Tonawanda News

Features

October 13, 2013

Tonawanda teacher explores Jack the Ripper in novel

CITY OF TONAWANDA — Tonawanda High School earth sciences teacher Michael Hawley might be a little obsessed with the infamous Jack the Ripper, the unknown man — or woman — behind a slew of murders in 19th century London’s Whitechapel district.

In four years of research on the mystery serial killer, Hawley has written a handful of articles for Ripperologist magazine and just published his first book of fiction, the young adult novel “The Ripper’s Hellbroth.”

Hawley first became interested in the Whitechapel murders about four years ago after seing a special on The History Channel that explored the possibility the murderer was Francis Tumblety, a man who grew up in, and would ultimately end up buried in, Rochester.

”I had no idea this prime suspect was (buried) right in Rochester,” Hawley said. “I found his gravestone ... . The reason people didn’t know about him was because Scotland Yard didn’t want people to know about him.”

Tumblety was arrested by Scotland Yard, suspected of perpetrating the five — or more — murders, but skipped out on bail and came back to the United States.

Not having much to go on, Hawley did what he figures he does best: research.

”I love research because that was my science,” said Hawley, who has a master’s degree in science and secondary science with a focus on paleontology from Buffalo State College. “I just love discovering new things.”

So he began writing articles for the Ripperologist magazine and participating in online debates and discussions about the case with other Ripper experts. 

”It’s a love-hate relationship,” Hawley said with a laugh. “We’re always arguing with each other.”

One colleague suggested he write about Tumblety. His wife, Anita Hawley, encouraged him to write the the novel when he toyed around with the idea of delving into fiction. 

Text Only
Features
  • SUN LIFE Volunteers honored 1 040614.jpg Women Who Move the City (and beyond)

    April 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • SUN LIFE POUND 1040614j jpg.jpg Rock n' roll fitness

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - crib notes RGB Enough of this winter -- it's time for spring

    Midway through separating the bits of dog food from the shredded paper towel pieces on the saturated bed sheet that had been strewn across the dining-room table, I finally realized I’d had enough.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Dear readers, it's me, Kenny

    I have bad knees. I have been told to blame my grandmother. I have also been told to blame her for my love of animals. Today, we celebrate the 100th Critter Companions column.

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE mummies 1 033014.jpg 'Mummies of the World' exhibit arrives in Buffalo

    As visitors arrived for the recent NCAA basketball tournament games in Buffalo, a much older group of visitors arrived via motorcade at the Buffalo Museum of Science — but these newcomers to the Queen City wouldn’t be seeking out a place to have a beer between games or where to find the region’s best chicken wings.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - double trouble RGB Years later, still spending sunny days on Sesame Street

    I always knew we’d hit “the Elmo years.”

    Going into parenthood, it seemed like a given. Both my husband and I  were “Sesame Street” fans from childhood ourselves, and we were happy enough to pass it on to a new generation. And we knew, having friends with children of the applicable age, that in this day and age “Sesame Street” equalled Elmo, the squeaky-voiced “furry red menace” (thus dubbed by Oscar the Grouch) of parents everywhere.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Local Restaurant Week 2 033014.jpg Back for another bite

    As spring finally starts to unfold in Western New York, residents are likely eager to get out of their houses — and organizers of Local Restaurant Week hope they’ll consider eating out as they do that.

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wineries invite visitors to take a Taste of the Trail

    If one weekend of food and wine pairings is a good thing, two weekends of food and wine pairings must be even better.

    For the first time, the Taste of the Trail event, which takes place Friday through April 6 and April 11 to 13 on the Niagara Wine Trail, will be split into two weekends, with half the trail’s wineries taking part the first weekend and half the second, said Elizabeth Maute, wine trail coordinator.

    March 31, 2014

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Rewards for playing nice

    March 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE signs of spring 1 032314.jpg Region's favorite signs of spring gear up for season

    Ah, the signs of spring: The birdsong, the flowers, the green grass, the flowing waters of the Erie Canal or Niagara River ... and the words “Opening soon” on the marquee of your favorite seasonal business.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video