April 11, 2021
Los Angeles, California
Once again, huge kudos to my longtime reader and online friend, computer scientist, and bacteriologist, Dr. Luigi Warren, aka LW.
LW has regularly contributed his insightful “comments” to many of my “Squad Room Blogs.”
In a recent blog comment, LW happened to mention what he believed was an additional link to the three 1945-6 “Chicago Lipstick Murders” as revealed in the 1945 mystery radio show production of, “Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper” a short story originally written by famed author, Robert Bloch. (Think Hitchcock’s production of Bloch’s story, Psycho)
I was not familiar with either the original short story or its adaption as a radio show two years later, which aired in May 1945.
I have just now finished listening to the original radio show and have just read the original short story as it appeared in 1943. (See PDF link below.)
Six years ago, in the below-linked blog, I speculated that Dr. George Hill Hodel was “inspired” by a 1943 radio show “The White Rose Murders” adapted from the well-known mystery writer, Cornell Woolrich’s, “The Death Rose” (Baffling Detective Mysteries March 1943.) See original blog HERE.
Fast forward just two years and it appears that GHH again repeated his exact same crime signature. Only instead of in his hometown of Los Angeles, he chose Chicago, Illinois. (He may have been temporarily residing in that city attending the University of Chicago taking a language course to learn Chinese in preparation for his imminent trip to doctor with UNRRA in Hankow, China in Feb 1946.) Additionally, in the summer of 1945, LAPD was actively investigating him for the suspected murder (forced overdose) of his personal secretary, Ruth Spaulding, and his leaving the U.S. effectively stopped any further investigation into that suspected murder.
Thanks to the Eagle-eyed heads up from LW, this new discovery it would appear that once again, within less than a month, George Hodel on June 3, 1945, “follows the radio script” and acting the role of “Jack the Ripper” brutally slashes and stabs to death, Josephine Ross in her Chicago apartment, to be followed shortly afterward by the subsequent “Lipstick Murders” of Frances Brown and Suzanne Degnan. The Chicago Press of that day even followed George Hodel’s playbook by calling the unknown suspect a “Jack The Ripper Murderer.”
To underscore and not leave any doubt in Chicagoans minds, the killer to emphasize he was in fact “reenacting Jack The Ripper crimes” stole a human ear from a medical laboratory and sent it to the Degnan girl’s parents promising “your ear will be next.” This is exactly what the real Jack the Ripper promised he would do in his 1888 “Boss Letter” to the police.
Thanks again to LW and all those that have contributed so much through the use of their comments, thoughts, and observations here or by way of emails.
Here is a timeline copied from Robert Bloch’s biography. It shows that actor Laird Cregar performed a “Coast to Coast” radio show broadcast of Bloch’s “Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper” in 1944. (Laird (below) also that same year played “The Lodger” in Hitchcock’s film, also about JtR.)
In the Zero Degrees of Separation turns out my brother, Mike Hodel, Host of the long-lived Los Angeles-based KPFK radio show, “Hour 25” interviewed mystery writer Robert Bloch on a number of occasions through the decades. I even have a book that Bloch autographed for Mike and my brother gave to me on one of my birthdays way back when. This small world just keeps getting smaller.
Below photos of Robert Bloch (left) and Mike Hodel (right) taken at separate literary functions.