During a two year reign of terror between 1788 to 1790 a mysterious individual attacked women throughout London. The perpetrator would stab his victims with a sharp object and then run away before he could be apprehended, and he was soon nicknamed "The Monster" by the London press. In 1790 an arrested was made in the case when Rhynwick Williams was accused of assaulting a woman and subsequently arrested on suspicion of being the Monster. However, after two trials there remained uncertainty over the true identity of the alleged attacker and it was the opinion of some that the entire affair had been a case of mass hysteria.
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