)

I've started The Lodger. I found it available as an audio from Librivox: http://librivox.org/the-lodger-by-marie-belloc-lowndes/

Oct. 2nd, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! Thanks a million for the link. I'm going to add it to the post.
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 16th, 2011 01:38 am (UTC)
I'm so glad that you enjoy the countdown! Thanks for returning this year - and for commenting! Thanks also for friending me. I've friended you back. :)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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