imyeyes-banner-sqIn My EyesBy Edward B. Antonio

In My Eyes: by Edward B. Antonio

Myth # 5: Jose Rizal was a foreign spy

The hearsay: Jose Rizal was involved either to a German or French espionage.

Fact check: Rizal didn’t have the same charisma as James Bond’s but nonetheless, German authorities still suspected him as a French spy. It all started when a chief of police visited Rizal in his Berlin apartment and asked for his passport. Turns out, Rizal was being investigated for his questionable behavior. If you didn’t know Rizal at that point, you would surely suspect him as a spy: He was fluent in several European languages and wandered throughout the country to learn more about its culture. Later, he was also accused of being a German spy (France and Germany had conflicts back then) but eventually, both allegations were proven false.

Myth # 4: Jose Rizal was gay

The hearsay: Jose Rizal was gay–the reason why he never sired a child. Yes, Josephine Bracken had a miscarriage but that kid was not Rizal’s either. Rumor has it that Josephine was raped by her own father so the dead child was just a product of incest.

Fact check: In his 1884 diary, Rizal wrote a very intriguing ”I am gay”. But there was nothing homosexual about it–after all, ‘gay’ can also mean ‘bright and lively’. On the other hand, the rumor about Rizal’s ‘fake child’ is more of an urban legend possibly started by bored–and ill-informed–students. Or maybe it’s because Rizal was close to her mother, successful in his every pursuit, and very keen on his looks—traits of a stereotypical closeted homosexual. But malicious gossips aside, Rizal was justmetrosexual–somebody who knows a lot about grooming, fashion, and culture. No more, no less.

Myth # 3: Jose Rizal survived his execution

The hearsay: After his execution in Bagumbayan, Jose Rizal allegedly rose from the dead due to a divine miracle.

Fact check: If there’s anyone willing to buy this story that would be the Rizalistas. But how did this rumor started? According to Prof. Ambeth Ocampo, a document from the National Archives reveals a bizarre incident that happened on March 29, 1897. Rizal’s remains purportedly disappeared on the way to the Paco cemetery. It was replaced by a mysterious “white cock” that then flew towards Cavite. Whether the story was used by rebels to recruit more people or was actually based on true events is still unknown.

Myth # 2: Jose Rizal was the father of Adolf Hitler. Like father, like son?

The hearsay: While visiting Austria in May 1887, Rizal allegedly had a one-night stand with an Austrian prostitute. Dr. Maximo Viola, Rizal’s companion, wrote about this event in one of his diary entries. Adolf Hitler, also an Austrian, was born not long after the passionate encounter. Go figure.

Fact check: The original story goes something like this: Rizal impregnated some unidentified girl while studying in Heidelberg, University. Rizal left Germany in 1887 and two years later, Adolf Hitler was born. In other words, the myth suggests that not only Hitler was German but was also born a delayed baby. Viola’s diary has proven both assumptions as false but what really happened that night in Austria leaves something for our imagination.

Myth # 1: Jose Rizal was the real ‘Jack the Ripper’

The hearsay: Jose Rizal and Jack the Ripper–both with initials “J.R.”–are one and the same person.

Fact check: Before anything else, let’s examine the facts that started it all: On May 24, 1888, Rizal was in London’s British Library to copy the book ”Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas” by hand. During this time, Jack the Ripper began to terrorize the Whitechapel district, killing more than 5 victims in the end. Rizal then left London to publish the book in January 1889–exactly the same time when the murders stopped.

Due to the intricate method used in the killings, the murderer has been suspected to be a surgeon or someone equipped with medical knowledge. Jose Rizal, as we all know, was also a doctor. Was this coincidence? The story seems plausible but with no tangible proof and tons of speculations surrounding the case, it will likely remain an interesting legend.#