Jack the Stripper The story of “Jack the Stripper,” who shocked a Cincinnati, Ohio neighborhood from about 1875 to 1878, wore nothing but a coat of grease, caused a rather prurient panic, and evaded both bullets and arrest with ease. No one knew where he came from; he simply melted away in the dark, to the despair of the police force and the titillation of the ladies.
The final chapter in my book The Ghost Wore Black: Ghastly Tales from the Past tells of a little-known 19th-century panic over those mistresses of the dark, The Women in Black. They were the female equivalent of Spring-heeled Jack, without the flames and (sometimes) the leaping, and they terrified communities across the United States from roughly 1865 to 1915.
Mistresses of the Dark: The Ghost Wore Black The final chapter in my just-released book The Ghost Wore Black: Ghastly Tales from the Past tells of a little-known 19th-century panic over those mistresses of the dark, The Women in Black. This story is a good illustration of some of the features of the apparitions: clothed in widow’s weeds, seen outdoors at night, bullet-proof and evasive.
A Spot of Bother: Jack the Ink-Slinger Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror inspired a series of copy-cat killers. His name, which may have been coined by a journalist in a hoax letter to the police, was irresistible to journalists covering social panics at the turn of the century and beyond. There was Jack the Kisser, Jack the Smasher, Jack the Nipper, and, one of strangest: Jack the Ink-Slinger, who liked to throw violet ink on ladies’ dresses in the dark.
A few days ago I wrote about a Woman in Black haunting the town of Massillon in 1895. The town was in a fever of excitement and a young man, ill-advisedly impersonating the ghost, was wounded when shot by a friend. Here is the thrilling conclusion to that tale.