Whitechapel, the Ripper, and Halloween in London

After a long absence I’ve come back to write this post about my last few weeks of Fall Madness in London. Several weeks ago BU paid for the History Programme to go on a Jack the Ripper tour of Whitechapel. This was probably one of my favorite things I’ve done since I got here; even though Alison, Adena, and I missed the beginning of our tour due to being stalled on the tube for 30 minutes. We secretly joined another tour hoping to find our friends later on. Our tour guide was a perky little British woman who was way to happy to describe the gruesome tale of the Ripper and we absolutely loved her for it. Following the murders through Whitechapel was the BEST possible way to get to know the neighborhood because when we looked at a map in class the next week streets stood out to me from the tour. I’ve never had random alleyways recalled from my memory so vividly and remembering what our tour guide said about the different immigrant communities in Whitechapel came in use when we were talking about the evolution of East London. Our tour guide even got in to the Dear Boss letters and told us that they recently discovered they were actually written by Fred Best, a local journalist. History aside, Jack the Ripper is a fascinating (and grotesque) story. There has never been a more notorious killer to simply disappear into thin air without a trace. ┬áThe Jack the Ripper tour was terrifying fun on a late October night and when we finally met up with the other BU students their tour guide told us one final fact about Jack the Ripper. Ripper is a 6 letter word. R. I. P. P. E. RRRRRR! (It’s much more effective when you say the first 5 letters quietly and then scream R).

A few weeks after the Ripper tour we celebrated Halloween in London. Here there’s no such thing as too scary and it’s wonderful. We spent actual Halloween night in the dorm carving our friend Olie the pumpkin into a nice jack-o-lantern, baking cookies, and watching Hocus Pocus and It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. It was one of the best Halloweens ever.