• Cassandra L. Thompson

The Ripper.

It is for all of these reasons, and a great many more, that it simply was not me.


It is important that you know it wasn’t me.

According to groups of well-learned, scholarly types, it is not possible for a woman to have the level of depravity required for purposeful murder - it is strictly a male dominated realm. Those who have risen to that level of infamy, the Lizzie Bordens, the Delphine LaLauries, the Elizabeth Bathorys, they have been properly detested and considered anomalies. People speak of them with shock, horror, and awe, for how could a woman, a creature biologically intended to love and nurture, be able to commit such vile atrocities? Women are simply too fragile, too hysterical for murder. Murder is grisly, messy - and what woman would want blood stains on her dress?


It is for all of these reasons, and a great many more, that it simply was not me.


I will not deny, however, that the thoughts are there. Perhaps if I had been born into a poor family, it wouldn’t have been so easy. Or if my outer shell was more plain and I wasn’t able to attract so much attention. One could speculate endlessly, I suppose, but for whatever the reason, I cannot sit idly amongst an array of boring people, chattering on about the weather or the dreadful state of the nation, and not imagine their deaths. While other women may be content working on their cross-stitching or writing letters, I am content when I imagine the kindly young suitor come to visit with a letter opener in his heart.


But this does not mean I am capable of murder. I have an overactive mind, the tragic result of educating a woman, what happens when her corset is a bit too tight, or when she doesn’t properly learn and recite her scripture.


Had my sister lived past the age of eight, she would have been a proper lady, someone to distract them from me. I did miss her when she died, but she found my stash of cat eyes buried in the garden, along with a few of their corpses where she intended to plant daisies. She needed to be disposed of, and besides, I wanted her collection of dolls.


But allow me to remind you, that I am a woman, and therefore not capable of murder now, as I was back then as a little girl. I did not have the fortitude, the required strength, to pry her eyes out of her sockets while she lay dead in her coffin, before the family buried her in the plot not far from our home. Furthermore, young girls do not have the mental capacity to realize that keeping eyeballs and tongues in jars for extended periods of time is far more trouble than it’s worth, and that collecting teeth is far more satisfactory an endeavor. Dentistry is a male occupation - men enjoy the satisfying crack made when one pulls a tooth out of its jawbone with a set of pliers, certainly not a young woman preparing for marriage. They do not have the time, nor the stomach, to peruse anatomical texts and memorize all the parts of the body. They cannot possibly saw through bones to remove appendages or break open chest plates to pull out hearts.


I digress.


My purpose in writing this letter is to maintain my innocence, to explain how it is simply impossible for me to have dissected every corpse found in my backyard. My husband, my poor, willfully blind husband, graciously took the blame and was promptly hung. I miss him too, come to think of it, but I’m sure after some time he would have found the handmade dolls in my attic with their human hair wigs or even the living dolls I keep in the shed, whose mouths and eyes are sewn shut so they cannot scream nor find their way out. Which reminds me, I will be needing a new collection soon - as they expire, they let out a dreadful stench that attracts far more insects than I feel comfortable with.


Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like had I birthed children. They are what keep a woman sane, give her a purpose in life. Perhaps if I had been able to provide my poor husband with an heir, things would have been different. They certainly would have given me something to use to maintain my innocence, to prove that I am a good, decent woman and certainly not one whose house swallowed five different servants over the last six months, even after my murderous husband had been hanged.


But, childless or not, there is still no possible way I could have managed to gut and dismember all the poor souls whose parts have been used to decorate the manor, no possible way I could have dragged their bodies down to the cellar for the cats, no way on earth I could have stomached the bleaching of their skulls, the jarring of their innards, nor the filing of their bones for furniture. Women don’t make furniture.


And I am a woman, after all.

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