Sam found French history offered more interesting stories -- royalties on a one way trip to the guillotine, rolling heads, blood, riots in the streets… The French sure knew how to make history interesting. However, Sam perked up when Mr. Martin, his history teacher, read aloud a brief story about London's notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper and how his identity remained a mystery.
Wow! I wish I had that newspaper from the attic right now, thought Sam. It would be totally cool to show in class. Of course, it's a fake… or at least I think it's a fake. Great! Now I'm starting to think like crazy Mrs. Steers.
"Jack the Ripper murdered six women in 1888. Basically, he cut them open and removed internal organs." Students gasped and murmurs erupted. "There was some speculation about the Ripper being a doctor or butcher since the victims looked as if they had been dissected. There's even a theory about Jack being Jackie. Mrs. Jack the Ripper."
Mr. Martin pointed to an area on the London map hanging on the side wall. "All were done in the Whitechapel area of East London. This part of town housed many of the poorest families and many immigrants. It was a nasty area. Try to imagine garbage in the streets... or how about throwing the contents of the chamber pot out of the window..."
"That's disgusting," one girl whispered to her classmate making a grossed-out face.
Sam was enthralled by the unsolved mystery of the killer's identity. Daydreaming for a moment, he drifted off to become a world-renowned famous detective. He saw himself in wearing a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker cap and having a curly pipe in his mouth talking to the chief inspector of Scotland Yard…
"Well, Inspector, I have the final clue that will lead us to the identity of this serial killer."
"Yes, go on, Mr. Henry," said the Inspector, who surprisingly enough looked like Mr. Martin. "What have you got?"
"A fingerprint on this newspaper" Sam, the detective, held the one he had found in the attic. "We should be able to identify the killer using it."
"Very good, Mr. Henry, but there is one major flaw … We have yet to invent fingerprinting! Didn't you pay attention in Mrs. Wayne's science class when she talked about fingerprints?"
Sam snapped out of his daydream when the real voice of Mr. Martin ended the story on the famous killer.
"Class, we have finished British History, at least to the later part of the nineteenth century. Next week, I have decided to move to another part of the world. We will start talking about Ancient Egypt, instead of American History as I had originally planned. So, for your final assignment, I want you to choose a topic from British History and write a six-page report. Internet searching should be limited. No Wikipedia as a primary source. I want you to use books and articles, please. Be prepared to do a presentation for the class."
Some students groaned at the mention of homework. Others complained about using books. Others immediately began to discuss what their topic might be. Before long, the school bell shrilled signaling the end of another day. Outside, snow flurries floated down from a grey overcast sky.