London, Ontario, was once the serial killer capital of the world?

When considering the topic and prevalence of serial killers, London may be the first city to come to mind. The English capital, after all, was home to Jack the Ripper in the late 1800s, to this day perhaps the world's most notorious murderer.

Since then, it has been home to the Acid Bath Murderer, the Lambeth Poisoner and the Bus Stop Stalker, among other colourfully-named monsters.

Yet despite its extensive history, it was once its namesake in Ontario that was once considered the serial killer capital of the world.

CTV News reports that London, Ont., was home to as many as six serial killers at the same time. Western University professor Michael Arntfield has made a study of serial killers and cold case files, and says six serial killers operated in the city between 1960 and 1985 – an era when 32 women and children were murdered.

That's a disturbingly high number for any city, let alone one with a population of 200,000 and a peacefully sleepy reputation.

"No other city in the world, including Los Angeles, at any point in history has had so many at once," Arntfield told CTV News.

"This history is not something you put on the sign when you come into town or the tourist brochures."

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Arntfield details the era in an upcoming book, and notes that 13 of the 32 homicide victims have been linked to three killers: Gerald Thomas Archer, Russell Johnson and Christian Magee.

He has further grouped the remaining 19 deaths into three collections based on "signatures" that imply three different killers.

Arntfield is by no means a crackpot conspiracy theorist. He was a police officer for 15 years. He hosts a television series To Catch a Killer and, last year, a group of his students investigated and identified a Los Angeles serial killer for a class assignment and identified a suspect about five weeks before LAPD announced an arrest.

Little London. Home to the London Knights and birthplace of Justin Bieber and Rachel McAdams. Who knew it had a dark underbelly?

Then again, this is a city that once thought it a good idea to name their baseball team the London Rippers. And yes, the mascot was named Jack.

(Photo courtesy The Canadian Press)

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