Archives, Books, Deeming, Research, Ripper Non-Fiction, Stephenson Family No Comments »

Ten years ago I embarked on a project to chart the connections between the “Jack the Ripper” case and my hometown of Kingston upon Hull, or Hull as it is often referred to.  I started out with a single suspect, Robert D’Onston Stephenson, and embarked on planning, researching and writing “Jack the Ripper – From Hell, From Hull.” 


As time progressed my tally of suspects increased, from one, to fourteen!  I also carried out research into the contemporary newspaper articles published in the Hull press between 1888 and 1988, uncovering two giant folders of research. 


So, when it came to writing the book I could no longer fit all the research into one volume, and one volume became two, two became four, and today the current tally stands at

The newspaper reports I had uncovered went into a single volume, however, as the volume was so large they were split into two volumes, resulting in the release of;


“Jack the Ripper” – Newspapers from Hull Vol I, which covers the year 1888




“Jack the Ripper” – Newspapers from Hull Vol II, which covers 1889 – 1988


The material also gave me enough information to write;


Leather Apron, “Jack the Ripper” and the Whitechapel Murders of 1888


I had also been researching the local connection between Michael Maybrick and Florence Maybrick in Hull.  The research from that project went into;


“Jack the Ripper” and the Maybrick Family


Researching the case also gave me lots of information on each victim, I was particularly interested in three non canonical victims, but in researching one I came across a wealth of material that made it into;  


Annie Chapman – Wife, Mother, Victim


Finally I also had enough material on Frederick Bailey Deeming to give him and his criminal deeds a book of their own.  This resulted in the release of;


Frederick Bailey Deeming – “Jack the Ripper” or Something Worse?


“Jack the Ripper” From Hell, From Hull? Was growing so much now that it spawned another spin off,


“Jack the Ripper” – The Black Magic Myth, about the life, career, reputation and suspect candidacy of Robert D’Onston Stephenson.  It was a book that started out a decade ago, working with a pen and paper at our old house in East Hull, and which has finally been completed for publication. 


But wait…….


There are still two more “Jack the Ripper” titles on the way.  As mentioned earlier the suspect tally with links to my hometown was 14!  With that in mind the next two releases will be;


“Jack the Ripper” The Hull Connection,




Edwin Brough, Scalby Manor and the Hunt for “Jack the Ripper.”  


Finally a decade on I can safely say that “Jack the Ripper” The Black Magic Myth is complete and finally the life of Robert D’Onston Stephenson can be recorded. 


Thank you to everyone who helped out, especially Howard Brown for his foreword. 


Thank you to Miika and the Creativia Team, and thank you to my family for their support. 


All the books are available now on Amazon as either kindle or paperback editions.

Hull Prison Visit

Deeming, Opinion, Research 2 Comments »

For as long as I can remember I have always had a fascination with Hull Prison.  My late father conducted work their when he was an industrial cleaner, removing asbestos from the prison in the 1980’s, my sister lived opposite on Hull’s Newtown Buildings, and as a teenager I was a student at David Lister School, just a stones throw away. 

Over the years I have met many former inmates, listening to their stories, but it is the history of the building that fascinates me. 

Some years ago I started researching the prison.  I needed to as a part of the Frederick Bailey Deeming story and for the John Rennard aspect of the Marfleet Murder Mystery. 

When Hull Daily Mail announced that the prison would be opening an exhibition in the former Governor’s Residence at the front of the prison I contacted the prison and spoke with Rob Nicholson. 

Rob is an amazing guy, what he doesn’t know about the prison is not worth knowing, and together we exchanged research, I ended up sending entire census returns for the prison, lots of material on Frederick Bailey Deeming, and other items. 

Eventually the research worked its way into the exhibition, something that I was very proud of. 

In later years we filmed Prime Suspect – Jack the Ripper, with Prospero Productions at the main gate. 

After that we recorded From Whitechapel to Whitefriargate with BBC Radio Humberside and David Reeves in the exhibition space with Rob. 

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone by the Mayor of Hull, Mr. Atkinson, and as such the prison organised a friends and family day. 

I had contacted Rob and was granted permission by the governor to join the day, but little did I know, I would get my own exclusive tour with Rob. 

What Rob does not know about the prison is not worth knowing.  He is a walking encyclopaedia of names, dates, stories, and is a really pleasure to listen to.  He also has a wicked sense of humour and is a true gent. 

We met at the main gate and whilst the friends and family went in, we admired the original entrance to the prison.  It’s massive, and I mean MASSIVE stone entrance is imposing and threatening.  We spent some time looking at the right hand side of the main gate.  This was where the original notices were put up to announce whether an inmate had been reprieved or hanged.  It felt very eerie stood here, knowing that this is where friends and family received word of those that had hanged or whether the Home Office had given them a last minute reprieve. 

We waited until the other group walked off, then we headed for the old structure of the prison, the original wing.  It was here that we stood and admired the height and stonework.  Strange crenellations, mock battlements, and signs in stone of the Hull Corporations Three Crowns adorned the high walls of the building. 

“This is the mortuary” he pointed out, to a simple stone structure, “this is where they were stored after they were hanged.” He pointed out as we walked around the building.  He also pointed out where those who had sentenced to hang were left for an hour so that death could be officially announced.  Leaving we walked in a corridor through the old wings that took us past where the male and female prisoners would have been segregated back in the Victorian period.  We passed a series of bricked up doorways and arches, it was fascinating, and as the walkway was open at both ends, the wind blew through and it was actually pretty eerie. 

We exited and again admired the structure of the building, with its high walls and metal fittings, where cages stood to allow prisoners to walk between wings. 

We again entered the building and went on to one of the wings.  My jaw dropped.  Such magnificent Victorian architecture, but I was stopped in my tracks by the steel work.  The original steelwork in the older Victorian section of the prison was made on site.  It still bears the HMP Hull mark, but to see it all was fascinating.  We stood and admired the steelwork before Rob took me along the first floor balcony to where the condemned would have made their final journey.  We looked at an old bricked up archway, where dignitaries would have gone into the drop room to observe the act, and then we walked around to another room that was like a modern day wash room.  Tiles adorned the walls and metal sinks hung off the walls.  “This is where they were hanged.”

We stood inside the room for a while, just taking it in, on the spot where ten convicted murderers, had faced their end.  Pinioned, hooded, and with noose around their neck, the hangman would send them to their final judgement. 

Below us was the room where the deceased would be left for an hour. 

We moved on and went up to the next floor before exiting via a large circular room, which is the massive green dome you can see from outside.  The ceiling was so high it was breath taking, and again we were surrounded by locally produced steel. 

Rob showed me where an escape hatch was situated, no longer in use, but used by officers should they need to escape quickly. 

We moved through the prison, visiting the newer wings, passing the site of the old and much talked about “Seven Alleys” and Arnold Lavers Wood yard, now under tons of steel and concrete that form the high walls of the prison.  

We entered another wing and at this point Rob left me whilst he logged us in at the office.  Whilst I was waiting I met two members of staff, who were sorting books out to take onto the wings for the prisoners.  As they sorted the books one fell.  I looked at it and instantly recognised the face.  It was none other than the death mask of Frederick Bailey Deeming.  The book in question was Murders of the Dark Museum by Gordon Honeycomb.  What I found fascinating is that Deeming was a former prisoner here for nine months in 1890-1891 for fraud.  The book’s author passed away just yesterday, on the 150th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone at Hull prison.  We discussed it and laughed it off, before heading across the wing to where Rob had himself encountered paranormal activity. 

On the way back to the main gate we passed the spot where the ten condemned lay. 

Arthur Richardson, 25/03/1902, William James Bolton, 23/12/1902, Charles William, 22/12/1903, Thomas Siddle, 04/08/1908, John Freeman, 07/12/1909, William George Smith, 09/12/1924, Robert Ernest Dalton, 10/06/1925, George Michael, 27/04/1932, Roy Gregory, 03/01/1934, Ethel Lillie Major, 19/12/1934. 

No plaque, no memorial, no grave, just a “herb garden” remains. 

We left by the main gate, once again admiring the old brick work that kept in people like Frankie Fraser, members of the Kray firm, IRA members, Frankie “The Mad Axe Man” Mitchell, Charles Bronson, Frederick Bailey Deeming, Arthur Richardson, William James Bolton, Charles William, Thomas Siddle, John Freeman, William George Smith, Robert Ernest Dalton, George Michael, Roy Gregory, Ethel Lillie Major, John Rennard, and of course Rough, the dog of John Rennard!

Thank you to Rob Nicholson and all the staff at Hull Prison for an amazing day that will stay with me for a long time. 


Libraries, Research 4 Comments »

Seems like ages ago that I last wrote on this blog.  Things have been very hectic, and as such I have not had the time to get in.  Hopefully, with a few new changes, things will start to plateau and I will be able to drop in now and then. 

On Saturday August 9th 2015 I headed out to Scalby, the final resting place of Edwin Brough, whose bloodhounds were secured in London to be tested with a view to employing them in the hunt for “Jack the Ripper.” 

This is my adventure!

I woke up early Saturday morning and headed out to get the newspapers, having a quick spot of breakfast on my return, then heading out to the train station.  Very few buses were on the road at that time so I popped into the taxi office near my house and secured a taxi to the train station. 

On arriving at the train station I purchased train tickets for Scarborough, and headed to the platform.  Unfortunately, an incoming train had hit a deer, and because of this the crowds had started building up.  I struck up a conversation with a security guard and we eventually caught the train, sitting together and having a laugh about the work we had done in the past. 

Eventually we got to Scarborough, and I made my way to the Scarborough Library in search of their local studies room, aptly named “The Scarborough Room.”  I had pre-arranged what I wanted to look at and was handed a stack of material on Scalby Manor and Edwin Brough, which I quickly viewed and secured copies for my files. 

Most people will have left at that point, but I decided to look through the Scarborough newspapers of 1888.  It made sense to me that they should mention Edwin Brough and his hunt for “Jack the Ripper,” with him being a former Justice of the Peace in the town.  I was not disappointed.  I found a stack of articles that discussed him, the bloodhounds, and “Jack the Ripper.” 

I then broadened my search and found a series of articles about the paranormal side of Scalby Manor, including ghost sightings from the 1950’s through to the last decade. 

I also found an interesting document signed by Edwin Brough, and a document showing the pedigree of the family. 

Everyone at Scarborough Library were very helpful, and their knowledge of the material I was looking for was fantastic. 

I left Scarborough Library in search of the right bus to Scalby.  Earlier in the week I had contacted East Yorkshire Motor Services ( @EYBuses) and they were really helpful in getting me the right bus, sending me time tables and maps.  This really helped and within no time I had not only found the correct bus stop but was on the bus heading out to Scalby.  The village of Scalby is much larger than I expected and the bus driver stopped at the edge of the village and asked where I needed to be, when I told him that I was going to St. Laurences Church, he dropped me opposite. 

The village of Scalby is lovely, a really beautiful place and so peaceful.  I immediately found the church and was thankful that I had previously arranged with the church wardens a map and directions to the grave of Edwin Brough.  As I walked through the churchyard, amongst the old headstones, I struggled to find the grave.  Eventually two churchwardens crossed the churchyard and came to help.  Together we still failed to find the grave, so I called Rev. Ferneley, whose number I had taken with me just in case.  The Rev. quickly arrived as he lived in the Vicarage next door.  Together we looked but still struggled to find it.  Eventually we came across an overgrown ivy bush and jokingly I remarked “I have a feeling what we are looking for is under that bush.”  He walked over, pulled away the ivy, and sure enough, we found the grave of Edwin Brough. 

Interestingly, Brough was married with his wife and sister in law, who also acted as a servant at Scalby Manor before her death. 

We cleared some of the bushes and ivy away then sat and chatted about the grave.  I could have pulled all the ivy off and taken photos, I could have cleared the grave, but out of respect, and to keep the grave protected from the elements, I decided to keep it covered.  The Rev. was pleased with the decision, and we shook hands and he departed whilst I took photos. 

Eventually I left the churchyard.  A wedding was due to take place and as the guests arrived I am sure they would not want to see a sweaty Ripperologist knee deep in ivy digging around the graves. 

I headed off from the village of Scalby to Scalby Manor, a 25 minute walk covering 1.4 miles along Station Road onto Field Lane, then onto Burniston Road.  The sun was high in the sky and it was hot, but luckily I had packed bottles of water for the walk, and as such it was a pleasant walk. 

Eventually I arrived at Scalby Manor a little after 1 o’clock.  I was warmly met by a gentleman who took my order, of fish and chips and a pint of coke, and I made my way to a table, picking up my hot food and ice cold drink.  As I ate my lunch I pulled out all the research I had amassed and began reading it.  At that point one of the bar staff walked by and said “Hello,” she saw the papers on my table, and we began chatting about the manor.  She called over a more senior member of staff and the three of us began chatting about Edwin Brough, Scalby Manor, the Bloodhounds, “Jack the Ripper” and the paranormal past of the building.  The two girls then invited me to take a look around, so we headed through the bar into the rear courtyard.  It was here where Edwin Brough kept his beloved bloodhounds and as always it is a pleasure to see. 

I had visited the location a year previous to this, just after they had cleared it all, and was accompanied by my wife, Susan, and my good friends Kathy and Dave.  They stayed in the car, and I went in alone that time, having only a second to see the kennels.  This time I had much longer and the three of us stood out in the sunshine talking about the kennels.  I was pleased to see that one of them was in use by a friendly dog that belonged to the residents staying upstairs. I took lots of photos, said my thanks, and left to head back to Scalby. 

This time I cut across the Camping and Caravanning Club grounds, cutting off a wedge of Burniston Road and Field Lane corner, then headed back along Station Road to Scalby.  I had time to pop into the rest rooms and grab a drink before the bus arrived to take me back to Scarborough.

Arriving in Scarborough I had a few hours spare, so I decided to hit the seafront with my camera.  After walking up and down the seafront I decided to head back to the station and make my journey home. 

All in all it was a lovely day, I met and chatted with lots of lovely people and got a ton of research as well as two books, one on the Yorkshire Ripper and one on Jack the Ripper. 

Thank you to the staff at East Yorkshire Motor Services, Scarborough Library and Local Studies, Scalby Manor, and the church wardens and Rev. Ferneley at St Laurences Church, Scalby, for all their help and advice over the weekend. 


Archives, Books, E-Books, Events, Hull Press, Libraries, Movies, National Press, Podcast, Research, Ripper Fiction, Ripper Non-Fiction, TV/Documentaries, bloggs 1 Comment »

Well it has been one hell of a year.  I seem to have not written much on the blog at all this year, but believe me it is for a very good reason.  I have been so busy not just with “Jack the Ripper” but other projects that I rarely get to sit and update my blog.  So here, in one post, is all the weird and wonderful news since my last posting.  Forgive me if I go over the same ground again, but the projects are so exciting and it is fantastic to be a part of them all.




This week I had the pleasure of lecturing for a massive marketing company in London at Mindshare’s Huddle event. 






Massive thank you to Chris Bourke, for not only booking me, but making me feel very welcome at the event.  The lecture which was for Qriously Ltd, looked at “Jack the Ripper” and the media both past and present and was a very popular lecture.  Everyone made me feel very welcome and I had a lovely time in London meeting everyone.  








This year has seen the release of ten of my books, they are all available to download via Amazon, and two are currently available on paperback.  Simply search for “Mike Covell” on the Amazon pages around the world and you will find the products. 

At the moment sales are really impressive and I cannot thank the Creativia gang for taking me on board and looking after me and my titles.  They are such a small tight nit group and they have worked wonders for me. 










As you can imagine I am limited in what I can say about the movies at present, I know I am a tease, but I can only recommend that you visit the Thunderball Films website for updates on the projects that I am involved in.  It is a very exciting time, and I look forward to working on some amazing projects as an historical director and executive producer that are heading our way.   












I can confirm that there is a television show on the way looking at the “Jack the Ripper” case and other similar cases to ascertain fact from fiction, myth from reality.  Whilst I am very limited over what I can and cannot say, I can say that it is a very interesting and exciting project tackled in a way that has never been tackled before in Ripperology.  The title for the show is “Jack the Ripper: Reality and Myth.”








Many people will remember that earlier this year I set up AMAZING HULL TOURS.  Since that time I had carried out numerous tours, lectures, and research for numerous people.  The tours are going really well and recently were featured in the Hull Daily Mail after a number of people caught anomalous objects on camera.  I take a back seat and allow people to take photos on the tour and if they capture anything on film I do not sway their opinion.  That said, this last few weeks has seen a number of people capture unexplained activity on their cameras. 






Earlier this year I met with my good mate John and we recorded a show on Jack the Ripper – The Hull Connection.  Since then John and I have recorded more shows that look at the history of Hull.  Show two featured a virtual walk around Hull’s Old Town, visiting some of the allegedly haunted pubs and talking about their history. 
Show three featured a similar virtual tour around some of the pubs a little further afield.

To listen to the shows simply visit:










Earlier this year I teamed up with local businessman John Hemmingway to create a brand new visitor attraction in Hull.  The idea is to showcase 700 years of the darker side of Hull’s strange history, from witchcraft to the hanging of pirates, ghost sightings, local legends and true crime.  The project is moving at a great pace and I look forward to releasing news about this very soon.  One area we hope to showcase is “Jack the Ripper” The Hull Connection.









I am very pleased to announce that due to the popularity of the URBAN LEGENDS podcasts that next year for the second season we have even bigger plans.  Watch out for John and I around Hull filming in locations associated with true crime, Jack the Ripper, and the paranormal. 

I am pleased to be the historian at the fascinating project housed within Annison’s Stables, on Witham, above and behind the 24 hour pharmacy.  A lot of attention has been paid to this building and its magnificent history and in the future you will see some amazing tours, lectures, and the occasional paranormal investigation at the property.  You will also see lectures on Mary Jane Langley being given at the property where Mr. William Mortimer Edmonds had his photography shop!

The “Chocolate Factory” on Wincolmlee, a lovely 19th century tallow mill will also see some magnificent projects taking place there.  These will be run in conjunction with local businessman John Hemmingway, who I spoke about in regards to the DARK MUSEUM above.


2015 will see a wide range of new lectures and new tours, taking in aspects of Hull’s history long since forgotten.  Among the new lectures will be a new Amy Johnson lecture, a new William Papper lecture, and a new lecture on Hull’s infamous Silver Hatchet Gang of the early 19th century.


New Books!!!  Next year will see the release of a series of new books that will explore the darker side of Hull’s history.  The series is all but finished and they will be submitted just after Christmas for a steady release through the year.  It will mean a year of no “Jack the Ripper” releases from me, but I am saving the new “Jack the Ripper” projects for 2016.




The AMAZING HULL TOURS lectures have had a very busy year and bookings are coming well into 2015 with a lecture booked for December next year!  All bookings for both tours and lectures can be made through AMAZING HULL TOURS at the following;








Or via emailing us at amazinghulltours@hotmail.com



Mike’s Book Releases

Books 1 Comment »

Last week I published 6 books but with other projects going on I did not have the time to mention them or their availability.  Three of these books are Ripper related:

Jack the Ripper: Newspapers From Hull Vol 1:

Jack the Ripper: Newspapers From Hull Vol 2:

Leather Apron, Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel Murders:

The Caughey Street Murder:

The Marfleet Murder Mystery:

John Ellerthorpe: The Hero of the Humber:

At the moment all six are available on Kindle, but as the week progresses all should be ready on paperback too.

My Amazon Authors Page:

A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper

Books, E-Books, Events, Movies 3 Comments »

In the past few weeks I have been busying myself with writing, AMAZING HULL TOURS, working on material for the HULL DARK MUSEUM, and working on some history for Hull’s new LAND TRAIN.  Add to this mixture a series of tours and lectures and it has been a very busy time indeed. 

On Friday evening, as I was getting ready to go out on a tour I received an email from Brian L Porter.  Brian, as many of my blog readers will know, is the author of the Jack the Ripper trilogy, A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper, Legacy of the Ripper, and Requiem for the Ripper. 

At the time of the release of the first book I read it and posted reviews online on various websites.  With the second book Brian would email me asking for the occasional piece of information with regards to the historical aspects of the case.  The same occurred with the third book.

The email on Friday asked me whether I would like to join the Thunderball Films production of A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper as an historical advisor, I, of course, jumped at the chance. 

What happened next was even more amazing.

Brian asked me if I would be willing to appear in the movie as Inspector Abberline! 

Abberline has appeared onscreen on numerous occasions, notably played by Michael Caine, in the mini-series “Jack the Ripper,” and by Johnny Depp, in the Hughes brother movie “From Hell.”

It is both an honour and a pleasure to play such a character.

I am also pleased to announce that I will be featuring exclusives on the movie, with interviews from the set, as the film progresses.  Watch this space!!

Thunderball Films: http://www.thunderballfilms.com/new2_media.php

A Study in Red – The Secret Journal of Jack the Ripper IMDB page: http://m.imdb.com/title/tt1368869/

Almost there….

Books 2 Comments »

Finished and edited
Jack the Ripper and the Black Magic Myth,”

This book looks at the life, adventures, and death of Robert D’Onston Stephenson and his attachment to the “Jack the Ripper” case. Featuring a massive range of primary historical sources from around the world to tackle some of the myths and stories attached to him and his life.

Jack the Ripper, Leather Apron and John Piser,”

This book looks at the “Leather Apron” scares of 1888, includes chapters on John Piser, featuring primary sources, a chapter on all the newspaper reports, and chapters on other possible “Leather Apron’s.”

Jack the Ripper or Worse?

This book looks at the life, crimes, and death of Frederick Bailey Deeming. His connections to the “Jack the Ripper” case are explored, and using a wide range of primary sources from across the globe tackles the myths associated with him.

Jack the Ripper - Newspaper’s From Hull vol I,”

This book looks at the Hull press and how they covered the Whitechapel Murders in 1888. It features articles from the available Hull newspapers, primary sources, plus a look at earlier scares, the Hull press and how they communicated with London, and the Hull police of 1888.

Jack the Ripper - Newspaper’s From Hull vol 2,”

This book looks at the Hull press and how they covered the Whitechapel Murders from 1889 - 1988. Featuring hundreds of reports, primary sources, and local and national scares.

Jack the Ripper Victim or Not - Martha Tabram,

This book explores Martha Tabram, and features newspaper reports, official files, and other material on her life and death.

now to edit

Jack the Ripper and the Maybrick Family,”

This book looks at James, Florence, and Michael Maybrick and their connection to the “Jack the Ripper” case using locally published sources. It also uncovers a tangible link between Whitechapel, the Maybrick family, and Hull! Just a couple of newspaper articles to transcribe and it is completed.

Jack the Ripper - The Hull Connection,”

This book looks at 12 suspects with links to Hull, their connection to the “Jack the Ripper” case and a wide range of historical primary sources published locally.

Jack the Ripper Victim or Not - Emma Smith,”

This book explores Emma Smith, and features newspaper reports, official files, and other material on her life and death.

When completed they will be submitted.

Also completed
The Caughey Street Murder,”

Looks at an unsolved local murder mystery from 1871 that involved the brother of a “Jack the Ripper” suspect. Features newspaper reports from around the world, primary sources, and a full reprint of a very rare 1871 booklet produced on the murder that was thought lost.
The book also includes an A-Z of the people and places in the case.

The Marfleet Murder,”

Looks at an unsolved local murder mystery from 1891 that involved the a “Jack the Ripper” suspect. Features newspaper reports from around the world, primary sources, and contemporary sketches of the case.
The book also includes an A-Z of the people and places in the case.

John Ellerthorpe - The Hero of the Humber.”

A book on the man that was John Ellerthorpe, also known as The Hero of the Humber. The book features newspaper reports from around the world, primary sources, and a re-print of a contemporary booklet produced on the man.

All books are fully referenced, with extensive references and bibliography’s throughout. They are also packed with photos, sketches, maps and primary sources.

I also recently completed
Paranormal Hull - The Haunted Inns and Hostelries,”

This book looks at the allegedly haunted public houses in Hull, their histories, stories attached to them, myths and legends. Packed with historical primary sources, maps, photos, and much much more.

Paranormal Hull - The Press Perspective,”

A collection of hundreds of newspaper reports and primary sources regarding local ghosts and hauntings from 1800 - 1012.

Paranormal Hull - The Paranormal Files,”

A number of topics are covered that have some link to the paranormal or another. All of them occurred locally and their origins and subsequent stories about them are covered, investigated, and explored using primary historical sources.

Paranormal Hull - The UFO Files,”

A book of local UFO sightings from 1800 - 2012. Featuring eye witness accounts, photos, maps, newspaper reports and official files gleaned from local and national archival sources.

Paranormal Hull - The Cryptozoology Files,”

A collection of stories from 1800 -2012 on strange animals seen and reported in Hull and surrounding environs. From sea monsters to big cats, giant squid, crazy monkeys, and devil dogs! Packed with contemporary newspaper reports, primary sources, eyewitness accounts, maps and photos.

Still working on “Paranormal Hull - The Ghost Files,” which has grown so much I might have to split it again. The book covers 180+ stories of ghosts and hauntings across Hull, each one presented with an historical/paranormal analysis.

Jack the Ripper - Year in Review 2013

Books, E-Books, Events, Opinion, Ripper Fiction, Ripper Non-Fiction, TV/Documentaries 5 Comments »

Jack the Ripper: Year in Review 2013

Another year has passed, and one that has seen the 125th anniversary of the Jack the Ripper canonical five victims.  We have been hit with a bombardment of books; kindle titles, documentaries, audio books, television shows, and much more, so here is a rundown of what I saw in 2013:

Jack the Kindle reader:

The Kindle has gone from strength to strength and it is not surprising considering the cost of books, ease of downloading, and instant availability.  2013 proved to be a massive year for Jack the Ripper titles on the Kindle, both fact and fiction, and here are just a few of the releases that came out during the year: 

A Tale from Ripper Street: Inspector Edmund Reid’s Hunt for Jack the Ripper, Joseph Busa,

Whitechapel: The Final Stand of Sherlock Holmes (Jack the Ripper), Bernard Schaffer,

Severin: A tale of Jack the Ripper, Simon Webb

Jack the Ripper: The Definitive Casebook, Richard Whittington-Egan

In Search of Jack the Ripper, David Pietras,

The Whitechapel Secret: Who was Jack the Ripper? Martin Loughlin,

The Complete and Essential Jack the Ripper, Paul Begg and John Bennett,

The Crimson Fog, Paul Halter and John Pugmire,

Whitechapel, Ian Porter,

Jack, Jason Williams,

Wellcome to Hell: Was Sir Henry Wellcome Jack the Ripper? Joseph Busa,

The Whitechapel Murders and Mary Jane Kelly, Peter Caldwell,

Scarlet Autumn: Jack the Ripper, Gian J. Quaser

Jack the Ripper: The Becoming, C. R. M. Gwynn,

The Hunt of a pipsqueak Jack the Ripper, C. Neil,

Jack the Ripper’s Many Faces, Amanda Harvey Purse,

Jack the Ripper’s Streets of Terror, John Stewart,

Jack the Ripper Komplett, S. Leib,

Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History, Paul Begg,

The Curse of Mitre Square and The Lodger: Two Jack the Ripper Classics, John Francis Brewer and Marie Belloc Lowndes,

Jack the Ripper- The Secret Police Files, Trevor Marriott,

Prey Time, Trevor Marriott,

Miller’s Court: The Story of Jack the Ripper and his last victim, James Paul,

Bred in Whitechapel: A novel based on Jack the Ripper, Tom Coleman and Robin Prior,

The Fifth Victim, Antonio Alexander,

Annie and the Ripper, Tim Champlin and Greg Smallwood,

Jack the Ripper Unmasked, Neil Ashford,

Jack the Ripper: First American Serial Killer, Stewart Evans and Paul Gainey,

Prince Eddy and the Homosexual Underworld, Theo Aronson,

Tales of Jack the Ripper, Laird Barron, and others,

Mary Jane Kelly and the Victims of Jack the Ripper: The 125th Anniversary, Neal Sheldon,

It wasn’t Jack the Ripper? Patricia Pickett,

Jack the Ripper: From the Cradle to the Grave, Peter Rutt,

Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell, Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner,

Jack the Ripper: The Celebrity Suspects, Mike Holgate,

Jack the Ripper: The Suspects, The Whitechapel Society,

Ripper Hunter, M. J. Trow,

The East End Murders: From Jack the Ripper to Ronnie Kray, Neil R. Storey,

Jack the Ripper Papers: Part 1, Michael Bowman,

Cold Case Mysteries – Volume 1, Sascha von Bornheim,

The Welsh Ripper Killings, Gary M. Dobbs,

Ripper, Jael Gates,

A Grim Almanac of Jack the Ripper’s London 1870-1900, Neil R. Storey,

I am Jack…A biography of one of Scotland’s most notorious serial killers: Thomas Neil Cream, Wallace Edwards

Dark Streets of Whitechapel, R. Barri Flowers,

Murder in Whitechapel: The Adventure of the Post Mortem Knife, Donald and Kyle Joy,

Inquests Jack the Ripper, C. Neil,

Inquests Jack the Ripper, C. Neil,

Jack the Ripper Doesn’t Exist, Paul Juser,

Jack the Ripper- The Facts, Paul Begg,

The Seduction of Mary Kelly – The Final Victim of Jack the Ripper, William J. Perring,

From Hell: The Final Days of Jack the Ripper, Rob Thompson,

Abberline: The man who hunted Jack the Ripper, Peter Thurgood,

Dracula meets Jack the Ripper, Michael B. Druxman,

Jack the Ripper: Scotland Yard Investigates, Stewart P. Evans,

The Death of Jack the Ripper: Whitechapel Kittehs 2, Kitty Glitter,

Jack the Ripper vs Sherlock Holmes, Philip Duke,

Ritual in the Dark, Colin Wilson,

The Ripper Trilogy, Shawn Weaver and Donnie Light,

Jack the Ripper: The Terrible Legacy, The Whitechapel Society,

Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper, Frank Morlock, and others,

The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook, Stewart Evans and Keith Skinner,

Ripper, Seamus Winchester,

Jack the Ripper: The Theories and the facts, Colin Kendell,

The Man who hunted Jack the Ripper, Stewart P. Evans,

Victorian Lives behind Victorian Crimes: The women who made Jack the Ripper famous, Amanda Harvey Purse,

Ripper’s Wrath, Donnie Light and Shawn Weaver,

Jack the Book reader:

Luckily for book lovers, hardback and soft-back books are still being released; the following is a short list of some of 2013’s releases.

Jack the Ripper at Last? The Mysterious Murders of George Chapman, Henela Wojtczak,

Jack the Ripper: The Definitive Casebook, Richard Whittington Egan,

Jack the Ripper’s Streets of Terror: Life During the Reign of Victorian London’s Most Brutal Killer, Rupert Matthews,

Jack the Ripper: In My Blood: Normal Kirtlan, Dianne Bainbridge

The True History of Jack the Ripper: The Forgotten 1905 Ripper Novel, Guy Logan,  

Jack the Ripper: From the Cradle to the Grave, Peter Rutt,

The Complete and Essential Jack the Ripper, Paul Begg and John Bennett,

Abberline: The Man who hunted Jack the Ripper, Peter Thurgood,

Fifth Victim, Antonia Alexander,

The Autobiography of Jack the Ripper: As revealed to Clanash Farjeon, Alan Scarfe,

Jack the Audio Book:

Audio books make an entry in this year’s review for the first time.  Kindle’s and tablets all have audio options, and many downloadable Kindle titles have text to audio, however, audio books are becoming very popular again.  Here is a short list of some of 2013’s releases,

Ripper Hunter, M. J. Trow and Terry Wale,

Dracula Meets Jack the Ripper, Michael B. Druxman, and Fred Frees,

Jack the Ripperologist:

Ripperologist Magazine is still going strong, and what follows is a rundown, compiled by Howard Brown of Jtrforums.com of what each volume contained,

Issue 134 October
Editorial-For Better Or Worse—-Adam Wood
Guy Logan Vs. Jack The Ripper—-Jan Bondeson
The Fifth Victim; Hand Of A Woman?- Jennifer Shelden
Her Final Days (Catherine Eddowes)–Lynn Cates
A German Policewoman In London–Michaela Koristova
Henri D.T. Lautrec– Greg Alexander
Hunt The Ripper— Colin Saysell
The Men Who Would Be Jack ( The Provincials)–Nina & Howard Brown
Chris Scott’s Press Trawl
Spitalfields Life– The Gentle Author
Victorian Fiction : An Alpine Divorce–Robert Barr

Issue 133 August
Editorial- The Art Of Staying Lucky- Gareth Williams
The Last Breath Of Mary Kelly :The Life Of Sarah
Lewis ( 1865-1941)——-Chris Scott
In The Ripper’s Shadow : The Whitehall Mystery-
-Rob Clack
One Lone Maniac Too Many ( Part Two)–Simon Wood
Francis Tumblety & Yellow Journalism–Mike Hawley
Murder At The Cafe Royal– Jan Bondeson
The Men Who Would Be Jack ( Another Whitechapel
Murderer )–Nina & Howard Brown
Chris Scott’s Press Trawl
Spitalfield’s Life- The Gentle Author
Victorian Fiction– The Sea Raiders- H. G. Wells

Issue 132 June
Editorial : The Daughters Of Shiloh–Eduardo Zinna
Charles Albert Cadosch And His Family- Colin Macdonald
One Lone Maniac Too Many( Part One )- Simon Wood
Mystery At Mr. Cooke’s School of Anatomy - Jan Bondeson
The Men Who Would Be Jack (The Seamen )- Nina & Howard
Trevor Marriott’s The Evil Within- Mark Ripper
Chris Scott’s Press Trawl
Spitalfields Life- The Gentle Author
Obituary- Jess Franco
The Conclusion of Glen Bledsoe’s The Truth
Victorian Fiction : Glamr- Sabine Baring Gould

Issue 131 April
Editorial : If You Have No Daughters, Give Them To Your Sons– Adam Wood
Nature’s Warning Signals- J. Hunt Schooling
Leather Apron : A Persistent Rumour- Lynn Cates
The Mountie And The Cabman’s Shelter– Paul Williams
Evaluating The Suspects– Jennifer Shelden
Chopper Gamble And The Islington Child Outrages–Jan
The Men Who Would Be Jack ( An American Suspect )–
Nina And Howard Brown
Chris Scott’s Press Trawl
Spitalfields Life- The Gentle Author
Obituary- Elsbeth Bothe
Glen Bledsoe’s the Truth
Victorian Fiction- Cheating The Gallows-Israel Zangwill

Issue 130 February
Editorial : Quarter, Half, And Whole– Adam Wood
David Cohen : Talking Points of A Storyline–Scott Nelson
Whitechapel’s Wax Chamber of Horrors, 1888– Mike Hawley
The Village Bobby- Pauline Morgan
The Men Who Would Be Ripper ( Hall Of Shame : the Frank Hall Story)– Nina And Howard Brown
Ripper Fiction–Jack The Ripper Through The Mists Of Time–
Peter Hodgson
Chris Scott’s Press Trawl
Amazing Dogs- Jan Bondeson
Spitalfields Life- The Gentle Author
Glen Bledsoe’s The Truth
Victorian Fiction : Man Overboard !- Winston Spencer Churchill

In my opinion, the two finest articles of the year where:

The Fifth Victim; Hand Of A Woman?- Jennifer Shelden
Trevor Marriott’s The Evil Within- Mark Ripper

Jack the Blogger:

This year also saw one of Ripperology’s hardest workers, and excellent hoax-buster, Jenni Sheldon launch her Jack the Ripper blog Jack the Ripper Investigations, the blog can be viewed here: http://jacktheripperinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/

Jack the Television Viewer:

The following is a rundown of fictional television shows regarding Jack the Ripper that were aired in 2013,

Ripper Street:

BBC’s Victorian crime drama came back with a second series, new characters, more intense storylines, and “The Elephant Man” but the elation was short lived as the BBC have announced that the show will not get a third series.  Watch this space, however, as a number of online polls and petitions hint that the viewers want more of this unique drama.  


ITV’s modern crime drama took a weird and wonderful turn through the darker side of Whitechapel and treated us to curses, ghosts, zombies, cannibalism, books made of human skin, and all other manner of macabre storylines, sadly, the plot was more messed up than Mary Kelly’s room on Miller’s-court, and ended on a convoluted cliff hanger that will never be answered as ITV announced that no more series will be made.


Sky Living’s American/British Horror television show featuring Jonathan Rhys Meyers began on October 13th 2013, and whilst it wasn’t directly related to the Jack the Ripper murders, good old Saucy Jack did get a mention.

Jack the Documentary viewer:

This year has seen its fair share of Jack the Ripper documentaries, here are just a few:

Murder Casebook:

Fred Dinenage returned with another series of crimes and misdemeanours and looked at Jack the Ripper in this 45 minute show.  The crime scene recreations were very bloody, and the show was all round quiet interesting.

Inside Broadmoor:

This documentary covered the history of Broadmoor and was very interesting.  It featured some fascinating contemporary sources, stories, and photographs, and featured a small segment on Jack the Ripper with Thomas Cutbush being proposed as a suspect. 

Four Rooms:

The popular auction show returned and with it the alleged watch owned by James Maybrick.  Sadly the experts did not want to buy it and the watch vanished again.

Jack the Ripper: Revealed:

The Mei Trow/Robert Mann documentary got another run this year, it was a fascinating documentary but for anyone wanting to know more I would suggest tracking down a copy of Trow’s book on the suspect.

Jack the Ripper: The German Suspect:

Trevor Marriott’s Karl/Carl Feigenbaum show got another showing this year, with Trevor travelling the globe trying to link Feigenbaum to the crimes in Whitechapel.

Jack the Ripper: Prime Suspect:

The Prospero Productions documentary on Frederick Bailey Deeming got another airing this year.  I missed it, but was made aware by numerous posts on Twitter and Facebook.  Thanks guys!!


My Year with Jack the Ripper:

My year got off to a bang with a photo shoot and interview with the Hull Daily Mail for an article on Jack the Ripper on January 8th.  By January 9th the article appeared in the Hull Daily Mail, and later that night the Yesterday Channel also showed the documentary I featured in, Prime Suspect: Jack the Ripper.  More interviews followed, and more stories both in the newspaper and online and a number of photo shoots followed.  

January 22nd saw me lecture at Hull Central Library and on February 5th I appeared at the Ings Library talking about Jack the Ripper – The Hull Connection. 

February 7th saw me appear on the Hull Community Radio Station with John Hutchinson talking about my research and work in Hull.  Jack the Ripper filled a huge segment of the two hour show.

I was back at Ings Library on April 2nd for another lecture and back again on May 7th for another! 

On May 6th I met with David Reeves on BBC Radio Humberside to discuss Jack the Ripper the Hull Connection, and on May 20th another lecture followed at Bilton.

May 23rd saw me lecture on Jack the Ripper at Hull University, a first for me, and a great honour to be asked.

June 10th saw another meeting with David Reeves at the BBC Buildings to discuss Jack the Ripper, and on July 12th I was back on Radio Humberside discussing the case, with a follow up slot on July 19th.  On September 4th I was back, this time on the David Burns show discussing Jack the Ripper – The Beverley Connection, and on September 5th I was at the East Riding Archives lecturing on the same topic.  It was a first for me, and another great honour to be invited.

On September 11th I was at the Hull History Centre giving a speech on the importance of volunteering when the centre won an award for the WWII and other volunteering projects.  It was a lovely day, and I had my photos taken with the Lord Mayor of Hull.  That night I was at the George Hotel lecturing on the history of the public house.  

October 12th saw another Jack the Ripper lecture at the central library in Hull, it also allowed me to meet with Ricky Cobb and show him around Hull. 

The year also saw the production of BBC Radio Humberside’s From Whitechapel to Whitefriargate, a one hour special on Jack the Ripper’s connections to Hull.  The show, created by David Reeves, saw us recording a lecture at the Hull Heritage Centre, recording on location at the Hull History Centre, Hull Prison, and at my house, as well as on location around Hull at night with the wind in our faces and the screams of hovering menacing seagulls!  The show will air on Radio Humberside on December 27th between 1 and 2pm, and again on January 1st between 6 and 7pm. 

In terms of research I have uncovered new material on Frederick Bailey Deeming, Frederick Richard Chapman, Robert D’Onston Stephenson, and James, Florence, and Michael Maybrick.  I also came across a gentleman, who had worked in the medical profession in 1888, who was based in Whitechapel that year, who had links to the Maybrick family.

There have also been business meetings with some of Hull’s most notable business folk, lectures for some of Hull’s most distinguished private groups, and lots planned to ensure that 2014 will be an even bigger and better year.

All that is left for me to do is to wish my readers a very happy Christmas, and a prosperous 2014.

Special thanks to Howard and Nina Brown at JTRForums.com, Stephen P. Ryder at Casebook.org, David Reeves of BBC Radio Humberside, as well as all the other presenters that have had me on their shows this year, to the team at the Hull History Centre, Hull Central Library, and Hull Reference Library, Hull University, Carnegie Heritage Centre, Ings Libraries, Ricky Cobb, and Mr. Palin for all their help this year.

Jack the Ripper At Last? - Review

Books 3 Comments »

At Last….

George Chapman, the notorious “Southwark Poisoner” has deserved a decent book about his life and crimes for years, if not for him, but for the victims he killed and the trail of destruction he left behind. There are other Chapman books on the market, but what sets this one apart is the attention to detail and dissection of every aspect of Chapman’s life, crimes, and representation in the media. It doesn’t regurgitate the old myths surrounding him either, it takes these and demolishes them.

The book is split into six sections, covering topics such as his life, crimes, investigation and execution, motive, myths, and whether or not he was, or even deserved to be called “Jack the Ripper.” Furthermore, each part is split even further into decent bite size chunks for the reader to dip into and devour.

What I found most interesting about the book is the way Chapman is presented. He is not given to us as a continent hopping multiple murderer, but instead as a man who worked his way through life, encountering women, poison, and the ultimately the noose.
The chapter regarding the stories and myths surrounding his life was fascinating, and I was amazed at the number of stories and myths surrounding him, stories that seem to be commonly accepted facts. Helena takes these stories and shows them to be falsehoods by placing them alongside contemporary historical sources.

The chapter regarding his candidacy as “Jack the Ripper” appealed to me most, being a Ripperologist, and I was fascinated by the 15 points set out against Chapman as Ripper. Helena takes these points and discusses them against contemporary historical sources, presenting a fair and balanced argument for her theories.

The overall presentation of the book is outstanding,(hardback edition) from its sleek design, photographic glossy paper, and lavish silk page mark. It is also well researched, well presented, and thoroughly referenced throughout.

The book will appeal to those with an interest in true crime, criminal history, and anyone, like me, with an interest in “Jack the Ripper.”

Jack the Ripper At Last is available from  Hastings Press at the following website: http://www.hastingspress.co.uk/

Full details on the price, postage etc, can be found on the dedicated page to the book:  http://www.hastingspress.co.uk/chapman.html

From Whitechapel to Whitefriargate

Events 2 Comments »
Great News everyone: The BBC Radio Humberside “Jack the Ripper” show, “From Whitechapel to Whitefriargate” will air on Radio Humberside on December 27th 2013 1-2pm (56 min edit) and on January 1st 2014 6 -7pm (60 min) (Features an extra four minutes of me saying “erm”)
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