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  JACK the RIPPER UK ... ... ... 5+
White Chapel Murders ... London
 : ... ... ... ...
Verdict/Urteil: Unsolved
 

The worlds most notorious serial killer was active for only ten weeks, during which time he murdered five victims . Despite the relatively modest body count, his crimes terrorized the most populous city on earth, making headlines around the globe. To this day, Londons unidentified prostitute-killer remains the subject of more books, plays, films and articles than any other felon in recorded history. The mystery of Jack the Ripper opened on the 31st of August 1888, with the discovery of a womans lifeless body on Bucks Row, in the heart of the Whitechapel slums. The victims name was Mary Nichols, known as Polly to her friends, and she had earned her meager living as a prostitute before a final client showed a taste for blood. Her throat was cut, with bruises underneath the jaw suggesting that she had been punched or choked insensible before the killer plied his blade. The medical examiner discovered deep post-mortem slashes on the victims abdomen, with stab wounds to the genitals. The murder of an East End prostitute was nothing new to Scotland Yard. Detectives had two other cases on the books for 1888, already. Emma Smith had been attacked on April 2, by a gang of four or five assailants, living long enough to offer the police descriptions of her killers. Martha Tabram had been found in Whitechapel on August 7, stabbed 39 times with a weapon resembling a bayonet. Neither crime had anything in common with the death of Mary Nichols, and detectives were compelled to wait for further homicides to indicate a pattern. On September 8, they found their link with the discovery of Annie Chapmans corpse, a short half-mile from Bucks Row. The victim, yet another prostitute, had first been choked unconscious, after which her throat was cut and she was cruelly disemboweled. Her entrails had been torn away and draped across one shoulder; portions of the bladder and vagina, with the uterus and ovaries, were missing from the scene. The Lancet quoted Dr. Bagster Phillips, medical examiner, on the proficiency of Chapmans killer. Obviously, Dr. Phillips wrote, the work was that of an expert--or one, at least, who had such knowledge of anatomical or pathological-logical examinations as to be enabled to secure the pelvic organs with one sweep of the knife. The first of several letters from the killer (or, if the suspicions of one homicide detective were correct, from an imaginative-native London newsman), written on September 25 and posted three days later, was directed to the offices of Londons Central News Agency. It read: 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 until 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 and 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 wouldnt you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife is 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. Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it. No luck yet they say I am a doctor now ha. The Ripper claimed two more victims on September 30. The first, Elizabeth Stride, was found in a narrow court off Berner Street, at 1:00 A.M. Her throat was slashed, but there had been no other mutilation , indicating that her killer was disturbed before he could complete his grisly task. Three-quarters of an hour later, Catherine Eddowes was discovered by a constable in Mitre Square. According to P.C. 881 Watkins, who found the body, Eddowes had been gutted like a pig in the market, with her entrails flung in a heap about her neck. The murderer had chalked a cryptic message on a nearby wall. The Juwes are not the men that will be blamed for nothing. Medical examination of the corpse from Mitre Square revealed that Eddowes had been slashed across the face, her throat was cut, and she was deftly disemboweled. The killer had removed a kidney, which was not recovered at the scene. One final bit of evidence was a wound beneath one ear, suggesting that the Ripper had attempted to fulfill his promise of a trophy for police. That morning, while authorities were scouring the streets and alleyways of Spitalfields, the Ripper (or some hoaxer) posted off his second message to the Central News Agency. I was not codding dear old Boss when I gave you the tip. Youll hear about Saucy Jacks work tomorrow. Double event this time. Number one squealed a bit. Couldnt finish straight off. Had not time to get ears for police. Thanks for keeping last letter back till I got to work again. Jack the Ripper Controversy endures as to whether or not the second letter was actually posted before or after news of the double event was made public--but details of the crimes, and of the Rippers first communication, were well known to London journalists, in any case. A third note, mailed on the 16th of October to George Lusk, head of the newly organized Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, contained another piece of superficially persuasive evidence. From hell Mr. Lusk Sir I send you half the Kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate was very nise I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer signed Catch me when you can Mister Lusk Examining the partial kidney, Dr. Openshaw, pathological curator of the London Hospital Museum, pronounced it ginny, of the sort expected from an alcoholic. It reportedly showed evidence of Brights disease--a condition suffered by Eddowes--and a comparison of severed renal arteries roughly matched the kidney to Eddowes. Even so, as British author Martin Fido documents, most homicide investigators on the case rejected both the kidney and the note as evidence. Londons panic had begun to fade by Halloween, but Jack the Ripper was not finished yet. Police were summoned on the morning of November 9 to Millers Court, in Spitalfields, to view the sad remains of Mary Kelly, former prostitute. Discovered by her land-lords errand boy, inquiring after tardy rent, she was the only victim killed indoors. Her murderer had taken full advantage of the opportunity to sculpt a grisly piece of butchers art. As usual, the victim had been murdered with a slash across the throat, this time so deep that she had nearly been decapitated. Jack had skinned her forehead, slicing off her nose and ears. Her left arm had been nearly severed at the shoulder, while both legs were flayed from thighs to ankles. She was disemboweled, one hand inserted in her gaping abdomen, the liver draped across one thigh. Her severed breasts lay on the nightstand, with her kidneys, heart, and nose. Police discovered strips of flesh suspended from the nails of picture frames, and blood was spattered on the walls of Kellys flat. Examination showed the victim had been three months pregnant at the time of death, but Saucy Jack had claimed the uterus and fetus for himself. So closed the Rippers reign of terror as it began, in mystery. Despite some published body counts that range from seven victims into double digits, the private papers of Sir Melville Macnaghten, former chief of CID for Scotland Yard, maintain that The Whitechapel murderer had five victims and five only. When it came to suspects in the case, however, there were many more. Macnaghten named three candidates himself, although his brief descriptions came out badly garbled. They included: Montague John Druitt, a London barrister and schoolteacher, was incorrectly described in Macnaghtens notes as a Doctor who was sexually insane--i.e., homosexual. I have little doubt, Macnaghten wrote, some years after the fact, but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer. Perhaps, but no one from the family ever said so--publicly, at least--and the note Druitt left upon his suicide, in December 1888, bore no resemblance to a murderers confession . Since Friday, Druitt wrote on Monday, December 3, I felt I was going to be like mother and the best thing for me was to die. (Druitts mother was committed to an asylum in July 1888 and died there, of melancholia and brain disease, in 1890. His maternal grandmother and his eldest sister also committed suicide.) There is no evidence beyond Macnaghtens personal suspicion linking Druitt with the Ripper homicides, and no other London policeman ever publicly endorsed him as a suspect. Aaron Kosminski, a Jewish hairdresser, emigrated from his native Poland in 1882. In July 1890, he was committed briefly to a London workhouse, with the observation that he had been insane for two years--a condition Macnaghten blames on many years indulgence in solitary vices--i.e., masturbation. (Aside from the absurdity of masturbation causing mental illness, Macnaghten also has the date wrong, placing Kosminskis first committal in March 1889.) Kosminski was returned to custody in February 1891, found wandering the London streets and eating out of gutters, after threatening his sister with a knife. In April 1894, he was transferred to the Leavesden Asylum for Imbeciles, where he was found to be demented and incoherent. Kosminski died of gangrene in 1919, and while several authors still consider him a promising Ripper suspect, there is no clear evidence to link his name with any of the crimes. Michael Ostrog, a con man and thief with numerous pseudonyms on file, was variously known to police as a Russian, a Russian Pole, and a Polish Jew. His many scams included posing as a cashiered Russian military officer and as the exiled son of Polands king. A series of arrests, with several convictions, kept him in and out of courts and jail from 1864 through 1887. Discharged from a mental institution in March 1888, Ostrog rated a mention in the Police Gazette seven months later, with the notation that Special attention is called to this dangerous man. Sadly, no details of his later crimes are now available, and Ostrogs fate remains unclear. One story, of his suicide around the final days of 1888, appears to be a mix-up with the case of M.J. Druitt, earlier described. Again, as with the other two Macnaghten suspects, there is nothing on the books to link Ostrog with any of the Ripper homicides. If these were not enough, the century and more since Saucy Jack retired from active duty has produced a myriad of other suspects. The first-string list includes: Dr. Alexander Pedachenko, a surgeon and one-time member of the Russian Secret Service, who practiced medicine in Glasgow before moving to London in the mid-1880s. By 1888, if author Donald McCormick is correct, the Russian Ochrana (Secret Police) regarded Pedachenko as the greatest and boldest of all Russian criminal lunatics. According to McCormick--who, in turn, derived his information from a manuscript allegedly dictated by Rasputin Pedachenko and a pair of flunkies carried out the Ripper slayings in a politically motivated attempt to embarrass Scotland Yard, as punishment for coddling exiled Russian dissidents. While interest, the theory has no evidence to back it up. Thomas Neill Cream, a homicidal doctor often mentioned as a Ripper suspect, led a grim career of arson , blackmail, and abortion. Linked to eight known homicides, including four London prostitutes poisoned for sport, he was condemned to hang in 1892. On the gallows, as the trap was sprung beneath him, Cream is said to have cried out, I am Jack the ---! His announcement was abbreviated by the noose, but there is no good reason to believe the truncated confession. In fact, while Jack was prowling White-chapel, the lethal Dr. Cream was serving prison time in Illinois, where he was safely locked away between November 1881 and July 1891. Suggestions that he somehow found a substitute to take his place in jail are fanciful, at best. Suspect Severin Klosowski, a.k.a. George Chapman, was a Polish barber-surgeon of vile habits and unsavory reputation. A prolific bigamist who poisoned at least two of his wives, he was condemned and hanged for murdering a third woman in 1902. During the Ripper manhunt, Chapman was apparently the pet suspect of Scotland Yard Inspector Frederick Abberline, despite a paucity of evidence. At Klosowskis final arrest, in October 1902, the retired detective exclaimed, Youve got Jack the Ripper at last! Unfortunately, there is not a single piece of evidence connecting Chapman to the Ripper--nor is there historic precedent for a sadistic slasher altering his modus operandi to incorporate the safer, relatively tame technique of poisoning. Robert Donston Stephenson, a.k.a. Dr. Roslyn DOnston, was named as a Ripper suspect by author Melvin Harris, in 1987. A failed medical student and disgraced Customs agent, with a life-long fascination for black magic, Stephenson was fingered by associates of satanist Aleister Crowley long after the murders. There is no tangible connection with the Ripper crimes in Dr. DOnstons case, though he was known to the police as an unruly drunkard, with a few arrests on charges of assault. The most illustrious Ripper suspect, by far, is Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, Duke of Clarence, heir presumptive to the throne of England--better known as Eddy to his friends. In fact, the princes name is intimately linked to five distinct and separate Ripper theories. They include: (1) Eddy the Ripper: Advanced by Dr. Thomas Stowell and author Frank Spiering, this theory describes Prince Jack as being driven mad by syphilis of the brain, venting his wrath on Whitechapel prostitutes. No historical evidence supports the case; in fact, royal diaries and Court Circulars indicate that Eddie was far away from London on the dates of all five murders. (2) Eddy the Rippers friend: Unsettled by reports that Eddy may have been the Ripper, author Michael Harrison set out to prove him innocent in 1972. His book, Clarence, was fairly successful in that regard, but Harrison still felt something lacking. I couldnt leave the reader high and dry, he later said, so what I did was find somebody I thought was a likely candidate. His selection, James K. Stephen, was Prince Eddys tutor, best friend, and suspected homosexual lover. Harrisons case against Stephen rests on Stephens misogynistic poetry and a controversial match between his handwriting and the first Ripper letter (a meaningless link in itself, if the letter was a hoax). Beyond that evidence, there is no proof of any tie between James Stephen and the homicides. (3) Eddy as accomplice: Esteemed forensic psychiatrist Dr. David Abrahamsen, writing in 1992, combined the Spiering and Harrison hypotheses, painting Jack the Ripper as a two-man team, a lá the Hillside Stranglers in latter-day Los Angeles. His candidates for infamy include Prince Eddy and James Stephen, killing in tandem, while Stephen pens the famous Ripper correspondence. Published as Murder and Madness, Abrahamsens theory contains no new evidence that would point conclusively to either suspect, much less to the pair acting in criminal concert. (4) Eddy as motive: In this scenario, published by anti-Masonic author Stephen Knight, Prince Eddy has embarrassed the monarchy and jeopardized his own succession to the throne by secretly marrying a Catholic commoner, one Annie Elizabeth Crook. To keep the wedding secret, royal surgeon Sir William Gull proceeds to slaughter the five female witnesses, mutilating their bodies in accordance with arcane Masonic ritual. Major problems with the theory include the facts that (a) Annie Crook was not, in fact a Catholic; and (b) any such marriage would have been automatically nullified by the Royal Marriages Act of 1872. Gull becomes an even less likely candidate when we learn that he was partially disabled, in 1887, by the first in a series of strokes that ultimately took his life. (5) Eddy as oblivious bystander: A final royal scenario, published by authors Martin Howells and Keith Skinner in 1988, harks back to M.J. Druitt as the Ripper, calling his December suicide a murder, committed by one Henry Francis Wilson. The motive: to remove Druitt from circulation before his crimes expose various highly-placed homosexual associates, including the Duke of Clarence (described by Howells and Skinner as a one-time paramour of Henry Wilson, from his college days). The evidence presented against Druitt here is no more substantial than in previous accounts--and without that proof, his possible affair with Wilson is irrelevant. The latest suspect, to date, is James Maybrick, a Liverpool cotton broker who was poisoned by his wife in 1889, first named as a Ripper candidate when publication of his alleged confessional diary was announced in 1993. The so-called diary, written by hand in a Victorian-era scrapbook, with the first twenty pages ripped out, was curious enough for Warner Books to commission a special review prior to publication. Analysis of the ink pegged a median date of 1921, plus or minus 12 years, and Maybricks hand-writing was also deemed inconsistent with the first Ripper letter (a problematic choice of evidence, discussed above). With the results of that analysis in hand, Warner Books canceled publication of the diary, subsequently releamHÇ °‚È ÑFÇ sed by another house to lukewarm sales. Despite the wealth of Ripper suspects, there is still no smoking gun in this historic case--and, given the alarming fact that random killers often prove to be the boy next door, instead of kings or drooling skid-row losers, there may never be. British author Colin Wilson may have scored the last word on the Ripper riddle some years back, when he described a far-off Judgment Day, with tongue in cheek. A team of well-known Ripperologists have gathered at the pearly gates, each confident his favorite suspect will be named as Saucy Jack ... but when the real-life Ripper finally presents himself, the startled experts all ask: Who?

The worlds most notorious serial killer was active for only ten weeks, during which time he murdered five victims . Despite the relatively modest body count, his crimes terrorized the most populous city on earth, making headlines around the globe. To this day, Londons unidentified prostitute-killer remains the subject of more books, plays, films and articles than any other felon in recorded history. The mystery of Jack the Ripper opened on the 31st of August 1888, with the discovery of a womans lifeless body on Bucks Row, in the heart of the Whitechapel slums. The victims name was Mary Nichols, known as Polly to her friends, and she had earned her meager living as a prostitute before a final client showed a taste for blood. Her throat was cut, with bruises underneath the jaw suggesting that she had been punched or choked insensible before the killer plied his blade. The medical examiner discovered deep post-mortem slashes on the victims abdomen, with stab wounds to the genitals. The murder of an East End prostitute was nothing new to Scotland Yard. Detectives had two other cases on the books for 1888, already. Emma Smith had been attacked on April 2, by a gang of four or five assailants, living long enough to offer the police descriptions of her killers. Martha Tabram had been found in Whitechapel on August 7, stabbed 39 times with a weapon resembling a bayonet. Neither crime had anything in common with the death of Mary Nichols, and detectives were compelled to wait for further homicides to indicate a pattern. On September 8, they found their link with the discovery of Annie Chapmans corpse, a short half-mile from Bucks Row. The victim, yet another prostitute, had first been choked unconscious, after which her throat was cut and she was cruelly disemboweled. Her entrails had been torn away and draped across one shoulder; portions of the bladder and vagina, with the uterus and ovaries, were missing from the scene. The Lancet quoted Dr. Bagster Phillips, medical examiner, on the proficiency of Chapmans killer. Obviously, Dr. Phillips wrote, the work was that of an expert--or one, at least, who had such knowledge of anatomical or pathological-logical examinations as to be enabled to secure the pelvic organs with one sweep of the knife. The first of several letters from the killer (or, if the suspicions of one homicide detective were correct, from an imaginative-native London newsman), written on September 25 and posted three days later, was directed to the offices of Londons Central News Agency. It read: 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 until 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 and 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 wouldnt you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife is 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. Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it. No luck yet they say I am a doctor now ha. The Ripper claimed two more victims on September 30. The first, Elizabeth Stride, was found in a narrow court off Berner Street, at 1:00 A.M. Her throat was slashed, but there had been no other mutilation , indicating that her killer was disturbed before he could complete his grisly task. Three-quarters of an hour later, Catherine Eddowes was discovered by a constable in Mitre Square. According to P.C. 881 Watkins, who found the body, Eddowes had been gutted like a pig in the market, with her entrails flung in a heap about her neck. The murderer had chalked a cryptic message on a nearby wall. The Juwes are not the men that will be blamed for nothing. Medical examination of the corpse from Mitre Square revealed that Eddowes had been slashed across the face, her throat was cut, and she was deftly disemboweled. The killer had removed a kidney, which was not recovered at the scene. One final bit of evidence was a wound beneath one ear, suggesting that the Ripper had attempted to fulfill his promise of a trophy for police. That morning, while authorities were scouring the streets and alleyways of Spitalfields, the Ripper (or some hoaxer) posted off his second message to the Central News Agency. I was not codding dear old Boss when I gave you the tip. Youll hear about Saucy Jacks work tomorrow. Double event this time. Number one squealed a bit. Couldnt finish straight off. Had not time to get ears for police. Thanks for keeping last letter back till I got to work again. Jack the Ripper Controversy endures as to whether or not the second letter was actually posted before or after news of the double event was made public--but details of the crimes, and of the Rippers first communication, were well known to London journalists, in any case. A third note, mailed on the 16th of October to George Lusk, head of the newly organized Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, contained another piece of superficially persuasive evidence. From hell Mr. Lusk Sir I send you half the Kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate was very nise I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer signed Catch me when you can Mister Lusk Examining the partial kidney, Dr. Openshaw, pathological curator of the London Hospital Museum, pronounced it ginny, of the sort expected from an alcoholic. It reportedly showed evidence of Brights disease--a condition suffered by Eddowes--and a comparison of severed renal arteries roughly matched the kidney to Eddowes. Even so, as British author Martin Fido documents, most homicide investigators on the case rejected both the kidney and the note as evidence. Londons panic had begun to fade by Halloween, but Jack the Ripper was not finished yet. Police were summoned on the morning of November 9 to Millers Court, in Spitalfields, to view the sad remains of Mary Kelly, former prostitute. Discovered by her land-lords errand boy, inquiring after tardy rent, she was the only victim killed indoors. Her murderer had taken full advantage of the opportunity to sculpt a grisly piece of butchers art. As usual, the victim had been murdered with a slash across the throat, this time so deep that she had nearly been decapitated. Jack had skinned her forehead, slicing off her nose and ears. Her left arm had been nearly severed at the shoulder, while both legs were flayed from thighs to ankles. She was disemboweled, one hand inserted in her gaping abdomen, the liver draped across one thigh. Her severed breasts lay on the nightstand, with her kidneys, heart, and nose. Police discovered strips of flesh suspended from the nails of picture frames, and blood was spattered on the walls of Kellys flat. Examination showed the victim had been three months pregnant at the time of death, but Saucy Jack had claimed the uterus and fetus for himself. So closed the Rippers reign of terror as it began, in mystery. Despite some published body counts that range from seven victims into double digits, the private papers of Sir Melville Macnaghten, former chief of CID for Scotland Yard, maintain that The Whitechapel murderer had five victims and five only. When it came to suspects in the case, however, there were many more. Macnaghten named three candidates himself, although his brief descriptions came out badly garbled. They included: Montague John Druitt, a London barrister and schoolteacher, was incorrectly described in Macnaghtens notes as a Doctor who was sexually insane--i.e., homosexual. I have little doubt, Macnaghten wrote, some years after the fact, but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer. Perhaps, but no one from the family ever said so--publicly, at least--and the note Druitt left upon his suicide, in December 1888, bore no resemblance to a murderers confession . Since Friday, Druitt wrote on Monday, December 3, I felt I was going to be like mother and the best thing for me was to die. (Druitts mother was committed to an asylum in July 1888 and died there, of melancholia and brain disease, in 1890. His maternal grandmother and his eldest sister also committed suicide.) There is no evidence beyond Macnaghtens personal suspicion linking Druitt with the Ripper homicides, and no other London policeman ever publicly endorsed him as a suspect. Aaron Kosminski, a Jewish hairdresser, emigrated from his native Poland in 1882. In July 1890, he was committed briefly to a London workhouse, with the observation that he had been insane for two years--a condition Macnaghten blames on many years indulgence in solitary vices--i.e., masturbation. (Aside from the absurdity of masturbation causing mental illness, Macnaghten also has the date wrong, placing Kosminskis first committal in March 1889.) Kosminski was returned to custody in February 1891, found wandering the London streets and eating out of gutters, after threatening his sister with a knife. In April 1894, he was transferred to the Leavesden Asylum for Imbeciles, where he was found to be demented and incoherent. Kosminski died of gangrene in 1919, and while several authors still consider him a promising Ripper suspect, there is no clear evidence to link his name with any of the crimes. Michael Ostrog, a con man and thief with numerous pseudonyms on file, was variously known to police as a Russian, a Russian Pole, and a Polish Jew. His many scams included posing as a cashiered Russian military officer and as the exiled son of Polands king. A series of arrests, with several convictions, kept him in and out of courts and jail from 1864 through 1887. Discharged from a mental institution in March 1888, Ostrog rated a mention in the Police Gazette seven months later, with the notation that Special attention is called to this dangerous man. Sadly, no details of his later crimes are now available, and Ostrogs fate remains unclear. One story, of his suicide around the final days of 1888, appears to be a mix-up with the case of M.J. Druitt, earlier described. Again, as with the other two Macnaghten suspects, there is nothing on the books to link Ostrog with any of the Ripper homicides. If these were not enough, the century and more since Saucy Jack retired from active duty has produced a myriad of other suspects. The first-string list includes: Dr. Alexander Pedachenko, a surgeon and one-time member of the Russian Secret Service, who practiced medicine in Glasgow before moving to London in the mid-1880s. By 1888, if author Donald McCormick is correct, the Russian Ochrana (Secret Police) regarded Pedachenko as the greatest and boldest of all Russian criminal lunatics. According to McCormick--who, in turn, derived his information from a manuscript allegedly dictated by Rasputin Pedachenko and a pair of flunkies carried out the Ripper slayings in a politically motivated attempt to embarrass Scotland Yard, as punishment for coddling exiled Russian dissidents. While interest, the theory has no evidence to back it up. Thomas Neill Cream, a homicidal doctor often mentioned as a Ripper suspect, led a grim career of arson , blackmail, and abortion. Linked to eight known homicides, including four London prostitutes poisoned for sport, he was condemned to hang in 1892. On the gallows, as the trap was sprung beneath him, Cream is said to have cried out, I am Jack the ---! His announcement was abbreviated by the noose, but there is no good reason to believe the truncated confession. In fact, while Jack was prowling White-chapel, the lethal Dr. Cream was serving prison time in Illinois, where he was safely locked away between November 1881 and July 1891. Suggestions that he somehow found a substitute to take his place in jail are fanciful, at best. Suspect Severin Klosowski, a.k.a. George Chapman, was a Polish barber-surgeon of vile habits and unsavory reputation. A prolific bigamist who poisoned at least two of his wives, he was condemned and hanged for murdering a third woman in 1902. During the Ripper manhunt, Chapman was apparently the pet suspect of Scotland Yard Inspector Frederick Abberline, despite a paucity of evidence. At Klosowskis final arrest, in October 1902, the retired detective exclaimed, Youve got Jack the Ripper at last! Unfortunately, there is not a single piece of evidence connecting Chapman to the Ripper--nor is there historic precedent for a sadistic slasher altering his modus operandi to incorporate the safer, relatively tame technique of poisoning. Robert Donston Stephenson, a.k.a. Dr. Roslyn DOnston, was named as a Ripper suspect by author Melvin Harris, in 1987. A failed medical student and disgraced Customs agent, with a life-long fascination for black magic, Stephenson was fingered by associates of satanist Aleister Crowley long after the murders. There is no tangible connection with the Ripper crimes in Dr. DOnstons case, though he was known to the police as an unruly drunkard, with a few arrests on charges of assault. The most illustrious Ripper suspect, by far, is Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, Duke of Clarence, heir presumptive to the throne of England--better known as Eddy to his friends. In fact, the princes name is intimately linked to five distinct and separate Ripper theories. They include: (1) Eddy the Ripper: Advanced by Dr. Thomas Stowell and author Frank Spiering, this theory describes Prince Jack as being driven mad by syphilis of the brain, venting his wrath on Whitechapel prostitutes. No historical evidence supports the case; in fact, royal diaries and Court Circulars indicate that Eddie was far away from London on the dates of all five murders. (2) Eddy the Rippers friend: Unsettled by reports that Eddy may have been the Ripper, author Michael Harrison set out to prove him innocent in 1972. His book, Clarence, was fairly successful in that regard, but Harrison still felt something lacking. I couldnt leave the reader high and dry, he later said, so what I did was find somebody I thought was a likely candidate. His selection, James K. Stephen, was Prince Eddys tutor, best friend, and suspected homosexual lover. Harrisons case against Stephen rests on Stephens misogynistic poetry and a controversial match between his handwriting and the first Ripper letter (a meaningless link in itself, if the letter was a hoax). Beyond that evidence, there is no proof of any tie between James Stephen and the homicides. (3) Eddy as accomplice: Esteemed forensic psychiatrist Dr. David Abrahamsen, writing in 1992, combined the Spiering and Harrison hypotheses, painting Jack the Ripper as a two-man team, a lá the Hillside Stranglers in latter-day Los Angeles. His candidates for infamy include Prince Eddy and James Stephen, killing in tandem, while Stephen pens the famous Ripper correspondence. Published as Murder and Madness, Abrahamsens theory contains no new evidence that would point conclusively to either suspect, much less to the pair acting in criminal concert. (4) Eddy as motive: In this scenario, published by anti-Masonic author Stephen Knight, Prince Eddy has embarrassed the monarchy and jeopardized his own succession to the throne by secretly marrying a Catholic commoner, one Annie Elizabeth Crook. To keep the wedding secret, royal surgeon Sir William Gull proceeds to slaughter the five female witnesses, mutilating their bodies in accordance with arcane Masonic ritual. Major problems with the theory include the facts that (a) Annie Crook was not, in fact a Catholic; and (b) any such marriage would have been automatically nullified by the Royal Marriages Act of 1872. Gull becomes an even less likely candidate when we learn that he was partially disabled, in 1887, by the first in a series of strokes that ultimately took his life. (5) Eddy as oblivious bystander: A final royal scenario, published by authors Martin Howells and Keith Skinner in 1988, harks back to M.J. Druitt as the Ripper, calling his December suicide a murder, committed by one Henry Francis Wilson. The motive: to remove Druitt from circulation before his crimes expose various highly-placed homosexual associates, including the Duke of Clarence (described by Howells and Skinner as a one-time paramour of Henry Wilson, from his college days). The evidence presented against Druitt here is no more substantial than in previous accounts--and without that proof, his possible affair with Wilson is irrelevant. The latest suspect, to date, is James Maybrick, a Liverpool cotton broker who was poisoned by his wife in 1889, first named as a Ripper candidate when publication of his alleged confessional diary was announced in 1993. The so-called diary, written by hand in a Victorian-era scrapbook, with the first twenty pages ripped out, was curious enough for Warner Books to commission a special review prior to publication. Analysis of the ink pegged a median date of 1921, plus or minus 12 years, and Maybricks hand-writing was also deemed inconsistent with the first Ripper letter (a problematic choice of evidence, discussed above). With the results of that analysis in hand, Warner Books canceled publication of the diary, subsequently releamHÇ °‚È ÑFÇ sed by another house to lukewarm sales. Despite the wealth of Ripper suspects, there is still no smoking gun in this historic case--and, given the alarming fact that random killers often prove to be the boy next door, instead of kings or drooling skid-row losers, there may never be. British author Colin Wilson may have scored the last word on the Ripper riddle some years back, when he described a far-off Judgment Day, with tongue in cheek. A team of well-known Ripperologists have gathered at the pearly gates, each confident his favorite suspect will be named as Saucy Jack ... but when the real-life Ripper finally presents himself, the startled experts all ask: Who?


BOOKS

BÜCHER

 
en BARFIELD :
Woman on Death Row
 
Death Sentence: The True Story of Velma Barfield's Life, Crimes and Execution
 
MediaTip
Hush Little Babies : The True Story Of A Mother Who Murdered Her Own Children
 
Women and the Death Penalty in the United States, 1900-1998