Jack the Ripper
Between the months of August and November, 1888, the Whitechapel area of london played key witness to a series of horrific murders, which remain to this day unresolved.
The unknown assailant, formerly known as "Leather Apron", later to be referred as "Jack the Ripper", stalked the dimly lit, fog blanketed streets of the East End with a single, brutal ambition......MURDER MOST HORRID.
With malice aforethought, undercover of darkness he lurked within the shadows, awaiting his prey...."the street women" of Old London Town.
The despicable diary of death had begun.
FRIDAY 31st AUGUST, 1888
The Star newspaper reported "No murder was ever more ferociously and more brutally done" MARY ANN NICHOLS had been slain in BUCKS ROW. Last seen leaving the "Frying Pan" Public House in Brock Lane, drunk and looking for her next customer, "Polly" was to meet her grisly end, found lain on the old cobblestones, first victim of the beast who was to become England's most notorious knife man.
SATURDAY 8th SEPTEMBER, 1888.
From the back yard of number 29, Hanbury Street, Albert Cadoche was thought to have overheard the muffled sounds of an assault. Shortly before 6.00 a.m. ANNIE CHAPMAN'S mutilated body lay exposed in the dank morning air. The Mysterious monster had struck again. The police begged the question - could it be a tall foreign stranger whom "Dark Annie" was seen approaching earlier that misty morning?
SATURDAY 30th SEPTEMBER, 1888.
A day of double murder in London. From "Leather Apron" had now spawned the cursed "JACK THE RIPPER", a "trade name" he had aptly adopted in his alleged letter to the police, again Jack was at large, his blade "nice and sharp" and "ready to get to work". At 1.00 a.m. in Duffield's Yard, BERNER STREET, the body of ELIZABETH STRIDE was discovered, cut from ear to ear. Had Jack been disturbed?.....almost caught blood-red handed?....but again evaded capture, shrinking back into the shadows cast by dim gas lamps and the ice glow of a deathly full moon.
He reappeared to claim another victim in MITRE SQUARE,Aldgate. Merely 10 minutes on foot from Berner Street, through the acrid alleyways of Goodmans Fields, an area Jack knew well, with murderous intent, he struck again. At almost 1.45 a.m. CATHERINE EDDOWES bloodied corpse was found, silently slaughtered by the fearsome, and now, clearly practiced killer.
It was on this fearful night that the chalked message appeared on a wall in GOULSTON STREET next to a bloodied piece of Kate Eddowes apron. The message read "The Juwes are the men That Will not be Blamed for nothing" A sinister confession perhaps? A false accusation? Inspector Frederick Abberline was again left to ponder.
FRIDAY 9th NOVEMBER,1888.
the month of October had passed with no further clues as to the identity of the infamous Ripper. Indeed, had the murders ceased? Sadly for MARY JANE KELLY, Jack would strike for a fifth and final time in a frenzied yet clinical assault that would shock even the most hardened criminologist. Jack had more time to indulge in his brutal blood lust this time, slaying the pretty 25 year old behind closed doors.
At number 13 MILLER'S COURT, the savaged remains of MARY KELLY were discovered. A young irish girl, led astray by the East End way of life, of drink and prostitution, "Black Mary" was believed to be the Rippers last victim. The attack was so dreadful, police believed that the killer's taste for macabre murder and thirst for blood had finally been satisfied.
With the last entry in the diary of death complete, the devil in disguise crept silently back into the shadows as stealthily as whence he first carved his infamy into the heart of Whitechapel.
Baffled detectives were left to puzzle over half clues and supposed suspects. Theories and arguments still rage to this day, as to the true identity of Jack the Ripper.
East End London has been left with the chilling reminder of a man who singlehandedly terrorized one of the worlds greatest cities.
His final mocking blow at the police was taunted in a letter he wrote.... "How can they catch me now? I love my work and want to start again....soon" Good Luck Yours Truly "Jack the Ripper".
"Polly" Nichols as she was known to many, was aged 42 when Jack the Ripper's icy hand took her life. The estranged wife of a printer, Polly had borne five children before husband William eloped with one of her friends in 1877. It was then that she became trapped in the downward spiral of drink and prostitution, her final days spent living in the squalid conditions of the "White House" doss-house on Flower and Dean Street. She was laid to rest at Ilford cemetery on September 6th 1888.
"Dark Annie" met her death on a foggy night, alone, undernourished and suffering from brain and lung diseases which would soon have claimed her if Jack's Knife hadn't. Annie wandered the East End Streets penniless following the death of her husband in 1886. Cruelly treated by life, Annie had two daughters, one of which died in 1882, and a son who was crippled. Living off immoral earnings and selling matches and flowers, Annie was a street hardened rogue. She was buried in secret, at Manor Park on September 14th 1888, by her family.
"Long Liz" was born in Gothenburg, Sweden in November 1843, named Elizabeth Gustafsdotter. After becoming a registered prostitute and giving birth to a still born girl, she moved to London in 1866 and married John Thomas Strise, a carpenter, supposedly living in Gower Street, London. The Strides allegedly kept a coffee shop prior to the breakdown of their marriage in 1882. long Liz was to have had eight convictions for drunkenness before her fatal appointment with Jack the Ripper. Elizabeth Stride was buried in a paupers grave in the East London cemetery aged 44 years.
Born in 1842, the daughter of a tin plate worker, Catherine Eddowes came to London's Bermondsey district at the age of two. She returned to her native Wolverhampton, with Thomas Conway, a pensioner, who was to father her three children. The couple separated in 1880, victims of habitual drinking. "Kate" left for London once more, where she resided in Flower and Dean Street. Following a hop picking venture in Kent, Kate was sadly to embark on her final tragic journey via Bishopsgate police cells into the clutches of the evil Ripper. She was buried in an unmarked grave in Ilford on 8th October 1888, witnessed by hoards of onlookers, aged 44
MARY JANE KELLY
"Black Mary" was unlike the other victims. At 25 she was young and attractive, and as a prostitute would have better served the prestigious West End clients as opposed to working the grim streets of the East End. Mary was born in Limerick, Ireland and moved to Wales where she married a collier who was tragically killed in a pit disaster. After turning to prostitution in Cardiff, she moved south to London where she worked in a West End brothel. "Fair Emma" came to lodge at various abodes around Dorset Street, London, the "Wicked Quarter Mile", and it was at Millers Court that she was found brutally murdered. She was buried at Walthamstow R.C. cemetery on 19th November
The terror that befell London's Whitechapel district in the Autumn months of 1888 remains unparalleled in the annals of crime. Jack the Ripper, a faceless predator whose infamy and guile would be renowned and feared to this day, has become virtual folklore to the people of the East End. More than a century has passed since Jack the Ripper stalked the fog filled, cobbled streets of London, but still latter day detectives continue to speculate as to the identity of the notorious "Whitechapel Murderer". Only a few clues were ever unearthed by the bewildered Police Force of the 1880's, further whetting the appetites of present day theorists in their quest for the "Mysterious Monster". At the time of the murders, detectives had never before experienced the apparently motiveless brutality of the world's first serial killer. The increasingly frustrated Police Force, pressured by an angry public and QUEEN VICTORIA herself, were to arrest several suspects on flimsy evidence, only to have these lowly scapegoats committed to,lunatic asylums, in a pathetic attempt to rid the streets of the dark assailant. No-one was above suspicion...SIR CHARLES WARREN, Chief of Metropolitan Police, was to be suspected of his involvement in a "cover up" and even Queen Victoria's own grandson PRINCE EDWARD, was at one stage considered to be a "Ripper Suspect". Although time has allowed hindsight, and numerous suspects have been presented, many are too ridiculous to be considered a viable culprit. The prime suspects who are still to this day eligible for the title of "Jack the Ripper" are as follows....
Francis Thompson 1894
The book "Jack the Ripper" reveals the British Poet Francis Thompson to be the culprit responsible for the terrible murders in 1888 of at least five women prostitutes in London's East End. Visit the web site to read/buy the book.
Illustrated and of 18,500 words Jack the Ripper explains Thompson's violent childhood his doomed medical school training and his downward drug induced spiral into vagrancy. Describing Thompson's secret affair with a prostitute and its tragic ending bringing him to a frenzied delirium Jack the Ripper records the events of the murders and its sinister parallels to Thompson. Who was the Ripper?. What was his motive?. How did he get away with murder? Patterson's book Jack the Ripper answers all these questions and for the first time gives readers an insight into the diabolical mind of the world's first and most feared serial killer. Jack the Ripper examines Thompson's morbid verse and entwines Thompson's life with the destiny of leading writers including Robert Browning, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and D.H Lawrence.
John Pizer was a shoemaker, a Jew who just happened to fulfil the public's view of the Murderer's profile, that being of a butcher, slaughterman or craftsman - a man with access to 5 inch blades and in possession of a leather apron. Pizer not only had a stabbing convictions against him, but also displayed a well known dislike for prostitutes. He unfortunately fitted a dubious description which had been circulated; that of a short man with a dark beard and moustache and a foreign accent. Furthermore the press portrayed Pizer as having a "cruel sardonic look". However,Pizer's solid alibi ended with a compensation payment to him from the libel courts and the frustrated Police Force left once again to chase the shadows. After the death of Annie Chapman and a subsequent inquest, the findings in the pathologists report threw further light onto what was already becoming a very dark and grisly inquiry. The Coroner suggested that the murderer probably had an anatomical knowledge of dissection - this information heightened suspicions against members of the esteemed medical profession, an accusation angrily refuted by eminent surgeons to such an extreme that the Police dropped this line of enquiry. However, 3 major suspects have since been disclosed based upon this assumption....
THOMAS NEIL CREAM, an American doctor
THOMAS CREAM had also ben arrested in connection with the poisoning of prostitutes and habitually writing to the Police giving false names and false accusations of a number of crimes. Cream was hanged by the neck for the murder of the Lambeth prostitutes in 1892. His departing words were......" I am jack the Ri...." as the rope snapped taut and broke his neck. Suspicions of Cream were raised following revelations that an American had been making enquiries as to the availability of certain organs at medical schools in and around the Whitechapel district. Coupled with this, the letter received by the Police prior to the double killings of Liz Stride and Kate Eddowes notably contained many "Americanisms".Unfortunately however, Cream was actually incarcerated at the time of the last Murders.
MICHAEL OSTROGG, a Russian doctor
Michael Ostrogg has came under scrutiny by the London Police and his whereabouts at the time of the Whitechapel Murders could never be satisfactorily accounted for. Ostrogg was a slippery confidence trickster who went by the numerous aliases, including that of a Dr. Grant, and also as a former surgeon in the Russian Navy. He spent much of his time in Police custody for various fraudulent and thieving offences. Clearly a compulsive rouge, Ostrogg became a high profile suspect when it was stated in the "Police Gazette" around the time of the Murders that "special attention is called to this dangerous man", after failing to report to the Police on charges of suspicion.
ALEXANDER PEDACHENKO, another Russian Doctor
Another Russian Doctor, ALEXANDER PEDACHENKO was tenuously linked at this time to the murders and it was suggested that "Ostrogg" was one of the many aliases used by Pedachenko. He was considered a Russian lunatic, with distinct criminal tendencies, who had trained as a barbers surgeon and he had since joined the staff of the Maternity Hospital. The Russian Secret Police Gazette, OCHRANA, described Pedachenko as "the greatest and boldest of all Russian criminal lunatics" at at time when Pedachenko was allegedly living with his sister in Walworth. Ochrana cited Pedachenko with the Ripper murders in an attempt to discredit and embarrass the Metropolitan Police. This act of propaganda appeared to have succeeded when Sir Charles Warren resigned from the Police Force. Pedachenko was subsequently smuggled back to Moscow by Ochrana, where he was promptly sent to a lunatic asylum for the murder of a woman in St Petersburg. Pedachenko died in the asylum leaving a series of aliases in his wake, but all with slim connections to the Whitechapel murders. It seems he was merely a suspect of convenience for a short time.
The 3 Doctors theories are questionable especially with regard to the first "Jack The Ripper" letter which states in the footnote "Ha,Ha, they say I am a Doctors now!" Probably the most "romantic" suspects have been "PRINCE EDDIE", the Queen's Grandson, and SIR WILLIAM GULL, the Royal Physician. Suspicions were heightened for both the suspects following the night of the double murders in Whitechapel. SIR CHARLES WARREN had ordered the removal of the writing from the wall before Police photographers could record it, which led to many theorists believing that there was a "cover up" by the authorities to protect someone of great importance. This, coupled with Queen Victoria's heightened interest in the case led to the inevitable accusations. "Jack The Ripper" was fast becoming the most celebrated mystery worldwide, and for Royalty to have been involved made for the most sensational storyline for the newspapers.
PRINCE ALBERT VICTOR - THE DUKE OF CLARENCE
Prince Albert was believed to have made twilight trips to the East End to undulge in homosexual practices in a brothel in Cleveland Street. He had supposedly learned disembowelling techniques on deer hunting excursions and was alleged to have had "syphilis of the brain" thus making him mad enough to commit the Murders. The late crime theorist Stephen Knight claimed that "Prince Eddie" secretly and illegally married Annie Crook, a Catholic girl. Subsequently, to avoid a Royal scandal, the authorities had Annie locked away in a lunatic asylum. She was supposedly pregnant at the time. The key victim to link Royalty with the murders was Mary Kelly, who was evidently nursemaid to the prince and his wife at around this time. She had proposed to blackmail the government by making her story public knowledge. It was then that the Royal Physician, WILLIAM GULL, allegedly became involved and in an attempt to silence the scandal picked up all possible prostitutes whom Mary Kelly may have informed. He was to pick the women up in the Royal carriage, slaughter them inside the carriage, and then dispose of the body, hence explaining the lack of noise and blood at the scene of the murders. The Royal theories are based largely on conjecture and have only come to light in recent years.
AARON KOSMINSKI - a Jew
The "JUWES" writing however led to another Jewish suspect. Warren had ordered the removal of the writing so as to avoid an uprising from the already agitated immigrant population especially with the false arrest of Pizer still fresh in the mind.
Despite this, a Polish Jew AARON KOSMINSKI, a hairdresser and resident of Whitechapel since 1882, came to the fore. A man with an extreme hatred of women, especially prostitutes, he was clearly the most insane of all the suspects. Kosminski was described as having strong homicidal tendencies and a history of related crimes. Following the night of the double killings, a letter was received by George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, stating that the writer had fried and eaten half a kidney, removed from the body of Kate Eddowes. Clearly this man was deranged. The uneaten half of the kidney accompanied the letter in a box. The organ was found to be human and belonged to a woman in her forties suffering from Brights disease - as did Catherine Eddowes. However, the style of writing did not in any way resemble the first "Jack The Ripper" letter received by the police, and was concluded to be the crazed writings of a lunatic. Kosminski was therefore high profile. It was never proven that Kosminski was the perpetrator of these ghastly crimes but he was removed from society in 1890, and placed in the Mile End Infirmary for the insane. Following spells in Colney Hatch and Leaversden Asylums, Kosminski degenerated to the point where he was unable to answer simple questions. He died in 1919 of gangrene of the leg and was medically described as "demented and incoherent".
MONTAGUE JOHN DRUITT
Montague John Druitt was a "gentleman", a successful college debater, keen cricketer and of "good family". It wasn't until 1959 that Druitt, a schoolmaster, was pronounced a probable suspect. Sir Melville Macnaghten's case notes described Druitt as "sexually insane" and it was mooted that even "his own family suspected him of being the Whitechapel Murderer". Druitt's personal circumstances link him with the killings too. He had studied medicine for a time before switching profession to become a barrister and was a very educated man. Any barrister would appreciate the need for a suspect to be well away from the scene of the crime if his case were to be defended with success. Druitt was found playing cricket as far away as Dorset in South West England after the murders of Mary Nichols and Annie Chapman, although his whereabouts in the actual nights of the murders remain unresolved. The primary reason for Druitt becoming a high profile suspect was that he feared he was going insane like his mother before him, In a suicide note Druitt wrote "Since Friday I felt I was going to be like Mother and the best thing for me was to die". The note was discovered on his person on 31st December 1888. He had drowned in the River Thames, his pockets full of stones. Druitt was seen alive on 3rd December, 1888, almost one month after the last Murder and 2 days after his dismissal from his teaching job in Blackheath. Druitt's death remains a mystery, as does his alleged connection with the Ripper Case. It is true , however, that the Police closed the Ripper file following Druitt's suicide. The dreadful killings perpetrated by "Jack The Ripper" were never repeated beyond Druitt's death. Was this coincidence or conjecture?
SO... WHO WAS JACK THE RIPPER?
Over the years since that ill-fated November in 1888 the media has periodically resurrected interest in this most infamous of characters.............Jack The Ripper.
Films have been made, books have been published, newspapers have been sold.............people have talked about and debated who really perpetrated these vicious and heinous crimes over 100 years ago.
In recent years......the press in the UK and indeed the world over waited with baited breath for the release of "official UK government" archives which were originally marked "Secret..not to be opened until 1988"...............only to find that no further clues were forthcoming, and some information had mysteriously gone missing!
The truth is that we are nowhere near finding out who the culprit was than we were in 1888, perhaps we shall never know the truth.
One thing is for certain though............the Jack the Ripper tale has lived for over 100 years and many newspapers/filmakers/writers etc have made a lot of money out of the ghost of Jack The Ripper.
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