With Christmas on our doorstep, we at the Jack the Ripper tour thought it appropriate to put the spotlight on infamous villains who were noted for being active at this time of year. Below, we have picked two fictional and two very real evil characters whose actions rival the events that unfolded in 19th century London.
Fiction – Ebenezer Scrooge
When you think of Christmas villains, Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge is almost certainly the first that springs to mind. The personification of ‘Bah! Humbug!’, Scrooge has been portrayed by numerous actors down the years.
As we all know, however, eventually Scrooge achieves redemption, with the help of the three Ghosts of Christmas. For others on this list, however, there was no such liberation.
Real – Servant Girl Annihilator
You could be forgiven for not being aware of the case of the Servant Girl Annihilator, but in many ways this serial killer was the original Jack the Ripper, operating three years before the East End’s most infamous villain went on the prowl.
At least eight victims were killed by the killer, whose identity remains unknown. The final two victims, Susan Hancock and Eula Phillips, met their tragic demise on Christmas Eve 1885. There is a theory that the Servant Girl Annihilator and Jack the Ripper are one and the same.
Fiction – Hans Gruber
Back into the world of fiction for our second fictional villain, and we pick our most recent criminal that, as many will remember, unceremoniously fell to his death after being shot by John McClane (Bruce Willis) in 1988. Hans Gruber, portrayed by the late Alan Rickman, leads a heist by a group of terrorists in a Los Angeles skyscraper.
McClane, a New York cop, was only in LA in an attempt to reconcile with his estranged wife at her office Christmas party, and instead found himself in the middle of a fight between good and evil.
Real – Daniel Herron
No doubt, your family has been caught up in an argument over Christmas. After a period of awkward silence, followed by even more awkward apologies, the whole thing is forgotten over a couple of drinks and a box of sweets.
That wasn’t the case in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Christmas Day 1894, when Daniel Heron and John Johnston were caught up in a blazing row, which saw the former pull out a gun on the latter in a fit of drunken rage. Johnston’s wife, Amy, jumped in front of her husband as Herron pulled the trigger, saving John but ultimately at the cost of her own life. Herron was convicted of manslaughter.
Where do the events of 19th century London rank amongst the above gruesome festive tales? Book a place on the Jack the Ripper tour and decide for yourself.