2015 marks the 150th anniversary of possibly one of the most famous books in history, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Within the ‘Alice’ series, there are a few fantasy books, all written by Lewis Carroll, including the sequel, Through the Looking Glass. Wildly popular amongst both children and adults, the series has been adapted over the years into both a stage play and film. But are Alice’s adventures in wonderland as innocent as they seem?
For those who aren’t Ripper case-savvy, it may come as a surprise to find that Lewis Carroll is actually a prominent Jack the Ripper suspect. And the backstory that comes with the reasoning behind this is just as intriguing as the enigmatic murders themselves. But, for now, let’s start at the beginning…
Born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, later to be known under his famous pen name, Lewis Carroll, came from a large family and had eleven siblings. From a young age, it became apparent that education was a breeze, especially in the field of mathematics, where he achieved the Christ Church Mathematical Lectureship. This was held for as many as 26 years though it was evident the work did not please him.
He also refused a position as a priest later down the line at the Anglican Church, even with a religious background, however, instead; he became a deacon.
Throughout his life, Dodgson wrote, starting out by authoring articles in a family magazine. As he got older though, he moved onto writing poems and short stories for publications such as The Train. His work is said to have always maintained a sense of humour, something that is evident in his ‘Alice’ series.
But was his satire purely used to give readers a giggle, or was it far more deadly than we could have imagined?
At the time of the Ripper murders, Lewis Carroll became a prime suspect, mainly due to the anagrams supposedly found in ‘Nursery Alice’, which can be seen here. In addition, Dodgson is also said to have mentioned the Ripper once in his diary entries, speaking about his “very ingenious theory about Jack the Ripper” though it is never stated what this may be.
As for his relationship with women, he is said to have never married though partook in intimate acts with many.
Dodgson passed away suddenly in 1898 from pneumonia and since then, his works as ‘Lewis Carroll’ have become classics, even 150 years on.
There is no denying Dodgson’s talent as a writer, but could he have had the precision to carry out the murders? Find out more on our tour.