Posted in book review

Who’s the Real Ripper of Whitechapel?

My Review of  9/1/2018 BBC History Magazine article of “The Ripper of our Nightmare”

It was a diabolical killing spree of the late 19th century that made the residents of Victorian capital shudder with visceral fear, and swivel their heads in incredulity. No one dared to venture the nightly labyrinthine streets of Whitechapel in London’s East End between August and November 1888 when five women were found dead and grotesquely mutilated with surgical precision in a ritualistic fashion. The unfortunate victims of this heinous crime were all prostitutes in the slums of the East End into the bargain. With the evasive killer still forever on the run in the wings of imaginations of many to this date, the stupendousness of the crime and its phantasmal committer still egg the inquisitive minds on coming up with zany theories as presented herein.

The turpitude of the extraordinary epochal net murder case has gripped the minds of many with journalistic bent who often go to extremes in search of novelty in what is established now as its own field of study. They are called “Ripperologist,” the individuals, as it were, with mission to provide the most feasible cue on who-done-it. Naturally, these Ripperologists have often looked for their suspects in a group of outsiders in the time of the era who were regarded as misfits, introverts, loners with hints of eccentricity because they are easy to be gorged out of the melee without much strains of their cognitive faculties and mental exertions. Yet, out of a pile of idiosyncratic mugshots of their suspects come some profiles I think are worth the noting by sheer dint of ingenious entertainment .

The Likely Suspects

  • Francis Thompson: A poet with radical religious views was posited as the killer on account of the fact that all of the crimes were committed on Catholic saints’ days. However, this theory is hamstrung by the fact that those days are the feast days of the particular martyrs in celebration of their sacrifice of their lives to the Faith.


  • A Mad Midwife: In 1939, a certain author named William Stewart posited that the killer was most likely a bloodthirsty deranged midwife. But then anterior to Mr. Stewart’s theory, Frederick Abberline, an inspector investigating the kills, had also suggested that it could also be a woman’s act of crime on account of a witness who had seen a female figure leaving one of the victims. Yet, the inspector later concluded that it’s more likely that the killer was a man dressed in a woman’s clothing as a way of quelling his potential victims.


  • Lewis Carroll: Of all other suspects, I think this eminent writer of Alice in Wonderland stands all alone in his prodigality of literary fame and notability. In 1996, an author named Richard Wallace suggested that the Ripper was, in fact, none other than this famous writer and Anglican deacon into the bargain on the ground of the anagrams in his novels which indicated the carnival of killings in 1888. Surely, positing Carroll as the Ripper may be regarded as ludicrous and beyond the pale and even defamatory. However, Wallace must have exerted himself on interpreting the anagrams to decode the messages that Carroll had left as an act of contrition for his mortal sin. Otherwise, he would not have published his theory, knowing that doing so without any factual grounds might have incriminated one of the most renowned English writers and his descendants.

It is always interesting to see how people become fascinated with crimes and criminals of the most wicked and bestial beyond the pale. Maybe it’s because of the ignoble, recalcitrant horse that we have in the soul, always inclining to a raw, precarious stimuli to our senses, spurring the other noble, reasonable horse toward such pleasure. But why not so when our minds wonder when they spur our imaginations on devising brilliant theories such as the aforesaid? The theories will only remain possible in the domain of poetic justice and in the wings of our imaginations so long as no substantive facts surface out of the mists of the eerie past. And I defy any of the Ripperologists not to come up with any such ingenious theories to that end – all for the Truth of who-done-it in deference to the victims.

Posted in book review

Vet’s long-lost wallet comes home

RE: 8/26/2018 The Los Angeles Times article of “Long-lost wallet’s unlikely return”

For the times passed by, you can just look away and say, “they are gone away” because they are woven by your memories that you have collected through life, willed or unwilled. They become part of you, making you of spirit, fire, and dew, an unique star in a constellation of the universe. Hence nothing could be more pleasingly surprising than discovering that part of you or your beloved kept in photographic images or words of the frozen time, evocative of distant nostalgia that beckons you to reminisce about them, by a happy stroke of serendipity paired with benevolence of a stranger. Something like that happened to Ms. Sharon Moore, a daughter of one former army corporal Robert McCusker.

When Ms. Moore received a “Friend” request from a certain Frenchman named Patrick Caubet on her Facebook page, she deleted it. But then Mr. Caubet messaged her inquiring about the lost wallet of her father Mr. McCusker with the pictures and documents contained therein that he had accidentally found in a basement of his building presumably used as an America officers’ social club. This time she responded and verified that it was her father’s. Prior to Mr. Caubet’s contacting Ms. Moore, he had launched a campaign for locating the rightful owner of the wallet, which encompassed an aid of his English-speaking friend and inquiries to the Pentagon and the U.S. Embassy for help to no avail. Then the help came from a French military office in Paris that located the names of Mr. McCusker’s children in just days. Being a military man himself with a certain feeling of soldierly camaraderie, he was determined to succeed in his campaign, which ultimately came to fruition.

Thanks to this benevolent efforts of one French military man, Ms. Moore and her brother living in Dover, New Hampshire, could reminisce about the lost pages of his Korean War veteran father who had died in 1983. The wallet had pictures of their mother and aunt, military documents, Massachusett Driver’s License, and a Social Security Card, all of which were still kept in a mint condition. Ms. Moore said that since she had her father’s Purple Heart, her brother would be in possession of the wallet that their father had lost on his way from the Korean War to home. In return of her gratitude, Ms. Moore sent Mr. Caubet a lovely basket full of sweet jars of maple syrup she had made herself, some of the candy her father had enjoyed, and a New England Patriots Jerky. Thus, the wallet became their treasure of their beloved father’s memories that they had not known – the terra incognita of their father’s memories before they came to the world -. It became the part of their memories that bound them together to the legacy of their lineage, reminding themselves of their father’s valorous war efforts as a soldier and of his tender loving memories of their mother as a man.

Amid the news of endless politicking, peddling of social media that goes beyond reasonable measures, and a litany of social ills, this article stroke me as a bonanza of altruism that still thankfully kept alive in everyday life, a fresh breath of air that made me feel grateful and hopeful for our future in which so long as we don’t lose a thread of sanity and milk of human kindness, we can make constraints of our lives bearable with a lightheartedness. The kindness of the Frenchman speaks to us that no matter what language you speak, the feelings and emotions that you and I have can strike the chords of our humanness because the principles of reason and of sentiment are universal in all human creatures. The return of the lost wallet as the living record of Ms. Moore’s father attests to the truth.


Posted in Miscellany, Novellas, Sylvanians - The illustrated stories.

Heart of Gold

image (2)“Anything new in today’s newspaper, Seraphina?” asked inquisitive Patricia, who arrived at Cafe Jolie, her and Seraphina’s “third” place after their homes and workplaces. “Yes, there is  very shocking news connected to our neighbors in Avonlea!” Seraphina  was excited by this one-of-kind news involving her beloved town that was seldom covered by any major newspaper unless big wigs in corporate world or bureaucrats in political arena visited the town with no other reasons than canvassing for “likes” of the good people of Avonlea, all for their dominance of popularity over the populace. So what made her flushed with rare effervesce? Patricia was by all means curious about it and wanted to dig out the whys and wherefores.

image (2)

“You know the Magoo family who owns the mini mart down on the Merton Bowley Road? While Mr. Priam Magoo and his two other children Tony and Tracy were on their fishing trip to Bella Vista, their bedroom ceiling completely collapsed to the ground all of sudden on Friday morning! And the thing was that Mr. Priam’s wife Helen and their infant son George were in that bedroom! But by the grace of God, she and the baby were unscathed by the falling debris because Helen, with her  innate athletic feats accelerated by her maternal instinct, covered George’s tiny body with hers and escaped the scene as swiftly as she could. Both the mother and the baby fled to the Collies, their next door neighbors to calm their nerves. Until Priam and the other children would  return home tonight (a drive to Bella Vista takes about two days.), Helen and George would stay at the Collies.”

photoPatricia’s heart became laden with ebbs and flows of emotions, erratically setting in motion a convolution of sadness, indignation, ebullience, longing, benevolence, and then pathos with a detritus of the news about the unfortunate incident befalling Helen and George  she had just heard from Seraphina. So much so that her eating at the cafe with Seraphina made her feel indulged in some sort of sybaritic activities with a phantasmagorical display of the scenes in which both the mother and the baby were frightened, taking a flight to their neighbors until the return of other family members played stereoscopically in her metal theater. While her friend Seraphina just matter-of-factly discoursed the news as if it had been one of those articles in a provincial bill posted on a public board in a park, Patricia took it to heart and decided to visit Helen and George at the Collies after the brunch. Just as the great Roman historian Pliny the Elder aided the refugees of the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius with all his might, Patricia was willing to offer consolation however small it might be to the mother and the baby.