The Manchester Pusher: Urban Legend or Serial Killer?

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Is the Manchester Pusher a mere urban legend or a legitimate threat to the public? RICK HALE examines the evidence and theories behind this chilling phenomenon.

Manchester Pusher

A monster was on the loose in the streets of London. A degenerate of the highest order who targeted the ladies of the night who plied their trade on the street corners of Whitechapel.

As they enticingly wandered the cold nights in the autumn of 1888, Jack the Ripper would stalk them before springing from the shadows, bringing their lives to a bloody end.

When all was said and done, five women lay in the morgue with their throats cut or disemboweled. Victorian London had given birth to the world’s first recognised serial killer. And crime and punishment would never be the same.

According to the American Federal Bureau of Investigations, serial killers, while a real threat, only make up a mere 1% of homicides.

While that may be minuscule, they do warn people that you may be walking next to one and not even know it.

Terrifying, I know; however, the chances of a person coming face-to-face with a serial killer really is quite slim.

Even in Britain, the threat is very real. Murderous thugs do wander the streets even outside of the country’s biggest city.

Far to the north-west of England in Manchester, a dangerously prolific serial killer is said to stalk the streets of the industrial city and is said to have ruthlessly murdered more than 80 people.

Frightening, you bet. However, there is a minor problem, it’s a possibility this dangerous serial killer responsible for dozens of deaths might not actually exist.

Accidents Happen

No one will ever deny that accidents happen, even tragic ones like falling into a canal and drowning.

And that’s exactly where this bizarre story begins.

Several canals run through Manchester, serving a variety of purposes. They are typically considered safe.

That was until 2008, when an unusual number of people were discovered floating face down in the canals. Obviously quite dead.

With all these mysterious deaths, locals began fearing the worst, and word quickly spread around the city of Manchester that these drownings were no accident.

The citizens concluded that these mysterious deaths could only be attributed to a serial killer.

A murderous thug who rushed his unwitting victims and shoved them into a canal where they eventually perished in the chilly water.

Police Are Baffled

The police  were immediately on the case and quickly said the deaths were nothing more than tragic accidents, and not the work of a serial killer.

Many citizens of Manchester, of course, accepted that explanation, as there really was no evidence to suggest a serial killer was on the loose.

According to the police, these were nothing more than tragic accidents brought on by carelessness and possibly people falling into the canals after a night of tossing back a few pints.

Nonetheless, a sizable number of people believed a serial killer was on the loose, and their only evidence was an obscure serial killer from the United States known as “The Smiley Face Killer.”

A killer with a shockingly similar modus operandi.

The Smiley Face Killer

Largely considered an urban legend, the Smiley Face Killer, like the Manchester Pusher, murdered his victims by drowning.

The only difference was that the American version, operating in the Midwest throughout the 1990s, spray painted a smiley face on his victims.

And just like his British counterpart, the police denied the existence of the Smiley Face Killer.

Parallels Of A Madman

This wouldn’t be the first time parallels between a British serial killer and an American serial killer were drawn. So, there was some precedent.

It has been theorised that Jack the Ripper and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer from my hometown of Chicago, Illinois, were in fact the same man.

When the Ripper was carrying out his bloody deeds, Holmes was nowhere to be found. 

It has been suggested that Holmes was either killing or robbing people in other parts of the county. He was quite the bad man

It’s said that right before the hangman sent Holmes to his final reward at the end of a noose, he shouted, “I am Jack…” He never got to finish that sentence. And despite my personal opinion on capital punishment, he had it coming.

So, as always, we are left with more questions than answers.

Is a dangerous murderer on the loose in Manchester, pushing people to their deaths?

Or, are these drownings brought on by people not watching where they’re going? Or having a little too much in the way of liquor?

Until someone is actually caught in the act, we may never know.

What do you think? Is The Manchester Pusher real or just a coincidence? Tell us in the comments section below!


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