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.
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:
- The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927 film) directed by Alfred Hitchcock
- The Lodger (1932 film)
- The Lodger (1944 film)
- Man in the Attic (1953 film)
- The Lodger (1960 opera)
- The Lodger (2009 film)
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?
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.