Bad Women: The Blackout Ripper

Bad Women: The Blackout Ripper

The streets of wartime London are pitch black and the darkness offers cover to a murderer every bit as terrible as Jack the Ripper. During one awful week in February 1942 he viciously attacks women night after night. But the victims of the so-called Blackout Ripper are now all but forgotten. In this season of Bad Women, historian Hallie Rubenhold and criminologist Alice Fiennes share new details from the archives to tell the extraordinary and moving stories of the women who died and why their deaths were swept from view. And don't miss season one of Bad Women about a cold case like no other. In the fall of 1888, five women were brutally murdered in the slums of London. But everything you think you know about Jack the Ripper and those murdered women is wrong. Hallie reconstructs the lives of the five victims - revealing the appalling treatment they faced as women in the 1880s, and completely overturning the accepted Ripper story.

Episodes

September 21, 2021 4 mins

In late 1888, five women were brutally murdered in a slum neighbourhood of London. The violent killer earned himself a nickname - Jack the Ripper. But everything you think you know about the murders and those murdered women is wrong.

In a new 15-part series, historian Hallie Rubenhold tells you the real story of those victims and how they came to be in the path of a serial killer - completely overturning the Ripper story we've been ...

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Jack the Ripper's victims were prostitutes murdered while selling sex on the streets of Whitechapel - that's what historian Hallie Rubenhold thought when she started researching the crimes. She was wrong.  

As she looked into the case, she discovered much of the familiar Ripper story is totally false. But by challenging that myth and trying to tell the true stories of the murdered women, Hallie attracted a storm of criticism. 

Lear...
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October 5, 2021 32 mins

London on August 6th, 1888 is one of the greatest cities on Earth, but the Whitechapel neighborhood is a byword for poverty, violence, and vice. Jack the Ripper will slaughter his victims here.

Join Hallie Rubenhold on a tour of this slum - with its busy markets, rowdy pubs, filthy lodging houses, and crowded police cells - and meet the real women who will soon cross paths with the Ripper.

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October 8, 2021 35 mins

Polly Nichols had a husband, a young family and lived in a brand new home built by a philanthropic millionaire. Then she walked out on it all. Why?

Surviving without a husband was almost impossible for a lone women, so Polly began a slow spiral into desperate poverty that would eventually put her in the path of her killer, Jack the Ripper.

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October 12, 2021 37 mins

Standing over the corpse of Polly Nichols, police officers decided that in life she had been a prostitute. There's no evidence Polly ever sold sex, so why did the authorities reach this conclusion? And do the prejudices that warped the police hunt for the Ripper survive to this day?

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October 19, 2021 37 mins

Annie Chapman and her husband were making good on their ambitions to live a comfortable, respectable life. Only... Annie drank. Under pressure from her husband’s employer, Annie was sent away - and she fell deeper and deeper into the bottle. This addiction - and society's disgust with women who drank - also pushed Annie closer and closer to her killer.  

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October 26, 2021 31 mins

Annie Chapman’s murder sparked fears that a crazed killer was on the loose in London, prompting the burgeoning newspaper industry to flood Whitechapel with reporters. Those journalists wrote the first draft of Jack the Ripper’s history, and much of it survives in the story we tell today. But can we really believe those newspaper reports?

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November 2, 2021 38 mins

Swedish farmer’s daughter Elizabeth fell pregnant out of wedlock. The authorities considered her no better than a prostitute and subjected her to myriad physical and emotional humiliations. After she lost the baby, Elizabeth fled Sweden - embarking on a life of deceit that would end in her vicious murder on the streets of Whitechapel.  

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November 9, 2021 29 mins

Elizabeth Stride was supposedly seen by several eyewitnesses in her final hours. They also saw a man with her. At last, Jack the Ripper had a face. These descriptions are the bedrock of many well known theories about the killer’s true identity. But can they be believed? And was the Ripper even responsible for Elizabeth’s murder?

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November 16, 2021 42 mins

Kate Eddowes rejected the drudgery of conventional working class life and left the factory and hearth to roam the open road. She travelled the country, performing and selling songs she had written with her partner. But her existence was far from carefree and her lover turned violent. Eventually, Kate ended up penniless in Whitechapel - and an easy target for the Ripper.

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November 23, 2021 32 mins

Kate Eddowes was murdered in a dark London square in the dead of the night. What had she been doing there? It seems improbable that she was selling sex... and the more likely explanation totally upends the idea that Jack the Ripper posed as a "John" to launch his brutal attacks.

 

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November 30, 2021 35 mins

In October 1888, Jack the Ripper went to ground. Although the murders seemed to ceased, public interest in the killings remained intense. Entrepreneurs exploited this prurience for profit - even opening blood-drenched waxworks exhibits in Whitechapel. This melding of fact and fiction, murder and mammon persists to this day.

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December 7, 2021 35 mins

Mary Jane Kelly's life ended brutally in a small room in Whitechapel - but what journey brought her to East London? She sold sex in her final years - but was she born to a rich family or was she the teenage bride of a coal miner? Had she been tricked into sex slavery abroad, escaped and gone on the run from her criminal traffickers? Was Mary Jane Kelly even her real name?

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December 14, 2021 34 mins

Mary Jane Kelly was the final victim of Jack the Ripper. And the mutilation of her body was more horrendous than in any previous murder. But something also sets her apart from the other victims. Her youth, her reputed beauty and the nature of her death have resulted in a strange cult growing up around her. Even her corpse cannot rest in peace... with some demanding that her bones been exhumed for examination.

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December 21, 2021 32 mins

Children around the world are taught about Jack the Ripper and shown graphic images of his victims. Is that wise? Are we in danger of normalising his crimes and encouraging those who seek to venerate and even emulate him?

Hallie Rubenhold talks to students and teachers, and hears from crime novelist and Ripper investigator Patricia Cornwell about finding a way to discuss the Whitechapel murders without glamorizing the killer.

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December 28, 2021 38 mins

Families of Ripper victims often suppressed the memories of their murdered loved ones - fearing the stigma of being related to supposed "prostitutes". And descendants of men accused of being the infamous killer have also had to endure seeing their ancestors' reputations sullied.

We hear from a living relatives of Annie Chapman... and of Jacob Levy, a Whitechapel butcher whose appalling struggle with mental illness has caused unsympa...

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September 20, 2022 20 mins

We’ll be back on October 11th with a brand new season of Bad Women, but in the meantime, we wanted to give you a taste of another history podcast we think you'll like.  From History Daily, host Lindsay Graham takes listeners back in time to a certain day in history to explore a momentous event. On this episode, we'll go back to August 10, 1993 when Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sworn in as the U.S. Supreme Court’s 107th justice, becoming...

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We'll be dropping a trailer for the new brand new season of Bad Women next week. But in the meantime, here’s a preview from Death of an Artist, a new podcast from Pushkin Industries.

For more than 35 years, accusations of murder shrouded one of the art world’s most storied couples: Was the famous sculptor Carl Andre involved in the death of his up-and-coming artist wife Ana Mendieta? Host Helen Molesworth revisits Mendieta’s death,...

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London is pitch black. It's wartime and the lights are out to confuse Nazi bombers. But in this darkness a killer as warped and as violent as Jack the Ripper is hunting for women night after night in the bomb-damaged streets. 

The women murdered by the so-called Blackout Ripper received little sympathy at the time and have been largely forgotten since. So historian Hallie Rubenhold and criminologist Alice Fiennes have gathered fres...

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October 11, 2022 40 mins

Evelyn Hamilton has annoyed her bosses in the male-dominated world of pharmacy - they find her quiet and independent nature mystifying and odd. After an unhappy stint at a druggist shop outside London, she's landed a new job and a fresh start in a faraway town. 

In February 1942, Evelyn sets out on her long journey – just as the Blackout Ripper is hunting for his first victim… 

Join hosts Hallie Rubenhold and Alice Fiennes as they ...

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