Monday, January 19, 2015

Long Liz

Long Liz is the third piece in my Jack the Ripper series.

By its very nature, the subject of a mysterious serial killer is overwhelming sensationalist.  

So much of the fascination with Jack is that we just don't know who he was.  Most likely, we never will.  I love a good mystery, and these crimes were committed over 125 years ago so the worst of the horror of the crimes has faded.

At its heart, though, this is still a brutal crime perpetuated against women in the lower class, labeled as the unfortunate.  Tragically, even after so much time, the same attitudes about and against women continue to flourish in the world today.

Elizabeth Stride was killed in what has become popularly known as the double header.

The daughter of farmer Gustaf Ericsson, and his wife Beata Carlsdotter, Elizabeth was born in Sweden on Nov 27, 1843.  She seems to have taken up the career of prostitution early on, giving birth to a stillborn daughter in 1865.

She moved to London in 1866, possibly in domestic service to a family.   She married John Stride, a ship's carpenter in 1869.  The two kept a coffee room for a time, but separated by 1877.

Elizabeth seems to have been fond of dramatic stories about her past, telling acquaintances that she lost her husband and children in the sinking of the Princess Anne in 1878 (her husband died of tuberculous in 1884 and there is no record of her having any children after 1865).

Like the other victims of Jack, Elizabeth seems to have had a drinking problem.  She kept company with a labourer named Michael Kidney but the two had separated a few days before her death.

On the night of September 30th, her body was discovered at about 1 am.  Although her throat had been slit like that of the other Ripper victims, her body sustained none of the mutilation of the other victims.  This has led to the speculation that Jack was interrupted in his kill or even that she was not a Ripper victim at all.

Regardless of your opinion on the identity of her murderer, Elizabeth "Long Liz" bled out on the pavement across the street from a social club.

Less than an hour later, only a short walk away, another woman died in an even more brutal fashion.

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