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Another London monster

Long before Jack the Ripper terrorized the streets of London _ a century before, in fact _ a psychopath violently attacked more than 50 women during a two-year crime spree.

The London Monster _ described as a small, vulgar-looking, thin-nosed man _ who held the city in fear during the late 18th century, turned out to be an ungainly young Welshman named Rhynick Williams (or at least that's who was convicted in 1790, after two lengthy and ludicrous trials).

The story of this lesser-known stalker is detailed in The London Monster: A Sanguinary Tale (University of Pennsylvania Press, $29.95). Floating somewhere between fact and fiction, the tale of the London Monster is one that holds a unique spot in London's history.

Author Jan Bondeson is a London medical doctor and the author of A Cabinet of Medical Curiosities and The Feejee Mermaid and Other Essays in Natural and Unnatural History.

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