I’ve always found the Jack the Ripper case facinsting. In 1988 -the 100 year anniversary- I was bent on solving the case from my N.W. Calgary bedroom. I was eight years old. My neighbourhood friend and fellow macbre enthusiast helped me create comprehensive dossiers and we watched every TV special that marked the anniversary.
In my early 20’s From Hell the movie was released and I was anxiously filled with the same child like wonder during my first screening.
During my second semester of first year my Media Studies proffesor mentioned that there was new evidence that Jack the Ripper was actually a hoax created to sell newspapers in an age where sensationalism ran rampant and journalists lacked discerning ethics. This intrigued me deeply, so when we were tasked to write an original essay I chose to focus on the concept of the media hoax. Focusing on The Ripper as an example of the print hoax. Orson Wells’ radio broadcast of War of the Worlds, Balloon Boy as a the maistream media hoax and The Blairwitch Project and Paranormal Activity as evidence of the motion picture hoax. I recieved an A grade but the education in the effects of media hoax was much more impactful.
As a journalist I take my role as informant and educator seriously and was sadly disappointed that others did not. The point I make is that although you may be presented with information it is up to you to investigate and dig deeper for the truth. Even if it shatters the heart of the eight-year-old within you.