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Dark Annie

The black eye was healing, but still ached. Dark Annie had Eliza Cooper to blame for that. Something about a purloined penny, some stolen soap, and that handsome pensioner, Edward Stanley. The details were fuzzy for Annie sometimes, particularly when drink was involved, though the bruises were real. This had been a tough year. John had died on Christmas, drank himself to death, then Siffey left her once the money dried up. Annie had been forced to make her living where she could, and when embroidering antimacassars and selling flowers didn’t pay bed and board, she earned what she could on the streets. Her lungs ached, and she wanted one of her pills, but she was down to just two, secured in a corner torn from an envelope because her pillbox had broken. Friends called her Dark Annie because of her dark, wavy hair. In contrast, she was a pale woman with blue eyes, short and stocky. Annie was forty-seven years old.

It was just past midnight on Saturday, September 8, 1888. Annie shared a beer in the kitchen at Crossingham’s Lodging House with Frederick Stevens, then chatted with William Stevens, both fellow lodgers at Crossingham’s. She left for her room, but changed her mind and went out into the night. Around one-forty-five, Annie returned, eating a baked potato. She explained to lodging house deputy Tim Donovan and night watchman John Evans that she didn’t have her rent money, and asked that they hold her bed until she could earn enough on the street.

At five-thirty, Elizabeth Long, a cart-minder, was walking down Hanbury Street toward Spitalfields Market. The clock at the Black Eagle Brewery chimed as she passed No. 29 Hanbury Street, briefly making eye contact with Dark Annie, chatting up a dark, “shabby genteel” fellow in a deerstalker hat. Mrs. Long overhears their conversation as she passes, the man’s ardent “Will you?” Annie, in reply, whispered “yes.”

Elizabeth Long is the penultimate person to see Dark Annie alive.

Annie Chapman’s murder was particularly violent. Her throat had been cut from left to right. She’d been disemboweled, her intestines thrown over her shoulders. Her uterus had been cut out and removed from the scene. At the September 10 police inquest, Dr George Bagster Phillips described the murder weapon: “The instrument used at the throat and abdomen was the same. It must have been a very sharp knife with a thin narrow blade, and must have been at least 6 to 8 inches in length, probably longer. He should say that the injuries could not have been inflicted by a bayonet or a sword bayonet. They could have been done by such an instrument as a medical man used for post-mortem purposes, but the ordinary surgical cases might not contain such an instrument. Those used by the slaughtermen, well ground down, might have caused them. He thought the knives used by those in the leather trade would not be long enough in the blade. There were indications of anatomical knowledge…”

Police made several arrests following Annie’s murder, suspects included a cook, a butcher, and a hairdresser. But none of these panned out. The press, still reeling from the murder of Mary Ann Nichols, continued to sound an accusatory drum for Leather Apron, but within a few weeks, a new name would come to the forefront in the case, a named signed to a series of letters taunting the police. That name? Jack the Ripper.

Tales of Jack the Ripper

This post is brought to you by Tales of Jack the Ripper, an anthology of seventeen stories and two poems examining the bloody legacy of the most famous serial murderer of all time. Ask for Tales of Jack the Ripper by name at a bookseller near you, or order the Saucy Jack Deluxe Pack from Word Horde.

Word Horde launches new press with anthology marking 125th anniversary of Whitechapel slayings.

Tales of Jack the Ripper edited by Ross E. Lockhart features new and classic fiction inspired by the most notorious serial killer in history.

PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA—Word Horde will release its debut title Tales of Jack the Ripper on August 31, 2013, 125 years after Jack the Ripper first stalked Whitechapel’s streets. The anthology contains seventeen stories and two poems from many of the most distinct voices in dark fantasy and horror, including Laird Barron, Ramsey Campbell, Ennis Drake, Orrin Grey, Joe R. Lansdale, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, E. Catherine Tobler, and Mercedes M. Yardley.

Word Horde founder Ross E. Lockhart is a veteran of small press publishing, having edited scores of well-regarded novels of horror, fantasy, and science fiction, as well as the critically acclaimed anthologies The Book of Cthulhu I and II. “One of the clichés of the book business is that you publish the books you’d want to read, the books you’d want to put on your own shelves,” says Lockhart. “It’s true. From an early age I’ve been fascinated with the horrifying tale of Jack the Ripper and his era. With Tales of Jack the Ripper, we engage in a dialogue with not only the past, but the future.”

The story of Jack the Ripper captured lurid headlines and the public’s imagination, prompting the first fictionalization mere weeks after the first murder. Since then, hundreds of stories have been written about Bloody Jack, his victims, and his legacy. Tales of Jack the Ripper offers a unique contemporary exploration of this legacy, filtered through the authors’ lives and locales, visions and voices. However, “it’s not a glorification of Jack the Ripper,” explains Blu Gilliand, a reviewer for FEARnet. “Lockhart has not put together the print equivalent of the Friday the 13th film series, in which the murderer becomes the hero. This is not an ode to a killer of women. This is, instead, a look at the power that Jack the Ripper holds over us, even today.”

Tales of Jack the Ripper is distributed by Ingram, and available in Trade Paperback and eBook formats through most online retailers and better independent bookstores everywhere. For more information about Word Horde or to request a review copy, please email publicity[at]wordhorde[dot]com.

Polly

It was the proverbial dark and stormy night. Cold rain soaked London, lightning streaked a sky already lit orange by a pair of dock fires, and thunder rumbled menacingly. Despite the inclement weather, Polly Nichols, born Mary Ann Walker some forty-three years earlier, walked the streets of Whitechapel, hoping to earn enough to pay for that night’s lodging. Polly was pretty for a girl of the streets, looking a decade younger than her true age, with delicate features, frosted brown hair, and gray eyes. For the price of a large glass of gin, one could have Polly, if one were so inclined.

And gin was Polly’s vice. Her twenty-four year marriage to William Nichols–which had produced five children–had ended in 1881 over Polly’s drinking, and the next few years found Polly bouncing from home to home, including her father’s house, a cohabitation with a blacksmith named Thomas Dew, infirmaries, “sleeping rough,” and workhouses. In May 1888, Polly found a job as a live-in servant for Sarah and Samuel Cowdry, the Clerk of Works in the Police Department. In a letter to her father, Polly writes, “It is a grand place inside, with trees and gardens back and front. All has been newly done up. They are teetotalers and religious so I ought to get on. They are very nice people, and I have not too much to do.”

But the temptations of vice and drink prove too much for Polly, and in July 1888 she leaves the Cowdrys, stealing clothing valued at three pounds, ten shillings. Polly lives at one lodging house, then another, sharing rooms and paying her doss nightly. That evening of August 30 leading into the morning of August 31, 1888, Polly had already earned her keep and spent it on drink three times.

At two-thirty on the morning of August 31, Polly meets Emily Holland, a former roommate, who would later recall that Polly was “very drunk and staggered against the wall.” As they chat, church bells chime the half-hour. Polly staggers away, heading east along Whitechapel Road. Emily is the last friendly soul Polly meets.

At about three-forty, two men, Charles Cross and Robert Paul, discover Polly’s disheveled body while on their way to work. Her skirt is raised, exposing her. Cross is sure the woman is dead, but Paul believes Polly to be alive, breathing faintly. Paul rearranges Polly’s skirts to cover her and the two men seek a policeman.

Polly is discovered shortly thereafter by constable John Neil. He is soon joined by constables Thane and Mizen, the latter of which had been summoned by Cross and Paul. The policemen call Dr. Rees Ralph Llewellyn to the scene, and he pronounces Polly dead at 4:00. Time of death is estimated at 3:30.

Following the police inquest into Polly’s death, The Times reported: “There was a bruise running along the lower part of the jaw on the right side of the face. That might have been caused by a blow from a fist or pressure from a thumb. There was a circular bruise on the left side of the face which also might have been inflicted by the pressure of the fingers. On the left side of the neck, about 1in. below the jaw, there was an incision about 4in. in length, and ran from a point immediately below the ear. On the same side, but an inch below, and commencing about 1in. in front of it, was a circular incision, which terminated at a point about 3in. below the right jaw. That incision completely severed all the tissues down to the vertebrae. The large vessels of the neck on both sides were severed. The incision was about 8in. in length. The cuts must have been caused by a long-bladed knife, moderately sharp, and used with great violence.

“No blood was found on the breast, either of the body or the clothes. There were no injuries about the body until just about the lower part of the abdomen. Two or three inches from the left side was a wound running in a jagged manner. The wound was a very deep one, and the tissues were cut through. There were several incisions running across the abdomen. There were three or four similar cuts running downwards, on the right side, all of which had been caused by a knife which had been used violently and downwards. The injuries were from left to right and might have been done by a left-handed person. All the injuries had been caused by the same instrument.”

Rumors, compounded by the press, spread throughout Whitechapel, many blaming shoemaker John Pizer, a Polish Jew known as “Leather Apron.” Although there was scant evidence, Pizer was arrested and questioned, though he was released shortly after his alibi checked out. Pizer later sued at least one newspaper and won compensation over the paper’s libelous claims that he was the murderer.

As for the real murderer, Polly would not be his last victim. And soon, the world would know his name.

Tales of Jack the Ripper

This post is brought to you by Tales of Jack the Ripper, an anthology of seventeen stories and two poems examining the bloody legacy of the most famous serial murderer of all time. Ask for Tales of Jack the Ripper by name at a bookseller near you, or order the Saucy Jack Deluxe Pack from Word Horde.

Who Murdered Martha Tabram?

The night of August 6, 1888 in London’s Whitechapel district was dreadfully cold, windy, and rainy, so Martha Tabram spent the evening drinking at the Angel and Crown alongside her friend Pearly Poll and a pair of soldiers the two had met. Drink was a constant companion in Martha’s life; her husband Charles Tabram had left Martha over alcoholic fits in 1875, and her relationship with Henry Turner had just ended over money problems in July. So Martha and Poll got by amid the squalor and poverty by turning tricks in the world’s oldest profession.

At 11:45 that night, Martha and Poll left the pub with the soldiers, Poll taking one of the men up Angel Alley, Martha leading her soldier to George Yard, an alley off Whitechapel High Street. At about five in the morning on August 7, dockworker John Saunders Reeves discovered Martha’s body as he was leaving for work and called a neighbor, cab driver Albert George Crow, who had seen Martha’s body upon returning home from his shift at about 3:30 that morning, and dismissed it as just another sleeping vagrant.

The men called Dr. Timothy Robert Killeen to the scene. Dr. Killeen determined that Martha Tabram had been stabbed thirty-nine times with a short knife in the throat, lungs, heart, liver, spleen, stomach, abdomen, and genitals. Dr. Killeen estimated that Martha had been killed between 2:00 and 3:30 that morning. Residents denied hearing anything unusual. The police investigated, questioning an uncooperative Pearly Poll, but uncovered no solid leads. On August 23, an inquest into Martha’s death was held, and deputy coroner George Collier determined that she had been murdered by person or persons unknown.

On August 31, 1888, after another Whitechapel prostitute, Mary Ann Nichols, was killed, the London press began to draw connections between the two murders. Though the MO was different–Tabram had been stabbed with a short blade; Nichols’ throat and body were slashed with a long, sharp knife–could the same killer have been responsible for both women’s deaths? And was there a connection to the April 3 murder of yet another area prostitute, Emma Elizabeth Smith? Today, Nichols is considered the first canonical victim of Jack the Ripper, whereas Martha Tabram is largely forgotten, a footnote in a case that would grip the public’s imagination and inspire storytellers for the next 125 years.

Did Jack the Ripper murder Martha Tabram? The experts disagree. What do you think?

Tales of Jack the Ripper

This post is brought to you by Tales of Jack the Ripper, an anthology of seventeen stories and two poems examining the bloody legacy of the most famous serial murderer of all time. Ask for Tales of Jack the Ripper by name at a bookseller near you, or order the Saucy Jack Deluxe Pack from Word Horde.

Tales of Jack the Ripper – First Reviews

The first Amazon reviews of Tales of Jack the Ripper have started to appear, and it seems that people like our little book. Here are just a few of the things readers have said:

Ellie-and-Jack

“…a truly spellbinding collection…”

“A must have for all Ripper scholars.”

“…what this anthology truly has going for it is its relentlessness.”

“Blood starts to seep from the pages (yes, even on the Kindle), and pools around the words.”

“The ‘Must-Read’ Jack the Ripper Anthology”

“Jack the Ripper stories that will keep you up at night reading (or hiding beneath your covers).”

“These stories will have you feverously flipping pages in a hungry suspense–each holding that ‘one more page’ grip that established readers search for.”

“I suggest cutting into a copy as soon as possible…”

What can we say but, “Wow!”

Even though our official street date isn’t until August 31, Tales of Jack the Ripper is now available to order in Trade Paperback from Amazon, B&N, IndieBound, Powells, and The Book Depository. A Saucy Jack Deluxe Pack is available directly from Word Horde. Tales of Jack the Ripper is also available as an ebook for Kindle and Nook.

Thanks for reading. And if you enjoy the book, please tell your friends.

Put Tales of Jack the Ripper on your bookshelf

August brings with it the 125th anniversary of the Whitechapel murders and the legacy of the most notorious serial killer in history: Jack the Ripper. To mark this sanguine anniversary, Word Horde presents Tales of Jack the Ripper, an anthology of seventeen stories and two poems by many of the most distinct voices in dark fantasy and horror, including Laird Barron, Ramsey Campbell, Ennis Drake, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Joe R. Lansdale, E. Catherine Tobler, and many others.

JTRShelf

Now, you can put Tales of Jack the Ripper on your own bookshelf. Tales of Jack the Ripper is now available to order from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and is coming soon to an independent bookstore near you (ask for Jack by name!). Or you can preorder The Saucy Jack Deluxe Pack direct from Word Horde. The Saucy Jack Deluxe Pack includes one signed Trade Paperback of Tales of Jack the Ripper, one eBook in the format of your choice, and a bloody good selection of Jack schwag. The eBook will be emailed to you when your order is processed, so you can start reading as soon as possible.

Details at: http://wordhorde.com/product/jtr-deluxe/

And if you haven’t had a chance to check out the Tales of Jack the Ripper trailer author Patrick Tumblety made, do yourself a favor and hit play.

Jack’s Back

We’re in the home stretch, with Tales of Jack the Ripper just about ready to go to the printer. To celebrate, how about a little extortion? If one hundred twenty-five of you drop by the Word Horde Facebook page and like and/or share the cover photo below, we’ll show you Jack’s back! That’s right, all you have to do is click through and LIKE or SHARE, and once we hit that magic number, we’ll reveal the back cover. Help spread the word, and help Word Horde show the world Jack’s back!

Tales of Jack the Ripper

Press Release: Jack the Ripper to return fall 2013

1888: One hundred and twenty-five years ago, a killer stalked the streets of London’s Whitechapel district, brutally–some would say ritualistically–murdering five women (that we know of): Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly.

The story of Jack the Ripper captured lurid headlines and the public’s imagination, and the first fictionalization of the Ripper killings, John Francis Brewer’s The Curse Upon Mitre Square appeared in October of 1888, mere weeks after the discovery of Jack’s first victim. Since then, hundreds of stories have been written about Bloody Jack, his victims, and his legacy. Authors ranging from Marie Belloc Lowndes to Robert Bloch to Harlan Ellison to Roger Zelazny to Alan Moore have added their own tales to the Ripper myth. Now, as we arrive at the quasquicentennial of the murders, we bring you a few tales more.

From Word Horde and the editor who brought you The Book of Cthulhu and The Book of Cthulhu II comes Tales of Jack the Ripper, featuring new and classic fiction by many of today’s darkest dreamers, including Laird Barron, Ramsey Campbell, Ed Kurtz, Joe R. Lansdale, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Stanley C. Sargent, E. Catherine Tobler, and many more.

Table of Contents

Tales of Jack the Ripper

Tales of Jack the Ripper edited by Ross E. Lockhart coming August 31, 2013

Whitechapel Autumn, 1888 – Ann K. Schwader
A Host of Shadows – Alan M. Clark and Gary A. Braunbeck
Jack’s Little Friend – Ramsey Campbell
Abandon All Flesh – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
God of the Razor – Joe R. Lansdale
The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker – Ennis Drake
Ripping – Walter Greatshell
Something About Dr. Tumblety – Patrick Tumblety
The Truffle Pig – T.E. Grau
Ripperology – Orrin Grey
Hell Broke Loose – Ed Kurtz
Where Have You Been All My Life? – Edward Morris
Juliette’s New Toy – Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.
Villains by Necessity – Pete Rawlik
When the Means Just Defy the End – Stanley C. Sargent
A Pretty for Polly – Mercedes M. Yardley
Termination Dust – Laird Barron
Once November – E. Catherine Tobler
Silver Kisses – Ann K. Schwader

Tales of Jack the Ripper is coming fall 2013 from Word Horde

$15.99 Trade Paperback: 978-1-939905-00-0
Ebook also available

Cover Art by Arnaud de Vallois
Cover Design by Claudia Noble

To request a copy for review or arrange an interview, email:
publicity[at]wordhorde[dot]com

Word Horde – PO Box 2074 – Petaluma, CA 94953-2074 – www.wordhorde.com

Praise for Ross E. Lockhart’s The Book of Cthulhu and The Book of Cthulhu II:

“The enduring allure of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, now nearly a century old, is evident in this representative anthology of modern tales, most of which were written in the last decade. The breadth of cosmic horrors they evoke range from the parochial fear of monsters found in Michael Shea’s ‘Fat Face,’ to the apocalyptic doom forecasted in Ramsey Campbell’s ‘The Tugging.’ Some of the stories, notably Brian Lumley’s ‘The Fairground Horror’ and Brian McNaughton’s self-consciously satirical ‘The Doom that Came to Innsmouth,’ are ripe with Lovecraftian references. Most others, including Joe R. Lansdale’s weird western ‘The Crawling Sky’ and Laird Barron’s backwoods monster tale ‘The Men from Porlock’ (original to the book), are more oblique and allusive. To the book’s credit, none of the twenty-seven stories read like slavish Lovecraft pastiche, which makes this volume all the more enjoyable.” –Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Gathering Cthulhu-inspired stories from both 20th and 21st-century authors, this collection provides such a huge scope of styles and takes on the mythology that there are sure to be a handful that surprise and inspire horror in even the most jaded reader.” -Josh Vogt, Examiner.com

“There are no weak stories here–every single one of the 27 entries is a potential standout reading experience. The Book of Cthulhu is nothing short of pure Lovecraftian gold. If fans of H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos don’t seek out and read this anthology, they’re not really fans – it’s that simple.” -Paul Goat Allen, BN.com

“…thanks to the wide variety of contributing authors, as well as Lockhart’s keen understanding of horror fiction and Lovecraft in particular, [The Book of Cthulhu] is the best of such anthologies out there.” -Alan Cranis, Bookgasm.com

The Book of Cthulhu is one hell of a tome.” -Brian Sammons, HorrorWorld.org

“…an impressive tribute to the enduring fascination writers have with Lovecraft’s creation. […] Editor Ross E. Lockhart has done an excellent job of ferreting out estimable stories from a variety of professional, semi-professional, and fan venues […] to establish a sense of continuity and tradition.” -Stefan Dziemianowicz, Locus

“…a stunning collection of Lovecraft inspired tales all centered around the infamous Cthulhu myth.” -Drake Llywelyn, Dark Shadows Book Reviews

“As he did for his previous anthology, Lockhart has cast his net far and wide to haul in outstanding stories from publications both well-known and obscure, none sampled more than once. He has also commissioned four new stories, several so good that they are likely to be selected for reprint anthologies in the future.” -Stefan Dziemianowicz, Locus

“…any fan of Lovecraft can’t afford to miss out on this one.” -Justin Steele, The Arkham Digest

“The second volume of The Book of Cthulhu exemplifies the richness of Lovecraft’s legacy: gloomy terror, mystery, thrills, vivid action, chilling visions, satire, science fiction, humor–all of that, and then some, is crammed into more than 400 pages awaiting readers eager for some apocalyptic horror.” -Dejan Ognjanovic, Rue Morgue