One of Dickens’s favourite publications as a schoolboy was The Terrific Register. He later recalled how ‘it frightened my very wits out of my head, for the small charge of a penny weekly; which considering there was an illustration to every number in which there was always a pool of blood, and at least one body, was cheap.’
This penny weekly was published in 1825 – its full title was The Terrific Register or Record of Crimes, Judgments, Providences, and Calamities. Dickens was 13 when The Terrific Register first came out.
From The Terrific Register is this little snippet of a murder. Imagine the 13 year old Dickens feasting his innocent eyes on this from a madman’s confession of the murder of his beloved:
‘My joy, my happiness was perfect. I took her in my arms madly as I did on that night when I first robbed her of her innocence, and there I lay with her bleeding breasts pressed to my heart and many were the kisses I gave those breasts, cold and bloody as they were…’
No more! X-rated, indeed.