Jack the Ripper

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While reading the galleys of Ambeth Ocampo’s forthcoming book Looking Back 5: Rizal’s Teeth, Bonifacio’s Bones in order to compose a blurb (“Ambeth Ocampo does it again! Couldn’t put it down! 5 stars!”), we were reminded of his piece addressing certain rumors about our national hero. We heard the “father of Hitler” legend from one of Ambeth’s earlier books; the Jack the Ripper theory is more recent.

Textbook history states that Rizal was in London from May 1888 to January 1889, spending time in the British Museum Library copying Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (1609) by hand because there were no photocopying machines at the time. Jack the Ripper was active around this time and, since we do not know what Rizal did at night or on the days he was not in the library, Rizal is now suspect.

The argument is that when Rizal left London, the Ripper murders stopped. They say that Jack the Ripper must have had some medical training, based on the way his victims were mutilated. Rizal, of course, was a doctor. Jack the Ripper liked women, and so did our own Rizal. And this is so obvious that many overlooked it. Jose Rizal?s initials, JR, perfectly match those of Jack the Ripper!

For someone who wrote a great deal on the most ordinary things, Rizal only made passing reference to Jack the Ripper in an essay on the Guardia Civil he wrote in the April 30, 1890 issue of La Solidaridad. Can this be added to the flimsy but growing list of circumstantial evidence to suspect Rizal?

Rizal’s name appears on the long list of suspects in the Jack the Ripper website. There is even a forum dedicated to Rizal, begun by a certain “Amateur sleuth” who posts allegedly from Canada and signs these simply “Karen”. Her first posting lists the following data:

“In 1888, [Rizal] was staying with the Beckett family at 37 Chalcot Crescent in Camden [London]; he was a doctor (ophthalmologist); he was good with weapons (was called “the swordsman”); he was a Malay; he was...
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