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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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Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:15):
Pushkin at the Lyceum Theater in London's fashionable West End.
The lamp's dim and a hush falls over the audience.
These spectators have come to see Richard Mansfield's celebrated performance
in the strange case of Doctor Jekyll and mister Hyde.

I have destroyed the balance of my soul. The evil
power within me has masterly. Mansfield stars as Henry Jekyll,
a respectable doctor who has secretly developed a potion that
allows him to transform into the malevolent and murderous Edward Hyde.
It is Hide now that controls Jekyl, not Jekyl. Hide.

His metamorphosis from the upright doctor Jack into the stooped
mister Hyde is astonishing. He contorts his body and facial expressions.
He changes his voice and his gait too. Mister Mansfield
contrives the marvelous transformation with wonderful adrogness. The change is

amazing in its completeness and rapidity. This is a masterful
piece of deception. Men are said to shudder at the
fearsome spectacle, women to faint and be carried from the theater.
But as the play continues its run into Autumn eighteen
eighty eight, dark clouds gather over the production. Women are

being murdered on the streets of Whitechapel, and to some
Mansfield's genius for disguising himself arouses suspicion. After Kate Edos
and Elizabeth Stride are killed, a troubled citizen addresses his
concerns directly to the police. Dear sir, when I went

to see mister Mansfield take the part of doctor Jekyl
and mister Hyde, I felt at once that he was
the man wanted, and I've not been able to get
this feeling out of my head destroyed. I do not
think there is a man living so well able to
disguise himself in a moment. It appears that the police
didn't take this writer seriously, but his fears underline something

that's come to define the Ripper story and seen it
become ever more grotesque, a tangling of fact with fiction
and confusion about where reality ends and artifice begins. I'm

Hallie rubbin Holt. You're listening to Bad Women. The Ripper Retold,
a series about the real lives of the women killed
by Jack the Ripper and how we got their stories
so wrong. One side, money Plenty and friends too by

the score. Then fortune smile upon me. Now one pass
my dome Alney, I'm not with her. Fla seems to lonely.

One come free for Rokcome to watch up murders latest details.
In October eighteen eighty eight, the rippers murderous activities seemed

to cease, but White Chapel did not go quiet. Interest
in the killings thrived, and the atmosphere in the East
End seems to have been almost carnivalesque. Rubber Necking Londoners
filled the streets, speculating on the whereabouts of the murderer

and hoping to glimpse his crime scenes. On the outskirts
of this vast chattering excited assemblage of humanity. Cost among us,
who sold everything in the way of edibles, from fish
and bread to fruits and sweets, and newspaper vendors whose
hoarse cries only added to the confusion of sounds heard
on every hand, were doing exceedingly large trades. People from

far beyond Whitechapel were also mobilizing to satisfy their appetites
for the macabre. Apparently, the denizens of West London have
begun to take a lively interest in the doings of
the Whitechapel murderer. A very large number of cabs and
private carriages containing sightseers have visited the scenes of the tragedies.
Cottage industries sprang up to accommodate these strangers, as locals

transformed their homes into miniature theaters, where for a fee
one might watch the hustle and bustle of Whitechapel unfold
and potentially its more sinister goings on too. Every window
of every inhabited room in the vicinity was thrown open,
and seats at these windows were being openly sold and

eagerly bought. In the eighteen eighties, the practice of slumming
had grown in popularity. Members of the wealthier, middle and
upper classes would visit impoverished neighborhoods in order to learn
how their social inferiors lived. In some cases, these visits
were motivated by altruism, but others simply sought a cheap thrill.

The horrors they brushed by threw into more brilliant relief
the dane tenus of their own fair surroundings. Because a
morbid curiosity craved the stronger sensations of real abominations, the
Ripper murders, it seems, did nothing to deter the popularity
of London's East End as a destination for slumming. From

organized tours to rented rooms transformed ad hoc into viewing platforms,
Ripper commerce was energetically underway. Victorian culture was very vigorous,
and it could take any event, any sensational event, and
transform it into a kind of cultural experience. That's writer

and historian Matthew Sweet. Murderers always end up the subject
of songs or little melodramas or plays. In the case
of the Jack the Ripper murders, these were pretty soon
processed into well a waxwork entertainment. Sculpting famous faces in
wax was a popular way to part Victorians with their money,

and notorious villain housed in chambers of horror or particular
crowd pleasers, all kinds of monstrosities inside, only a penny
for admission. This was not lost on the Whitechapel entrepreneur
and showman Thomas Berry. Just a couple of years previously,
a man named Joseph Merrick, who suffered extensive tissue over growth,

had been exhibited in a shop on the Whitechapel Road,
under his theatrical superque The Elephant Man. So the neighborhood
was no stranger to trading on the monstrous, and Barry
seems to have recognized its business potential. Can I see
the amazing bearded lady? At his show? The curious could

reportedly meet a champion female boxer, marvel at a woman
who ate nearly six hundred pounds, and gape at a
bearded lady said to be half gorilla, or for just
a penny. But these weren't the only women on display.
Berry added wax simulations of the Whitechapel murder victims to

his Learned Museum, Apparently murder by murder. Polly Nichol's inclusion
in the gruesome display was followed by a mannequin of
Annie Chapman less than five days after she was killed.
Long rows of vilely executed waxen figures and plaster busts
propped up, some upright summer skew against either wall of

the showroom, rigged out in the refuse of a petticoat
Lane old clothes shop. Apparently Barry's macabre effigies weren't very lifelike.
One newspaper suggested that Some of the sadly mutilated figures
had been recycled from previous exhibits. These horrible objects are
like nothing that ever lived or died, said a journalist

who paid the show a visit. They can only be
compared to the visionary offspring of an uncommonly severe nightmare,
unearthly combinations of hideous waxen masks and shapeless bundles of rags.
One of them is blotched with dabs of red ochre,
indicative of the unknown assassin's butcherly handiwork. Barry's gruesome showmanship

extended out into the street, too. Gaudy Placart's tempted passers
by with the promise of further horrors inside his establishment.
The prominent feature was that they were plentifully besmeared with
red paint, this, of course, representing wounds and blood. Barry's
neighbors weren't all in support of his business venture. Some

reports suggest that a large and outraged crowd assembled to
tear his posters down. Suppose you are all englishmen and
women here, then do you think it right that that
picture should be exhibited in the public streets? Before The
woman's body is hardly cold, shame. Others claim that they
were removed by the police. Barry himself went on trial

for filling the White Chapel Road with visitors and thereby
causing a public nuisance. Still the waxworks remained on display
for months. Morbid fascination underpinned Barry's business, which was nothing
new for the Victorians. In fact, certain murderers achieved a
kind of sinister celebrity. Broadside ballads of the kind sung

by Kate Edos had long recounted the diabolical deeds of
criminals or repeated the remorseful confessions they made In the
shadows of the gallows I murdered I once did love
Harriet Seager. Some Victorian true crime enthusiasts even collected novelty

porcelain figures of well known murderers, displaying them on the mantelpieces.
But the Rippercase was of course different because it has
no personality like that to organize itself around, so it's
robbed of something. There's no star as it were in
this show. There's no murderer for people to feel sentimental about,

or to letters of proposition to while they're awaiting execution.
As October eighteen eighty eight ruled on. Frenzied journalists and
anxious readers continued to propose theories about the killer's identity.
The Daily News says that some time ago, Texas was
horrified by a similar series of murders. They have ceased.

Perhaps the murderer has crossed the Atlantic and renewed his
experiments in Whitechapel. A surgical theory comes from Paris that
the murderer is a fanatical vivisectionist and disciple of Perkle,
the German naturalist. The Burke and Hair theory that the
murderer is employed to get anatomical specimens for some experimentalist,

the Jekyll and Hide theory that the murderer lives two
lives and inhabits two houses or two sets of rooms.
The killer was a cipher avoid into which fears and
fantasies might be projected, some of which have exerted an
enduring influence over the story. Take the idea that Richard Mansfield,

the star of Jaqueline Hyde, was the killer. Polite society
was not entirely at ease with the notion of slumming,
and there was a powerful fear that seemingly respectable gentlemen
might surrender to their basest urges. In the debauched surroundings
of Whitechapel, a west End doctor Jekyll might so easily

become an East End mister Hyde, and doctors in particular
were viewed with suspicion. Far from being beneficent healers. In
the popular imagination, medics were often seen as scalpel happy,
sadists or obsessives, driven to ghastly extremes to further the
medical knowledge. When it was suggested to the police that

the killer of Polly Nichols required some anatomical knowledge to
inflict the wounds as he did, it reinforced the widespread
sentiment that an educated medical man could easily be the murderer.
That way of seeing the ripper as a respectable person
who transforms into a monster to commit these crimes is

something that the case has never really shaken off. So
I think in a way, the ripper has never escaped
doctor Jekyll, and in a way, doctor Jekl has always
been sort of one of the suspects. The ripper retold,
we'll be back in just a moment. The days of

October eighteen eighty eight ticked by with no further murders,
but interest in the case reached fever pitch. It was
during these weeks that the infamous from Hell letter was received,
along with the human kidney that had supposedly been removed
from kate Edos. This mailing was most likely a sick

hoax that had added yet more fueled the raging fire
of public interest. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on
how to end the killings. It is suggested that the
whitechapple prostitutes should walk in couples and that every street
walker should carry a pistol. Journalists and newspaper readers seemed

united in the view that the police needed to raise
their game and shared suggestions on how h division could
remedy its lack of success. In certain parts of London.
Every policeman ought to have the right of stopping and
searching anyone to see if he carries a knife. Another
idea is to draw a line round the area of
the murders, constitute a number of temporary police stations, and

make every man living in the area report himself before
going to bed. These suggestions varied in their seriousness. Policemen
have mostly big feet, where thick boots and have a
heavy tread. If they wore rubber shoes, they might come
on the murderer unawares. Policemen should disguise themselves as women

and act as decoys, though the policemen say they have
beards and bass voices fatuous or not. What all these
critiques pointed to was growing unease. No culprit had been apprehended,
and few trusted that the lull and the murders would last.
Could the police actually be relied upon to make the

streets safe again? Sir? It was estimated in New York
that every electric street lamp saved one policeman and was
less expensive to maintain. The East End's inhabitants were in
no mood to await improved street lighting. They were taking
matters into their own hands. There was a move to

bring vulnerable women indoors during the hours of darkness, and
a number of charitable groups opened temporary refugees throughout White Chapel.
Female residents avoided, if possible, venturing out at night and
took in friends who didn't have lodgings. One woman, a
sex worker called Mary jen Kelly, began offering sanctuary to
acquaintances in the trade She invited them to stay with

her in her tiny room at thirteen Miller's Court, right
in the heart of the rippers killing ground. The Whitechapel
Vigilance Committee, a recently founded neighborhood watch group, continued its activities.
The Daily Telegraph reported that this band of tradesmen, which
held meetings by night in a room above a pub,

had two key objectives. First, they wished to publish far
and wide their disagreement with the authorities handling of the investigation.
With pen and ink, they drafted a flurry of angry
letters and petitions. Second, with cudgels and whistles, they patrolled
the district in the dead of night, hoping to catch
the criminal of themselves. Some press reports hint that the

constables of h Division took a dim view of these vigilantes,
warning that should these zealous amateurs accost respectable citizens by mistake,
they'd be in trouble. But despite all the activity, the
killer still roamed free. Criticism of Scotland Yards inadequacies only increased.

The Palmell Gazette, a paper run by the campaigning reformer
WT Stead, led the charge, blasting the police force for
its failures. London is the greatest city in the world,
yet her detectives are at fault, utterly and apparently hopelessly,
at fault because of this, because of that, because of
the other. For there are as many explanations as there

are explainers. There were rumors that the police force was
turning on its own commissioner, Sir Charles Warren. This in
fighting was reported on as far afield as Chicago. Warrem
pays no attention to the public clamor for his resignation.
He suspects, and probably with good reason, members of his

own force with writing letters to the newspapers about him,
and he has been making a big row about it.
And then matters took a strange twist. After the murders
of Elizabeth Stride and Kate Edo's on the same night,
it was suggested that bloodhounds might help the police track
the White Chapel fiend. Dogbreeder Percy Lindley indorse the initiative

in a letter to the Times, though not without scoffing
at the police. There are doubtless owners of bloodhounds willing
to lend them if any of the police, which I
fear is improbable, know how to use them. Commissioner. Warren
saw Lindley's letter in the paper and hurriedly wrote to him, Sir,
on subject of bloodhounds, perhaps you could answer a question

I have put to many without satisfactory reply. Warren was interested,
but skeptical could bloodhounds really work on a busy London street.
Lindley was adamant that scenthounds could indeed track down the
culprit if they were able to reach the next crime scene.
Weakly enough, two dogs, Burgo and Barnaby, were obtained and

trialed in a London park. The papers, however, were derisive.
Shall jack the ripper's art surveil to battle Scotland yard forsooth?
Quick on the flying murderer's trail? Unleash the bloodhound truth?
The Palma Gazette published a ballad mocking the idea and
the hapless commissioner. Where'er he skulk in hovel pent or

through the street's red handed rome? I Charles, with sleuthhound
on the scent, will hunt the miscreant home. Within weeks,
the embattled Sir Charles Warren had tendered his resignation. Without
that atmosphere of failure that surrounds Scotland, yard in this period,

because it's perceived as politicized and incompetent. Historian Matthew Sweet Again,
then you don't get Sherlock Holmes and the detectives who
come after sort of riding to the rescue to tell us, well,
you can't rely on these people, these flat footed imbeciles.
You need to get some kind of human computer in

to solve these mysteries for you. The genius private detective
Sherlock Holmes made his literary debut the year before Polly
Nichols was murdered, but it was only after the vicious
and still unsolved Ripper killings that his popularity soared. Holmes
is a reassuring figure. Nobody has been prosecuted for these murders,

but Holmes can see everything. Holmes knows. The benighted police
were baffled by scant evidence and a cacophony of conflicting
witness statements. By contrast, the fictional Sherlock Holmes could read
the world around him with total clarity. Holmes turned each
clue and observation into a key to the mystery, a

process he referred to as deduction, the idea that you
can deduce something about a space in which a crime
has taken place, that you can look careful at the evidence.
You can take a scientific approach by forming hypotheses, testing them,
and rejecting them. This is I think a key shift
in the way that policing works. It becomes a more

intellectual occupation, the space for thinking in it, and there
is this class of detective who is supposed to be
able to engage with the world in this much more
sophisticated way. Holmes was ahead of his time. In fact,
decades later, the real life pioneer of forensic science, Edmund Lockhard,

instructed his students to read Sholock Holmes stories in order
to better understand key forensic principles. The fictional Holmes is
a first class chemist and publishes scientific papers. He gets
down on his hands and knees, measuring and collecting details
from crime scene. A fledgling forensic science existed before the

Holmes stories began appearing, but the novel's prefigure some of
its later developments, such as the revolutionary technique of fingerprinting
by a man's fingernails, by his coat sleeve, by his boots,
by his trouser and knees, by the colossities of his
forefinger and thumb. By each of these things, a man's
calling is plainly revealed. And only the second Holmes novel,

and perhaps in a swipe at Sir Charles Warren, the
master sleuth sends for a hunting dog, Toby, to help
track down a murderer. Holmes says he values the scruffyhound
more than the whole detective force in London. For Victorian readers,
then Shrlock Holmes was an antidote to the poison of
the Ripper murders, capable where the real police were bumbling,

clear eyed and logical, with the true crimes taking place
in white Shovel's stubbornly defied explanation. It's of little wonder, then,
that Shall Holmes has been called on several times to triumph.
Would the police failed and apprehend the killer? What was
the name of this unfortunate prostitute, Polly Nichols? How did
you know she was a prostitute? Take this nineteen sixty

five movie a study in terror. Holmes in his sidekick
doctor Watson are on the ripper's trail. No respectable woman
would be out alone in the streets of White Chaplets
such an hour. Therefore, she was not a respectable woman
who make it seems so simple. Holmes has indeed made
it seem simple. His famous deduction technique has fooled many

of us into believing that the case might still be
cracked if only we go over and over the remaining evidence,
looking for that one vital clue that has been overlooked
by less brilliant minds. This is nonsense. The crime won't
be solved, but that hasn't stopped generations of authors and

hobbyists concocting theories as fanciful as any novel by Sir
Arthur Conan Doyle. Consuming these stories won't get you any
closer to knowing the true identity of the killer, but
what you will glean from them is a flavor of
the sensibilities and anxieties that play in the eras when
they were written. Jack the Ripper was a Russian obstetrician

who was doing all these murders on behalf of the
Zaris Secret Police to make Scotland Yard look stupid. So
said the writer William LQ, who claimed in his nineteen
twenty three autobiography that he had gone through the effects
of the scandalous and sinister Russian holy man resputant and
found an incriminating manuscript. Now this is a landmark because

this builds the Ripper into a kind of conspiracist way
of looking at the world that I think has been
very influential and continues to be influential upon what we
are pleased to call Ripperology. By the swinging countercultural nineteen sixties,
Jack the Ripper is no longer a foreigner but member

of the stuffy and sexually repressed British establishment. Jack the
Ripper is perfect material for a kind of anti victorianism
that goes totally mainstream in the sixties, that becomes an
absolute orthodoxy in British and American culture. To the Victorians
had an underworld where all these repressed bad things were kept,

and Jack the Ripper was their bad conscience, arising from
the feculence of the sewers in some strange kind of
Freudian way. As the nineteen sixties turned into the Blika
nineteen seventies, the Feverish conspiracy that the British monarchy had
directed the murders to cover up the romantic entanglements of
a prince took hold of the public imagination. You get it.

In its most baroque and weird mutational form, where Queen
Victoria herself is responsible, and that I think shows this
at its most naked. That were blaming her really for
Jack the Ripper. The Ripper retold will return shortly. So

we've come to a barber shop. On the window it
says Jack the Clipper, but it also says London born
and bled. The spirit of Thomas Berry, the Victorian showman
waxwork impresario is alive and well in Whitechapel, the Full
Ripper for fifty two pounds and the Royal Ripper for

seventy pounds. And I have no idea what actually that is,
but obviously somebody enjoys having that done. Today. Whitechapel is
a veritable Jack the Ripper theme park. Behind a black
and red facade is the Jack the Ripper Museum. It's
gift shop sells Ripper shot glasses and Teddy Bears. Meanwhile,

the Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes, two of us
deposits excited passengers in Whitechapel before whisked them across London
to a Holmes themed pub. Now'm sure all of you
here today do you know that Jack's victims were ladies
of the night, weren't they? They were the chiefs? And
at Miter Square were Kate Eddo's perished. You might encounter

several different ripper tour groups at one time, their guides
all delighting in the salacious and gory details of the
women's death. Recording to Mautree, they realize that they left
kidney in her in higher womb. Would you think whether
the killer body ripped them from inside her and taken
the willim He'd also taken only half of a white aprone.

We went under cover on one tour. Our guide was
proudly dressed in a cap coat and neckerchief, matching an
eyewitness description of one ripper suspect. He later told us
that when the location of Kate's murder was resurfaced a
few years ago, he took one of the old cobblestones
from the corner where her body lay as a dark memento.

They're incredibly popular since they're from hell film. You saw
far more guides out there, some of whom I've never
seen before. You know, Andy Hallett takes visitors to London
on many types of walking tours, but it's Ripper walks
are something different. I mean I've arrived in Miter Square
and there's eight or nine different groups there. I'm sure
I've done walks when I've been talking to someone in

the group and then a week later see them peddling
the walk, you know, and they've just picked up, you know,
having a go. Given the stiff competition, many guides fall
back on the tried and tested methods of Thomas Berry,
bringing with them laminated images of the mutilated corpses. Well,
I don't like seeing any pictures of the women. I
don't like seeing any pictures at the murder scene, photographs

taking in the mortuary. You know, I'd never do that.
I think it's horrible, just, you know, horrible things to do,
and people do that. Yeah, I mean that's very popular
for those who still have an appetite after all that gruesomeness.
There's Jack the Chipper, a good old fashioned fishing ship
shop with a twist. Wouldn't it possible to get one
of your little fish and chip boxes? The chain wraps

its meals in facsimiles of newspaper pages from eighteen eighty eight.
These include images of the victims, which means you can
literally eat your lunch of a drawing of Elizabeth Stride's
dead body. Things are changing. People are increasingly voicing their
concerns about how and where we tell the Jack the

Ripper story. So the kind of stories don't we tell,
the kind of things that we commemorate actually have an
impactness is people's lives that we're talking about here. For example,
since it opened its doors in twenty fifteen, the Ripper
Museum has been targeted by protesters who rail against its
tacky depiction of the murdered women, something that people should

be making light of, or selling moths about, or selling
t shirts about thy accompanying and just recently, a branch
of Jack the Chipper was the subject of a neighborhood dispute,
with locals criticizing the proprietor's exploitation of the victims for profit.
We're going to talk about a shop in London and
it's being boycotted because its name is Jack the Chipper.

Now what a protesters saying about that? The owner had
to go on national TV to offer a defense of swords. Yeah,
and disdain most people, they love it. This is Jack
the Chipper. I like that. In response to the public outcry,
the chip shop offered a fifty percent discount of female customers,
just to show they weren't there to be disrespectful. I

give you fifty percent discount and everybody be happy. Several ethical,
even feminist walking tours of Whitechapel have sprung up since
you know your book, you know, I think it's changed
and established. Guide Andy has totally revised his Ripper Walk
in light of the new research on the victims. Traditionally
it had always been that they were five prostitutes. You know,

definitely talk about the biography of each of these women now,
which I never did before. Really, the social history, which
I think is incredibly important, and you know, the dignity
of the women. But something of our own jacklin Hyde
approach to these murders persists. We perhaps know we shouldn't
look for entertainment in the bloody deaths of women like Polly, Annie,
Elizabeth and Kate, but people still can't quite resist the temptation.

They are interested in the graphic detail, of course of it.
I mean, they're interested in horror stories. I mean people
come along to it because they feel they're in a
kind of safe place. But they could listen to this,
you know, very graphic. You know parts of it which
are very graphic. I mean we have people fainting, Yeah,
we have either the other day someone fainted on the wall.
You know what prompted the faint. Well, we're talking about
we were talking about Annie Chapman and the murder of

Annie Chapman, and she just you know, went over. At
the end of my conversation with Matthew Sweet he recalled
attending a conference were Patricia Cornwell's theory that Walter Sickard
was the Ripper drew laughter from the audience. This woman
got to a feat Latin American academic and she said,

I don't know what you're all laughing at. There's nothing
special about these murders. There are murders happening like this
all over the world. Why are you English so stuck
on Jack the Ripper? I think that academic had a point.
Why are we so comfortable turning these despicable crimes into
a thriving tourist trade or a punning name for a

fish and chip shop. It has a lot to do
with our lack of empathy for the victims. As long
as we cling to the caricature of based prostitutes, we
can hold them at arm's length, and they remain as
real and human to us as the Tatty Wax Works
and Thomas Berry's Chamber of Horrors. As October eighteen eighty

eight turned into November, the roots of the lucrative ripper
industry were still taking hold. The ghouls and thrill see
because flocking to Whitechapel waiting for the Ripper to strike again,
may have felt some slight disappointment that they had missed
out on the drama. But the lull must have brought

some comfort to the beleaguered residence of the East End.
It offered enough respite to allow many to let down
their guard, to begin to resume their regular nocturnal habits.
Women like Mary Jane Kelly felt safe enough to begin
to sleep alone, to go out at night, to feel
perhaps that the danger had passed, that the Ripper was gone,

but gone he had not bad Women. The Ripper Were
Told is brought to you by Pushkin Industries and me

Hallie ribbin Hold and is based on my book The Five.
It was produced and co written by Ryan Dilley and
Alice Fines, with help from Pete Norton. Pascal Wires, sound
designed and mixed the show and composed all the original music.
You also heard the voice talents of Ben Crow, Melanie Gutridge,
Gemma Saunders, and rufus Wright. The show also wouldn't have
been possible without the work of mir La Belle, Jacob Weisberg, Jenguera,

Heather Fane, Carli mcgliori, Maggie Taylor, Nicolemarino, The Talmulad, Eric Sandler,
and Dan Yella Lakhan. With special thanks to my agents
Sarah Ballard and Ellie Kron
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