The True Story Of How Batman Stopped A Cannibal Bandit
In the 1820s, Thomas Jeffries held the job of "flagellator" at a prison in Tasmania. Like most people who'd been transported to Australia, Jeffries had committed crimes back home in England. Unlike most such people, he went on to commit many additional worse crimes. He murdered six people, including a baby. Even the gang he joined kicked him out, the leader calling him "a de-humanised monster." And, true to his role as a villain, he received a new terrifying name. His villainous alias was "Mark."
One New Year's Eve, he broke a group of prisoners out of his jail and went on a crime spree. Then they fled into the wilderness and realized they were short on food. So they killed one of the members of the group and ate him. Human flesh apparently doesn't taste so great if you're not used to it, so they mixed the meat with mutton from a sheep they'd killed. That's right: They killed a sheep, which provided plenty of food for them, but they also decided to kill and eat one of their own.
Clearly, Jeffries had to be stopped. And he was stopped ... by Batman.
John Batman was his name, and hunting gangsters was his game. His father had been named "Bateman," but they changed their names at some point, as immigrants so often do. When he wasn't taking over his father's lumber business or raising livestock, Batman pursued fugitives, called bushrangers (they hid in the bush). He hunted down and captured Jeffries, and also interrogated him to find out the location of that gangleader who'd expelled him, Matthew Brady. Batman took them both alive and turned them both over to the hangman. He was just 25 at the time.
As the years went on, Batman moved from bounty hunting to light genocide, so he's not a hero. Then at the end of his life (his late thirties), Batman wore a mask at all times. This was because he'd caught syphilis, which ate away at his nose.
This is the first time we've mentioned the guy, but he's hardly an obscure figure in Australia. Dozens of streets are named for him, as well as Batman Park, Batman Bridge, and Batman Hill. For a while, even the city of Melbourne was named for him. Melbourne was called Batmania.
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Top image: SuperJew/Wiki Commons