Crime is an unavoidable and often uncontrollable part of life that is a daily occurrence across the globe. As a society, we demand all the information, no matter how tragic or shocking. There is a thirst for knowing why the event happened in the first place and what provoked or motivated the individual to act.
The human condition is a fascinating topic. It has captivated readers, audiences and left people flummoxed by how others behave for millennia. From Jack the Ripper stalking the streets of White Chapel to the assassination of JFK. There has always been some form of media spinning fear and equal curiosity in our communities and beyond.
Tearing up the streets, and causing all kinds of murder, mystery and mayhem, here are four real-life characters that changed the world:
Jack the Ripper: The White Chapel Murders
You’d be hardpressed to name a more provocative and infamous murderer from the Victorian age. Jack the Ripper’s legacy has continued to haunt the hearts and minds of generations, despite his reign of terror during the 1880s. But why is interest in the Jack the Ripper case still so prevalent?
While many of us are well acquainted with 21st Century London, darkened alleyways and perpetual fog that hung eerily over the city two hundred years ago have added to the air of intrigue and mystery. It is the perfect backdrop for a murderous fiend to carry out his exploits. And hold the population and its imaginations in a perpetual state of terror.
Preying on those that would be perhaps less missed. The Ripper carried out his dastardly deeds from disembowelment to amputation on White Chapel’s serving prostitutes. Those voiceless women have now earned their place in history, despite the Ripper’s best efforts to dehumanise them in the most grotesque ways possible.
But what stands out the most is that the police back then and even the FBI have never found the true identity of the Ripper in more recent years. A feat that even the most notorious serial killers running through the USA in the 60s and 70s struggled to obtain, with the exception of the Zodiac Killer.
The Assassination of JFK
November 22, 1963, a bullet tore through the air, and President John F. Kennedy breathed his last. The news swept the nation, the world, as reports surfaced that JFK had been assassinated as he rode in a motorcar through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.
Not only did the news shake the world, but the race to catch the shooter plagued the airwaves and broadsheets for years to come. His death was a life-altering event for millions around the globe. It shattered their sense of security, many’s hopes for the future and changed the course of the Vietnam War.
JFK was many things; a groundbreaking, innovative president, a beloved husband, brother and family man. And he cared passionately about education, national security and world peace. He was loved by those close to him and those who supported his ethos.
But, who shot JFK?
Most people quickly accepted that the most likely candidate was Lee Harvey Oswald. But the evidence has never been fully concrete. Yes, he was found perched at a sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Depository on the date of the crime and arrested hours later for shooting a police officer. Well, the evidence has always been circumstantial at best.
Then there’s Oswald’s murder at the hands of Jack Ruby, a nearby nightclub owner. Ruby shot and killed Oswald while under police escort – the events all caught on live network TV.
Still unsolved, JFK’s murder has launched the “mother of conspiracy theories” that continues to be explored in various cinematic, TV series and literary works throughout the decades.
Charles Manson: The Manson Family Murders
Rolling Stone magazine named Charles Manson “The Most Dangerous Man Alive.” Captivating, alluring and maintaining an unwavering hold over his followers. He lived up to that title for numerous reasons and more.
Between the 8th and 10th August 1969, Manson sent five members of his “family” to two homes – one in Los Feliz, the other in Los Angeles’ Benedict Canyon.
Their mission? To incite “Helter Skelter” and kill whichever little “piggies” they found along the way. Inspired by The Beatles’ White Album, Manson coined the term from the Fab Four’s iconic tunes to essentially incite a race war.
Overnight, Manson became the most twisted and notorious kind of celebrity Hollywood had ever encountered.
During that fateful night, Manson was responsible for the murder of the dynamic and often controversial director Roman Polanski’s 8 ½ months pregnant wife Sharon Tate and four others in their Benedict Canyon rented home. Soon after, Rosemary and Leno LaBianca were murdered in their Los Feliz home a night later.
What’s most unsettling, Manson noticeably basked in the notoriety and attention his trial awarded him. No longer was he a failed musician, but he was a twisted icon.
Although forty years have passed. Manson is long gone. Died of natural causes in prison in 2017. Yet his unyielding hold over his followers continues. Including three young and impressionable women who slaughtered seven people in cold blood, continues to remain a subject of endless fascination.
The Fall of O.J. Simpson
O.J. Simpson was a national hero, football icon and beloved actor. He dominated the newsstands and field throughout the late 80s and early 90s. But some giants have to fall, and the story of O.J. is no different.
The difference, he drew the nation’s eyes to the slowest speed chase ever televised.
On 17th June 1994, police pursued O.J. through the glamorous concrete maze of Orange County and L.A. freeways. Before grinding to a halt outside Simpson’s Brentwood mansion. From that moment on, every major TV network across the country and the world zoomed in on the events in court that later found him not guilty of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Nearly thirty years later, O.J.’s haphazard trial, how the defence owned the narrative and the hidden secrets behind closed doors have continued to spark conversations on both sides of the court.
Some events will forever change the world., how we think and how we tackle some of life’s greater mysteries. The human condition will continue to fascinate us. And lay a perfect foundation of mystery, suspense and intrigue in our very own Escape Room games. What real-life characters have shaped your world?