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The Strange Case of Lucas Lauder


A man sentenced to death informs a prison guard that he was Jack the Ripper in a previous life and that after his death, Ripper's soul will possess him and he will murder his wife.



Air Dates

  • First Run - February 26, 1975
  • Repeat - May 17, 1975
  • Repeat - August 8, 1980





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12 Responses to Episode 0229

I liked it, but the plot is very similar to an episode of Star Trek, Wolf in the Fold. In it, Scotty is possessed by the spirit of Jack the Ripper.


Plot is very similar to Star Trek's "Wolf in the Fold" episode as Wilhelm pointed out, but also interesting that the killer who inherited the spirit of the Ripper is a psychologist - an idea used later in "Red Dragon" with Hannibal Lecter.

Mike in Grand Rapids

Lauder is a prison warden, and in a couple of days an inmate there, a former professor of parapsychology who committed some gruesome murders of women at knifepoint, is to be hanged. The warden meets with the prisoner (played in a brilliant performance by Ralph Bell in which you're almost sorry to hear him die if only because he won't be back in the play) who tells him that he (the professor) in turn had met with a man who also had committed similar crimes and been put to death. The first man to be put to death told the professor that he was possessed by the spirit of the man who had been "Jack the ripper", and (in an interesting twist on the tale of reincarnation) said that he would begin to possess the professor's soul in advance of his (the other man's death). The professor in his first meeting tells the same story to Lucas Lauder, the warden. Later that night, at dinner with his wonderful, loving wife, he handles a steakknife and starts to dream of killing her... (If I can I'll put an .mp3 file of a clip of Bell's character interacting with the Lauder character...Bell was magnificent for this episode, IMHO.)

Dana Reichter

A convict on death row seeks a meeting with the prison warden. He tells the warden the story of how he went from a well known and respected professor of parapsychology to a brutal killer mimicking Jack the Ripper. He says that before the death of an associate of his, the associate said that at the moment of his own death the professor would become Jack the Ripper; the essence, morality, and drive that brought Jack the Ripper his grizzly fame would enter the professor’s body. The professor then says to the warden that at the moment the trap door opened and he is swinging dead, the same will happen to him. The warden will become Jack the Ripper. The professor even offers a couple of examples to prove the veracity of his statements. Is the warden doomed to become a prisoner in his own prison?


Enjoyed the show.


Another one I remember from the old days . . . my cassette copy is in a box somewhere. The first couple of minutes of this download sounded a little funny, but a fine encode nonetheless. And good acting in a good show. One of the things I like about this episode is that it is left up to the listener to decide whether or not there is a supernatural element in the story. Certainly the characters think there is, but when all is said and done, natural causes and explanations can satisfy the logic of the tale. Somehow the death-row scenes seem especially vivid and well done. Those moments are the ones that form the sharpest pictures in my mind. The warden at home, etc. doesn't seem as visually clear in my imagination. Monomania + a knife. This works. It's never really explained why the warden succumbs to this prisoner's psycho-jibe and not to any others'. I guess it might be supernatural. But the condemned man has a very strong personality; shades of Hanibal Lester. And love saves the day. A bit of the beauty and the beast in that, as with many classic stories of great love overcoming great evil.

Rex F.

I hate to point this out, but this is one of those RMTs that "borrows" just a little too much from its uncredited source material--which in this case is the short story "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" by Robert Bloch (best known as the author of the novel PSYCHO). This episode is a simple extension of Bloch's basic idea of Jack the Ripper's spirit living on in a modern-day killer...the show even features a main character named Guy, just as the story does (though the last names are different). Bloch's tale, from the 1940s, is well-known and widely anthologized; it was even done on TV in the early 1960s, on the Boris Karloff series THRILLER. I enjoyed the program in its way, I guess, but was really distracted by the obvious...well, I don't want to say theft, but this is *clearly* Robert Bloch's story. Then again, a whole thread could be devoted to the borrowings of the RMT--from TWILIGHT ZONE, from "The Monkey's Paw" and other classic stories, from then-current movies. With such a crazed workload for the writers, some of this kind of thing was inevitable, I suppose. It would be interesting to know if any writers ever complained about the show borrowing from their works.... An interesting choice, if not necessarily for the right reasons!

Brian Pontillas

I liked the Star Trek version better. This would have been a much better episode if there was more of a struggle between Jack-the-Ripper and the new host body. It was too easy of an ending. Too smooth. The eternal battle between evil and those that attempt to do good should have been used.


Enjoyed this episode. Seem to remover this one on CBSRMT as a kid.


I agree with Nicole that it would've been better if there had been more of a struggle as the ending was too easy after all that he'd already gone through. As with others, I also enjoyed the Wolf in the Fold Star Trek version better. That being said, I still enjoyed Ralph Bell as the psycho.


Bit of a yawner for me. Robert Lansings voice is so low it was difficult to hear him. Someone should have told him he was in a radio play and half deaf old guys would be listening in about 40 years. Weak ending could have been improved by setting show in a spaceship and having Lansing beam Ralph Bell into open space.

Tom d

It’s the premise at the end that bugs me. It makes no sense that the proffered love of his principle prey would make him stay his hand. Poppycock. Having said that, the acting was great, and Robert Lansing is always a pleasure to listen to.


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