By Rich Gentile

"Mathilde": Level 5 Dark Artifact

Knife used by "Jack the Ripper" in his brutal slayings.


"Jack the Ripper" is the name given to a serial killer who brutally murdered a number of prostitutes in the East End area of London in 1888. The name originates from a letter written by someone who claimed to be the killer published at the time of the murders. The killings took place within a mile area and involved the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate, and the City of London proper. Even now, more than 100 years later, his myth still endures, and it is still hotly debated over who truly WAS "Jack the Ripper"?

The man known as Jack murdered 5 women in ritualistic fashion. It is a given, due to the surgical nature of the murders, that the murderer had to have some knowledge of comparative anatomy: In one case he removed a kidney from the front rather than from the side, and did not damage any of the surrounding organs while doing so. In another case he removed the sexual organs with one clean stroke of the knife. Given the time circumstances of the crimes (outside, often in near total darkness, keeping one eye out for the approach of others, and under extremely tight time constraints), the Ripper almost certainly would have had some experience in using his knife quickly and efficiently.

Given all these brutal facts, it is no wonder that an item like this, with so many conflicting emotions attached to it, showed up in the Shadowlands, just like the proverbial "bad penny".

The Artifact:

"Mathilde", as it is commonly known in the Shadowlands, is a "Dark Artifact" that fairly radiates evil to the sensitive eyes and pathos-receptors of the Restless Dead. It appears as a fairly nondescript, wickedly-sharp, blood-stained surgical knife, complete with a pitted mahogany handle. Since its arrival in the Shadowlands more than 100 years ago, more than a dozen Wraiths have laid claim to it, all of whom have met their ends shortly thereafter.

This Artifact confers a number of devastating powers, as well as several lethal drawbacks:

This Artifact was inspired by both the Rick Hautala novel Beyond the Shroud and also by the From Hell comic book by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, an incredibly enthralling, vivid, and well-researched piece on the crimes of the man the World knows as "Jack the Ripper." For those who desire to, there are a number of fascinating (albeit quite disturbing) books and Web-Sites on the subject.

Complete History of Jack the Ripper is a very thorough, impressive and heavily documented source of Ripper information. Sudgen does not push a particular suspect as Jack the Ripper, rather he analyzes the evidence for each of the major Ripper suspects.

Another worthwhile overview book is Donald Rumbelow's The Complete Jack the Ripper. This book was updated in 1990 as Jack the Ripper: The Complete Case Book.

Jack the Ripper A to Z. Begg, Paul, Martin Fido and Keith Skinner, Trafalgar Square: 1994.

Jack the Ripper: The Uncensored Facts. Begg, Paul,, Parkwest Publications: 1992.