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Dark Tourism: The Jack The Ripper Tour

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The Jack the Ripper Tour is used to sell and “commodify” British culture because we are now taking a horrific story about a person who went around killing others into something so much bigger. It is not just about the gruesomeness of whom he was that made him a commodity, it was more so about how big he became in the press around town is what really made him a commodity. Being put in newspapers and making headlines around the world, people could even be selling stories to keep the so press going. With a tour like this now being made available to the public and taken tourist to the specific locations of where everything takes place. Society now will take a liking to horrific moments in British history and sell it for a profit.

For this tour specifically, there was noticed taken to how there were multiple other tours going on at one time. For each tour given someone is getting paid to continue this legacy of who Jack the Ripper is. If the job is done correctly, people take enjoyment in what they saw then more then likely they will tell someone about. Word will spread around, or get around the Internet, and people will take interest in these tours and more people will become interested in what the tour is all about. This will attract more customers into paying for these tours which will allow these types of your to continue to expand and make money. Another idea noticed while on the tour was another tour guide actually dressed up as Jack the Ripper. This could be looked at in multiple ways. One, this is another way to keep the tourist interested by adding that extra appeal to the tour and more people will want to take it again. Secondly, Jack the Ripper already a huge commodity around times like Halloween because the persona the press created made it seem like he would be a scary character and if he was scary then it would be the perfect time to dress up as him for Halloween. Now not only is his identity and legacy being sold to the public for a profit but also his appearance is being sold for a profit. It could even be seen as a commodity of how this story has been made into multiple movies. Since the 1900s there have been many movies created to also tell what they think they know happened with Jack the Ripper.

For this attraction, the tour guide dealt with the historical and social context head on. Based on what has been put out to the public allowed the tour guides to make historical landmarks on where exactly the killings were taken place. It is interesting when the tour guide mentioned how the first women he killed, Polly, her death was “hardly reported” meaning not a lot of information should not have been noted at the time of the murder but when he explained the way she was killed he seemed very detailed. It is impressive how it’s noted on the tour which could also have a tourist question what is also being emphasized or even erased to make the tour more appealing.

Dark Tourism is seen as a “visitations to places where tragedies or historically noteworthy death has occurred and that continue to impact our lives”. There are many dark tours where some are put in place for educational purposely and other tours are much more descriptive so they are used for a more educational purpose. Stone (2006) described that the darkest tourism is more educational orientated, the location of the tour is authentic, there is a shorter time scare to these events. This tour could be described as a more educational purpose (one of the darkest tours) because of how descriptive the tour guide was. What stood out majorly is how these killing were described and the way these women were killed was done so strategically as if Jack had some time of medical history previously. Lots of details were told about pulling out their intestines and wrapping them around their bodies. Another example his reportedly the last victim he went into detail about first who she was and how she looked. Next, he described how they came into contact with each other. Lastly, to get even more into detailed he described exactly how she was killed. From the way, he sliced her throat and her breast to the way he undressed her and folded her clothes back up as neatly as he could. If anything was erased or sanitized from the tour it is either because there is not enough time allotted for the tour guide to go into much detail or simply the tour guide didn’t have accurate information on what was could be true.

My experience of this attraction any many of the attractions we have gone on this entire first week is how a lot of the money tourist spend on these attractions which are helping the economy. As we are visiting a lot of these tourist sights, even the walking tours around the towns the tourist industry put a lot of money into keeping a lot of the walking sights presentable so people can continue to pay for tours. It’s engaging how “developing infrastructures [or keeping towns clean so] that attracts it tourists has proven to be a catalyst for economic development, especially employment,” (Murphy, pg 100, 2017) A lot of jobs worldwide are provided by the tourist industry. This came to mind when there were other tour guides around giving the same tour as the one I was on that this could potentially be a lot of people’s source of income. Even if the wage is lower than a normal job it’s still something the look forward to because they have obligations they need to take care of. At the end of our tour once the tour guide mentioned was he going home to his wife and Yorkie. Immediately I thought that him getting paid for the tour that we all are on is what is helping him pay for something in regards to his wife or dog.

I want to touch back on dark tourism as a part of my analysis just because this was my first times every experiencing a dark tour. As I was reading about dark tourism I found it interesting how common this really is and I just wasn’t aware there was an actual name for it. I figured out that these dark tours are rendering death into education end even some entertainment “we effectively [socially] neutralize it; it becomes innocuous, and thus less threatening, through its conversion and ephemerality’ in popular culture and the media. It is this social neutralization of death and the potential role of dark tourism that the paper now evaluates,” (Stone and Sharpley, pg. 585, 2008). As I was listening to our tour guide and as fascinated as I was there was some point where I forgot that all this was related to death and just knowing how normalized his death makes this tour as common as it is today. It’s easy to forget how dangerous this man really was during this time because we are so intrigued by the details in the story and that this happened so long ago. Highly publicized death is so common now that I’m sure there are other tours just like this one.

The Jack the Ripper tour plays a whole role identity and tourism of Jack because without tours like this one the identity of Jack fades away. Jack the riper is still as relevant as he is today is because there are a lot of ways to keep the story relevant. His real identity is portrayed through these kinds of tours. The legacy of his horror story is exemplified through tours and how important these tours are for his legacy because you can see all his significant landmarks. Tourism plays a huge role in keeping his name identity alive in the UK. This tour is one of the most common tours of London because of the location of his killings. For this tour, identity and tourism go hand in hand. One could not do without the other. If it weren’t for Jack the Ripper, every happening then there wouldn’t be a tour today for people to give. On the other hand, if it wasn’t for tours like this one then his landmarks and locations may not be properly showcased throughout London.

A few things I learned being on the Tower of London excursion was how tourism sights are modified from its original version mostly on the outside to appeal to visitors and tourist. While on these tours visiting all these historic sights and building while they look the same as they did when they were first built on the outside the insides of the building were more modernized to with different technologies to seem more appealing. For example, while going through the Crown’s Jewel there was a projected screen displaying in multiple rooms and there was even a glass screen displaying different pictures. I found it very interesting how yes this allows more information to be given out while on the tours but it takes away the authentic aspect of the historical sight. While all this was going on, technology was not as big as it is today. This causes for more maintenance for these building which can then become very expensive to maintain these attractions. These historical sights could potentially be suffering for the sake of education yes but also entertainment alongside with it.

Another thing I found interesting was how “trinketization” is essentially a real concept. It made me look at little gift shops a lot differently or at least pay more attention to the gift shops. After exploring some of the towers they followed with gift shops at the end of the tour with your typical gifts such as glasses, key chains, cards, stuffed animals, small replications of tourism Trinketization is when “cheap, mass-produced objects manufactured for the tourist trade. These arts and crafts, including jewelry, beads, pottery, rugs, and baskets, have increased in economic value over the years but have also changed over time.” Many of these souvenirs are just known as multiple objects of mass consumption and they are only seen as important because these tourism sights allowed tourists to bring something tangible back home that has a significant meaning of the places they visited. These souvenirs also are seen as a small representation of memories made and when looking back on it, it is seen as something valuable. Many of these mass-produced souvenirs are found in numerous different places, the only thing that may be different is the name of them. In my opinion, that’s all we are paying for is the name. Broad items like a T-shirt or a keychain with the name of a tourist destination on it can easily be mass produced so it is clear that is not authentic but since society has convinced us it has a significant meaning and a direct relation to the place people tend to still buy it. I also want to point out how a lot of the items I and a few of the graduate students saw in these stores the first thing that came to mind was how we could find these items on Amazon or anywhere online for a lot cheaper. The prices in there are always ridiculously high just like most places you chose to go to while touring on anything.

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Dark tourism: The Jack the Ripper tour. (2019, March 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 22, 2021, from
“Dark tourism: The Jack the Ripper tour.” GradesFixer, 12 Mar. 2019,
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