The dark and the macabre was a fascination to many in the Victorian Era especially after the death of Prince Albert which left Queen Victoria to mourn her husband for a…long time if you ask me. (Read more about it in this helpful article.)
So, of course, crime organizations made the news most often exaggerated to please the public. In 1864, a newspaper tabloid was founded called “The Illustrated Police News” featuring murder cases for the public to indulge in.
Imagine this scene, you wake up to a nice sunny day. You get your tea, sit down on the couch, sigh with happiness, and read the story of a stranger’s terrible death by a serial killer still at large. Oh, what a lovely day.
Found the info and the pic here. It’s originally in French so if you don’t read French, you’re gonna have to translate. English translation seems to work pretty well.
My omniscient novel, “The Façade of Quad in Nimrod” features a crime organization by the name of the Red Circle dubbed as such for their signature marking on the bodies of victims: a red circle drawn in blood on the victims’ foreheads.
What is the Red Circle?
The Red Circle most likely consists of assassins and seasoned killers not just from Lwendolen but also from other countries as well. Especially, those who came to Lwendolen escaping the eyes of their country’s police.
There are many theories about the leader of the Red Circle. Some say it is a man who began these morbid deeds out of pure fascination. Others believe he is the devil himself and yet even others believe in a lighter story that the leader is a woman who just wants money so she can buy bread for her six children (no one can explain why it’s “six”).
Stories of mutilated bodies arranged in a circle, severed limbs sticking up in the snow, or gouged eyes stuffed back into the victim’s mouth, fascinated the public. Sometimes the deaths would involve weapons left on the scene which would later appear in the black market as souvenirs.
More often than not, the victims would be those unwanted by their own families for whatever reason. Rarely would there be a proper funeral for the victims. It is speculated the Red Circle does not kill those who are loved but rather, those who are not – the insane, the poor, the beggars, the unwanted, and the unloved.
But the Red Circle is not only responsible for murders but also for theft and fraud which are notoriously known as deeds done on request.
In Lwendolen, everyone knows the Red Circle and knows in which alley they must leave a letter to request for murder or theft. They know to which tree in what part of the forest they must pin their letter to the trunk so that a Red Circle member can pick it up.
Despite this, the Red Circle has not once been caught. Either the police are blind or they are also fascinated with the brutality of the murders and want to see what the Red Circle can do.
Either way, today, the Red Circle will remain only a shadow in an alley and a sinister reminder that we all have a bit of darkness inside of us all.