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Who was Jack the Ripper?

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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 4:57 am

George Hutchinson

Informant following Mary Jane Kelly's inquest and recent suspect.

An unemployed labourer and former groom, described as being of military appearance and living at the Victoria Working Men's Home, Commercial Street. At 6.00pm on 12th November 1888, he went to Commercial Street Police Station and gave the following statement to Sgt Edward Badham, 31H:

About 2 am 9th I was coming by Thrawl Street, Commercial Street, and saw just before I got to Flower and Dean Street I saw the murdered woman Kelly. And she said to me Hutchinson will you lend me sixpence. I said I cant I have spent all my money going down to Romford. She said Good morning I must go and find some money. She went away toward Thrawl Street. A man coming in the opposite direction to Kelly tapped her on the shoulder and said something to her. They both burst out laughing. I heard her say alright to him. And the man said you will be alright for what I have told you. He then placed his right hand around her shoulders. He also had a kind of a small parcel in his left hand with a kind of strap round it. I stood against the lamp of the Queen’s Head Public House and watched him. They both then came past me and the man hid down his head with his hat over his eyes. I stooped down and looked him in the face. He looked at me stern. They both went into Dorset Street I followed them. They both stood at the corner of the Court for about 3 minutes. He said something to her. She said alright my dear come along you will be comfortable He then placed his arm on her shoulder and gave her a kiss. She said she had lost her handkercheif he then pulled his handkercheif a red one out and gave it to her. They both then went up the court together. I then went to the Court to see if I could see them, but could not. I stood there for about three quarters of an hour to see if they came out they did not so I went away.

Description age about 34 or 35. height 5ft6 complexion pale, dark eyes and eye lashes slight moustache, curled up each end, and hair dark, very surley looking dress long dark coat, collar and cuffs trimmed astracan. And a dark jacket under. Light waistcoat dark trousers dark felt hat turned down in the middle. Button boots and gaiters with white buttons. Wore a very thick gold chain white linen collar. Black tie with horse shoe pin. Respectable appearance walked very sharp. Jewish appearance. Can be identified.

Inspector Frederick Abberline later questioned Hutchinson regarding the above statement:

I have interrogated him this evening and I am of opinion his statement is true. He informed me that he had occasionally given the deceased a few shillings, and that he had known her about 3 years. Also that he was surprised to see a man so well dressed in her company which caused him to watch them.

It is highly likely that he was the man Sarah Lewis saw standing outside the lodging house opposite Miller's Court (Commercial Street Chambers, 15-20 Dorset Street) between 2.00 and 3.00am on the morning of the murder.

Hutchinson also said that he thought he saw Kelly's companion again in Middlesex Street (Petticoat Lane) on 11th November, but could not be certain. Also, he had apparently stayed out until 3.00am on 13th November looking for the man.

George Hutchinson has since become a controversial witness and issues have been raised about several aspects of his statement:

Why he waited 3 days before volunteering his information.
Why he waited for so long outside Miller's Court that morning.
His extremely detailed description of the man seen with Kelly.

He has also been suggested by several authors as a suspect for the Whitechapel Murders.

In truth, little is known about George Hutchinson, other than the brief personal details given in 1888. Author Melvyn Fairclough interviewed a Reginald Hutchinson who claimed that his father, George William Topping Hutchinson, was the man who knew Mary Kelly. He claimed he was born on 1st October 1866, employed as a plumber (and apparently rarely, if ever, out of work) and that he knew one of the victims and was interviewed by police at the time. When pressed by his son as to the identity of Jack the Ripper, this George Hutchinson replied that "it was more to do with the Royal Family than ordinary people". Although a photograph of him also surfaced, this particular identification of Hutchinson has been greeted with a great deal of scepticism
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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:31 pm

Caroline Maxwell
Witness at Mary Jane Kelly's inquest.

Wife of Henry Maxwell, a Lodging House deputy of 14 Dorset Street, Spitalfields.

In her initial statement, taken on 9th November 1888, she said she had known Kelly for about four months and believed her to be 'an unfortunate', earning her living in that way since Joseph Barnett had left her. Mrs Maxwell and Kelly were on speaking terms.

She saw Mary at the corner of Miller's Court between 8.00am and 8.30am on the morning of 9th November 1888, saying she was sure of the time as she was taking some plates her husband had borrowed back to the house opposite. She spoke to Kelly, asking her why she was up so early, to which Kelly replied that she had the horrors of drink upon her as she had been drinking for some days previously. Mrs Maxwell suggested she go and have a drink in 'Mrs Ringers' (The Britannia), but Kelly replied that she had already done so and brought it up, pointing to some vomit in the road. Maxwell left, saying that she pitied her feelings. From there she went on an errand to Bishopsgate.

On returning, Maxwell saw Kelly again at about 8.45-9.00am outside the Britannia talking to a man. He was about 30 years of age, stout of build, about 5ft 5ins tall and dressed like a market porter. As she was quite a distance away, she did not believe she would recognise him again. Kelly was wearing a dark dress, velvet body and a maroon shawl.

At the inquest (12th November 1888), Maxwell was warned by Coroner Roderick MacDonald, stating "You must be very careful about your evidence, because it is different to other people's." Her testimony added a few other details to her original statement; that she had only spoken to Mary twice; that the man seen with Kelly was wearing 'dark clothes and a sort of plaid coat'; that the man was not wearing a tall silk hat and that if he was, she would have noticed.

Caroline Maxwell's account of her meeting with Kelly is controversial in that it puts the encounter several hours after the supposed time of death, which Dr Thomas Bond put as being around 1.00-2.00am. Dr George Bagster Phillips deduced that death occurred much later, around 5.15-6.15am, but even so, this is still over two hours before Maxwell's encounter. It is quite possible that she was wrong in her timing of the incidents described though she was adamant about the time on account of the returning of the borrowed plates.

Some 50 years later, Walter Dew commented:

"If Mrs Maxwell had been a sensation seeker - one of those women who live for the limelight - it would have been easy to discredit her story. She was not. She seemed a sane and sensible woman, and her reputation was excellent. In one way at least her version fitted into the facts as known. We knew that Marie had been drinking the previous night, and, as this was not a habit of hers, illness the next morning was just what might have been expected."

In any case, Maxwell's claims (and those of Maurice Lewis, who believed he saw Mary even later that morning) have inspired a number of theories surrounding Mary Kelly's death, including the idea that it may not have been Mary she was talking to or even the notion that the doctors were wrong.

The debate continues.

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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:38 pm

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 300px-MrsLong
Contemporary sketch of Mrs Long's sighting of Annie Chapman in Hanbury Street.

Elizabeth Long
(Name given at inquest, but also known as Mrs. Darrell or Durrell)

Born c.1841 in Bethnal Green. A cart-minder living at 32 Church Street, Whitechapel ; married to James Long (b.1843), also a cart-minder.

On Saturday morning 8th September 1888, Mrs Long was passing down Hanbury-street from home and going to Spitalfields Market. It was about 5:30; she was certain of the time, as the clock at the Black Eagle Brewery had just struck the half-hour when she passed 29 Hanbury Street(see below). She was on the same side of the street as No.29 and outside the house she saw a man and woman on the pavement talking. The man's back was turned towards Brick Lane, while the woman's was towards the Spitalfields Market. They were talking together, and were close against the shutters of No.29.

Mrs Long saw the woman's face, but she did not see the man's, except to notice that he was dark. She described him as wearing a brown deer-stalker hat, and she thought he had on a dark coat, but was not quite certain of that. She could not say what the age of the man was, but he looked to be over 40, and appeared to be a little taller than deceased. He appeared to be a foreigner, and had a 'shabby genteel' appearance. Witness could hear them talking loudly, and she overheard him say to the woman, "Will you?" to which she replied, "Yes." They remained there there as Mrs Long passed, and she continued on her way without looking back.

Mrs Long saw nothing to indicate that they were not sober and apparently, it was not an unusual thing to see men and women talking together at that hour, in that locality.

On 12th September, she went to the mortuary and identified the body of Chapman as being the woman she had seen on the morning of the 8th.

Apart from this sighting contradicting the evidence of Dr George Bagster Phillips, who gave the estimated time of Chapman's death as around 4.30am, it also proves problematical when compared with the evidence of Albert Cadosch. His timings would have it that he heard the noises in the backyard of No.29 before Mrs Long's sighting. One possible solution is that Mrs Long heard the brewery clock strike the quarter-hour (ie 5.15am) rather than the half-hour. This, however, remains conjecture.

Elizabeth and James appear to be living at 39 Blythe Street, Bethnal Green at the time of the 1891 census, where both are listed as cart-minders.

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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 1:49 pm

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 300px-JosephLawende
Photograph of Joseph Lawende, at the wedding of his daughter Rose in 1899, reproduced by kind permission of a family member.

Joseph Lawende
Joseph Lawende (also known as Lavender) (9 February 1847-9 January 1925).

Witness who, with Joseph Hyam Levy and Harry Harris, saw a man and woman standing at the corner of Duke Street and Church Passage, leading to Mitre Square, at around 1.35 a.m. on the morning of 30 September 1888, about ten minutes before the body of Catherine Eddowes was discovered in Mitre Square.

Lawende and Levy were identified as witnesses as a result of a house-to-house enquiry made in the vicinity of Mitre Square on the orders of Inspector Edward Collard, on either 30 September or 1 October.

On 9 October the Evening News printed a report on the three witnesses, describing Lawende as "Joseph Levander, commercial traveller in or manufacturer of cigarettes, whose business premises are in St. Mary Axe, corner of Bury street". The reporter seems to have interviewed Levy and Harris, but he commented that the police had "taken exclusive care of Mr. Joseph Levander, to a certain extent having sequestrated him and having imposed a pledge on him of secrecy. They are paying all his expenses, and one if not two detectives are taking him about. One of the two detectives is Foster."

Lawende gave evidence at Eddowes's inquest on 11 October.

Described as a commercial traveller of 45 Norfolk Road, Dalston, he testified that the three men were prevented from going home because it was raining. They went out of the club at about 1.30 a.m. (fixed by the club clock and Lawende's watch), and left the building about five minutes later. According to one report, Levy said that "the court ought to be watched". The couple was standing at the corner of Church Passage, which led from Duke Street to Mitre Square. The woman was standing with her back to Lawende, wearing a black jacket and black bonnet. He had been shown Eddowes's clothing at the police station, and believed it was the same he had seen on the woman (thus most reports of his testimony, though some say only that he recognised them as the sort of dress worn by the woman, or that they looked like the clothes she was wearing). The woman appeared to be short (about five feet high according to one report), and the man was taller. The woman had her hand on the man's chest, but not as if to push him away. They did not appear to be quarrelling, but conversing quietly - Lawende did not hear a word they said. He did not look back to see where they went.

Description given by Lawende and attempts to identify suspects

The first publication of the description of the man seen by Lawende was in the Times on 2 October - "of shabby appearance, about 30 years of age and 5ft. 9in. in height, of fair complexion, having a small fair moustache, and wearing a red neckerchief and a cap with a peak".

But otherwise the description does not seem to have been circulated widely immediately after the murder. The article in the Evening News on 9 October criticised what it called the "idiotic secrecy" of the police, which had caused a delay in making public the partial descriptions provided by the witnesses. (The following month, an article in the Daily Telegraph criticised the fact that the description had been circulated among the police but withheld from the public. The article suggested that the aspect the police had particularly wished to suppress was the suspect's resemblance to a sailor.)

At the inquest, Lawende said he doubted whether he would know the man again (and this is also stated in police reports - McWilliam; Swanson, 6 November). He said in court that he had "a cloth cap on with a cloth peak" (and according to one report that he "looked rather rough and shabby"), but Henry Crawford, the City Solicitor, requested that no further description of the man should be given.

The description of the man seen by "two men coming out of a club" is given in a report by Donald Swanson, dated 19 October 1888, as "age 30 ht. 5 ft. 7 or 8 in. comp. fair fair moustache, medium built, dress pepper & salt colour loose jacket, grey cloth cap with peak of same colour, reddish handkerchief tied in a knot, round neck, appearance of a sailor." Essentially the same description was eventually published in the Police Gazette on 19 October 1888.

Lawende evidently made an unsuccessful attempt to identify James Sadler after the murder of Frances Coles in February 1891. This was reported in the press, with the unnamed witness being described as "Probably the only trustworthy description of the assassin", having seen him with a woman at the corner of the passage leading from Duke Street to Mitre Square on the night of Eddowes's murder. The report then gave another version of the man's description: "aged from thirty to thirty-five; height 5ft 7in, with brown hair and big moustache; dressed respectably. Wore pea jacket, muffler, and a cloth cap with a peak of the same material.".

Yet another version of the description was published in 1892: "A man of thirty-five, standing 5ft 7in to 5ft 8in, rather square shoulders, clean shaven with the exception of a heavy moustache, inclining to be sandy." The description of the moustache, which disagrees with other versions, may have been added in an attempt to strengthen the case against Frederick Deeming, who was the subject of intense speculation at the time. Unaccountably, it was claimed in the press that this description had hitherto been kept secret.

It has been suggested that Lawende was the witness later claimed by Sir Robert Anderson to have identified a Polish Jewish suspect as the Ripper. It has also been suggested that he was probably the witness who reportedly identified William Grant after he was arrested for wounding Alice Graham in February 1895, that witness being described as the "one person whom the police believe to have actually seen the Whitechapel murderer with a woman a few minutes before that woman's dissected body was found in the street".

Two decades after the murder of Eddowes, in his memoirs, Sir Henry Smith gave an account of Lawende that is evidently partially inaccurate. He called him "a sort of hybrid German", and gave - presumably from memory - another version of the description of the man he saw: "Young, about the middle height, with a small fair moustache, dressed in something like navy serge, and with a deerstalker's cap - that is, a cap with a peak both fore and aft." Smith also commented on Lawende's demeanour when being interviewed by the police: "I think the German spoke the truth, because I could not "lead" him in any way. "You will easily recognize him, then," I said. "Oh no!" he replied ; "I only had a short look at him." The German was a strange mixture, honest apparently, and intelligent also. He had heard of some murders, he said, but they didn't seem to concern him."

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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:06 pm

Ripper Letters

During the Autumn of Terror hundreds of letters were sent to the police and local press purporting to be written by the Whitechapel fiend. Most of them were deemed to be fakes written by either newspaper men trying to start a story or fools trying to incite more terror. Many Ripperologists believe them all to be hoaxes. Other experts believe some (specifically the Dear Boss letter, Saucy Jacky postcard, and From Hell letter) are genuine. A select few have been reproduced below.


'Dear Boss' letter

Received on September 27th, 1888 at the Central News Agency, this letter was originally believed to be just another hoax. Three days later, the double murder of Stride and Eddowes made them reconsider, especially once they learned a portion of the latter's earlobe was found cut off from the body, eerily reminiscent of a promise made within the letter. The police deemed the "Dear Boss" letter important enough to reproduce in newspapers and postbills of the time, hoping someone would recognize the handwriting.

A postcard received at the Central News Agency on October 1st, making direct reference to both the murders and the "Dear Boss" letter, is believed to have been written by the same hand. It is reproduced below.

Whether or not the letter is a hoax, it is the first written reference which uses the name "Jack the Ripper" in reference to the Whitechapel murderer.

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Dearboss1_big

First page of "Dear Boss" letter.

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Dearboss2_big

Second page of "Dear Boss" letter.

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Bossenv

The "Dear Boss" envelope.

The original envelope in which the "Dear Boss" letter was sent. All photos courtesy S.P. Evans / M.E.P.O.



Dear Boss,
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn't you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife's so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck.

Yours truly
Jack the Ripper

Dont mind me giving the trade name

PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it No luck yet. They say I'm a doctor now. ha ha


The "Saucy Jacky" Postcard

This letter was received on October 1st, 1888 at the Central News Agency. The handwriting is similar to that of the "Dear Boss" letter, and makes direct reference to both this letter and the murders of the previous night. Those who believe it to be genuine argue that the removal of Eddowes's ear (it was not taken away, nor mailed to the police) and the fact that the postcard mentions the double-event before it was described by the press both testify to its authenticity. Others believe a hoaxer could have gleaned details of both the previous letter and the murders in an early morning paper of October 1st.

Both the front and back of the postcard are reproduced below.

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Coddingc

The "Saucy Jacky" postcard.

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Central

Front-side of postcard.

Photos courtesy S.P. Evans / M.E.P.O.


I was not codding dear old Boss when I gave you the tip, you'll hear about Saucy Jacky's work tomorrow double event this time number one squealed a bit couldn't finish straight off. ha not the time to get ears for police. thanks for keeping last letter back till I got to work again.

Jack the Ripper

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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:24 pm


Here's our gallery of suspects thus far, based on persons named in the official case documents cited above:


Three suspects are named in the McNaughten Memorandum.


Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Druitt2
Montague John Druitt.

Montague John Druitt -- A graduate of Winchester College and an avid sportsman who was discovered drowned in the Thames river on December 31, 1888. He is considered by many to be the number one suspect in the case. Interestingly enough, there is very little evidence with which to implicate his guilt.

Druitt was the second son of a medical practitioner, William Druitt, born August 15, 1857 in Wimborne, Dorset. Researcher Peter Birchwood allows us a glimpse into Druitt's family from his researches into the 1881 census:

Dwelling: Westfield House
Census Place: Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England
Source: FHL Film 1341505 PRO Ref RG11 Piece 2093 Folio 13 Page 19

William DRUITT M 60 M Wimborne, Dorset, England
Rel: Head
Occ: F.R.C.S.Not Practising

Anne DRUITT M 51 F Shapwick, Dorset, England
Rel: Wife

Georgiana E. DRUITT U 25 F Wimborne, Dorset, England
Rel: Dau

Edith DRUITT 13 F Wimborne, Dorset, England
Rel: Dau
Occ: Scholar

Ethel M. DRUITT 10 F Wimborne, Dorset, England
Rel: Dau
Occ: Scholar

Ann FLIPP U 35 F Spetisbury, Dorset, England
Rel: Servt
Occ: Cook

Edith DENNETT U 25 F Wimborne, Dorset, England
Rel: Servt
Occ: Parlour Maid

Sophia E. RIDOUT U 23 F Gosport, Hampshire, England
Rel: Servt
Occ: House Maid

Educated at Winchester and New College, Oxford, Druitt was later to graduate with a third class honours degree in the classics in 1880 (Sugden).

While at Winchester, however, Druitt was heavily involved in the debating society, choosing mostly political topics for his speeches. He was known to denounce the Liberal Party as well as Bismark's influence as "morally and socially a curse to the world." His last speech contended that while previous generations believed 'man is made for States,' it is a 'vast improvement that States should be made for man, as they are now.'

As much a sportsman as a speaker, Druitt was granted a spot in the Winchester First Eleven (cricket) in 1876 and was a member of the Kingston Park and Dorset Country Cricket Club. He was noted to have had formidable strength in his arms and wrists, despite his gaunt appearance in surviving photographs. Druitt also became quite talented at Fives, winning the Double and Single Fives titles at Winchester and Oxford. On March 9, 1875, he placed third in a cricket ball throwing event at Winchester, with a toss of over ninety-two yards.

Immediately after graduation, Druitt began teaching at a boarding school in Blackheath. In 1881 Druitt was introduced into the local membership of the Blackheath Hockey Club and later began to play for the Morden Cricket Club of Blackheath.

The next year, in 1882, Druitt again decided to focus on a law career, and was admitted into the Inner Temple on May 17. On April 29, 1885 he was called to the bar. The Law List of 1886 places him in the Western Circuit and the Winchester Sessions. The next year he is recorded as a special pleader for the Western Circuit and Hampshire, Portsmouth and Southampton Assizes (Sugden).

In 1885 his father passed away as a result of a heart attack, leaving a total of £16,579 inheritance, but leaving Montague and his two older brothers a slim cut. Tragedy struck again in July of 1888, when his mother Ann (née Harvey) succumbed to mental illness and was confined in Brook Asylum in Clapton. Yet through this tumultuous times it seems as if Druitt had managed his affairs quite admirably.

He was nominated for membership of the Morden Cricket Club in 1883, and elected on May 26 of the next year. His subscriptions (which were unenviable) were nevertheless paid in full at the time of his death. Druitt was later appointed treasurer and honorary secretary of the Blackheath Cricket, Gottball and Lawn Tennis Company in 1885. His address was then given as 9 Eliot Place, Blackheath.

And so it went that Druitt seemed to have been able to cope with the loss of both his parents within the small space of three years. But in late November of 1888, it seems that one final straw had broken the camel's back, as Druitt was found on Monday, December 31, 1888 floating in the Thames river.

Henry Winslade, a waterman on off Thorneycroft's Wharf in the Thames, discovered the decomposed body around 1:00 PM that day, bringing it ashore and notifying the authorities. Constable George Moulston 216T, made a complete listing of possessions found on the then unidentified corpse:

Four large stones in each pocket
£2.17s.2d cash
A cheque for £50 and another for £16
Silver watch on a gold chain with a spade guinea as a seal
Pair of kid gloves
White handkerchief
First-class half-season rail ticket from Blackheath to London
Second-half return ticket from Hammersmith to Charing Cross dated December 1, 1888

According to his brother William's testimony (who identified the corpse), Druitt was dismissed from his post at Blackheath School for some unknown reason (some authors have taken to suggesting that Druitt was dismissed for his homosexual tendencies, which caused him to molest his students. This is pure conjecture). The date of his dismissal is ambiguous, as can be seen in the only known report to survive of the inquest testimony, copied in part below from the Acton, Chiswick, and Turnham Green Gazette of January 5, 1889:

"William H. Druitt said he lived at Bournemouth, and that he was a solicitor. The deceased was his brother, who was 31 last birthday. He was a barrister-at-law, and an assistant master in a school at Blackheath. He had stayed with witness at Bournemouth for a night towards the end of October. Witness heard from a friend on the 11th of December that deceased had not been heard of at his chambers for more than a week. Witness then went to London to make inquiries, and at Blackheath he found that deceased had got into serious trouble at the school, and had been dismissed. That was on the 30th of December. Witness had deceased's things searched where he resided, and found a paper addressed to him (produced). The Coroner read the letter, which was to this effect: - "Since Friday I felt I was going to be like mother, and the best thing for me was to die." Witness, continuing, said deceased had never made any attempt on his life before. His mother became insane in July last. He had no other relative.

As Sugden points out, the date given of December 30th is both ambiguous and impossible. The wording alone makes it possible that it was in reference to either William's inquiries or Druitt's dismissal. If it was in reference to the former, it is doubtful that William would wait nineteen days after receiving word that his brother was missing to inquire into his whereabouts at Blackheath School. If it referred to the latter, however, it is impossibly incorrect, as Druitt was discovered the day after the 30th of December, and was estimated to have been in the water for upwards of three weeks or more. Sugden concludes, with reasonable certainty, that December 30th is a misprint for November 30th, a date which makes much more sense.

Assuming it was November 30th on which occurred Druitt's dismissal, the few facts of the case fall nicely into place, assuming it was his dismissal which finally prompted his suicide. The 30th was a Friday, which hearkens back to his suicide note: 'Since Friday I felt I was going to be like mother, and the best thing for me was to die.' Also, remember that among his possessions were two cheques for £50 and £16, respectively. They may have been settlement cheques of Druitt's salary written upon his dismissal. Finally, there was also found an unused return ticket from Hammersmith to Charing Cross dated December 1.

Still, another question arises: when did Druitt commit suicide? His tombstone places the date at December 4th, most probably by William's testimony that "on the 11th of December [the] deceased had not been heard of at his chambers for more than a week." Yet notice the use of the word more -- this suggests a date before the 4th of December. Sugden places the date as December 1st, the day after his dismissal.

This paints a picture of a successful barrister, suddenly overwrought by his dismissal at his second job in Blackheath. He accepts his two settlement cheques from his former employer and sulks home, thoughts of suicide entering into his mind. The next morning he writes his little note, walks toward the Thames with four stones in each pocket, perhaps glances at his cheques one last time, and throws himself into the icy water. It all seems to make sense.

Everything, except for motive that is. Druitt was still a successful barrister, and the school position was only a secondary means of earning money. He was rather high and well-known in the social stratus, and could easily have found another job if need be. So why the suicide?

Two prominent possibilities arise -- first, the aforementioned implications of his homosexuality. Still, only conjecture, but perhaps his vice was discovered and he couldn't bear the embarrassment?

More plausible, however, was that Druitt's mind was slowly deteriorating. The death of his father in 1885, and the committal of his mother only six months before his death could very well have played a heavy part in the matter. Furthermore, mental illness seems to have run in the Druitt family. Ann Druitt, his mother, was later to die in the Manor House Asylum in Chiswick in 1890, having suffered from depression and paranoid delusions. She once attempted suicide by overdosing on laudanum. Her mother before her had committed suicide, and her sister had tried to kill herself as well. Montague's oldest sister killed herself in old age by jumping from an attic window.

And so it must stand -- suicidal tendencies ran in the Druitt family, and it most probably was an overreaction at his dismissal which prompted him to follow suit. Regardless, the inquest was held Wednesday, January 2, 1889 before Dr. Thomas Diplock at the Lamp Tap, Chiswick. It was concluded that Druitt committed suicide 'whilst of unsound mind.' Unfortunately, the coroner's papers no longer exist.

And so the story of Montague John Druitt ends, and his alleged involvement in the Whitechapel Murders begins.

The brunt of the argument contending that Druitt was the Ripper lies with a quote made by Inspector Macnaghten in his famous memoranda, who was referring to Montague in the following quote:

I have always held strong opinions regarding him, and the more I think the matter over, the stronger do these opinions become. The truth, however, will never be known, and did indeed, at one time lie at the bottom of the Thames, if my conjections be correct!

The description of this suspect differs slightly in Macnaghten's memoranda and Scotland Yards public record files. The former reads:

Mr. M.J. Druitt a doctor of about 41 years of age & of fairly good family, who disappeared at the time of the Miller's Court murder, and whose body was found floating in the Thames on 31st Dec: i.e. 7 weeks after the said murder. The body was said to have been in the water for a month, or more -- on it was found a season ticket between Blackheath & London. From private information I have little doubt that his own family suspected this man of being the Whitechapel murderer; it was alleged that he was sexually insane.

The Scotland Yard file reads:

A Mr M. J. Druitt, said to be a doctor & of good family, who disappeared at the time of the Miller's Court murder, & whose body (which was said to have been upwards of a month in the water) was found in the Thames on 31st December - or about 7 weeks after that murder. He was sexually insane and from private information I have little doubt but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer.

Evidence which supports Druitt's being the Ripper is all but non-existant. In fact, his only true link can be made in his appearance and his likeness to many witness accounts. All but one witness gave estimate of age close to Druitt's (31): P.C. Smith (28), Israel Schwartz (30), Joseph Lawende (30), and George Hutchinson (34-35). Elizabeth Long gave an age of forty, but she admitted she did not see the suspect's face.

As for appearance, three major witnesses report the Ripper as having a moustache (which Druitt had), although the color varies from "dark," to "brown," to "fair." Druitt was also of respectable appearance, always known to have been well-dressed. All witnesses except for Lawende (who said the suspect had the appearance of a sailor) support this possibility: Long described a man of 'shabby genteel,' Smith and Schwartz both labelled the man as respectable, and Hutchinson went so far as to describe him as "prosperous-looking."

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Druitt3

Montague John Druitt

In terms of build, however, Druitt falls short. He was a slender man, while witnesses described the man as being from medium to heavy build, stout, and broad shouldered. Almost unfailingly, the suspect was labelled consistently as "foreign-looking" and "a Jew."

Other problems arise as well. It is generally accepted that the Ripper was an inhabitant of the East End (Sugden), but Druitt had little or no experience in or around the area of Whitechapel. He was living at 9 Eliot Place, Blackheath during the murders. But could that address have been used as a "base" for the murders?

Sugden cites contemporary train schedules in order to disprove this theory. According to him, there was no all-night train service between London and Blackheath. The last train leaving Blackheath in 1888 left at 12:25 AM and the earliest leaving London for Blackheath was at 5:10 AM. Although for the Nichols (3:40 AM), Chapman (5:30 AM) and Kelly (4:00 AM) murders the Ripper may have been able to jaunt over to the station and take a train back to Blackheath with very little time wasted waiting for the first train to arrive, this does not hold true for Stride (1:00 AM), Eddowes (1:44 AM) or Tabram (2:30 AM). If the Ripper had killed them and needed to take a train back to Blackheath, Sugden claims, he would have to remain in the area for "perilous hours" just asking to be detected. Still, he admits, the killer could have remained in a common lodging house for some time, although a respectable man such as Druitt in such a place would seem suspicious.

Tom Cullen, noted Druittist, argues that Druitt's known chambers at 9 King's Bench Walk could have been used, as they are within walking distance of the East End. Yet Sugden again refutes this, citing the Ripper's known movements on the night of the double murder. King's Bench Walk was west of Mitre Square (site of the second murder), and yet the killer is known to have gone north-east directly after killing Eddowes and dropped her apron in Goulston Street. Would the killer have risked detection by entering the lion's den northward if he had indeed planned to find refuge to the west?

One of the most often quoted sources of evidence against Druitt, however, is his documented cricket schedule during the murders. On Friday and Saturday, August 3 and 4, Druitt was in Dean Park, Bournemouth. He was there again on August 10 and 11 playing the Gentlemen of Dorset. Tabram was killed on Tuesday, August 7. Would it not make sense that Druitt would have stayed in the region of Bournemouth if he was playing two consecutive weekends?

Furthermore, Druitt was known to have played for Canford, Dorset, against Wimborne at Canford on September 1st, the day after Nichols' murder. On September 8th (day of Chapman's murder) Druitt played at 11:30 AM against the Brothers Christopherson on the Rectory Field at Blackheath. This provides no conclusive evidence against Druitt, but it does seem unlikely that he could have killed Chapman at 5:30 AM and had time to catch a train to Blackheath, remove his bloodied clothes, was up, eat breakfast, and be on the field by 11:30. Especially considering that he would probably have been prowling the streets the entire night before (Sugden).

And so goes the arguments of those who believe Druitt could not have been the Ripper. But how could Macnaghten have made such a seemingly groundless claim? Some contend that it was because he was horrendously underinformed of the case, and based his theory on mere memory.

When Macnaghten says in the memoranda, "from private information I have little doubt but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer," one must look closely at the diction of that statement. Notice how he has little doubt but not absolute evidence. We have no clues as to who the informant was whom Macnaghten refers to, but from the way he words his statement, it would seem as if it would have been a Druitt family member. And yet if one of Druitt's relations had informed Macnaghten that they believed he may have been the Ripper, would Macnaghten not rather have said he has evidence that Druitt's family believe him to be insane? This leads one to believe that perhaps Macnaghten was basing his claims on hearsay and rumour, rather than actual private information he himself received.

Another statement made by Macnaghten was that the Ripper's brain, "after his awful glut on this occasion (Kelly's murder), gave way altogether and he committed suicide; otherwise the murders would not have ceased."

And yet there is still, to this day, no evidence which shows that serial killers can not simply stop killing. According to Sugden, "more recent experience ... seems to demonstrate the contrary."

Furthermore, there are other reasons besides suicide which could have prevented the Ripper from continuing his crimes after Kelly, such as incarceration (in prison or an asylum), emigration, accidental or natural death, or even a bout of sickness. Even more damning is the statement that "despite the dramatic increase of such crimes in recent decades, no major offender is known to have committed suicide. (Sugden)"

What's worse are the many errors in Macnaghten's notes regarding Druitt. He stated that Druitt lived with his family, but records show that he lived alone at 9 Eliot Place. He stated that Druitt had committed suicide around the 10th of November, three weeks before it actually occurred. He stated that Druitt was about 41 at the time of his death, overestimating by ten years. Finally, he mentions Druitt as being a doctor, when he was a barrister and schoolmaster.

Still, Macnaghten was an intelligent man, and it is doubtful he would have placed such merit in a suspect without due cause. Perhaps more evidence or documents will be found in the future which may shed some light on Macnaghten's motives behind Druitt.

Regardless, the case for Druitt being the Ripper seemed almost cemented by Dan Farson in 1959, upon his discovery of a man who claimed to have remembered a pamphlet being distributed in Australia around 1890 entitled "The East End Murderer -- I knew him." It's author, claimed Mr. A. Knowles (Farson's informant), was Lionel Druitt, Drewett or Drewery. The fact that Lionel Druitt, who was Montague's cousin, had left to live in Australia in 1886 only excited the investigators more, and they left to research the possibility.

The men were horribly disappointed. All they found was a shoddy story of a Mr. W. G. Fell of Dandenong who claimed to have definite proof of the Ripper's identity, but refused to give it out unless he received a £500 reward. No one by the name of Fell was ever recorded in Dandenong in 1890.

And so it appears that the pamphlet memories of Mr. A. Knowles was just a confusion of facts between Druitt and Deeming. The Melbourne Evening Standard of April 8, 1892 carried the headline; "JACK THE RIPPER: DEEMING AT ALDGATE ON THE NIGHT OF THE WHITECHAPEL MURDERS." This was denied by Deeming's attorney, who rightly proclaimed that he (Deeming) was serving a sentence in South Africa during the fall of 1888. Nevertheless, it was found that Deeming assumed the name of Druin or Drewen shortly after arriving in Australia in 1891. Although there is no proof, it is most likely that Knowles' memory confused Deeming's aliases with Druitt's name, and that either the aforementioned headline or a similar one (of which there were many in those days) had prompted belief in a pamphlet.

Also of interest is an occurrence which happened in March, 1889. According to Dr. Thomas Dutton, Albert Backert, a high-standing member of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, had set forth his displeasure that "there seemed to be too much complacency in the force simply because there had been no more murders for some months."

The senior officers responded to his complaint, and was told that if he were to swear to secrecy he would be given information about the case. In his own words, he explains:

Foolishly, I agreed. It was then suggested to me that
the Vigilance Committee and its patrols might be dis-
banded as the police were quite certain that the Ripper
was dead. I protested that, as I had been sworn to
secrecy, I really ought to be given more information
than this. 'It isn't necessary for you to know any more,'
I was told. 'The man in question is dead. He was fish-
ed out of the Thames two months ago and it would only
cause pain to relatives if we said any more than that.

Dutton's source on this is unknown, but if true, this is of extreme importance -- if this happened in March of 1889, then it suggests police interest in Druitt as a suspect before Macnaghten, who didn't join the force until the summer of 1889: two months after this alleged incident.

Abberline himself didn't acknowledge the fact, as others such as Anderson have so famously done, that the Ripper was known to have been dead soon after the autumn of 1888. In his interview with the Pall Mall Gazette in 1903, he is quoted:

You can state most emphatically that Scotland Yard is really no wiser on the subject than it was fifteen years ago. It is simple nonsense to talk of the police having proof that the man is dead. I am, and always have been, in the closest touch with Scotland Yard, and it would have been next to impossible for me not to have known all about it. Besides, the authorities would have been only too glad to make an end of such a mystery, if only for their own credit.

And so remains the case of Druitt. His acceptance as a Ripper suspect must lie in the belief that Macnaghten had more information than he wanted others to know -- information which he claims he destroyed so as not to cause an uproar. One must also contend that Druitt could have fit committed the murders in time to return to his cricket games, especially in the cases of Nichols and Chapman. If those two queries can be answered in the positive, than Druitt deserves recognition as a leading Ripper suspect. If not, his inclusion as a suspect must be attributed to the sole opinions of Macnaghten, based on hearsay and memory.

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Druitt-death-cert

Certified Copy of Death Certificate for Montague John Druitt
Courtesy Andrew Spallek

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Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Empty Re: Who was Jack the Ripper?

Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:40 pm

Second McNaughten suspect: Aaron Kosminski:


Aaron Kosminski Reconsidered
by Robert House

This essay looks at some new angles regarding the plausibility of Aaron Kosminski as a Jack the Ripper suspect. In general, I do not discuss the controversies which argue that Aaron is not actually the "Kosminski" suspect. In general, I agree with Stewart Evans dissertation on the subject of the Seaside Home identification. I have read and studied all Scott Nelson's articles on this subject and I have to admit that I do not agree with his hypothesis, although I do commend him for his intelligently written and well researched essays.

Aaron Kosminski - Basic Background

Aaron Kosminski was born in 1864 or 1865, probably in Russia. Records suggest that it is likely that Aaron emigrated west with his sisters and their families from Russia/Poland in about 1880-1881. In all likelihood they lived briefly in Germany in 1881, and had settled in London by later in 1881 or in 1882. It appears that Aaron's mother did not come with them at this time. By 1901 she is living at 63 New Street with Morris and Matilda Lubnowski, Aaron's brother-in-law and sister respectively, and their 4 children. Listed as "Cohen L." in the census, they later changed their last name to "Lubnowski-Cohen".

The emigration of Aaron's sisters and their families is indicated by the birth records of the Lubnowski children: Joseph, the oldest, was born in Poland in 1880; Bertha was born in Germany in 1881; Annie (b. 1884) and Jane (b. 1888) were both born in London. Likewise, the children of Woolf and Betsy Abrahams were both born in London: Rebecca in 1882, and Matilda in 1890.

See below

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Robhouse_aaron_tree

It seems likely that Aaron emigrated in the company of his sisters' families, although this is not certain.

To put this in context, it is important to understand the history of Poland in the 19th century, and the political and social environment that existed in Russia at the time.

Poland, The Pale of Settlement, and the Pogroms of 1881

Poland had been in decline for nearly a century by the late 18th century. Taking advantage of a weakened Poland, Russia, Prussia, and Austria agreed to annex parts of the country beginning in 1772. By 1795, a third partition of what remained of Poland had wiped the country off the map. Russia took the largest area, but also the least important economically.

When several hundred thousand Jews became incorporated into the Russian Empire, the Russian government immediately perceived them as "the Jewish Problem," either to be solved by enforced assimilation or expulsion. In Russia, there had been a distrust and lack of tolerance for the Jews since the Middle Ages. This problem was largely unaddressed until 1835, when Tsar Nicholas I created the Pale of Settlement, a limited geographic area in which the Jews were forced to live. The government also imposed severe restrictions on the Jews in the Pale.

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Robhouse_pale

"Within the Pale, Jews were banned from most rural areas and some cities (Ritter); they were prohibited from building synagogues near churches and using Hebrew in official documents; barred from agriculture, they earned a living as petty traders, middlemen, shopkeepers, peddlers, and artisans, often working with women and children (Kniesmeyer and Brecher). After 1861, "the Pale became choked by a huge, pauperized mass of unskilled or semiskilled Jewish laborers, whose economic condition steadily worsened," said Klier (6). "Often repeated," said historian Shlomo Lambroza, "the official view was that Jews were a parasitic element in the Russian Empire who lived off the hard earned wages of the narod [people]" (219)."

"In the provinces of the Pale of Settlement, Jews form approximately one-ninth of the population. As their number increases due to the high birth rate and better medical care, the confinement to the Pale causes growing poverty."

In the 1860s, there was a brief period of improvement of the condition for the Jews in Russia. Some of the oppressive restrictions were relaxed, and the Tsar emancipated the Russian serfs. "Bit by bit, small groups of Jews considered "useful" are allowed to settle outside the Pale: merchants, medical doctors and artisans. The Jewish communities of St. Petersburg, Moscow and Odessa grow rapidly, and Jews start to participate in the intellectual and cultural life."

But "the sudden appearance of Jewish lawyers, journalists and entrepreneurs" caused a sharp backlash. By the 1870s, Anti-Semitism was on the rise in Russia. "Anti-Semitic agitation, expressed in newspapers like Novoye Vremya, increases after a wave of Slavophile nationalism in the 1870s." The Russian peasants viewed the Jews as aliens, with a strange and mysterious culture. "During the decade before the pogroms of 1881, a growing atmosphere of crisis surrounded the Jewish Question in Russia."

"The assassination of Tsar Alexander II in March 1881 threw the Russian government into chaos and directly preceded the first major outbreak of pogroms." There were rumors that Tsar Alexander III had issued a decree instructing the people to beat and plunder the Jews for having murdered his father. Beginning in Elizabetgrad, a wave of pogroms (organized and often officially encouraged attacks) spread throughout the southwestern regions, totaling 200 in 1881 alone. Approximately 40 Jews were killed, many times that number wounded, and hundreds of women were raped. The violence consisted of assault, looting, arson, rape and murder. Peasants who plundered and destroyed the Jews possessions "may have felt justified that... they were merely appropriating property which did not rightly belong to the Jews." "The authorities condoned these attacks through their inaction and indifference, sometimes even showing sympathy for the pogromists"; for example, a government investigation concluded that "Jewish exploitation" was to blame for the pogroms.

The pogroms generated a wave of Jewish migration that continued for decades. Many Ashkenazi Jews (from Central and Eastern Europe) settled in the United Kingdom. An estimated 120,000 Ashkenazi Jews, mainly from Russia and Poland, arrived in England between 1880 and 1914. Many Jews emigrate via Hamburg, Germany, which serves as a safe temporary haven for refugees on their way to England and America and other western nations.


Aaron Kosminski

This gives a rather clear picture of the environment in which Aaron Kosminski lived until the age of about 17 or 18. Poland has been annexed by Russia: this explains the records which state that Betsy was born in Russia, and that Joseph was born in Poland. Both would have been true. It is almost certain that Aaron and his family lived in the Pale.

Thus as a boy, Aaron would have lived in a crowded environment, characterized by extreme poverty and oppression, most likely an urban ghetto, or perhaps outside the city in a "shtetl" or small town. As both women and children were expected to work, it is likely that Aaron would have worked, perhaps as McNaughten informed G. Sims, he had been at one time employed in a hospital, as a hairdersser or an orderly.

By the time Aaron is an adolescent, there is widespread anti-semitism in Russia. It is important to consider the effect that this would have had on a young boy. It is likely that at this time Aaron would have began to develop a sense of resentment towards the world at large.

Living conditions in the Pale were extremely crowded, and it is almost certain that Aaron would have shared a bed with either his parents or his sisters when he was young. This will be addressed later in the essay.

In 1878, when Aaron was 13 or 14 years old, the myth of the "Blood Libel" was revived in anti-Semetic newspapers like Novoye Vremya. This myth held that the Jews participated in the ritual murder of Christians, to use the blood of Christian children to appease the wrath of God. Specifically the myth held that "Jews had kidnapped a Christian child, tied him to a cross, stabbed his head to simulate Jesus' crown of thorns, killed him, drained his body completely of blood, and mixed the blood into matzos (unleavened bread) at time of Passover." As this myth was revived amidst a culture of increasing racism, social unrest and chaos, it is perhaps relevant to contemplate the effect these sorts of ideas would have had on an impressionable 13 year old boy.

It is not clear exactly when Aaron and his extended family left the Pale. It was certainly after 1880, and before 1882. I would argue that the pogroms in March 1881 caused the Kosminskis to decide to emigrate west. This was the case for hundreds of thousands of Jews who decided to emigrate west after the pogroms.

So assuming Aaron was still in the Pale in March 1881, he would have witnessed these violent attacks in person. This would have had a severly damaging effect on Aaron, both psychologically and emotionally. It is likely that he witnessed violent acts, destruction of property, and possibly even murder and rape. Although we have no evidence for this, we must consider the possibility that Aaron even witnessed the rape of his mother or his sisters. Remember, hundreds of women were raped in the Pogroms, and we must recall that Betsy and Matilda would have been young women in their 20's at the time.

In conclusion, Aaron was raised in an environment of poverty, rising anti-semitism, and crowded living conditions. As a teen he would have witnessed attacks and quite possibly sexually violent assaults and rape on his neighbors and maybe even his own family.

As I mentioned before, it is unclear whether Aaron emigrated to London with his sisters (around 1881-2), or whether he stayed behind and joined them there later. It is possible that he stayed behind with his mother in either Russia/Poland or Germany. There is no record known to exist that refers to Aaron's father, but by 1891, it is clear that he is no longer in the picture. Thus we may only speculate. But it is possible that he either died or left the family much earlier, while they were still in Poland. Thus we must consider the possibility that Aaron was raised without a strong father figure in a family environment dominated by females.


The Psychological Profile of a Sexual Killer

In the United States, John Douglas and Robert Resseler are considered to be two of the leading experts on criminal profiling, especially as it relates to sexual homicide. Between 1979 and 1983, the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit (BSU) undertook a large study in which they entered into correctional facilities and interviewed a study sample of 36 convicted sexual killers about their backgrounds, crimes, crime scenes, and victims. The data they collected in this period served as the basis for the profiling method they developed and is still in use in many jurisdictions today. The FBI's primary model for profiling offenders is based on distinguishing between the organized offender, and the disorganized offender.

In England, the leading expert on profiling is David Canter, and his approach is different from the American model, relying more on an evergrowing database for statistical analysis.

Some will argue that profiling is not an effective tool for apprehending criminals, and indeed, profiling has been shown in many cases to be inaccurate and fallible. That being said however, it is generally acknowledged that sexually motivated serial killers have many common characteristics, and often share similar backgrounds, etc. Thus we may look at what is known or suspected about Aaron Kosminski, and see if he fits into the profile of a sexual killer.

NOTE: Much of what follows is from the book Sexual Homicide, Patterns and Motives, by Robert K. Resseler, Ann W. Burgess, and John E. Douglas.

Instability of Residence
Data shows that the majority of interviewed sexual killers grew up without a stable residence. Half reported "occasional instability", while another 17% reported "chronic instability or frequent moving". Only 1/3 reported growing up in one location.

"The histories of frequent moving... reduced the child's opportunities to develop positive, stable relationships outside the family".1

Evidence seems to indicate that Aaron Kosminski was born in Russia in the Jewish Pale of Settlement; that he later emigrated and probably lived for some time in Germany; and that he finally settled in London around 1881 or soon after. Once there, the family possibly lived temporarily at a residence in Whitechapel, brfore settling at Sion Square and Greenfield Street. It is likely that Aaron lived at either 3 Sion Square or at 16 Greenfield Street, with one of his sisters and her family. Actually, it is quite possible that he was living at both of these addresses at different times. For example, in July 1890 Aaron is admitted to Mile End Old Town Workhouse from 3 Sion Square, which is presumably his residence at the time. In February 1891, he is admitted "from" 16 Greenfield Street. In all likelihood, his sisters felt a responsibility to take care of Aaron, and he may have been difficult to live with. It is possible that they shared in the responsibility of taking care of him.

It may, incidentally, be fair to guess that Aaron lived at the 3 Sion Square address in autumn of 1888, as this was his residence when he was admitted to Mile End Old Town Workhouse less than a year after the series of murders ended.

It should also be noted that in the 1860s, when residential restrictions were relaxed by the Tsar, Aaron and his family may have lived for a brief time outside of the Pale. It is also to be noted that in the extreme poverty and competitive atmosphere that existed in the Pale, it is not likely that the Kosminskis would have had a stable and consistent residence.

It is clear that Aaron's youth and adolesence was characterized by frequent moving.

Absence of Biological Father

In 17 of 34 cases, the offenders interviewed reported that the biological father left home before they reached the age of 12. "The absence was due to a variety of reasons, such as death or incarceration, but most often the reason given was separation or divorce".

Given the departure of the father, it is not surprising that the dominant parent during childhood and adolescence is the mother (this is 21 out of 34 cases). "The psychological and emotional disengagement" resulting from an absent father figure perhaps enhanced a sense of "negative human attachment or the disregarding of potentially positive ones that might have been expected".

As stated before, it is not known when Aaron's father either died or left the family. However it is clear that he did not emigrate to London with "the family unit". The mother had shown up by 1891, but there is never any indication that Aaron had a father figure, with the exception of his brothers-in-law, after age 17 or 18. It is quite possible that the father left the family much earlier, when they were still in the Pale.


20 out of 34 interviewed offenders had no older brothers, and 17 had no older sisters. One offender reported feeling jealous of his sister as a kid. Others reported a change in "sibling order" as a result of reconstituted families, with new step-brothers and sisters.

This is perhaps relevant in the case of Aaron Kosminski. As his mother did not apparently arrive in London until later, it is possible that Aaron regarded his older sisters as sort of substitute mother figures, ie. people who would take care of him. As Jacob Cohen reported in 1891, he had not worked for years, so we must assume that the sisters' families supported Aaron financially.

Perceived Unfair Treatment By Adults in Formative Years

As has been discussed, Aaron was raised in an environment characterized by harsh and officially endorsed anti-semitism, where Jews were hated and mistrusted, regarded as aliens, and as "a parasitic element". Also, Aaron likely witnessed first hand the pogroms on Jews in 1881, when he was 16 or 17 years old. It is not a stretch to imagine that Aaron would have begun to develop a general resentment of adults and authority figures as a result of this.

"Many of the murderers felt they were not dealt with fairly by adults throughout their formative years". One killer said "I wanted the whole world to kick off when I was 9 or 10." Also, I will note in passing this same killer said " I've got an older sister thaqt beat up on me a lot.... I had the instinct to feel like I'm getting a rotten deal."

It has been noted that an ineffective and hateful social environment leads to developing cognitive distortions, and negative attitudes which later become the justification for violent acts towards others.

Witnessing Sexual Activity/ Violence

"The individual development characteristics of the thirty-six murderers showed the presence of sexual problems and violent experiences in childhood, and a dominant sexual fantasy life." Many of the murderes interviewed had witnessed sexual violence or "disturbing" sex as a child or adolescent

In the pogroms of 1881, "hundreds of women were raped". It is not overstating the case to imagine that witnessing sexual violence, combined with assault, looting, destruction of property, and possibly murder, would have had a potentially devastating effect on a 16 year old.... especially combined as this was with a (possibly) absent father figure, and an overall environment of harsh anti-semitism and poverty.

Often in the case of sexual murderers, there is an identification with the aggressor, and these memories later fuel the development of an isolated fantasy realm. Aaron may also have identified the social system as being weak and ineffectual, unable to protect his family from the violence that was going on in the Pale. This may have further reenforced his fantasy-realm identification with the aggressor, and made him think that the social system was ineffectual in stopping crime and violence.

Compulsive Masturbation

"Over 80% of sexual killers interviewed in the FBI study reported "compulsive masturbation" in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Of these, 19 offenders also reported "sexually stressful situations" including, and this is important, "negative parental reaction to masturbation". It has been surmised from Aaron's file that the cause of his attack of insanity was "public display of masturbation". Scott Nelson has argued that this does not fit the profile of a serial killer, whose masturbation is "controlled or secretive". But the facts do not apparently support this claim.

In speaking of the role of aggression in the development of sexual fantasies, the book notes:

"One offender as an adolescet openly masturbated in his home, especially in front of his sisters, using their underwear in his masturbation rituals. This behavior represented the hyperarousal state derived from his memory of his childhood victimization by an adult. He describes the punitive response from his mother to masturbatory behavior, and his rejection by family members. Even upon recall, his pain and hurt at their ridicule was clear."

It is also noted that the subject was apparently "oblivious to the inappropriate nature of his acts".

This particular case may be especially relevant to an understanding of Aaron Kosminski. Especially important to note is that these acts were perceived to be derived from a memory of victimization by an adult. Also important is that he was rejected and ridiculed by family members. It is possible that in Aaron's reconstituted family situation, he may have viewed his sisters and their husbands in more of an authority role, as surragate parents, people who take care of him.

It is also important to consider that Aaron probably shared a bed with his sisters or even perhaps his mother when he was a child. It is possible that Aaron had developed sexualized and perhaps violent fantasies involving the female members of his family. In this sense, the Jack the ripper murders would be seen as acting out violent sexual murder fantasies against prostitutes, who perhaps represented, in his mind, his sisters.

In this context, let us examine another case from the FBI study:

"One offender's early childhood fantasies indicated a fixation on his internal organs. At age 5 (a critical age for gender identification), he described the following event. He was sleeping between his mother and his aunt, when the aunt had a severe hemorrhage, losing blood in the bed... where she miscarried. We can speculate on how the experience of sleeping with two adult females could stimulate feelings of intimacy and closeness, which were then disrupted by a puzzling and violent scene. The visualization of the blood and the miscarriage seems to have triggered a morbid curiosity about female sexual organs..."

"When he reaches adulthood, rage and aggression is noted where there is a link to sexual frustration. He describes impulsively picking up a large kitchen knife in his girlfriend's apartment just after she had been "sexually teasing", thinking of stabbing her.... This type of penetration fantasy is noted in his offences, in which he mutilates his victims by disembowelment".

This extraordinary case sample could almost be describing Aaron Kosminski, if we are to regard him as a suspect in the Jack the Ripper case.

Consider the following scenario: a young Aaron witnesses violence and a generally hateful environment in the Pale; as a result of poverty he is forced to share a bed with some female members of his family, most likely his sisters. He possibly witnesses his sisters menstrual bleeding, for example when his sister Betsy would have been 12 years old in 1869, and Aaron was only 4 or 5. As a result of this he becomes obsessed with the internal organs, and associates blood or violence with sexuality. Later, he begins to have sexual fantasies involving his sisters. When he is about 16 he witnesses violence, murders, and rape during the pogroms in 1881, possible including the rape of members of his family. From then on, he has a confused sexual fantasy realm involving sexual violence and his older sisters. Later, when he is masterbating compulsively, in front of his sisters, they reject him and ridicule him. Out of this miasma of sexual frustration and a sense of rejection, Aaron enacts his violent fantasies involving his sisters towards women in general.

Unsteady Employment

When Aaron was admitted to Colney Hatch Asylum in February 1891, Jacob Cohen reported that Aaron had "not attempted any kind of work for years". It is not clear how many years Cohen meant: this could be interpreted as meaning 2 or 3 years, or more. However, the implication of this statement is that he had worked at some time. He is listed in the asylum record as a hairdresser, so we are led to believe that he worked sporadically at best.

This also fits the general profile as determined by data from the BSU interviews. Only 20% of offenders reported "steady employment"; the vast majority (69%) reported "unsteady employment", and the remainder (11%) reported "unemployment".


Geographic Profiling

Now we shall look at this suspect from the angle of Geographic Profiling, which is one component of the methodology employed by David Canter.

Geographic Profiling techniques include: distance to crime research, demographical analysis, environmental psychology, landscape analysis, point pattern analysis, crime site residual analysis, and psychological criminal profiling.

Circle Theory

Canter has developed a model of offender behaviour known as the circle theory, which developed directly from environmental psychology. The theory held that, if all the crime scenes of an offender were placed within a circle, the offender would be found to be living within that circle, possibly close to the centre. This theory was subsequently validated by a study of burglaries.

As noted by D. Kim Rossmo, a serial offender's residence would simply lie at the center of a distribution of crime sites if given ideal conditions.

Thus, we might start by drawing the smallest circle which contains the 6 most probable Jack the Ripper victims: Tabram, Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes, and Kelly. (see figure 1) Using this simple method, the center of the circle is only about 1/8 mile from the Abrahams residence at Sion Square. (NOTE For this case study we will assume Aaron's residence during the murders to be 3 Sion Square, although in all fairness, it could be either or both residences.)

Figure 1

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Robhouse_fig1

In reality, Geographic Profiling is more complex than this, and crime scenes are often found to be distributed in complex spatial patterns. Contributing to the difficulties are the psychological and physical boundaries that, among other impedence factors, conspire to distort an already complex analytical investigation. It should for example be noted that all the murders, with the exception of Stride, occurred north of Whitechapel High Street/ Whitechapel Road/ Aldgate High Street. This major thoroughfare may have been a sort of psychological boundary in the mind of the Ripper.

Canter describes two models of offender behaviour known as the "marauder" and "commuter" hypothesis, which were developed from the circle theory. The marauder model assumes that an offender will "strike out" from their home base in the commission of their crimes, whereas the commuter model assumes that an offender will travel a distance from their home base before engaging in criminal activity. A basic graphical model of this hypothesis is shown in the diagram below. (see figure 2)

Figure 2

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Robhouse_4b

Journey to crime concept

Crime occurs at a "spatial and time intersection between both the offender and the victim". In the case of Jack the Ripper, a sexual predator who targeted prostitutes, this means he had to go where the prostitutes were: in other words Spitalfields.

By contrast, the Jewish areas south of Whitechapel Road, are comparitively respectable. In speaking of the largely Jewish neighborhoods, Sugden says "the streets they overran became, by and large, quiet, law-abiding, and clean..." but that "notwithstanding these changes, crime and prostitution lingered amidst the poverty and squalor, especially in parts of Spitalfields."

In "Whitechapel", an article published in "The Palace Journal"in 1889, Arthur G. Morrison describes walking around in the vicinity of Mansell St, Great Ailie Street, Leman Street, etc: "the houses are old, large, of the very shabbiest-genteel aspect, and with a great appearance of being snobbishly ashamed of the odd trades to which many of their rooms are devoted." "Jewish names - Isaacs, Levy, Israel, Jacobs, Rubinsky, Moses, Aaron - wherever names appear, and frequent inscriptions in the homologous letters of Hebrew." "We are tired, perhaps, of all this respectability. Petticoat Lane is before us..."

He later mentions "White's Row, or Dorset Street, with its hideous associations", and goes on to speak of "dark, silent, uneasy shadows passing and crossing - human vermin in this reeking sink", this being at Fashion Street, Flower and Dean Street, Thrawl Street, and Wentworth Street. Clearly, Spitalfields was the high crime area, the area with the highest incidence of prostitutes, and we assume, as the police did in 1888, that this was the Ripper's hunting ground.

By comparison, P.C. Smith noted when speaking of Berner St. "very few prostitutes were to be seen there". With the exception of Stride, all other murder sites are North of the Whitechapel Road. This seems to suggest that the Ripper's preferred hunting area did not include the more respectable areas in the general vicinity of Sion Square and thereabouts.

In conclusion, we can guess that the Ripper would not have hunted in the "comparitively respectable" Jewish areas south of Whitechapel High Street. He would most likely have preferred Spitalfields.

In certain cases, Canter notes, crimes will be more opportunistic in nature. These are referred to in what he calls "Routine Activity Theory". In other words, if the opportunity arises, and the killer feels comfortable enough to kill with minimum risk, we may find murder sites outside of a killers normal activity space. Stride's murder may be just such a case, and this fact could also explain other anomalies in that particular murder. If we are considering Aaron as the killer, then we must remember that he was within about 1/4 mile of his residence, in a somewhat respectable area, lived in mostly by Poles and Germans. "Offenses occuring outside of the offender's activity space were considered opportunistic, often the result of little or no planning." Thus perhaps, the botched nature of the Stride murder.

Now let us examine the map again, assuming that we are considering Aaron as the killer, and his residence as 3 Sion Square. (see figure 3)

Figure 3

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Robhouse_fig3

First, it is interesting to note that 3 of the murder sites are almost precisely equidistant from Sion Square: Buck's Row, Hanbury Street, and Dorset Street. Eddowes murder occurred about 1/4 mile further out. Also note that the Berner Street site and George Yard are also almost equidistant from the center of the circle. The Tabram site, however is closest. This is also significant as the FBI reports in Warren et al 1995 "that the first attack in a serial homicide was likely to occur closest to the offender's home".

Likely Getaway Routes

The next image (figure 4) addresses 3 other separate issues. It is noted that Polly Nichols was last seen walking east along Whitechapel High Street at the intersection of Osborn Street. Given Kosminski's probable residence at that time, this might be see as "walking into the lion's den", so to speak. We might imagine Kosminski met Nichols near Sion Square on the Whitechapel Road, then accompanied her to Buck's row.

Figure 4

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Robhouse_fig4

Next we shall consider the probable getaway routes from Buck's Row and from Mitre Square, as indicated on the map. The piece of apron found in Goulston street indicates the most likely getaway route from the Eddowes murder.

It has been suggested that the Buck's Row getaway route was to the south. On the Whitechapel Photos page of the Casebook website, "Johnno" suggests that the Woods Buildings alley is "very likely escape route through which Jack the Ripper fled after murdering Mary Ann Nichols a few yards away in Buck's Row".

As shown on the map, both of these proposed routes lead directly to Sion Square.

The Police House to House Inquiries of October 1888

It has been proposed that "Kosminski" was initially discovered after the Police house to house search of Spitalfields in October 1888. Sugden describes the search area as extending to Whitechapel road on the south, and Great Garden Street on the east. Thus it is important to note that the northern Sion Square buildings are apparently on the southern side of Whitechapel Road, and thus would probably have been included in the search.

On a final note in this section, I would like to add that although the maps and techniques I have used above are not scientific, yet in a general way, by looking at the maps, many incidental circumstancial bits of evidence "make sense" using the model of Jack the Ripper residing at 3 Sion Square.



In closing, I would summarize my general opinion regarding Aaron Kosminski as a suspect. First it should be noted that McNaughton refers to the suspect as having "a great hatred of women, with strong homicidal tendencies". It can be inferred from this that McNaughton had evidence or a statement to that effect which has become lost. There is no real reason to suspect that McNaughton was lying when he said this. McNaughten also says there "were many circs. connected" with him that "made him a strong suspect."

Many aspects of Aaron Kosminski's background and his "psychoses" seem to fit the profile of a sexual murder. We have a statement that he attacked his sister with a knife, and also we can infer from his background that in his childhood he witnessed horrific acts af aggression, sexual violence, and murder against his neighbors and/or his family. He was presumably identified by Lawende, although this identification was probably not as rock-solid as Anderson seemed to believe.

Aaron's medical certificate declares that "he is guided and his movements altogether controlled by an instinct that informs his mind". In other words he experienced aural hallucinations. This assessment brings to mind many noted serial killers, such as David Berkowitz for example, who claimed to be receiving instructions from a neighbor's dog. Or Ted Bundy who spoke of a presence, or a voice that told him to attack certain people. In Bundy's case this seems to be a sort of "inner dialogue"; in any case, these would be described as auditory hallucination, much like Aaron had.

Notably, Aaron also believed that he was "ill, and his cure consists in refusing food". "He refuses food because he is told to do so, and eats out of the gutter for the same reason." This piece of evidence has been used to characterize Aaron Kosminski as an imbecile, a pathetic and harmless creature. However, in some respects, it is reminiscent of the bizzarre case of Richard Chase, who "believed in 1976 that his blood was turning to powder and that he thus needed blood from other creatures to replenish it." Chase also believed he had soap-dish poisining, which was also in his mind, a justification or rationale for his killings. He believed that if your soap was "gooey, you have the poisoning, which turns your blood to powder." He also seemed to believe that people were poisining his food. Despite this, "one psychiatrist found him to be an antisocial personality, not schizophrenic. His thought processes were not disrupted, and he was aware of what he had done and that it was wrong."

Both of these symptoms, aural hallucinations and "distorted perceptions" are symptoms of schizophrenia. Numerous serial killers have been diagnosed as schizophrenics.

"Schizophrenic disorders generally begin in the late teenage years or early adulthood and tend to occur in withdrawn, seclusive individuals. Symptoms include disturbances of thought, both in form and content (see delusion), and disturbances of perception, most commonly appearing as visual or aural hallucinations." -

As Erin Seigler has pointed out on the message boards:

"Not every schizophrenic talks to himself and foams at the mouth. Some appear quite normal and manage to function well in society. The thing to remember about paranoid schizophrenics (and from what I've read, Kosminski more or less fits into this category) is that their IQs are typically above average and they become quite adept over the years at hiding their delusional system from others."

A final interesting parallel can be found in the case study of "Warren" from Resseler et al. After his incarceration for "assault with intent to commit murder", he underwent a series of psychological evaluations. He was found to be "uncooperative, withdrawn, irratble, resentful and hostile". Although he had a tested IQ of 115, he was described as "withdrawn, and pre-occupied, and at times he seemed to be listening to some inner voice (as though he were experiencing auditory hallucinations, which he denied".

Compare this to Aaron's psychiatric evaluation: "Incoherent, at times excited & violent." "apathetic as a rule". As far as I know, there is no rule as to how a killer will behave after he is "caged".

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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:05 pm

Third McNaughten suspect: Michael Ostrog.

It's difficult to see why a professional con-man should appear a likely suspect for the Whitechapel murders. scratch


Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Ostrog2
Photographs of Michael Ostrog.

Michael Ostrog (b. 1833)
a.k.a. Bertrand Ashley, Claude Clayton (Cayton), Dr. Grant, Max Grief Gosslar, Ashley Nabokoff, Orloff, Count Sobieski, Max Sobiekski, et alia.

Born: 1833

1863: While using the alias Max Grief (Kaife) Gosslar, Ostrog committed theft at Oxford college, and was soon after sentenced to ten months in prison.

1864: Convicted at Cambridge, sentenced to three months in prison. In July, appeared in Tunbridge Wells under the name Count Sobieski. Imprisoned in December of 1864, sentenced to eight months.

1866: Acquitted on charges of fraud, January 1866. On March 19th, stole a gold watch and other articles from a woman in Maidstone. Committed similar thefts in April. Arrested in August, sentenced to seven years in prison.

1873: Released from prison in May. Committed numerous other thefts, and subsequently arrested by Superintendent Oswell in Burton-on-Trent. Produced a revolver at the police station and nearly shot his captors.

1874: Convicted in January of 1874, sentenced to ten years in prison.

1883: Released from prison in August, 1883.

1887: Arrested for theft of a metal tankard in July. Sentenced to six months hard labor in September 1887. Listed as suffering from "mania" on September 30th, 1887.

1888: Released, March 10 1888, as "cured." Mentioned in Police Gazette, October 1888, as a "dangerous man" who failed to report. Sentenced to two years imprisonment in Paris for theft, November 18th, 1888.

1891: Committed to the Surrey County Lunatic Asylum.

1894: Charged for an 1889 theft at Eton.

1898: Charged in Woolwich for theft of books.

1900: Imprisoned for theft of a microscope at London Hospital, Whitechapel. Known to be partially paralyzed by this time.

1904: Released from prison and entered St. Giles Christian Mission, Holborn. Nothing further is known of Ostrog after this time.

History of Ostrog as a Suspect

Mentioned for the first time as a suspect in the Macnaghten Memoranda, which said the following of him in 1894:

Michael Ostrog, a mad Russian doctor and a convict and unquestionably a homicidal maniac. This man was said to have been habitually cruel to women, and for a long time was known to have carried about with him surgical knives and other instruments; his antecedents were of the very worst and his whereabouts at the time of the Whitechapel murders could never be satisfactorily accounted for. He is still alive.

This account does not seem to tally very well with the pathetic petty criminal we see in the historical record.

Ostrog was first introduced to the public in Donald McCormick's The Identity of Jack the Ripper (1962). From that time very little was known until recent research by D.S. Goffee revealed a wealth of information on his criminal career. This information was published in the October 1994 issue of Ripperana, "The Search for Michael Ostrog." Phil Sugden also covers him as a suspect in The Complete History of Jack the Ripper (1995).

Physical Description

Five foot, eleven inches in height.
Dark brown hair.
Grey eyes.
Often dressed in a "semi-clerical" suit.
Had a scar on right thumb and right shin
Had numerous flogging marks on his back.
Two large moles on right shoulder, one on the back of his neck.
Described as a Russian, Russian Pole, and a Polish Jew at various times.

Our thanks to John Winn Oswell for the following photographs

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Ostrograp

1873 Description of Michael Ostrog

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Ostrog

1870s Photograph of of Michael Ostrog

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Ostrog-bto

Benjamin Thomas Oswell, Lieut Colonel N.Staffs Regiment and Deputy Chief Constable of Staffordshire. Arrested Ostrog in 1873.

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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:16 pm

The Littlechild letter (quoted above) names Dr Francis Tumblety as a likely suspect:


Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Tumblety
Francis Tumblety.

Francis Tumblety (1833-1903)
a.k.a. J.H. Blackburn, Frank Townsend

Very little information has been ascertained about Tumblety’s beginnings, his birthplace being the first of many mysteries surrounding this new suspect. According to Evans and Gainey’s 1995 edition of Jack the Ripper: First American Serial Killer (pg. 188) he was born in Canada, while the most recent edition (1996) of The Jack the Ripper A-Z (pg. 453) lists his birthplace as Ireland. Even the exact year of his birth is still in question. In any event, he was born to James and Margaret Tumblety sometime around 1833, the youngest of eleven children: Patrick, Lawrence, Jane and Bridget (twins), Alice, Margaret, Ann, Julia, Elizabeth, and Mary.

Sometime within the next decade (this date, too, is undetermined), the Tumblety clan moved to Rochester, New York. The city directories first enumerate the Tumblety name (which has various spellings: Tumblety, Tumuelty, Tumility, Twomblety, et alia) in 1844 with Lawrence Tumuelty, listed as a gardener, living at the corner of Sophia and Clarissa streets. The other brother, Patrick, first is seen in the directory of 1849, listed as a fireman at Rapids in Rochester, and living at 6 Andrews. It was recently discovered that Francis’s father (named James, not Frank, as was noted in earlier editions of Evans and Gainey) died on May 7th, 1851.

Our first impressions of the young Francis begin around 1848, when neighbors and acquaintances thought him 'a dirty, awkward, ignorant, uncared-for, good-for-nothing boy... utterly devoid of education.' He was also known to peddle pornographic literature on the canal boats of Rochester. Sometime in adolescence he also began working at a small drug store run by a Dr. Lispenard, said to have 'carried on a medical business of a disreputable kind (Rochester Democrat and Republican, Dec.3, 1888).'

Around 1850 (just before the death of his father), Francis left Rochester, perhaps for Detroit. Here he started his own practice as an Indian herb doctor, which must have prospered since from 1854 onward he always appeared as if of considerable wealth.

He next turns up in Montreal in the fall of 1857, where he again made himself known as a prominent physician. Controversy brewed, however, when he was asked to run in the provincial elections of 1857-8. He declined the offer in what would become typical Tumblety fashion; with a grandiose and overbearing explanation in the local newspaper. But there was more: Tumblety was arrested on September 23, 1857 for attempting to abort the pregnancy of a local prostitute named Philomene Dumas. It was alleged that he sold her a bottle of pills and liquid for the purpose, but after some legal haggling Tumblety was released on October 1. A verdict of ‘no true bill’ was reached on the 24th and no trial was ever undertaken.

In either early 1858 (A-Z, 453) or July 1860 (Evans and Gainey, 258), Tumblety left Montreal for Saint John. In September of 1860, he again found trouble when a patient of his named James Portmore died while taking medicine prescribed by Tumblety. In his typical brazen fashion, Tumblety showed up at the coroner’s inquest and questioned Portmore’s widow himself as to the cause of death. The ruse didn’t work, however, and Tumblety made a last-ditch attempt at freedom by fleeing the town for Calais Maine.

From there he travelled to Boston, where he began what would be a long-running trademark: he would wear a military outfit and ride a white steed, sometimes leading two greyhounds before him. He didn’t remain long in Boston, however, and would soon travel and work in New York, Jersey City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and a variety of other cities. With the outbreak of the American Civil War, Tumblety moved to the capital and put on the airs of a Union army surgeon, claiming to be friends with President Lincoln, General Grant, and a host of other well-known political figures. It was at this time that Tumblety’s alleged hatred for women became most pronounced, as seen in the testimony of a Colonel Dunham, who was one night invited to dinner by Tumblety:

"Someone asked why he had not invited some women to his dinner. His face instantly became as black as a thunder-cloud. He had a pack of cards in his hand, but he laid them down and said, almost savagely, 'No, Colonel, I don’t know any such cattle, and if I did I would, as your friend, sooner give you a dose of quick poison than take you into such danger.' He then broke into a homily on the sin and folly of dissipation, fiercely denounced all women and especially fallen women.

He then invited us into his office where he illustrated his lecture so to speak. One side of this room was entirely occupied with cases, outwardly resembling wardrobes. When the doors were opened quite a museum was revealed -- tiers of shelves with glass jars and cases, some round and others square, filled with all sorts of anatomical specimens. The ‘doctor’ placed on a table a dozen or more jars containing, as he said, the matrices (uteri) of every class of women. Nearly a half of one of these cases was occupied exclusively with these specimens.

Not long after this the ‘doctor’ was in my room when my Lieutenant-Colonel came in and commenced expatiating on the charms of a certain woman. In a moment, almost, the doctor was lecturing him and denouncing women. When he was asked why he hated women, he said that when quite a young man he fell desperately in love with a pretty girl, rather his senior, who promised to reciprocate his affection. After a brief courtship he married her. The honeymoon was not over when he noticed a disposition on the part of his wife to flirt with other men. He remonstrated, she kissed him, called him a dear jealous fool -- and he believed her. Happening one day to pass in a cab through the worst part of the town he saw his wife and a man enter a gloomy-looking house. Then he learned that before her marriage his wife had been an inmate of that and many similar houses. Then he gave up all womankind."

If any of this account is to be taken at face value, it sets the mood for the ‘misogynist doctor’ so prevalent in Ripper theory and profiling.

Tumblety next moved to St. Louis, again setting up his ‘medical’ practice, and again promenading himself around the city with arrogant splendor. It was here that another aspect of Tumblety’s character emerges -- his paranoia. He was arrested in St. Louis for wearing military garb and medals he did not deserve, but Tumblety himself took it as persecution from his medical competitors. Soon after her traveled to Carondelet, Missouri and was again imprisoned for a time on the same charge.

It was upon his return to St. Louis, however, that Tumblety received his greatest blow. A poor choice in aliases resulted in his being arrested in connecting with the Lincoln assasination, as he was in the habit of using the name J.H. Blackburn. Dr. L.P. Blackburn was at that time under warrant for an alleged plot to infect the North with blankets carrying yellow-fever. Tumblety was eventually exonerated, but another rumor began that he had at one time employed one of the assasination conspirators. This rumor was dispelled as well. Tumblety subsequently wrote and published The Kidnapping of Dr. Tumblety, a short pamphlet he authored in an attempt to clear his name and re-establish his good-faith with the public. In reality, the book is little more than a series of paranoid ramblings and fraudulent testimonials.

After these fiascos Tumblety wisely chose to lave the U.S. for London in the late 1860s, soon after travelling to Berlin, then to Liverpool in 1874. It was there that he was to meet the not-yet famous Sir Henry Hall Caine (then 21), who was bisexual and almost certainly carried on a homosexual affair with the ‘doctor.’ The two carried on their romance until 1876, when Tumblety returned to New York City. While in New York, Tumblety aroused suspicion through his 'seeming mania for the company of young men and grown-up youths.'

In the years that followed, Tumblety continued to travel across both America and Europe, and raised controversy once again in 1880 when he brought a false suit against a Mrs. Lyons for the sum of $1000, which he claimed she stole from him. Then in October, 1885, his brother Patrick was killed in Rochester when a crumbled chimney landed on him.

Francis Tumblety returned to Liverpool in June of 1888, and once again found himself at odds with the police. He was arrested on November 7th, 1888 on charges of gross indecency and indecent assault with force and arms against four men between July 27th and November 2. These eight charges were euphemisms for homosexual activities. Tumblety was then charged on suspicion of the Whitechapel murders on the 12th (suggested he was free to kill Kelly between the 7th and 12th). Tumblety was bailed on November 16th. A hearing was held on November 20th at the Old Bailey, and the trial postponed until December 10th. Tumblety then fled to France under the alias ‘Frank Townsend’ on the 24th, and from there took the steamer La Bretagne to New York City.

New York officials new of his impending arrival in the city and had the ports watched for the suspect, but to no avail. Many American newspapers reported that Scotland Yard men had followed him across the Atlantic, and it is known the Inspector Andrews did follow a suspect to New York City around this time, though not named specifically as Tumblety.

New York City’s Chief Inspector Byrnes soon discovered Tumblety was lodging at 79 East Tenth Street at the home of Mrs McNamara, and he had him under surveillance for some days following. Byrnes could not arrest Tumblety because, in his own words, 'there is no proof of his complicity in the Whitechapel murders, and the crime for which he was under bond in London is not extraditable.'

The situation was tense: all of New York City knew of Tumblety’s whereabouts, thanks to the many newspaper articles covering Byrnes’s surveillance, but there was no legal means of detaining the man. Fear and suspicion rose until, on the 5th of December, Tumblety disappeared from his lodgings once again, eluding the New York police who were watching him so closely. Interest gradually waned as the years dragged on, and Tumblety next appears in Rochester in 1893, where he lived with his sister. He would die a decade later in 1903 in St. Louis, a man of considerable wealth. Tumblety was buried in Rochester, NY.

Such was the life of Francis Tumblety. Interestingly enough, there was absolutely no press coverage in the UK papers, while American papers (especially New York) carried dozens of full-length articles on his arrest and escape (see, for example, an article of December 3rd, 1888 from the Rochester Democrat and Republican). It has been suggested that Scotland Yard wished to keep Tumblety a secret from the press in order to avoid the embarassment of losing their top suspect.

Whatever the case, the story of Francis Tumblety and his connections to the Ripper crimes emerged only a few years ago in 1993, when Stewart Evans acquired what has now become known as the Littlechild letter. It was a letter penned by Chief Inspector John Littlechild in 1913 in response to some questions asked of him by journalist G.R. Sims. The authenticity of the letter has been established by numerous scientific and historical tests, and is not challenged by any researcher.

The letter mentions the name Tumblety as ‘a very likely suspect,’ and provided the first insight into a Scotland Yard suspect whose name was lost for 105 years. Evans continued to research the suspect with co-author Paul Gainey for two years before publishing the first edition of his work, The Lodger, which would be titled in subsequent editions Jack the Ripper: First American Serial Killer.

The news of this new suspect was indeed one of the most celebrated discoveries of the past decade, and many top-named researchers admit that Tumblety’s case is one of the most persuasive to have emerged in recent years.

Evans and Gainey outline fifteen reasons why they believe Tumblety should be considered a top suspect in the Whitechapel murders:

Tumblety fits many requirements of what we now know as the ‘serial killer profile.’ He had a supposed hatred of women and prostitutes (the abortion with the prostitute Dumas, his alleged failed marriage to an ex-prostitute, his collection of uteri, etc.)
Tumblety was in London at the time and may indeed have been the infamous ‘Batty Street Lodger’ -- he therefore may have had fair knowledge of the East End environs.
Tumblety may have had some anatomical knowledge, as inferred by his collection of wombs, his ‘medical’ practice, and his short-term work with Dr. Lispenard in Rochester.
He was arrested in the midst of the Autumn of Terror on suspicion of having committed the murders.
There were no more murders after he fleed England on the 24th November, if one counts only the canonical five murders.
Chief Inspector Littlechild, a top name in Scotland Yard, believed him a ‘very likely suspect,’ and he was not alone in his convictions.
Tumblety was fond of using aliases, disappearing without a trace, and was the subject of police enquiries before his arrest.
Scotland Yard and the American police had been in touch numerous times concerning Tumblety’s flight from France to New York.
One of the three detectives inspectors assigned to the case was sent to New York at the same time, perhaps to pursue Tumblety.
Tumblety evaded capture in New York City once again.
Tumblety had the wealth necessary for frequent travel and could afford to change his clothes frequently should they have become bloodstained.
He was an eccentric; but shrewd.
He had a tendency toward violence at times, and his career may have included other offences both at home and abroad.
Several acquaintances of his in America believed it likely that he was the Ripper when interviewed in 1888.
There is a strong case to be made that he was indeed the Batty Street Lodger.

Still, there are many opponents who believe Tumblety’s status as ‘Scotland Yard’s top suspect’ is poorly deserved. They make note of the fact that Tumblety’s homosexuality would rule him out as a suspect, as homosexual serial killers are concerned singularly with male victims and would be uninterested in female prostitutes.

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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:31 pm

Mary Kelly's semi-estranged lover Joseph Barnett was questioned closely by the police.


Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Barnett2
Contemporary newspaper likeness of Joseph Barnett.

Joseph Barnett (1858-1926)

Born in 1858 and raised in 4 Hairbrain Court, less than a mile from the heart of Whitechapel. Joseph's father, himself a fish porter, died in 1864, and his mother deserted the family soon after. As a result, the children were raised by his older brothers, Denis and Daniel, as well as his sister Catherine. All four of the Barnett brothers were fish porters by 1878, working in Billingsgate Market.

Joseph met Mary Jane Kelly on April 8th, 1887, and the two decided soon after to room together at various locations for the next year and a half. By the time of the Ripper murders, they were living in 13 Miller's Court, Dorset Street. This is the location where Kelly's mutilated body would be found on November 9th, 1888.

July, 1888: Barnet loses his license as a fish porter, apparently for theft.

October 30th, 1888: Barnett and Kelly have a quarrel at 13 Miller's Court, during which a window is broken and Joseph leaves to take up lodgings in Bishopsgate. It is alleged that the quarrel arose because Kelly was allowing a prostitute to share their lodgings.

November 1st - 8th, 1888: Barnett visits Kelly often, giving her money and seeming to be on good terms with her.

November 9th, 1888: Mary Jane Kelly found murdered at 13 Miller's Court.

Physical Description

30 years old
Medium build
Fair complexion
Blue eyes
5' 7" tall
Probably had a speech impediment called echolalia, which caused him to repeat the last words spoken to him when replying to a question.

Suspicions Against

Joseph Barnett was not described as a Ripper suspect until the 1970s, when Bruce Paley first introduced the idea to some colleagues. It was independently forwarded by Mark Andrews in The Return of Jack the Ripper (1977), a fictionalization of the crimes. Paley first published a factual article describing the theory in the magazine True Crime (1982). Paul Harrison published his Jack the Ripper: The Mystery Solved in 1991, forwarding Barnett as the Ripper, but the book was marred by flawed research. Finally, Bruce Paley published Jack the Ripper: The Simple Truth in 1995, the culmination of over a decade and a half of research into Joseph Barnett as the Ripper. This book has since become a favorite of Ripper enthusiasts, because of its meticulous research and wealth of detail.

The theory, according to Bruce Paley, is that Joseph Barnett was growing tired of Mary Kelly prostituting herself to other men. He was very much in love with Kelly, and believed that if he could support her through his own work, she would not have to resort to a life on the streets. The loss of his job as a fish porter in June of 1888 brought this dream to an end. Kelly returned to the streets in order to provide for herself, and Barnett became infuriated. In an attempt to "scare" Kelly off the streets, Barnett raged through Whitechapel and murdered a handful of prostitutes in the autumn of 1888. His plot didn't succeed, however, and tempers boiled in late October, culminating in their final quarrel on the 30th. Perhaps realizing that his love for Kelly was not completely requited, Barnett murdered her on November 9th with a frenzy only a scorned lover could possess.

There are a number of linkages between Barnett and the Ripper.

Joseph Barnett's physical description tallies very well with a number of witness descriptions, particularly in height (5' 7"), age (30), build (medium), complexion (fair) and the presence of a moustache.
His link with Mary Kelly could explain why the killings ceased after her murder.
Ginger beer bottles were found in 13 Miller's Court by police on November 9th. In the "Dear Boss" letter, the author says that he "saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with..."
The mystery of Kelly's locked door (it was locked when police arrived, indicating the killer either had a key or reached through the window to lock it after he left the scene) could be explained either by Barnett's possessing a key or his knowledge of the geography of the room.
Barnett also fits well with the F.B.I. Psychological Profile of the Ripper:

F.B.I. Psychological Profile

Joseph Barnett

White male, aged 28 to 36, living or working in the Whitechapel area.

Barnett was 30 years old, white, and lived within a mile of Whitechapel for his entire life.


In childhood, there was an absent or passive father figure.

Joseph's father died when he was six.


The killer probably had a profession in which he could legally experience his destructive tendencies.

Barnett was a fish porter, undoubtedly experienced in boning and gutting fish.


Jack the Ripper probably ceased his killing because he was either arrested for some other crime, or felt himself close to being discovered as the killer.

Barnett was interviewed for four hours after the Kelly murder. The police seemed satisfied with his testimony and they don't appear to have suspected him further.


The killer probably had some sort of physical defect which was the source of a great deal of frustration or anger.

According to one contemporary news report, Barnett repeated the last words spoken to him at the inquest. This could be an indication of echolalia, a speech impediment.


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Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Empty Re: Who was Jack the Ripper?

Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 3:50 pm

The Pall Mall Gazette articles (1903) cited above name George Chapman (aka Severin Klosowski) as Inspector Abberline's prime suspect.

This theory is supported by Philip Sugden in the best book on the case "The Complete History of Jack the Ripper":


Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Gc
George Chapman (aka Severin Klosowski)

George Chapman (1865 - 1903)
a.k.a. Severin Antoniovich Klosowski

Born as Severin Antoniovich Klosowski in the Polish village of Nargornak on December 14, 1865 to Antonio and Emile Klosowski. His father, a carpenter, apprenticed Severin to a Senior Surgeon in Zvolen named Moshko Rappaport, whereupon he entered into a career as a surgeon from December 1880 until October 1885, after which he completed his studies in the Hospital of Praga in Warsaw. Rappaport claimed he was "diligent, or exemplary conduct, and studied with zeal the science of surgery." Another unnamed source spoke of Klosowski's "very skilful assistance to patients." Depending on your source, he either failed to become a junior surgeon (Rumbelow, Lane) or succeeded in becoming an assistant surgeon in 1886 and a qualified Junior Surgeon in 1887 (Begg et alia). There is also discrepancy concerning when he arrived in England, as Rumbelow and Lane date his arrival "sometime in 1888," while Begg et alia give the month of June 1887. The best estimate is sometime soon after February 1887, as a receipt for hospital fees paid by Klosowski in Warsaw indicate he was still there at the time. Also of importance is the discovery by Sugden of some papers, written in Russian and Polish, which documented Klosowski's early life in Poland. They are consistent until February 1887, when they end abruptly. Therefore, the best estimate is that Klosowski emigrated to London in either late February or early March of 1887.

He entered into a career as a hairdresser's assistant in either late 1887 or early 1888, working for an Abraham Radin of 70 West India Dock Road. This job soon was soon discontinued after only five months, and Koslowski is next seen running a barber shop on his own at 126 Cable Street, St. George's-in-the-East. The Post Office London Directory of 1889 lists this as his address, so it is most likely that this was his residence in the fall of 1888, during the Ripper murders.

In 1890, Klosowski took a similar job in a barber shop on the corner of Whitechapel High Street and George Yard.

This is significant, as Martha Tabram (killed August, 1888) was murdered in the George Yard buildings, which were only a few yards from this shop. Also of significance is that Klosowski was referred to by others as Ludwig Schloski. The reason for the first name is unknown, but the last name is probably the result of the incapacity of the English tongue to pronounce Klosowski.

Anyhow, Klosowski soon proved his worth, and gradually moved from assistant barber to full-fledged proprietor of the shop sometime before October 1889, when he married Lucy Baderski with the rites of a German Roman Catholic wedding. He had met her only five weeks previously at the Polish Club in St. John's Square, Clerkenwell.

Unfortunately for Klosowski, he was still legally married to his first wife, whom he had left back in Poland. She, however, seemed to have gotten wind of her husband's infidelity and moved to London in an attempt to oust Baderski. The two women appear to have cohabited for a time, until Klosowski's legal wife finally gave up and left, possibly because of the birth of her husband's and Baderksi's son in September of 1890. They moved around quite a bit, living in Cable Street, Commercial Street and Greenfield Street, respectively, until they finally emigrated to New Jersey later that year.

The exact date of their emigration is not known for sure, but the last occurence of the name in any records were in the national census of 1891, which listed them as living at 2 Tewkesbury Buildings, Whitechapel. This survey was taken in early April of that year.

It may be assumed, but without solid evidence, that it was the death of their baby boy (Wladyslaw or Wohystaw Klosowski, dead of "pneumonia asthenia" on March 3, 1891) which prompted the move, and so it would be likely that they left soon after the survey was taken, in April of 1891.

Klosowski found work in another barber's shop in Jersey City, New Jersey. The couple fought bitterly, supposedly over Klosowski's cheating heart. Soon after, he attacked Lucy with a knife, as was reported in the Daily Chronicle of March 23, 1903:

Klosowski's real wife, Lucy Klosowski, who was present in the Central Criminal Court last week, has made a startling statement as to what occurred in the New Jersey shop. She states that on one occasion, when she had had a quarrel with her husband, he held her down on the bed, and pressed his face against her mouth to keep her from screaming. At that moment a customer entered the shop immediately in front of the room, and Koslowski got up to attend him. The woman chanced to see a handle protruding from underneath the pillow. She found, to her horror, that it was a sharp and formidable knife, which she promptly hid. Later, Klosowski deliberately told her that he meant to have cut her head off, and pointed to a place in the room where he meant to have buried her. She said, 'But the neighbours would have asked where I had gone to.' 'Oh,' retorted Klosowski, calmly, 'I should simply have told them that you had gone back to New York.'

Lucy was understandably upset, and pregnant to boot, so she returned to London without her husband in February of 1892, living with her sister at 26 Scarborough Street, Whitechapel. Her second child, named Cecilia, was born on May 15th of that year. Around the first of June, Klosowski was to return, and the two reunited for a bit before ending the relationship for good.

In the winter or late fall of 1893, Klosowski met a woman named Annie Chapman (not the Ripper victim) in Haddin's hairdresser shop at 5 West Green Road, South Tottenham, where he had been working as an assistant. They lived together for almost a year, but near the end of 1894, Klosowski's eye began to roam once again, and he brought home a woman to live with himself and Annie. Understandably perturbed, Annie Chapman walked out a few weeks after, pregnant. In January of February of 1895 she told Koslowski about the baby, but he offered no support whatsoever.

And so he left everything behind but her surname, which he took for his own in order to escape the tangled web of his previous affairs. He may have had a new identity, but George Chapman wasn't about to become any less a misogynist than Severin Klosowski.

Sometime after in 1895, Chapman became an assistant in William Wenzel's barber shop at 7 Church Lane, Leytonstone, lodging at the house of John Ward in Forest Road. He soon took up acquaintances with an alcoholic named Mary Spink, whose husband had left her and took her son. The two joined hands in a fake marriage (Mary forwarded the proceeeds of a 500 pound legacy to him) and began living together, leasing a barber's shop in a poor section of Hastings. It soon went sour, and they moved the shop to a more prosperous location, where their "musical shaves" became almost legendary -- Mary would play the piano while her husband serviced the customers. This provided a sizeable income for a while, and Chapman eventually purchased his own sailing boat, which he christened the "Mosquito."

The success in the business world did not transfer over to success in their relationship, and Mary became the subject of many a brutal beating. A Mrs. Annie Helsdown, who lived in the same residence, claimed to have often heard Mary crying out in the middle of the night. She also saw abrasions and bruises about her face on various occasions, and at least once noticed marks around her throat.

It was about this time, on April 3, 1897, that Chapman purchased a one ounce dose of tartar-emetic from the shop of William Davidson, a chemist in High Street. Tartar-emetic is a white powder, easily soluble in water, and contains antimony, a colorless, odorless, and almost tasteless poison whose effects were little known in the late nineteenth century. Given in large doses, antimony is likely to be regurgitated and expelled, but in smaller, timed doses it would case slow, gradual, and painful death. An interesting side-effect of the drug, however, is that it preserves the body of the deceased for many years after their death.

The musical shaves must have soon lost their notoriety, because the shop met the same fate as the previous one, and Chapman soon resorted to managing the Prince of Wales pub off City Road in Bartholomew Square.

It was there that Mrs. Sprink began uncharacteristically suffering from severe stomach pains and nausea. A Dr. J. F. Rodgers was called in to attend, but it was her husband who was by her side religiously throughout the entire affair. She finally gave out on Christmas Day of that year, the cause of death being given as phthisis, or consumption.

Questioned at Chapman's later hearing, both Elizabeth Waymark and Martha Doubleday (who both nursed Mrs. Spink) remembered the condition of their late patient. Elizabeth told the prosecutor, "I prepared the body for burial. It was a mere skeleton."

Doubleday commented on Chapman's actions immediately after the death of Mary: "He stood at her bedside, looked down at her body and said 'Polly, Polly speak!" Then he went into the next room and cried. After that he went downstairs and opened the pub."

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Gcwife2a

George Chapman with wife Bessie Taylor

Not one to remain bereaved, Chapman soon hired a former restaurant manageress named Bessie Taylor to work at the pub, and a relationship soon blossomed. Another bogus marriage was entered into, and again Chapman began to abuse his "wife." According to Elizabeth Painter, Chapman "shouted and thre things at Bessie and on one occasion threatened her with a revolver."

Interestingly enough, Bessie began suffering from the same disease as her predecessor, and to avoid controversy, Chapman left the Prince of Wales and left for The Grapes in Bishop's Stortford. After an operation, her condition remained poor, and the two moved back to London.

Chapman leased the Monument Tavern in the Borough, were she grew steadily worse. She was to die, just like her predecessor, on what should have been a joyous holiday: Valentine's Day, 1901. Cause of death this time was said to have been "exhaustion from vomiting and diarrhoea."

Mrs. Painter visited her friend almost every day during her illness, and was more than once the butt of many a cold joke from George Chapman. On more than one occasion, when she would enter the house and inquire as to Bessie's health, Chapman would reply, "Your friend is dead." Painter would run upstairs, already grieving the loss, only to find her still alive in the bed. When Mrs. Painter visited on the 15th, Chapman told her that Bessie was "much about the same." To her indignation, Mrs. Painter later learned she had died the previous day.

Of interest at this time is the fact that Chapman had attempted to commit arson on the Monument Tavern, which was quickly losing its lease, around this time.

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Gcwife3a

George Chapman with wife Maud Marsh

Mrs. Chapman III was soon to be found in a woman named Maud Marsh, who was hired as a barmaid for the Monument Tavern in August of 1901. Again, a bogus marriage was performed. But after only a year, Chapman grew tired of Maud and turned his attention to a Florence Rayner, who refused his requests to leave for America with him. When Rayner insisted, "No, you have your wife downstairs," Chapman snapped his fingers and said "Oh, I'd give her that, and she would be no more Mrs. Chapman."

And like his other two victims, Chapman beat Maud without abandon. Maud confided in her sister on a tramride down Streatham Hill one day, warning her: "You don't know what he is."

And so she began suffering strange symptoms similar to those of her predecessors. Mrs. Marsh noticed how eagerly her daughter's lover insisted on preparing her medicine and called in an independent doctor to examine her. This frightened Chapman into giving her a tremendous dose of the poison, and Maud was to succumb to it the next day, October 22, 1902. The doctor refused to issue a death certificate, and when traces of arsenic and 7.24 grains antimony were found in Maud's stomach, bowels, liver, kidneys, and brain in the post mortem, Chapman's days of wife-poisoning were ended for good. (It turns out that it was the antimony which killed her -- the arsenic was only there as an impurity in the antimony). He was arrested by Inspector Godley on October 25th, upon which it was discovered that Severin Klosowski and George Chapman were one in the same.

The bodies of his two previous "wives" were exhumed in November and December of 1902. Bessie's corpse had a mouldy growth upon it but was otherwise fresh, while Mary (having been buried five years) was remarkably well preserved. As Elizabeth Waymark said, "She looked as if she had only been buried about nine months.. The face was perfect." Large amounts of metallic antimony were found in the bodies of both women.

Chapman was charged with the murders of Maud Marsh, Mary Spink, and Bessie Taylor, but although evidence was submitted on all three, he was convicted only of Maud's death on March 20, 1903. The jury took only eleven minutes to come to a decision of guilty.

Chapman said nothing after his incarceration in way of a confession; in fact, he continued to protest his innocence for the rest of his life. He was restless and irritable, but above all he was quiet. After his appeal was disregarded by the Home Secretary he was put on suicide watch.

Chapman was hanged at Wandsworth prison on April 7th, 1903.

Here is where Chapman's story ends and Abberline's begins. Once Godley had arrested Chapman, Abberline is said to have remarked to him, "You've got Jack the Ripper at last!" Although there is reason to believe this remark was actually made when Chapman was convicted and not arrested (Sugden), the fact remains that Abberline held strong suspicions toward this man. From there on, George Chapman has been a serious Ripper suspect. But why did Abberline pick Chapman?

His statement is quoted in the Pall Mall Gazette:

I have been so struck with the remarkable coincidences in the two series of murders that I have not been able to think of anything else for several days past -- not, in fact, since the Attorney-General made his opening statement at the recent trial, and traced the antecedents of Chapman before he came to this country in 1888. Since then the idea has taken full possession of me, and everything fits in and dovetails so well that I cannot help feeling that this is the man we struggled so hard to capture fifteen years ago...

As I say, there are a score of things which make one believe that Chapman is the man; and you must understand that we have never believed all those stories about Jack the Ripper being dead, or that he was a lunatic, or anything of that kind. For instance, the date of the arrival in England coincides with the beginning of the series of murders in Whitechapel; there is a coincidence also in the fact that the murders ceased in London when Chapman went to America, while similar murders began to be perpetrated in America after he landed there. The fact that he studied medicine and surgery in Russia before he came over here is well established, and it is curious to note that the first series of murders was the work of an expert surgeon, while the recent poisoning cases were proved to be done by a man with more than an elementary knowledge of medicine. The story told by Chapman's wife of the attempt to murder her with a long knife while in America is not to be ignored.

Other striking similarities arise among the personal characteristics of Chapman and those most believe the Ripper must have had. Chapman had a regular job, as did the Ripper (since the murders all occured on weekends). Chapman was single and free of family responsibility, as was the Ripper (to allow for his being out at all hours of the night). Lucy Baderski even goes so far as to say that her previous husband was in the habit of staying out into the early hours of the morning.

Furthermore, Chapman had an outrageous sexual drive, if his many affairs and relationships are any guide to go by (The Ripper was a sexual serial murderer). He was also a misogynist (as the Ripper must have been), having beaten at least four of his lovers and killed three. Perhaps most importantly, however, Chapman was a known multicide. This should not be taken lightly, as there were many men who fit the description of the Ripper in 1888, but few who known to actually be able to commit murder, and even fewer known to be able to commit serial murder.

Still, Abberline did admit there was one problem with Chapman's being the Ripper:

One discrepancy only have I noted, and this is that the people who alleged that they saw Jack the Ripper at one time or another, state that he was a man about thirty-five or forty years of age. They, however, state that they only saw his back, and it is easy to misjudge age from a back view.

This is true, but no witness made the Ripper out to be as young as Chapman was in 1888 (twenty-three years old). The youngest estimates were by PC Smith (28) and Schwartz and Lawende (30). Yet, Lucy's brother and sister all claimed that Chapman's appearance changed very little the entire time they knew him. If we take this at face value, then perhaps it would be possible for Chapman to have looked a bit older than his age.

Regardless, what should we make about the vast difference in M.O.s between a cold, calculating wife-poisoner and a brutish mutilator of prostitutes? Abberline's answer to that question was also printed in the Pall Mall Gazette:

As to the question of the dissimilarity of character in the crimes which one hears so much about, I cannot see why one man should not have done both, provided he had the professional knowledge, and this is admitted in Chapman's case. A man who could watch his wives being slowly tortures to death by poison, as he did, was capable of anything; and the fact that he should have attempted, in such a cold-blooded manner, to murder his first wife with a knife in New Jersey, makes one more inclined to believe in the theory that he was mixed up in the two series of crimes... Indeed, if the theory be accepted that a man who takes life on a wholesale scale never ceases his accursed habit until he is either arrested or dies, there is much to be said for Chapman's consistency. You see, incentive changes; but the fiendishness is not eradicated. The victims too, you will notice, continue to be women; but they are of different classes, and obviously call for different methods of despatch.

Ex-Superintendant Arthur Neil, who also believed in the Chapman theory, was even less precise in his answer to the same question:

Why he took to poisoning his women victims on his second visit to this country can only be ascribed to his diabolical cunning, or some insane idea or urge to satisfy his inordinate vanity.

Admittedly, we can not expect either Abberline or Neil to have had the knowledge we now have today concerning M.O.s and serial offenders. Although many still contend that M.O.s rarely change, especially so drastically as from a violent mutilation to a non-physical and calculating poisoning, John Douglas of the American F.B.I. disagrees:

Some criminologists and behavioural scientists have written that perpetrators maintain their modus operandi, adn that this is what links so-called signature crimes. This conclusion is incorrect. Subjects will change their modus operandi as they gain experience. This is learned behaviour.

Still other quesitons must arise, such as Chapman's capability to actually converse in the English language in the fall of 1888, having just emigrated to London only a year previously. Many witnesses claim to have heard him conversing with the victims, some even going so far as to say the Ripper conversed in an "educated manner." Would a Polish immigrant, after having lived no more than a year in London, be able to sustain such conversation?

Finally we come to the subject of the "similar murders committed in America" referred to by Abberline and others as evidence for Chapman's being the Ripper. Actually, there was only one similar murder, that of an elderly prostitute named Carrie Brown, or "Old Shakespeare" for her affinity for quoting the author when drunk. She was murdered in a common lodging house in Jersey City, New Jersey on April 24, 1891, first strangled and then savagely mutilated.

Mary Miniter, assistant housekeeper at the lodging house, saw the man with whom she entered and described him as:

Apparently about thirty-two years old, five feet eight inches in height, of slim build, with a long, sharp nose and a heavy moustache of light colour. He was clad in a dark-brown cutaway coat and black trousers, and wore an old black derby hat, the crown of which was much dented. He was evidently a foreigner, and possibly a German.

The description is far from perfect, but it does hark back somewhat toward Chapman. But the important question here is timing -- was Chapman even in Jersey City at the time of the murder?

On April 5, 1891 the English census was taken, and Chapman was listed as still living in Tewkesbury Buildings, Whitechapel. There are no more listings for Chapman until when he returns to England a year later. Unfortunately, there are no records of Chapman's being in Jersey City before April 24th. The only assumption that can be made is, again, that it was the death of their son in March that prompted Chapman and Baderski to move to America. Therefore it would logically be as soon as possible after his death on March 3rd, and after the census register of April 5. That leaves nineteen days for Chapman to pick up and move out, settle into Jersey City, and murder Carrie Brown. It would be a tight fit, but not entirely impossible.

So what is the verdict? Chapman was a misogynist with medical skill and American experience, with a foreign look similar to those of witness descriptions. He resided in the immediate area of the murders throughout the Autumn of Terror, and the London murders ceased once he moved to America, where another was killed in a similar fashion. Everything fits except for his M.O.. The question to ask here is whether or not a savage mutilator can, in a way, reform himself to being a calculating poisoner seven years later.

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Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Empty Re: Who was Jack the Ripper?

Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:34 pm

There were a number of short-term police Ripper suspects who were all eventually traced, questioned, alibied and eliminated. The most famous of these is John Pizer (aka "Leather Apron") who is the subject of the illustration which opens this thread. Alibied and cleared.

That brings us to the more off-the-wall suspects.

The Royal/Masonic conspiracy has already been referenced, so let's start there:



Unfortunately, it isn't. -- Donald Rumbelow

One of the most controversial Ripper theories was made in Stephen Knight's 1978 book, JACK THE RIPPER: THE FINAL SOLUTION. In it, Knight weaves a fascinating tapestry of conspiracy involving virtually every person who has ever been a Ripper suspect plus a few new ones. Knight's conspiracy has become the most popular Ripper theory ever despite strong objections raised by Ripperologists such as Donald Rumbelow and the recanting of pertinent testimony from Knight's key informant. Still, it has received the most exposure and support of any Ripper theory and continues to appear in other areas of popular culture. Clearly, it manages to appeal to a great number of people and we shall examine that reason shortly.

First, however, it is important to discuss the actual theory as Knight presents it in his book. The basic genesis of Knight's theory actually began in 1973 and had nothing to do with Knight at all! The Ripper murders had recently increased in popularity to the point where the BBC decided to produce a television program on the murders. In an unprecedented move, they combined their theatrical and documentary departments to produce a strange hybrid of a show that purported to solve the mystery once and for all using documented evidence, but by including fictional television detectives. It was decided that research would be extremely important to the shows success so several assistants were assigned to obtain all possible information on the murders. In speaking with a Scotland Yard detective, they were advised to speak to a man named Sickert who knew about a secret marriage between Eddy and a poor Catholic girl named Alice Mary Crook.

The researchers could not find evidence of the marriage or the man Sickert. Puzzled, they went back to their Scotland Yard contact who revealed that the details were slightly off (apparently to test their intentions) he then gave them Sickert's address and phone number. The researchers tracked down Sickert and were told an amazing story.

Joseph Sickert's father had been the famous painter, Walter Sickert, who had lived in the East End during the time of the murders and reportedly knew the truth behind them. Joseph briefly outlined a tale in which Eddy, while slumming as a commoner under Sickert's guidance, met a girl named Annie Elizabeth Crook in a tobacconist's shop in Cleveland Street. Eddy soon got the girl pregnant and they were living quite happily until the Queen discovered her grandson's indiscretion and became furious. She demanded that the situation be handled as Annie was not only a commoner, but a Catholic. Joseph explained that the government had been very vulnerable at that time and the news of a Catholic heir to the throne was likely to cause a revolution. Queen Victoria supposedly gave the matter to Lord Salisbury, her Prime Minister, for resolution. Salisbury ordered a raid on the Cleveland Street apartment and Eddy and Annie were taken away in separate cabs. Her child, a girl by the name of Alice Margaret, had somehow escaped.

Salisbury then enlisted the aid of Sir William Gull who was the Queen's personal physician. According to Walter Sickert, Gull had Annie put away in the hospital and performed experiments on her which made her lose her memory, become epileptic, and slowly go insane. The story would have ended there if it had not been for Mary Kelly.

Kelly was found by Walter Sickert in one of the poor houses and he brought her to the tobacconist's shop to help Annie. She soon became Alice's nanny and it was supposed that Alice was with her when the raid took place. Desperate, Mary placed the child with nuns and fled back into the East End, falling into a life of drink and prostitution. But she knew the entire story of Eddy's indiscretion and began spreading it around. Soon, several of her cronies pressured her into blackmailing the government for hush money. These cronies were Polly Nichols, Liz Stride, and Annie Chapman. When Salisbury learned of the threat, he called on Gull once again.

Gull brought along John Netley, a coachman who had often ferried Eddy in his forays into the East End, for help and soon devised a plan that would rid them of the bothersome women and teach them a lesson about trying to topple a government. Together with John Netley, he created Jack the Ripper as a symbol of Freemasonry. To that end, the aid of Sir Robert Anderson was also enlisted to help cover up the crimes and act as lookout during the murders.

Eddowes, Sickert said, had been a mistake. She often went by the name of Mary Kelly and the conspirators thought that she was the one they were looking for. When the mistake became known, they found the real Mary and viciously silenced her.

The murders were hushed up and a scapegoat chosen if anyone tried to investigate too closely. The poor barrister, Montague Druitt, was chosen to take the blame and possibly, Sickert hinted, was murdered for it. The girl, Alice Margaret, grew up quietly in the care of nuns and later, by an odd series of twists and turns, married Walter Sickert and gave birth to their son, Joseph. Sir William Gull died shortly after the murders, but there were rumors that he had been committed to an insane asylum. Annie Crook died insane in a workhouse in 1920. Netley was chased by an angry mob after he unsuccessfully tried to run over Alice Margaret with his cab shortly after the murders. He was believed to have been drowned in the Thames.

Joseph said that his father was fascinated with the murders and bore great guilt over them. Walter Sickert, after all, had been the one who introduced Eddy to Annie and started the grisly game. To alleviate his guilt, for he could say nothing safely, he painted clues into several of his most famous paintings. Later, Walter Sickert supposedly married Alice Margaret.

The researchers were amazed as no one had ever put forward anything like this before. In checking the few facts, they did find that a woman named Annie Crook lived in Cleveland Street at that time and that she did give birth to a bastard daughter at the same time that Sickert said she did. They felt that the theory was the correct one and they incorporated it into the show.

When it appeared, JACK THE RIPPER (the BBC production) was confusing to many viewers. The strange combination of facts with fictional detectives and an outlandish theory prompted many to question the program's veracity. Joseph Sickert appeared in the last episode and verified everything that had been said. It was, they all felt, the only solution.

Stephen Knight enters the story a little later when he asks Joseph Sickert for an interview for a local paper. After some indecision, Sickert agrees. During the course of their interview, which took place over several occasions, Knight also became convinced that Joseph Sickert believed he was telling the truth. The story, he said, had been told to him by his father to explain why his mother always looked so sad and why both she and Joseph were partially deaf.

Once given the basic germ of the plot, Knight then proceeds to try and confirm the theory. Eventually, he felt that the story warranted a book. Joseph was disappointed as he had only agreed to be interviewed for an article and wanted very little publicity. Undaunted, Knight went ahead with his book in which he tried to prove that the conspiracy did exist, that Eddy did father Annie's child, and (most amazing of all) that the third man in the murderous trio was not Sir Robert Anderson at all but Joseph's own father, Walter Sickert.

The book was initially released in 1978 and caused something of a sensation. As both the BBC program and Knight's book were derived from Sickert's story, they varied only in the identity of the third man. In essence, then, Knight is reiterating the same story told to the BBC but is trying to validate it as a serious theory. It is a fascinating piece of fiction, but very little actual evidence is produced.

Knight makes great use of the infamous Ripper files held by Scotland Yard and the Home Office (not to be opened to the public until 1992 and 1993 respectively and a source of much speculation in 1978) but it is difficult to accept some of his conclusions. His logic is, at times, extremely flawed. Having discovered the birth certificate of Alice Margaret, he verifies the existence of Annie Elizabeth Crook and the fact that she was in Cleveland Street. The fact that she is listed as being employed as a "confectionary assistant" instead of a tobacconist is never fully explained. The name of the father is left blank.

Knight then moves on to the story of a man who remembers his grandmother foster feeding "a child of the Duke's." This story is strictly hearsay with nothing to support it. Knight has proved that Alice Margaret existed but then goes on to connect her with the child of the apocryphal story. There is nothing to link the two and nothing to prove that the rumor of a Duke's child had any basis in fact. Knight merely assumes that because Alice Margaret did exist when Sickert said she did and because of this story that they were one and the same. This is typical of much of Knight's reasoning and logic. It is based primarily on assumption and the belief that if "X was true than Y must also be true." This is wonderfully faulty logic at its best.

A great deal of time is spent connecting Eddy with Cleveland Street. At the time, it was considered a great mecca for artists and Knight postulates that Sickert maintained a studio on that street. There is, outside of the story he told his son, nothing to firmly state that he did so. He does not appear on any of the registry books or as a rent payer. Knight explains this by simply saying that Sickert may have avoided being listed in case he had to make a quick escape from the landlord or something even more sinister. He then implicates Eddy in the Cleveland Street scandal of 1889 in which a homosexual brothel was raided. Eddy was reportedly one of the clients and, according to Knight and several other authors, a cover up was done to erase his involvement.

Knight then goes on to say that the cover up was initiated not to conceal Eddy's "bisexual nature (which was well known by then anyway), but his connection with that particular street" (K 107). This is incredible reasoning. Knight seemingly believes that Eddy would be no more than 'inconvienced' if his bisexual nature was exposed. This is in spite of the strict anti-homosexual laws which existed in England. Surely if Eddy was exposed as having homosexual relations, the scandal would be quite large on its own without having to worry about any other connections. It was these laws which brought Oscar Wilde from fame to absolute ruin and disgrace. Would the outcry be any less against a future King?

The connection is supposedly even greater when Knight mentions that the infamous Aleister Crowley claimed in one of his books that he had compromising letters from Eddy to a boy called Morgan who lived in Cleveland Street. Knight then goes on to link these letters (whose existence has never been verified or even been seen by another source) with a Mrs. Morgan who "ran the very shop at No. 22 Cleveland Street in which Annie Elizabeth worked" (K 103). Even if we accept that these unseen letters existed, there is nothing to positively connect them with this Mrs. Morgan or Annie. Knight assumes that if Eddy wrote letters to this boy then he surely must have been a frequent visitor to the shop. Are we then to suppose that Eddy was seducing both Annie and Morgan?

This is symptomatic of the entire problem with Knight's book and the Sickert theory. It is based entirely on assumptions. There is no direct, objective evidence to link Eddy with Annie, Gull with Sickert and Netley, or even Warren and Anderson with the Masons. Knight builds his argument through assuming that certain things are true. His proof is loose, lacking in hard facts, and uses them to make further assumptions leading to the murderous trio. It is a veritable house of cards which could be toppled by the removal of the slightest piece of evidence.

One of the most detailed parts of the book involves Knight's attempts to implicate the Masons into the conspiracy. Of course, Knight takes it as certain that the conspiracy did exist because of some of the strange evidence given at inquests (or not given) and the unexplainable actions of several of the principals. It is absolutely necessary for Knight's theory that there be a conspiracy so one is naturally assumed to have existed. The Masons are chosen as the movers behind the conspiracy. As victims go, the Masons are probably the best choice Knight could have made. Intensely secretive, they would not allow anyone to consult their files and would refuse all requests for information. This merely fuels Knights certainty that they were implicitly involved in the conspiracy. Knight lists the principal characters as Masons merely on assumption that in order to achieve their political and social stature, they would have to be Masons. There is no evidence to prove this which, of course, fits right in with Knight's conspiracy.

This is actually one of the main reasonings behind his theory. Evidence does not exist because the conspiracy made sure that all evidence was destroyed. This is a handy excuse for lack of hard, objective facts. No marriage certificate for Eddy and Annie? Conspiracy. No evidence that Gull, Salisbury, Warren, and Anderson were Masons? Conspiracy. Evidence suppressed at the inquest? Conspiracy. It is a handy excuse but one that requires an amazing amount of trust from the reader.

The Mason connection is tenuous at best and relies entirely on Knight's supposed 'revelations' about the sect. He discloses that the murders were ritual re-enactments of the murder of Mason Hirem Abiff in Soloman's Temple by three initiates Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum. Knight claims that further evidence of the placing of the victims in specific areas points directly to the Masons. One of these claims rests upon Mitre Square being significant to the Masons as a local meeting place of various lodges and the words Mitre and Square being symbols of Masonic tools. This is an example of Knight's symbolic logic. Working from a list of Procedures, supposedly dictating Masonic conduct, Knight believes that the murders were committed to show Masonic power and had to include humor as well. This explains some of Knight's stretches in logic as he identifies virtually everything to have connections to Eddy or the Masons. For instance, John Netley is said to have been killed, not by jumping off a bridge, but by being run over by his own cab. This is significant, Knight implies, as it was probably a Masonic killing which took place at Clarence Gate. The Clarence being, of course, a veiled reference to Eddy.

Sickert is implicated because he knows too many details about the murders to be an outside man. He must have been working with Gull and Netley. Knight then goes on to suggest that the man seen by several witnesses was Sickert. The parcel the man was carrying is said to be a portrait of Kelly which they were using to track her down. This is confusing in that if Sickert was involved because of his first-hand knowledge of Mary Kelly and the Cleveland Street affair, why would he need a portrait to find Kelly? He knew what she looked like perfectly well so why bring such a useless item along?

In Rumbelow's revised edition of JACK THE RIPPER: A COMPLETE CASEBOOK, he addresses the question of the Gull and Sickert theory. He does not find much truth in the conspiracy. Criticizing Knight for his lack of facts, Rumbelow goes on to prove that Annie Crook did indeed drift from workhouse to workhouse before her death but Alice Margaret was with her during much of this time! Also, in her 1918 marriage certificate, Alice Margaret lists her father as William Crook who was actually her grandfather! This raises just as much possibility that Alice was a product of incest as she was a child of the Duke. In addition, Rumbelow has found that Alice's grandmother, and Annie's mother, Sarah Crook had also been living in workhouses with them and that she was also deaf and given to epileptic seizures. This raises the possibility of Alice's medical problems coming from somewhere other than the Duke.

Perhaps one of the strongest points Rumbelow makes against Knight is when he proves that the actual location which Knight names in Cleveland Street, could not have existed in 1888. The buildings were in a process of being torn down and renovated during that time and could not have been the scene of the dramatic abduction. Rumbelow then goes on to attack Knight's accusation of Sickert as being unfounded. Much of Knight's theory has to do with a red handkerchief which Sickert used in his painting. It is described as being a tool he used to stimulate his memory. It implies the connection that the last man seen with Kelly gave her a red handkerchief and this is what makes Knight name Sickert. To be fair, he also includes Sickert's intimate knowledge of the crimes and his moodiness. Rumbelow points out that the use of the handkerchief is noted in 1917 and there is no indication that he used it before then. Plus, he continues, Sickert had many moods including his 'Ripper' phase which invalidates that argument.

One of Knight's points against Sickert was supposed 'hush' money paid to him by Salisbury. The story went that Salisbury had abruptly appeared in Sickert's Dieppe studio one day and, without looking at it, bought a painting for 500 when it was barely worth 3. Knight says that Sickert had originally attributed this story to the artist Vallon but confided to his son that it had actually happened to him. Rumbelow discloses that the actual painting was done by A. Vallon and was hung in Salisbury's home (where it remains) and included his family which was why he had paid so much for it. By assuming, rather than checking, Knight has left himself open to accusation by the facts.

Knight himself is contradicted by Joseph Sickert who confessed shortly after the book's appearance, to having made up the entire story. Knight claimed that this revelation was simply in reaction to his naming Joseph's father as one of the killers and not to be taken seriously. Yet Knight also contradicts the testimony of Dr. Howard. There was an article printed in a Chicago newspaper shortly after the murders in which a Doctor, while drunk, confessed to having sat on a board of medical inquiry passing judgement on Jack the Ripper. This man, reportedly named Doctor Howard, told how the man was judged to be insane, committed, and a mock funeral given to explain his absence. Knight jumps on this story and proves, through a circuitous route, that the unnamed man mentioned in the story was Dr. Gull. In a postscript, Knight mentions that a letter by Dr. Howard was found and published by Richard Wittington-Egan in which Dr. Howard loudly discounts the story and claims to have not even been in Chicago at the time. Knight explains this rejection of an important part of his theory by saying that "Dr. Howard would hardly have admitted that he had become drunk and broken the solemn oath binding him to secrecy about the Masonic lunacy commission proceedings" (K 211). Once again, he uses the conspiracy theory to explain the existence of conflicting or nonexistent evidence. Clearly, there is no arguing with Knight.

Another interesting point comes in Knight's examination of Gull as a suspect. He states that Rumbelow and Farson have both discounted Gull as a suspect due to his having a stroke a few years before the murder. Knight then goes on to prove that a man can indeed function perfectly well after major strokes and that Gull had only suffered one slight stroke. Then, strangely, he relates the story of mystic Robert Lees leading a detective to the house of a doctor claiming that the man was Jack the Ripper. Knight establishes that this was Gull through another account in a memoir of Gull. Be that as it may, Knight relates the story of Lees and the detective confronting the man who confessed that his mind had been confused as of late and that he had, on more than one occasion, woken up with blood on his shirt. Knight appears to be laying a case for Gull having a split personality that resulted in his committing the Ripper murders. This would appear to be in contrast with the portrait of Gull which Knight earlier paints as a Masonic madman intent upon saving the realm through an intricate plan. It is a strange contradiction.

Ironically, Knight himself accuses Cullen and Farson of not checking their facts when they accused Druitt. Their theories, he says, are based on inaccurate copies of the MacNaughten papers and are thus worthless. The same accusation applies to Knight as his lack of evidence makes his theory just as worthless.

Despite the lack of hard facts, the Sickert theory remains one of the most popular Ripper theories yet advanced. It continues to appear in popular fiction and media, eclipsing all other theories. The reasoning for this is quite simple. The conspiracy theory is a favorite among many people as a large number of them often have persecution complexes and do not trust the government. That aside, the Sickert theory makes an excellent story regardless of whether it is true or not. It is far more powerful than a tale of a lone madman stalking women. It involves powerful people subverting justice for their own ends, romance, tragedy, and guilt. In short, it is the perfect Hollywood story! This fact has not been missed by most as this theory appears frequently in such different forms as movies, television shows, comic books, and novels.

When read as fiction, it makes wonderful sense and provides an incredibly enjoyable read. If taken as fact, Knight's book falls apart from the lack of evidence supporting it. The entire concept is only effective if key elements are believed on faith. The study of the Ripper requires much more than that.

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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:50 pm

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Waltersickert_sepia
Walter Sickert.

Named by Stephen Knight as a member of the Ripper conspiracy, the painter Walter Sickert is further libelled in Patricia Cornwell's book on the case:

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 51oHxt2dmLL._SS500_

See the "Walter Sickert" thread in the Paintings and Photography section for more on this piffle.
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Post  eddie Sun Jun 12, 2011 11:56 pm

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Ed1890b
Prince Albert Victor.

Knight's conspiracy theory apart, Prince Eddy also crops us as a suspect in his own right:


Prince Albert Victor

Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward (known as "Eddy" to his friends) is one of the most famous suspects in the Jack the Ripper case, figuring in no less than three major theories. Over the years, different versions of his personality, mental stability, and manner of death have appeared.

Eddy was born in 1864 to Prince Albert Edward (known as "Bertie"and son to Queen Victoria --Bertie would later become King Edward VII) and Princess Alexandra. Bertie was well known by the English public and not highly respected by many of the lower, and some of the upper, classes. He had a reputation for being a 'ladies man' and was rumored to have been a party to many a scandal that was hushed up by the Palace. Princess Alexandra, on the other hand, was an equivalent to today's Princess Di in that she was much loved by the public who had great sympathy for her having to put up with the antics of her husband.

By most reports, Eddy was a "slow" child and grew up to be a rather dull adult. "Even his nearest and dearest, who were naturally bent on making the best of poor Prince Eddy, could not bring themselves to use more positive terms. Prince Eddy was certainly dear and good, kind and considerate. He was also backward and utterly listless. He was self-indulgent and not punctual. He had been given no proper education, and as a result he was interested in nothing. He was as heedless and as aimless as a gleaming gold-fish in a crystal bowl." (James Pope-Hennessy, Queen Mary. Quoted in Rumbelow, p. 194.)

There were unconfirmed rumors that Eddy was mildly retarded. That his intelligence was lower than expected of a future monarch is not disputed and it is believed that this limited mental ability was one of the reasons why he required a tutor at Cambridge. He was partially deaf, owing to inherited hearing problems through his mother's side of the family. He had an unusually long and thin neck which required him to wear long starched collars and led to him receiving the nickname, "collars & cuffs".

Eddy was named Duke of Clarence and Avondale in 1891 and would likely have followed Bertie to the throne had Eddy not fallen victim to the influenza epidemic of 1891-92. The death was especially ironic as Eddy had become engaged to Princess May of Teck (eventually to become Queen Mary) in December of 1891. During Eddy's lifetime, there were rumors regarding his lifestyle, intelligence, and physical health but nothing was ever proven.

During the time of the Ripper murders, there were no actual theories presented linking Eddy to the crimes. Those would come much later after many of the principal characters in the theories were dead. It would not be until 1962 when the first theory regarding Eddy's involvement in the murders became known. According to Jack the Ripper: A to Z (Begg, Fido, and Skinner), the first allegation comes from Phillippe Jullien in his book, Edouard VII. In it, Jullien remarks that "the prince and 'the Duke of Bedford'" (A-Z, pg. 16) were rumored to be responsible for the murders. I cannot find any details on this mysterious "Duke of Bedford" to corroborate this remark.

This thread was taken up by Dr. Thomas Stowell who, in 1970, published an article in The Criminologist called "A Solution". It created a sensation by his veiled accusation of Prince Eddy as the killer. Stowell apparently used the private papers of Sir William Gull as his primary source material and it was these papers which led him to devise his theory. Throughout his article, the killer is referred to as "S", but there is enough internal evidence to identify Eddy as his chief culprit.

According to Stowell, Eddy was suffering from syphilis, contracted during a shore party in the West Indies, and that this infection drove Eddy insane and compelled him to commit the murders. In this theory, the Royal Family knew that Eddy was the murderer "definitely ... after the second murder, and possibly even after the first" (Rumbelow, p 196). Eddy's doctor in this matter was supposedly Sir William Gull who informed Bertie that his son was dying of syphilitic infection. Apparently no attempt was made to restrain Eddy until after the Double Event when he was bundled away in restraints to a private mental hospital. Eddy then escaped to carry out the Kelly murder after which he was again locked away and died, not of flu in 1892 as claimed, but of "softening of the brain" in a private mental hospital in Sandringham. Stowell goes on to include Eddy's resemblance to Druitt and the eye-witness accounts of the Ripper as proof positive. While a neat and tidy theory, later Ripperologists have poked several effective holes through it.

To begin with, Stowell claims of using Gull's private papers cannot be substantiated due to Stowell's death within days of publishing his theory and the burning of his own papers (unread) by the family. With the lack of the papers, Stowell's claims of Eddy being homosexual (and nearly escaping prosecution in the Cleveland Street scandal) and of Eddy's contracting syphilis cannot be confirmed. Adding more confusion, Stowell used Gull's papers for his theory but Eddy supposedly died in 1892 and Gull in 1890 so Gull could not have been able to comment on the cause of Eddy's death. If the theory is true, Gull could be a source of confirming the infection but not necessarily of it being the cause of Eddy's death. Being the two most important parts of the theory, their elimination severely weakens the case.

More importantly, examination of court and Royal records reveal that Eddy was not even in London on the important murder dates.

"29 August-7 September 1888: The Prince was staying with Viscount Downe at Danby Lodge, Grosmont, Yorkshire. (Nichols murdered 31 August.)

"7-10 September 1888: The Prince was at the Cavalry Barracks in York. (Chapman murdered 8 September.)

"27-30 September: The Prince was at Abergeldie, Scotland, where Queen Victoria recorded in her journal that he lunched with her on 30 September. (Stride and Eddowes murdered between 1.00 and 2.00 a.m., 30 September.)

"1 November: Arrived in London from York.

"2-12 November: The Prince was at Sandringham. (Kelly murdered 9 November)" (A-Z, p. 17.)

Stowell argues that the Ripper's skill at dissection was obtained through Eddy's experience at "dressing deer". A far leap in logic. Despite the implausibility of Eddy actually being the Ripper, he was named as the infamous killer in yet another book: Prince Jack by Frank Spiering.

This strange book takes the basic thrust of Stowell's theory, clearly naming Eddy as the killer, and goes even further. Spiering claims to have found a copy of Gull's notes in The New York Academy of Medicine in which, supposedly, was a report of Gull hypnotizing Eddy and watching horrified as Eddy acted out the murders. From this, Gull went on to diagnose Eddy as having syphilis and that the accompanying pain was driving the Prince out to commit the murders in fits of fantastic rage. Spiering goes on to suggest that Lord Salisbury, in possibly collusion with Bertie, had Eddy killed by a morphine overdose.

Rumbelow states that the book was called "Grade Z fiction" by the American reviewer, Dale L. Walker and that Spiering's own response to the criticism was to claim that the papers also included Eddy's confession to Gull which was not mentioned in the book. Following this claim, both Walker and Rumbelow attempted to trace the existence of these Gull documents but were informed by The New York Academy of Medicine that "'None of the entries in our catalog for works by or about Sir William Gull contain the material referred to by Mr. Spiering." The response to Rumbelow's request mentions that it is not inconceivable that the material could have been misplaced "but it is highly unlikely". Rumbelow goes on to show that Spiering's research was sloppy at best and therefore discredits much of the theory.

In 1978, Spiering issued a challenge to Queen Elizabeth II to reveal the truth about Eddy. Either she should open the Royal archives or hold a press release detailing the Duke's activities as the Ripper. When a Buckingham Palace spokesman stated that Spiering could examine the Royal Archives (as other researchers had done) but that the accusation were "not sufficiently serious to warrant a special statement from the Queen", Spiering replied that he didn't want to see the files. Leaving Rumbelow and others to deduce that the entire episode had been orchestrated to sell copies of the book.

Since then Spiering has not made any further claims or produced any further evidence supporting his theory.

Having survived accusation as the Ripper, Eddy now moved into the role of supporting player to the murderer (or murderers) in two separate theories. The first involved his old Cambridge tutor, James K. Stephen and was initially made in Michael Harrison's biography of Eddy, Clarence. According to this theory, Harrison had gone over Stowell's article and come to the conclusion that "S" was not Eddy, but actually Stephens who was committing the murders "out of a twisted desire for revenge" because of the dissolution of a homosexual relationship with Eddy.

James Stephen was the son of infamous Maybrick judge, Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, and cousin of Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. In 1883, James became Eddy's tutor at Cambridge where his mission was to try and bring Eddy's intelligence up to acceptable levels. Eddy's mind was, according to one former tutor, "abnormally dormant". During this period, Harrison claims, a sexual relationship began between the tutor and pupil, resulting in a scandal of which, apparently, little evidence remains. "The accusation seems chiefly to be based on Harrison's interpretation of the old rugby song, 'They Called the Bastard Stephen,' which he thinks refers to Stephen and Clarence!" (Rumbelow, p 198)

The relationship supposedly ended when Eddy was gazetted to the 10th Hussars on June 17th, 1885. There appears to be no further incident until two years later when Stephen had a mysterious, and eventually fatal, accident. Separate descriptions of the accident exist. Virginia Woolf's biographer, Quentin Bell, says that the family tradition was that Stephen was struck in the head by some object from a moving train. Harrison claims that Stephen was injured when a horse he was riding shied and backed him into the moving vane of a windmill. Whatever the case, the accident was a major one and required a great deal of care. Although he originally appeared to have made a complete recovery, it was later discovered that his brain had been permanently damaged and Stephen was slowly going mad.

Stephen's behavior was quite unusual. Bell relates incidents of Stephen plunging the blade from a sword stick into bread, becoming deluged that he was a painter of great genius, rushing about insanely in a hansom, and "'on another occasion he appeared at breakfast and announced, as though it were an amusing incident, that the doctors had told him that he would either die or go completely mad.'" (Rumbelow, p 199)

At this point, Stephen becomes a patient of Sir William Gull (Rumbelow places it after Gull's first stroke in 1887) and begins a rapid mental and physical decline. Stephen drifts from one project to the next with little focus or interest. It is during this period that Stephen writes two volumes of poetry that include extremely violent images against women. Stephen was committed to a mental hospital in 1891, where he died the following February.

Harrison contends that the breakup of the relationship with Eddy, combined with the accident, provoked Stephen to try and avenge himself upon Eddy. Why he would pick such pitiful women is not sufficiently answered. Harrison argues that the murders are a kind of blood sacrifice through an elaborate explanation that includes a savage deity named the Great Mother, the Roman God Terminus, the relation of Frances Coles name translated into Greek, and Stephen's pamphlet in defense of the compulsory study of Greek at the universities. Harrison goes on to state that the Ripper in fact murdered ten women (to fit into his theory he included Alice Mackenzie, Frances Coles, Mellett or Davis and Annie Farmer) but Rumbelow disputes this counting as Stride and Eddowes are counted as one and Annie Farmer was not murdered at all. The ten women theory was important because Harrison believed that Stephen was acting out his own poem "Air: Kaphoozelum" in which the song's villain kills ten harlots.

Harrison tries again when he attempts to connect Stephen's handwriting with the Ripper letters "From Hell" and "Dear Boss" and that the internal style of some of Stephen's poems matches some of the anonymous Ripper letters. This connection was rebutted by Thomas J. Mann in an article in the Journal of the World Association of Document Examiners (June 1975) in which Mann determines that only the Lusk letter is likely to be genuine and that the connection between Stephen's handwriting and that letter was minimal. "The overwhelming evidence is that the two do not match; and if the author of the Lusk letter was indeed Jack the Ripper, then J.K. Stephen was not that man." (Rumbelow, p. 204)

Not to be outdone, the Eddy/Stephen theory resurfaced in David Abrahamsen's book, Murder and Madness, The Secret Life of Jack the Ripper. Abrahamsen was a forensic psychiatrist who developed a psychological profile of Jack based upon the murders and what little evidence was left behind. His conclusion that the murderer was insane and that the murders were sexual in motive was not anything new even though he did give some new interpretations of some of the evidence and method. Where Abrahamsen fails is that he then takes the profile and goes looking for someone to match it! Stephen is the only logical choice because he is the only one of the KNOWN suspects who matches the profile. This ignores the fact that the Ripper could still be someone unknown to us at this time. Even more, Abrahamsen claims that Eddy was an accomplice in the crimes and that he and Stephen enjoyed a mutually dependent relationship with Stephen being the dominant partner. As the theory is based virtually completely on psychological conclusions, the lack, or contradicting nature, of some remaining evidence.

Eddy is unlikely to have been the source of Stephen's lovesick murder madness, but Eddy returns in what is the most popular theory to date.

The Royal Conspiracy theory first appeared in 1973 in the BBC programme, Jack the Ripper. In it, fictional detectives Barlow and Watt finally solve the Ripper mystery through a series of conspiracies and cover-ups. The story goes that the producers of the program, in doing research, were told to contact a man named Sickert who knew about a secret marriage between Eddy and a poor Catholic girl named Alice Mary Crook. Sickert painted a strange story involving Eddy, Lord Salisbury, Sir Robert Anderson, Sir William Gull, and even Queen Victoria herself!

The man, Joseph Sickert, was the son of famous painter, Walter Sickert, from whom he reportedly got the story. Sickert had lived in the East End during the time of the murders and was supposedly a close friend of the Royal family. Princess Alex asked Sickert to take Eddy under his wing and watch out for him. Sickert eventually introduced Eddy to a poor girl named Annie Crook who worked in one of the local shops in Cleveland Street. Eddy soon got the girl pregnant and they were living quite happily with their daughter Alice until the Queen discovered her grandson's indiscretion and demanded that the situation be terminated. Not only was Annie a commoner, but a Catholic as well and there was belief that news of a Catholic heir to the throne would spark a revolution. The Queen gave the matter to her Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, to solve and he, in turn, went to Sir William Gull. After a daring raid on the Cleveland Street love nest, Eddy was taken away and Annie was sent to one of Gull's hospitals where Gull performed experiments on her designed to erase her memory and drive her insane. Their child, however, escaped the raid unharmed with her nanny, Mary Kelly.

Kelly had been a coworker of Annie's, as well as a model for Sickert, and she became the child's nanny soon after its birth. Knowing that the game was up, Kelly hid Alice with nuns and fled into the East End. Eventually, she told the story to several of her cronies (Nichols, Stride and Chapman) and they decided to blackmail the government when they needed money to pay local protection thugs. When Salisbury learned of the threat, he called on Gull again

This time, Gull devised an elaborate scheme to silence the women based on Masonic rituals. Enlisting the help of John Netley, a coachman, he created Jack the Ripper as a symbol of Freemasonry. Sir Robert Anderson was enlisted to help cover up the crimes and act as lookout during the murders. The murders would be silent messages about the power and strength of Masonry and the fate awaiting any who opposed them.

Eddowes, Sickert said, was a mistake. She often went by the name of Mary Kelly and it was a case of mistaken identity. Once the truth was known, the real Mary Kelly was found and silenced. The conspiracy closed in upon itself and chose M.J. Druitt as a scapegoat to take the blame and, Sickert hinted, Druitt was murdered for it. The girl, Alice, grew up and later, by an odd series of twists and turns, married Walter Sickert and gave birth to Joseph.

The program caused a sensation and lead directly to the publication of Stephen Knight's controversial book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution in 1978. In it, Knight tries to prove that the conspiracy not only existed but that the third man in the murder triad was not Sir Robert Anderson, but Walter Sickert himself!

The Knight theory, though interesting and entertaining in its own way, has been effectively debunked by many Ripperologists. Most notable was Rumbelow's refutation in his revised edition of Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook where Rumbelow provides evidence that Annie lived longer than Knight claims, spent time after 1888 in workhouses, and had Alice with her through some of this time. There are no marriage or birth records listing Eddy as Annie's husband or as Alice's father. Aside from rumor or secondhand statements, there was never any hard evidence linking Eddy to Cleveland Street, Annie Crook, or even Walter Sickert. The lack of evidence, conspiracy theorists purport, proves the theory because all evidence was destroyed! Regardless of the legitimate criticisms, the Royal Conspiracy remains one of the most popular theories with several movies, novels, and graphic novels built around it.

In the end, it is difficult to consider Eddy a serious suspect. Although rumored, there is no concrete evidence that Eddy had mental problems (either through syphilis or any other reason), he is reported being out of the country during the murders, and no solid evidence has been produced that links Eddy to sexual relationships with either James Stephen or Annie Crook. Despite these facts, it appears likely that (outside of serious Ripper circles) the theory of Eddy's involvement in the murders in some way will never completely fade.

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Post  eddie Mon Jun 13, 2011 6:16 pm

Time for some of the more left-field candidates:

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 LewisCarrollSelfPhoto
Lewis Carroll self portrait.

Lewis Carroll

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson - 'Lewis Carroll' as he was to become known - was born into a comfortable middle class family, on January 27 1832, the son of the Rev. Charles Dodgson, of Daresbury, Cheshire, England, and his wife Frances Jane. He was the third child, and first son of a family of eleven children.

At the age of 14 he was sent to Rugby School, where he was evidently unhappy. He made reference years later to the 'annoyance' he had suffered there 'at night' The nature of this nocturnal 'annoyance' will probably never now be fully understood, but it may be that he is delicately referring to some form of sexual abuse. Scholastically, though, he excelled with apparent ease. He left Rugby at the end of 1849 and a little more than 12 months later, went on to Oxford: to his father's old college, Christ Church. The following year he achieved a first in Honour Moderations, and shortly after he was nominated to a Studentship (the Christ Church equivalent of a fellowship), by his father's old friend Canon Edward Pusey.

At the age of 23, his clear brilliance as a mathematician won him the Christ Church Mathematical Lectureship, which he continued to hold for the next 26 years. The income was good, but the work bored him. Many of his pupils were stupid, older than him, richer than him, and almost all of them were uninterested. They didn't want to be taught, he didn't want to teach them. Mutual apathy ruled.

In appearance Dodgson was about six foot tall, slender and handsome in a soft-focused dreamy sort of way, with curling brown hair and blue eyes. The only overt defect he carried into adulthood was what he referred to as his 'hesitation'; a stammer he had acquired in early childhood and which was to plague him throughout his entire life. But, although it troubled him - even obsessed him sometimes - it was never bad enough to stop him using his other qualities to do well in society. He was a highly socially competent man; persuasive, manipulative and attractive to women.

Although he spent so much of his life in the academic environment, Dodgson's real passions were always artistic. He loved the theatre and the company of 'theatricals'. He loved artists and their work. He courted the bohemian life in a way that sometimes compromised the required dignity of his position as an Oxford don. His scholastic career was only a stop-gap to other more exciting attainments that he wanted hungrily. In 1856 he took up photography and very soon became an acknowledged master of the art, making portraits of some of the greatest celebrities of his day. His passionate admiration of the naked human form, and his desire to celebrate this in his work was one of several aspects of his life that brought him into conflict with the 'decent' middle class morality of his day.

In 1861 he became a deacon of the Anglican church, but, despite his religious background, and in direct defiance of the laws of his college, he refused to become a priest. The reason for this is one of the several enigmas that still surround his life.

At the time that he was supposed to take his vows, he was in a turmoil of sexual guilt, resulting, it would appear, from a tormenting love affair, although evidence is fragmentary since his family destroyed the relevant portions of his diaries. Whether this guilt was behind his decision to abandon the priesthood we simply do not know, although the extant evidence suggests a connection.

Dodgson was writing from his earliest youth. First for family magazines, then as he matured, his poetry and short stories began appearing in various magazines like The Comic Times and The Train. Most of his output was funny, sometimes very sharply satirical. He specialised in a kind of anarchic mockery of hypocrisy and authority , that has its most famous example in his 'Alice' books.

In the same year that he became a photographer he published his first piece of work under the name that would make him famous. A very predictable little romantic poem called 'Solitude' appeared in the The Train under the authorship of 'Lewis Carroll'.

Also in the same year, a new Dean arrived at Christ Church, Henry Liddell, bringing with him a young wife and children, all of whom would figure largely and sometimes rather mysteriously, in Dodgson's life over the following years.

He became close friends with the mother and the children, particularly the three sisters - Ina, Alice and Edith. It seems there became something of a tradition of his taking the girls out on the river for picnics at Godstow or Nuneham.

It was on one such expedition, in 1862, that Dodgson invented the outline of the story that eventually became his first and largest commercial success - the first 'Alice' book.

Having told the story and been begged by Alice Liddell to write it down, Dodgson was evidently struck by its potential to 'sell well'. He took the MS to Macmillan the publisher who liked it immediately.

'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' was published in 1865, under the pen-name Dodgson had first used some nine years earlier - Lewis Carroll.

With the launch and immediately phenomenal success of 'Alice', the story of the author's life becomes effectively divided in two: the continuing story of Dodgson's real life and the evolving myth surrounding 'Lewis Carroll'.

Throughout his growing wealth and fame, Dodgson continued to teach at Christ Church until 1881, and he remained in residence there until his death. He published 'Through the Looking-Glass and what Alice found there' in 1872, and his last novel the two volume 'Sylvie and Bruno' in 1889 and 1893 respectively. He also published many mathematical papers under his own name and toured Russia and Europe in an extended visit (in 1867).

He never married, though there is evidence of at least one traumatic sexual relationship during the 1860s, and in later years, he enjoyed increasingly open and intimate friendships with numbers of women, married and single. He died, suddenly of violent pneumonia, on January 14 1898.

After his death, his invented name 'Lewis Carroll' quickly became the focus of a potent mythology. Despite the evidence of his slightly irregular private life, and his many unconventional and possibly sexual relationships with women, the man became legendary as a 'scholar-saint' who avoided the adult world; a 'perpetual child' who could only relate to children; a tragic deviant, whose lifelong passion for a child - Alice Liddell - fired his burning creativity.

Biographers wrote these things up as if they were fact, but they were never true in any real biographical sense. It seems rather as if 'Carroll' had ceased to be any kind of portrait of a real man and had become, instead, some sort of symbol for the human need to 'believe', and for nearly a century, until the most recent work began to be done, his life story as presented to the public has been dominated by a kind of aspirational fiction.

Looked at in this way, Richard Wallace's claim that Dodgson was Jack the Ripper is only an extreme expression of the existing trend. There is no evidence at all - anywhere - to support Wallace's claim. But then there is no evidence at all - anywhere - to support the story of Dodgson's marriage proposal to child-Alice - and that has never stopped anyone believing in it.

Wallace published his theory in 1996, in his book 'Jack the Ripper, Light-Hearted Friend'. It was, in brief that Dodgson and his Oxford colleague Thomas Vere Bayne, were both responsible for the Whitechapel murders. He based his belief on anagrams he constructed out of Dodgson's work, which he claimed were hidden confessions of the author's life of crime in Whitechapel in the autumn of 1888.

The anagrams he presents in his book are not very good, in that they tend to make limited grammatical sense, and Wallace tends to cheat rather by simply leaving out or changing any letters he can't fit in.

For example he takes this passage from Dodgson's 'Nursery Alice':

'So she wondered away, through the wood, carrying the ugly little thing with her. And a great job it was to keep hold of it, it wriggled about so. But at last she found out that the proper way was to keep tight hold of itself foot and its right ear'.

and turns it into:

'She wriggled about so! But at last Dodgson and Bayne found a way to keep hold of the fat little whore. I got a tight hold of her and slit her throat, left ear to right. It was tough, wet, disgusting, too. So weary of it, they threw up - jack the Ripper.'

For anyone who knows Dodgson's work, and his mastery of all word-games, the idea that he could perpetrate a word-trick as messy as this is almost more unbelievable than the image of him hanging round Whitechapel with a big knife. The structure is barely literate, and Wallace has to substitute three letters (including a very important 'o' to 'i' in order to construct the word 'ripper') in order to make his 'anagram' work at all.

But beyond all such consideration, Wallace's theory is flawed by the fact that one could rearrange the words in any piece of writing anywhere and make half-connected sentences suggestive of just about anything. The very first sentence on the opening page of 'Winnie the Pooh', for example:

'Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now'

can be turned into

'Stab red red women! CR is downing whores - AA'

(Obviously the 'CR' is Christopher Robin, who is thus revealed as an infant psychopath).

In fact all Wallace really succeeds in demonstrating is that Dodgson used the same alphabet as everyone else in the western world, and that, therefore his words can be rearranged to make other words - including rather rude ones about ripping ladies open.

Outside his 'anagrams', Wallace presents no shred of proper evidence, primary or secondary, to lend support to his belief. He does try to find circumstantial links between Dodgson and the crimes, and isn't shy of putting forward the most attenuated of possibilities. He suggests for example, that the lines from Dodgson's nonsense poem 'The Mad Gardener's Song', 'He thought he saw an Argument/That proved he was the Pope' is a reference to Mitre Square (because Popes wear mitres).

More bafflingly, he asks at one point 'Is there a connection between the victim being murdered in Buck's Row, Dodgson's writings on 'sport', and the deerstalker hat seen in the area?'

To which the probable answer would seem to be - 'no'.

The other of Wallace's brace of theories about Dodgson is that this most entirely 'philogynic' of men, who spent his life collecting images of naked girls and women, was actually a closet homosexual.

He demonstrates this with anagrams too.

But it may be that Wallace has more in common with mainstream 'Carrollianism' than might at first be imagined.

Belief, imagination, even fantasy, have been the stuff of Carroll biography for most of its history. Wallace's image of Carroll as Jack is not all that much further removed from reality than Dennis Potter's 'Dreamchild'. Both are about imposed views disseminated in defiance of existing data.

Sociologically, then, Wallace's claim follows a well-marked tradition of Carroll as a hook to hang belief on, even if, historically and biographically, it is a non-starter.

Was Dodgson Jack the Ripper? Well, even after Wallace's anagrams, the Pope's mitre and the deerstalker hat, the general consensus has to be - probably not.

He was, however a mystery, quite a dark and deep one - still waiting to be solved.

Dodgson did mention the ripper in his private diary - just once, on 26 August 1891, when he records talking to "Dr. Dabbs" (an acquaintance of his on the Isle of Wight), about "his very ingenious theory about 'Jack the Ripper'". Though, being Dodgson, and one of the most contrary animals God ever made, he did not mention what that 'very ingenious theory' was.

Karoline Leach
Author of In the Shadow of the Dreamchild: A New Understanding of Lewis Carroll.

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Post  eddie Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:17 pm

Nothing like a little satanism for enlivening a list of suspects. Meet black magician Dr Roslyn D'Onston-Stephenson:

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Suspect_dons

Robert D’Onston Stephenson: A Jack the Ripper Suspect

By Jennifer D. Pegg

The world of Ripperology is surrounded by suspects, who appear to walk out of the shadows and into the scrutiny of the eyes of Ripperologists, with alarming frequency. Yet some suspects attract more attention than others. Furthermore, a select group appear to court controversy, usually due to the shoddy nature of their candidature. These are suspects like Gull, Maybrick and, more recently, Sickert, who have attracted a high degree of controversy and promoted research and discussion (sometimes among select groups of Ripperologists) in order to dismiss them from the suspect list. Of these controversial suspects, one stands out, and he is Robert D’Onston Stephenson. This is because he has created animosity amongst Ripperologists without ever having truly captured the popular imagination of the wider public as a genuine Ripper suspect. He has been the subject of Ripper theories by two published authors Melvin Harris and Ivor Edwards.

In Jack the Ripper the Bloody Truth Harris stated that he felt ‘in truth only one man can be seriously considered as Jack the Ripper. That man is Doctor Roslyn D'Onston’. Harris’s view of D'Onston’s candidacy as the best Ripper remained unchanged from this point throughout his life and was researched further for his two subsequent books. In The Ripper File Harris stated that he aimed to ‘assemble my new findings and draw a fresh portrait of the man [D’Onston] himself’. Harris’s subsequent book True Face of Jack the Ripper was his main suspect book and served as a portrait of the man who he believed was the killer; in it Harris outlined his theory in its most complete form.

Harris made his feelings on D’Onston’s guilt clear in his research. In Ripper File he stated that D’Onston

‘alone, of all the suspects, had the right profile of the opportunities, the motives, and the ideal cover. His background, his personality, his skills, his frame of mind, all [point to] him for the fateful role.’

He further added

‘I once felt that we would never identify the killer yet finally I came to name D’onston Stephenson as the only man who can be taken seriously as the Ripper. When I first reached this conclusion I knew that my research was far from complete.’

But what made Harris feel so certain that D’Onston was not only a genuine and good suspect but the actual killer?

Harris researched the life of his suspect for many years and by the time of the publication of the True Face of Jack the Ripper in 1994 he had amassed a large amount of information about his life. Through the three books we learn a lot about the life of the suspect. Harris tells us that ‘Roslyn D’Onston was born plain Robert D’Onston Stephenson on the 20th April 1841 in Charles Street Sculcoates near Hull Yorkshire’. This area was made up of middle class town houses. Harris found that in his teens D’Onston

‘took rooms in Munich and studied chemistry under the renowned Dr James Allen […] other medical studies were pursued in Paris and there he met the son of Lord Lytton [...]for D'Onston was in awe the light revealed by Lytoon's book Zanovia a novel based on the power of magic’.

On his return to Hull D'Onston ran up gambling debts and this allowed his father to enforce his own will on his son. D’Onston’s father refused to pay the debts unless D’Onston broke contact with a prostitute and married an heiress D’Onston gave in and broke contact. Harris stated that he felt in D’Onston ‘we find someone whose problems were all of his own making’. From Harris we learn that D’Onston was a customs officer whilst in Hull. At one point in his career ‘D’Onston was shot in the right thigh by Thomas Piles, a fisherman […] of Hull […] D’Onston had to live immobile for some three weeks before he could return to his home.’ D’Onston’s career in customs ended in disaster when ‘in March 1868 he was charged with being absent from duty and called before the disciplinary board The vital turning point of D’Onstons life was when he left his native Hull for London and in doing so changed his name from plain Robert Stephenson ‘to Roslyn D’Onston […] and covered up all traces of his past life as a servant of the crown.’ D’Onston married ‘Anne Deary [...] on 14th February 1876 in the north London church of St. James in Holloway.’ The marriage was not one which lasted, they appear to have become estranged by the time of the murders, Harris even goes as far as to suggest that D’Onston did away with his wife and she was the Rainham Torso. Ivor Edwards also suggested that Anne Stephenson was killed. Recently, Howard and Nina Brown claimed to have unearthed her actual death certificate which shows she died in an accident many years later, whether this is the correct woman, remains unclear . However, the idea that she was the Rainham torso remains unproven and highly speculative. Harris found that D’Onston had said ‘he had panned for gold in the United States, witnessed devil worship in the Cameroon and hunted for the authentic rope trick in India. For a while he even courted danger as a surgeon–major with Garibaldi’s army’. Harris stated he felt ‘Donston’s newspaper writings are packed with deception; biographically, they are of limited use and his tales of magic in Europe, Asia and Africa are just too exaggerated to be true.’ How much of this was embellishment on D’Onston’s part can be left to the reader to decide.

What was D’Onston doing at the crucial period of the murders? Harris stated that ‘in 1888 he [D’Onston] was living in Whitechapel.’ He was an in patient at the London Hospital, Whitechapel. Harris had researched the stay and had found that ‘on 26th July he booked into a private bed as a neurasthenic and began his rest cure’. Harris tells us that ‘D'Onstons stay at the hospital ended Friday 7 December 1888’. Harris (and later Edwards) stated their belief that this condition was something that (like ‘back pain’ might be viewed today) could be both genuine and easily faked. Whether or not this was possible or what happened in this case remains unproven. Harris found that D’Onston had associated himself with the murder investigation on an amateur level, leading to him being briefly suspected at the time of the murders. D’Onston wrote to both the press and police from his hospital bed ‘in November 1888, D’Onston from his hospital bed had pestered W. T Stead for an assignment with financial backing, to hunt the Ripper.’ He talked to George Marsh a would be amateur detective about the murders and he suggested to him that Dr Morgan Davies (a doctor at the London Hospital he was an in patient at) was the Ripper, he spoke ‘so realistically about the killings he guessed Marsh would draw his own very different conclusions [i.e. would suspect D’Onston]’ and ‘he [Marsh] went to Scotland yard and fingered Roslyn D’Onston as Jack the Ripper’. Then ‘D’Onston went in person to the Yard and wrote out a long statement, repeating and amplifying his charges against Davies.’ He confided his suspicions and made his statement to Inspector Roots who he’d known on and off for 20 years. Roots had good reason to doubt the story but his report shows he was still impressed by D’Onston. In The Bloody Truth Harris points out ‘these important papers were not unearthed until 1975’. They have subsequently been lost but parts are quoted in Evans and Skinner’s Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook.

D’Onston also wrote articles in the popular press about his views on the Ripper. A December 1888 article for the Pall Mall Gazette reveals D’Onston’s view that there was a satanic plan behind the killings whereby each corpse was supposed to lie along the lines of a cross – the supreme Christian symbol was therefore profaned as the black arts demanded. Harris stated that ‘his confessional article was carefully rigged to look like the conclusions of an outside observer. It satisfied the need to boast and taunt’. Harris also asserted that D’Onston had said ‘there would be no more Ripper murders and there were none. Only the killer himself could speak with such authority.’

Some aspersions against D’Onston that are based around his later life with lover Mabel Collins and his alleged actions at this time, rely no the manuscript of the unpublished work by Bernard O’Donnell on the suspect. Of O’Donnell, Harris says the suspicion against D’Onston was ‘put in his mind by Hayter Preston […] a friend of poet Victor Neuberg, and Neuberg had once been one of Alistair Crowley’s dupes.’ O’Donnell had complied the research by using the memoirs of Cremers which she ‘in 1930 […] began to unburden herself for the first time. She wrote small pieces for him over four years until at last O’Donnell was able to view her complete memoirs for the years 1888 to 1891.’ In The Bloody Truth Harris stated that ‘Cremers [an associate of D’Onston and his lover] gave her account in the late 1920s to Bernard O’Donnell the only investigator to really sense that D’Onston had to be taken seriously.’ The story went that Cremers Collins and D’Onston ‘took premises in Baker Street and set up the Pompadour Cosmetics Company.’ During their time with D’Onston ‘both [Collins and Cremers] became convinced D’Onston was capable of murder.’

Readers may have noted that for Melvin Harris to be correct in his suspicions against D’Onston, the following things have to be true: -

1) D’Onston faked his illness and was not ill (if he was actually ill and requiring bed rest then this is obviously a pretty good excuse).

2) D’Onston had to be able to get out of the hospital and back into it covered in blood without raising suspicion or being noticed four separate times.

Ivor Edwards also published his own book on the theory that D’Onston was Jack the Ripper and that in his opinion the reason he killed was for the sake of elaborate black magic rituals. Edwards must be praised for his detailed analysis of the murder sites and the distances between them, having gone to the East End and paced these out. This detailed analysis led to the conclusion that the killings were plotted to form a ritual symbol and this could be seen if the distances were measured and the murder sites joined correctly on a map. Edwards outlined how the cross was profaned by the killer (this idea was previously visited by Harris). However, Edwards goes further than Harris by suggesting that the killer used a map to plot the murder locations prior to killings. This was so that these locations would form points that could be joined together in order to map out a variety of occult symbols. Furthermore, Edwards felt that someone in hospital would not be considered a suspect and he also found that Jack killed at weekends when there were staff reductions at the hospital, thus making it easier for D’Onston to have left the grounds.

Edwards said ‘I did not find one piece of research or evidence of one valid point that could be raised to cast serious doubt over his guilt’. This might, however, be considered a leap of faith on his part, since Edwards’s version of the theory relies on some rather elaborate geometry and plotting and on the Ripper pre-planning the locations of the murders (although not always managing to kill on exactly these points of the map!) To be understood properly as a theory Edwards book needs reading so that the reader can assess his theory for themselves first hand as it is far too complex to paraphrase concisely and accurately here.

In sum, the suspect Robert ‘Roslyn’ D’Onston Stephenson is an interesting one. He associated himself with the murders by being an early Ripperologist and attempting to put forward theories as to why the Ripper killed and who he was. This was sufficient for him to draw attention to himself at the time in both the eyes of George Marsh and W.T. Stead; in the way his knowledge of the murders was perceived to be too accurate by both men. However, against the idea of his candidature, are, most importantly, that the police appear to have dismissed the idea at the time (even though Roots apparently knew D’Onston). Also, against the idea are some of the theories behind how he would have managed to do it (faked illness) and why (black magic). However, readers must be reminded that theories in themselves can be wrong whilst a suspect can be perfectly legitimate. It is for readers to investigate further and decide where they nail their colours and why.

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Post  eddie Wed Jun 15, 2011 4:14 am

user wrote:Wyatt Earp.


So convinced were the authorities and general public alike that the appalling mutilations and extraction of body parts from the victims could not possibly be the work of an Englishman that native American indians then appearing with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show on the London stage were questioned in connection with the murders.

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 Progcov

This could only be the work of "savages".
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Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:44 am

What are your own thoughts, Eddie?

Having read way too much on JTR I have come to the conclusion that it was none of the above. I tend to think it was someone pretty unremarkable, probably living and working in the East End, that folk wouldn't have taken much notice of. Much like Peter Sutcliffe I suppose, just a normal looking bloke.

Anyone posh would have stuck out like a sore thumb Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 4242516590
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Post  eddie Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:37 am

Nah Ville Sky Chick wrote:What are your own thoughts, Eddie?

We'll almost certainly never know, of couse, and the fact that the case is an enduring historical mystery keeps the Jack the Ripper industry ticking over. I work about 3 minutes walk from Mitre Square to the west and 3 minutes walk from Goulston Street to the East. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday night a Ripper Tour guide waits for his clients outside Aldgate Tube station- and nearby Tower Hill and Aldgate East Stations have their own Ripper Tour parties, too. It's not unusual to find myself giving my own (unpaid) talk while I'm on duty to inquisitive foreign punters.


My thoughts about the identity of the perp tend to change from month to month. Just now, I'm impressed by the FBI Quantico team's "Cold Case" finding that Kosminski fits the serial killer profile better than any other known suspect. The (long) dissertation above about the "Geographical Profiling" approach to the case also favours Kosminski- and the material about the horrors he must have witnessed as in his formative years in the same article is also suggestive. Philip Sugden, the best popular author on the case, links the Goulston Street Graffito with the fact that two of the murders (Stride and Eddowes) took place in the immediate vicinity of clubs patronised by Jews.

So right now: Kosminski's my man.

But next month, that could change. Smile

Last edited by eddie on Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:39 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo correction)
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Post  eddie Thu Jun 16, 2011 3:54 am

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 2548
The Complete History of Jack the Ripper- Philip Sugden.

Reviewed here on the Suite 101 website:

Philip Sugden on Jack the Ripper
Book Review: The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

May 28, 2008 Tami Port

Although first published in 1994, Philip Sugden's historical investigation of the gruesome Whitechapel murders still stands out as a fact-based classic on Saucy Jack.

There is certainly no shortage of books and movies about Jack the Ripper, the mysterious 19th century serial killer of London prostitutes (1888 - 1891). What makes Sugden’s book stand out from the crowd is the fact that he started from scratch.

Sugden’s New Approach to the Ripper

This author was frustrated by throngs of books that repeated erroneous information from previous authors; many of whom, Sugden suspects of each trying to substantiate their own pet theories as to the Ripper’s identity. In truth, the murders were never solved, and even the well-known officers and detectives investigating these crimes (Abberline, Swanson, Macnaughten and many others) were not in agreement. Each considered a different suspect as being most likely to have committed the crimes.

Who Was Jack the Ripper?

Was Saucy Jack the well-off barrister Montague John Druitt; seemingly harmless lunatic Aaron Kominski; con-man Michael Ostrog; psychopathic wife-killer George Chapman (aka Severin Klosowski) or none of the above?

After more than 500 pages in which Sudgen informs his readers of all of the hard evidence currently available regarding this case, this author anticlimactically (and truthfully) concludes that we may never know. And that truthfulness makes this book an absolute gem.

Sugden also informs readers that the moniker “Jack the Ripper” appears to have been invented by newsmen suspected of writing some or all of the now famous Ripper letters, journalists desperately trying to feed the frantic publics’ demand for information, scoop the competition and sell papers. This is just one example of the vast array of Ripper mythology debunked in this book.

Looking for Ripper Fact or Fiction?

If you are a reader more interested in deriving a horrifying vicarious thrill from a Ripper story full of royals and secret agendas, perhaps this is not the book for you; although the stark reality of the crimes presented by Sugden is most certainly horrifying. This author chooses to very carefully and meticulously present the verifiable facts associated with each murder.

In researching the book, Sudgen slogged though the original documents and bits of evidence currently in existence, and it can be slow-going for a reader to sift through all of these details. But by working through the facts of the case, we are rewarded with details of the victims’ personal lives as well as what is known of their activities shortly prior to their deaths.

The book covers nine murders, eight of which are suspected to have been committed by the Ripper, including victims Martha Tabram, Mary 'Polly' Nichols, 'Dark' Annie Chapman, Elizabeth 'Long Liz' Stride, Kate Eddows, Mary Kelly, Alice McKenzie and Francis Coles. Sugden includes a map of the Whitechapel area, with the marked locations of the murders as well as many photos (those slain, the murder locations and some of the seriously considered suspects).

Law Enforcement & the Ripper Serial Murders

The Complete History also presents a portrayal of the difficulties and frustrations that law enforcement faced in trying to apprehend the Ripper; not only featuring the famous Detective Frederick Abberline, but also Scotland Yard, the metropolitan police, the CID and civilian volunteers who patrolled the streets.

Sudgen closes with several chapters, each detailing those seriously considered as Ripper suspects, and a final chapter of last thoughts on where we go from here, with an unsolved series of murders that took place more than 100 years ago.

Sudgen's Ripper Book Basics
Title: The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, New Edition
Author: Philip Sugden
Publisher & Date: Carroll & Graf 2002
List Price: $15.95
ISBN: 0-7867-0932-4
Recommendation? Definitely worth the time and money!


Sugden is impressed by Abberline's conviction that Chapman/Klosowski was the Ripper- but he also admits that we'll never know for sure.

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Post  eddie Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:01 am


Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 From_hell_tpb

There are about 40 pages of detailed and fascinating notes at the end of Cambell/Moore's graphic novel "From Hell" which are almost as amazing as the book itself.
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Post  eddie Thu Jun 16, 2011 7:45 pm

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS are due to the Casebook Jack the Ripper website for much of the material above. Named website contributors (when given) have already been acknowledged on individual posts.
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Post  eddie Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:59 pm
Scene of the Hanbury Street murder of Annie Chapman recorded in the 1967 film The London Nobody Knows, narrated by James Mason.
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Post  Guest Tue Oct 11, 2011 6:37 am

Whoever wrote that "Dear boss" letter had beautiful calligraphy.
"My knife's so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance." - and this is so charming...

Seriously I'm wondering about the people that sent the fake letters ("hundreds of letters"), "fakes written by either newspaper men trying to start a story or fools trying to incite more terror." There must be frustrated killers among the fools.


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Post  Guest Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:16 am

eddie wrote:... this letter- the most credible of the thousands written to the authorities- received by George Lusk of the Mile End Vigilance Committee and containing half a female kidney was unsigned:

Who was Jack the Ripper? - Page 2 418px-FromHellLetter
“From hell

Mr Lusk
I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer

Catch me when you Can Mishter Lusk.”

I was wondering if it was written that way on purpose...

Its author did not sign it with the pseudonym "Jack the Ripper", distinguishing it from the earlier Dear Boss letter, the Saucy Jack postcard, and their imitators. The "From Hell" letter is also written at a much lower literacy level than the other two, though scholars debate whether this is deliberate, as the author observed the silent k in 'knif' and h in 'whil'.


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