View Full Version : Text Of The O'Donnell Chapter 2
09-02-2010, 07:41 PM
Ripper Theories Exploded: Chapter 2
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Thus ends the second chapter of This Man Was Jack The Ripper.
Discussion thread for this chapter :
09-04-2010, 05:57 PM
By the way, the last line of page 105 was not on my printed copy of the document. Thats the entire page I had to use.
09-19-2010, 07:08 AM
RIPPER THEORIES EXPLODED.
That some confusion should have existed as to the actual number of murders committed by Jack the Ripper was, I think, inevitable. After he had begun operations and it became clear that a most unusual character was at large, every murder which took place in the East End area - and quite a few which occurred up and down the country - were seized upon as yet another of his crimes.
One can appreciate such confusion in the public mind, but not in the minds of those who were in a position to know better, for it was not only in the number of crimes attributed to the Ripper that there was considerable loose thinking, but also in the theories put forward by eminent criminologists and highly placed police officers, who had access to all the information regarding the Ripper contained in the official files and records.
I have already given an example of the confusion existing in the mind of Major Arthur Griffiths when he remarked that the Ripper was actually seen in Mitre Square by P.C. Watkins in spite of the latter's denial of having even caught a glimpse of anyone on the night of Eddowes' murder.
Other prominent police officers with whom I must deal are Sir Robert Anderson, K.C.B., appointed Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department on the resignation of Sir Charles Warren, Sir Basil Thompson and Sir Melville Macnaghten, both of whom were also Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police.
Sir Robert, in his book "Lighter Side of My Official Life" relates how he was recalled from Paris after the Stride - Eddowes double murder, and was told by Mr. Matthews the Home Secretary:-
"We hold you responsible to find the murderer."
After modestly promising to "take all legitimate means to find him," Sir Robert goes on to say:-
"One did not need to be a Sherlock Holmes to discover that the criminal was sexual maniac of a virulent type... And the conclusion we came to was that he and his people were certain low class Polish Jews... And the result proved our diagnosis was right on every point. For I may say at once that 'undiscovered murders' are rare in London, and the Jack the Ripper crimes are not within that category."
The writer then mentions the Ripper letter, suggesting that it was "the creation of an enterprising London journalist." After which Sir Robert goes on airily to remark:-
"Having regard to the interest in this case I am almost tempted to disclose the identity of the murderer and of the pressman who wrote the letter referred to. But no public benefit would result from such a course, and the traditions of my old department would suffer. I would merely add that the only person who ever had a good view of the murderer unhesitatingly identified the suspect the instant he was confronted with him; but he refused to give evidence against him. In saying that he was a Polish Jew I am merely stating a definitely ascertained fact."
The italics are mine, my only comment being that Sir Robert's department must have "suffered" much more from his slovenly of pretentious claim, than if he had kept silent on the matter. For what does he invite us to believe? Bear in mind that he was there on the spot at the time of the Ripper crimes. In taking over from Sir Charles Warren, he must have been in possession of all the material facts in the case. Yet in spite of the failure of his cherished department to effect an arrest, he would have us believe that, far from being baffled in their hunt for Jack the Ripper, the police not only knew his identity "as a definitely ascertained fact," but confronted "the suspect" with the one person who had a good view of the murderer with the result that he was "unhesitatingly identified." Sir Robert adds:-
"But he (the identifier) refused to give evidence against him."
Can anyone imagine such nonsense? The eyes of the whole world were focussed on this square mile in London's East End; every available policeman, uniformed and plain clothed who could be spared, had been drafted into this area in an effort to run the murderer to earth; his capture, dead or alive, would have been the greatest achievement of any police force in the world and the most prized feather in the cap of any Commissioner of police who succeeded in bringing off such a coup.
Both public and Press were clamouring for results which would allay the alarm and put an end to the reign of terror in their midst. And all the time Sir Robert assures us, Scotland Yard were in possession of the very information which would have set one's mind at rest.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions as to this being so, at the same time directing attention to Sir Robert's insistence that the murderer "was a sexual maniac" in spite of the fact that in no instance were any of the victims sexually assaulted. I would also remark that I have combed the reports published at the time for any mention of this mysterious identifier who refused to give evidence, but without success.
Major Griffiths in his "Mysteries of Police and Crime" is almost as emphatic as Sir Robert on this point. He writes:-
"The outside public may think that the identity of Jack the Ripper was never revealed, but the police after the last murder had brought their investigations to the point of strongly suspecting several persons, and against three of them they held very plausible and reasonable grounds of suspicion. One was a Polish Jew... who, having afterwards developed homicidal tendencies, was confined in an asylum... It is at least a strong presumption that Jack the Ripper died or was put under restraint after the Miller's Court affair, which ended this series of crimes."
Of the last of Major Griffiths' trio of suspects, he writes:-
"He was also a doctor... and he disappeared immediately after the murder in Miller's Court.. On the last day of 1888, seven weeks later, his body was found floating in the Thames."
This story of the body dragged from the River Thames is an old legend which has grown up among others, gaining in romantic detail with the years.
Sir Basil Thompson makes much of it in "The Story of Scotland Yard." He too insists that the Ripper committed suicide by hurling himself into the Thames, and that when his body was recovered the police knew it was that of Jack the Ripper.
Sir Melville Macnaghten is more restrained in his claim as to knowledge of the Ripper's identity. But he falls into the common error of declaring that "of course he was a sexual maniac;" later on, suggesting that, "he committed suicide on or about the 10 of November 1888 after he had knocked out a Commissioner of Police (Warren) and very nearly settled the hash of one of Her Majesty's principal Secretaries of State (Matthews)."
Just before he retired from his office of Commissioner, Sir Melville stated in public that he had once possessed certain documents which established the identity of Jack the Ripper, but... he had destroyed them.
By what right he carried out this destruction of official papers is beside the point. What I want to emphasise in respect of the claims made by these four men that they knew the identity of the Ripper, is, that in spite of that knowledge, and in spite of his alleged suicide at the end of 1888, the police continued to detain scores of suspects for nearly a year afterwards. Why? - if in fact they knew that his body lay in a suicide's grave, and that this man, who had struck terror into the hearts of the inhabitants of the East End was dead and beyond committing any more of his gruesome crimes? The very idea is unthinkable.
So fear continued to rage unchecked among the people of this squalid neighbourhood. They would have been overjoyed to learn that the Ripper was dead, and that they no longer need fear his vicious knife. And... the police would have been as proud and overjoyed to have been able to give them this assurance.
Yet, according to four police Commissioners, they had this knowledge and failed to impart it to the public.
The body dragged from the river was just a myth as so many official pronouncements on the Ripper crimes were proved to be; I say this with some assurance, for I spent days in the Newspaper Library of the British Museum at Colindale, going through the files of the Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily News, Star, Pall Mall Gazette of the day together with numerous other papers, all of which devoted columns to the Ripper murders.
If a body was dragged from the Thames, there must have been an inquest upon it; and, while the body of some unknown would probably not attract a great deal of attention, the mere suggestion that the body was that of Jack the Ripper would have been blazoned in the headlines on the front pages of every newspaper in the land. Not one single meagre report of the recovery of any body from the Thames resulted from my search.
The theory that the Ripper was a homicidal maniac who killed for the sheer lust of killing was one of the most prevalent - and perhaps natural - theories propounded both at the time of the murders and for long years afterwards. I do not agree with this idea for the simple reason that had he been a maniac, the murderer would not have displayed such discrimination in the selection of his victims from one class only. He would have slain indiscriminately anybody, at any time, man woman or child, when, and wherever he happened upon them. Nor would he have confined himself to one small area of operations, or to the hours of darkness as did the Ripper. He would not only have widened the sphere of his operations, but would have struck both by day and by night.
Dr. Forbes Winslow the great authority on mental diseases in those days became a prominent figure in the investigations into the Ripper murders. He was of opinion that the murderer may have forgotten his crimes the morning after he had committed them, his frenzy of blood lust having spent itself.
Again I find myself in disagreement with the conclusions of Dr. Forbes Winslow on this point, for this reason. On each occasion the murderer was possessed of a knife peculiarly adapted for the savage slashing of a throat and the infliction of mutilation. Does not this suggest a very definite premeditation about his crimes, and a purposeful preparation for them rather than an outburst of maniacal frenzy on the spur of the moment?
From the previous chapter is it not clear that there was too much method and system in these crimes to warrant a belief that it was a madman's lust of killing which animated the Ripper? Every possible - and improbable - suspect was interrogated; the keenest lookout was maintained for any person possessing homicidal tendency; every mental institution in the country was combed to discover whether any such patient had been released, or whether any likely suspect had been admitted to such an institution; there was not a doctor in the land but was on the alert for anybody displaying the least symptom of abnormality in this respect.
How then could it have been humanly possible for a maniac to promiscuously murder woman after woman in one small district without leaving behind a single trace or clue to his identity?
Dr. Winslow was among those who claimed to know the identity of Jack the Ripper; he even informed the police that the murderer could be seen on any Sunday morning on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral. One can only conclude that his information did not impress the police very strongly, and certainly no newspaper of that day attached much importance to the story beyond referring to it as a statement of Forbes Winslow.
The arguments against the homicidal maniac theory apply with equal force to another current theory very popular in 1888. This suggested that the Ripper was animated by the lofty motive of extirpating "vice and sin" on a wholesale scale by the simple process of exterminating the purveyors of vice and sin - represented by the poor dregs of humanity whom he claimed for victims.
I find it inconceivable that a devout missionary - devout to the point of murder - engaged on such gruesome crusade of retribution, should confirm his chastening activities to the street walkers of the East End, when, but a bus ride away in the glittering West End, a larger and more glamorous field of operations flaunted itself in vice and sin. I feel that the determination of the ardent religionist would have been spurred into fiercer action by the more refined degeneracy of Mayfair rather than by the squalid vice to be found in Whitechapel.
Nor can I envisage the murders ceasing with such dramatic suddenness as they did. The true missionary would have been impelled to further efforts in the good (in his view) work. He would not have been deterred by fear of discovery, but would have gone on and on until he was caught, or - until the sheer horror of his crimes had driven him mad. His lust for extirpating vice would also have been sated by the slaying of his victims and he would not have outraged his own religious susceptibilities by indulging in the devilish mutilations inflicted by Jack the Ripper.
These, however, are but general theories; yet they have persisted throughout the eighty or so years which have elapsed since the Ripper cast his shadow. There are of course others.
To William le Quex, the famous novelist, must be attributed the wildest and the most improbable theory of all. In "Things I Know" published in 1923, he declares that Jack the Ripper was a Russian surgeon named Pedachenko who lived with his sister in Walworth. This doctor was aided in his crimes by a woman, who, says le Queux, engaged the victims in conversations while the Ripper kept watch for the patrols.
The novelist claimed that the authority for his story were certain papers left behind by the infamous monk Rasputin when he died. These, said le Queux, were handed to him by the Kerensky government. The reason for Pedachenko committing the Ripper crimes was, le Queux declares with the utmost solemnity, that the doctor was commanded to do so by the Tzarist regime "in order to exhibit to the world certain defects of the English police system."
I refrain from any comment on this theory beyond saying that it evolved from the brain of one of our greatest writers of fiction, and that never in his wildest plots had he conceived a greater absurdity than this.
One cannot so easily dismiss the proposition of Mr. Hargrave L. Adam contained in "The Trial of George Chapman" which he edited for one of the Notable Trial series. His theory is that Chapman and Jack the Ripper were one and the same person. He bases this theory on a series of coincidences which are beyond dispute. For example Mr. Adam proves that Chapman was actually in England at the time of the Ripper murders and worked as a barber's assistant in the Whitechapel area. He points out that there were no more Ripper murders after Chapman went to the United States in 1890, and mentions that a series of similar murders occurred in America after Chapman's arrival there. He emphasises that these crimes ceased when Chapman returned to this country two years later, in 1892.
So much for the coincidences. Let us now turn to the known facts.
The dates are important in this analysis of the Chapman - Ripper theory, and it is interesting to observe that it was not until some time in 1888 that Chapman came to this country from Poland, where he had followed the calling of Feldscher, or "barber surgeon" as it was known over here. Thus he could only have been in England a month or two when the Ripper murders commenced in August of that year. Mr. Adam considers this a very significant point in support of his theory, together with the fact of Chapman's Feldscher occupation. In olden days our barbers not only cut hair and trimmed beards, but also practised the elementary surgery of "blood letting.!" And to this day the barbers' poles which decorate many a "hairdressing saloon" are a relic of this dual profession of the middle ages. I mention these facts because a great deal of emphasis has been placed upon the "surgical knowledge" of Chapman in lining him with Jack the Ripper when in fact his experience in such things was of a very meagre nature.
On reaching London, Chapman made for Whitechapel, a popular rendezvous of Polish Jews at that period. He was known by his real name Severin Klowsowski - it was not till some years later that he took the name George Chapman - and became assistant to a local barber. Later on he married a Polish woman named Lucy Baderski.
In the meantime Jack the Ripper had descended upon the East End of London… The first murder was on August 31, the last being on November 9 of the year 1888. Mr. Adam is pleased to attribute the murder of Alice M'Kenzie in July 1889 to the infamous Jack, but as I have shown this crime bore no resemblance to the Ripper modus operandi.
If therefore we accept the theory that Chapman was indeed the Ripper we must also accept the fact that within a matter of weeks of his arrival in England, this man who could speak no English and was a complete stranger in a strange land, had gained such a mastery of our language that he could write the missives signed Jack the Ripper; that in that brief period he had acquired such an intimate knowledge of the murder area with its warren of murky courts and tortuous alleys he could thread his way about them night after night, plying his knife in the darkness with complete immunity from capture in spite of the army of police and vigilantes on the lookout for him.
The imagination boggles at the very idea.
Mr. Adam suggests that Klowsoski continued his murderous career with the knife until July 1889 when he left Whitechapel for Peckham where he remained until 1891. In that year he sailed for the United States and became a barber in New Jersey. For the moment let us accept the suggestion of Mr. Adam that Klowsowski (he was still known by his Polish name) was responsible for a series of Ripper murders in that area. If this was so - and there is not a shred of evidence to connect him with those crimes - then it is important to observe that the weapon he used was still the knife. Important, because this is one of the strongest arguments against the theory that Chapman and the Ripper were one and the same.
It is generally accepted by police and criminologists the world over, that criminals seldom change their methods. That is to say, if a crook specialises in one type of crime he not only sticks to it, but commits it in much the same sort of way. Thus, a pickpocket does not turn cracksman; and a housebreaker who is notorious for entering premises by way of an upper window will seldom resort to forcing the front door with a jemmy.
09-21-2010, 07:50 AM
The Criminal Record Office at Scotland Yard contains hundreds of thousands of files containing details of the "methods" or "system" adopted by different types of crooks. Such records are all carefully tabulated for speedy reference.
To put it plainly experience has proved that the criminal invariably works to pattern. This also applies to the persistent murderer. They invariably follow the same routine. Palmer the Rugeley poisoner like Neill Cream favoured strychnine; Burke and Hare the body snatchers smothered their victims before selling their bodies for dissection; Mary Ann Cotton preferred arsenic for the disposal of husbands and children alike; George Joseph Smith of "Brides in the Bath" fame drowned his victims.
One and all they worked to a pattern never varying their methods. The pattern of Jack the Ripper is only too familiar to us. The quickly slashed throat in eerie silence; the leisurely mutilations which enhanced the horror of his crimes. These were the features which marked his atrocities, and in order to appreciate the difference in pattern between the murders of Jack the Ripper and those of which we know Chapman to have been guilty, it is necessary to pursue the history of the latter.
In 1892 Klowsowski returned from the States to England after a two years sojourn. With him came his wife whom he soon deserted for a more comely young woman named Annie Chapman. Four years had elapsed since another Annie Chapman had been done to death in that squalid back yard of 29 Hanbury Street. It was while living with the second Annie, that Klowsowski discarded his Polish name and became George Chapman taking the surname of his mistress. The latter was more fortunate than her predecessor for after being his "wife" for only a short time, she left him. Otherwise she too might have become another of his victims.
Chapman resumed his barbering career; but, ever one for the companionship of women he took up with a Mrs. Mary Spink who became yet another of his "wives." She was the mother of a school age child, and had money of her own. Chapman soon persuaded Mrs. Spink to advance this money to set him up in business in a hairdressing business at Hastings. Here, he instituted "Musical shave" his "wife"playing the piano while Chapman wielded the razor.
In 1897 (nine years after the Ripper murders) Chapman and his "wife" returned to London where the former became lessee of public house in Finsbury. It was not long before Mrs. Spink died after a painful illness. Chapman promptly put her son into the workhouse. Later on he took over the Monument Tavern in the Borough and engaged a presentable young woman, one Bessie Taylor, as barmaid. She too died an agonising death in 1901. Six months later Maud Marsh was installed as barmaid at the Monument in due course becoming known as "Mrs. Chapman." While there, Chapman burned down the Tavern but failed to obtain the insurance money. With Maud Marsh he moved to The Crown, also in the Borough, where he became enamoured of another girl named Rayner. He invited her to accompany him to the States, and when she suggested his wife might prove an obstacle, Chapman snapped his fingers as he retorted, "Oh - I could give her that and she wouldn't be Mrs. Chapman any more."
Not long after this incident Maud Marsh was taken ill. In October 1902, she died. Once more, Chapman, a grief stricken "husband" called in a doctor to certify that Marsh had died from heart failure following vomiting and diarrhoea.
In doing so he was guilty of a stupid blunder which eventually put the noose around his neck. It was a blunder of which the Ripper would never have been guilty; for the doctor whom Chapman called in was the very same medico he had called in to certify the death of Bessie Taylor a year before, The doctor recalled the similarity of symptoms in the two women and became suspicious; he refused to give a certificate. Instead, a post mortem examination was ordered revealing the presence of antimony in the organs of the dead woman; thus suspicion became certainty; the subsequent exhumations of Mrs. Spink and Bessie Taylor revealed a similar state of affairs with the result that Chapman was charged with murder and sentenced to death at the Old Bailey.
I cannot for the life of me imagine anybody with the cunning and subtlety of mind of the real Ripper ever making such an obviously foolish mistake as to call in the same doctor to two different victims. Apart from that, if Chapman was in fact Jack the Ripper we are faced with the unaccountable change of pattern in his crimes.
In 1897, nine years after the throat slashing Ripper crimes of 1888, we find him switching from the knife to the poison phial; two types of crime utterly different in character and method. In the one case instant death inflicted with a knife, and in the other a prolonged agonising death spread over weeks.
Mr. Adam would also have us believe that this man, animated by so wanton a lust for murder that he even committed them abroad, completely abstained from any such crime for five years on his return from the States in 1892, and then embarked on an entirely new pattern of murder by means of poison.
There are other differences besides this change in "method." There is the difference in the type of victim.
The Ripper's victims were all prostitutes. Chapman's were not. Even though they fell sufficiently to his blandishments to live with him as his "wives," they came from respectable families and were not the dregs of humanity from among whom Jack the Ripper sought his victims.
Nor were their bodies left in the open street to be found by the first passer by. No! They died in their beds with Chapman's arms lovingly around them. During their illness he assumed the guise of a devoted nurse, tending his victims night and day. Not so the Ripper. No lust of woman or desire to possess them urged his hand to kill; there was no passing infatuation on his part for the poor drabs he slew. Nor did his activities spread over the years as did those of Chapman who took 5 years to murder his three wives against the 3 months taken by the Ripper to slay his 5 victims.
So that in every possible aspect of the two sets of crimes there were vital differences showing them to be poles apart in method, selection of victims, scenes of crimes, and period over which they were committed.
There is still one other feature of Mr. Adam's theory which should be touched upon in view of the importance attached to it. I have already consented on the unlikelihood of Chapman mastering our rather difficult language within a month or two of his arrival in Whitechapel to the extent of writing the letter supposed to have been written by the Ripper.
But Mr. Adam takes for granted that the letter signed Jack the Ripper was in fact written by that gentleman. And, in order to connect it with Chapman calls attention to what he is pleased to term the "Americanisms" it contained. I have already given this letter in full, and reference to it reveals no trace of any such "Americanism." The wording is easily recognisable as idiomatic cockney slang, the vulgar humour being that of the London cockney.
One is entitled to wonder how this Polish barber could so rapidly have discarded his native tongue and assimilated so quickly the glib slang of the East Ender. As for any American idiom one is up against an even greater mystery, for Chapman was never in the States until 1890 (two years after the Ripper murders) and there were no cinemas with Hollywood films depicting the American way of life and speech, from which he could have acquired such "Americanisms."
I cannot conceive the letter being written by Jack the Ripper or George Chapman, for I cannot imagine that the best brains of Scotland Yard would have failed to carry out the purely routine process of comparing the handwriting of Chapman with that of the Ripper communications, and if convinced that they were in the same handwriting, proclaiming the fact from the very housetops.
In concluding my examination of Mr. Adam's theory, it is only fair to add that Chief Inspector Aberline who was engaged on the Ripper investigation, and Chief Inspector Godley, who arrested Chapman were both convinced that the latter was in truth Jack the Ripper.
I leave you to draw your own conclusions as to the reasons for their joint opinions, but would remark that any solution would have been very welcome to these two officers operating in the areas where both series of crimes were committed.
But, apart from what one may call unlikely theories, there is also one which can only be described as weird as well as unlikely. This was the sensational claim made on behalf of Mr. Robert James Lees following his death in 1931.
Mr. Lees was well known as a medium in spiritualist circles at the time of the Ripper murders, and was a famous clairvoyant and author of those days. After he died a friend produced a document said to have been dictated by Mr. Lees, with instructions that it should not be made public until after his death. In it the medium declared that while in a clairvoyant condition he saw two of the Ripper murders before they were committed and later actually saw one in the process of being committed. He claimed that, at the special request of Scotland Yard, he acted as a sort of human bloodhound in tracking down the murderer and that a dozen London physicians sat as a court of medical enquiry upon this man who was a famous West End doctor. According to Mr. Lees the court proved that he was the murderer and found him insane. All parties having knowledge of the facts, including the Yard men, were then sworn to secrecy at the request of Queen Victoria who knew the doctor.
The events leading up to this denouement are eerie in the extreme.
One day, Mr. Lees was in his study when he experienced his clairvoyant vision. He saw a man cut the throat of a woman, and then mutilate her body. At this time, I should explain, the Ripper had already taken toll of several victims and the newspapers were filled with reports of his activities. Mr. Lees was so impressed by his premonition that he went straight to Scotland Yard and described what he had seen.
The next day, to his infinite horror, Jack the Ripper carried out another of his atrocities. So upset and shocked was the clairvoyant that he took his whole family to the Continent where he remained for some time convalescing, during which, declared the document, four other Ripper murders took place.
On returning to England over a year later - the lapse of time is significant - he was in a bus one day when a man got on. Lees turned to his wife and said, "That is Jack the Ripper." He had recognised him from the vision seen twelve months previously. The man alighted at Marble Arch. Lees followed him off the bus. He told a policeman to arrest the stranger, but the constable simply shrugged his shoulders, and the suspect disappeared.
That same night Mr. Lees had a premonition that the infamous Jack was about to commit another murder. In this case he observed that one of the victim's ears had been completely severed from her head. As soon as he recovered from the shock of this second trance, Mr. Lees hied him to Scotland Yard, where - according to his story - the face of the Inspector blanched when he described the cutting off of the victim's ear. And then - continues the medium, the Yard man reached out a trembling hand and produced from a drawer a postcard written in red ink and bearing the imprint of two bloodstained fingers. Pallid of face he handed it across to Mr. Lees with the remark that the card had arrived that same morning. It read:-
"Tomorrow night I shall again take my revenge, claiming from a class of women who have become most obnoxious to me, my ninth victim. Jack the Ripper.
P.S. To prove that I am really Jack the Ripper I will cut off the ears of this ninth victim."
In the first place, I must point out that the only card ever to reach the police bearing that signature, was the one postmarked October 1 1888 and sent to the Central News Agency. This also was alleged to have had upon it two bloodstained fingerprints, great newspaper prominence being given to this macabre description.
Now this card was received over a year before Mr. Lees says that he experienced his second premonition indicating that the murder he saw clairvoyantly, was going to take place in the future. in other words, the crime he saw had already been committed over twelve months previously when this vision came to him. In emphasising this point I rely entirely upon the document (published on the death of Mr. Lees) in which he says, that when this murder took place, he suffered from such a breakdown from shock that he was ordered abroad with his entire family, in order to recover from the horror.
Mr. Lees stated that he remained on the continent for over a year before returning to England, adding that during his absence, the Ripper committed four more murders. Another fact which illustrates the confusion of Mr. Lees is that the one and only reference to cutting off a victim's ears was contained in the letter dated September 25, 1888. The postcard of October 1 referred only to what the Ripper described as the "Double event" - the murder of both Stride and Eddowes on September 30. As this had already taken place when the postcard was written, and had already been widely reported in the Press it can scarcely be regarded as in any way prophetic.
According to Mr. Lees, the vision and the subsequent production of this postcard on his visit to Scotland Yard must have occurred towards the end of 1889 (allowing for his year's absence on the continent) which was long after the Ripper murders had ceased.
But let us return to that scene at the Yard described by Mr. Lees with such dramatic emphasis. According to the document, so impressed was the Yard chief with the medium's premonition that he immediately organised the drafting of some 20,000 police of all ranks to cover the whole Whitechapel area. In passing I would point out that the total strength of the Metropolitan Police Force at this time was 12,000, and I cannot conceive the rest of the Metropolis being left entirely without police services. That by the way, however; the fact remains that in spite of every nook and corner of the murder area being under constant surveillance, the Ripper (says the document) carried out the threat of murder contained in his warning postcard, claiming yet another victim and eluding capture without leaving a single clue behind.
Small wonder that the shock of the fulfilment of this second premonition should once more send Mr. Lees to the Continent to recover his shattered nerves. Even so, he could not entirely escape the horror of the Ripper's depredations, for while he was away (states the document) Jack the Ripper carried out his sixteenth murder. At the same time he warned the Yard that he intended to kill twenty and then cease.
Again Mr. Lees returned to England, and then - one night while dining with friends at the Criterion Restaurant another premonition came to him. He exclaimed to his companions, "Great God! Jack the Ripper has committed another murder." This time he saw the crime in the process of being carried out.
Without delay, the medium and his friends made straight for the Yard where the story was received with some incredulity until - just at that very moment - a telegram was brought into the office announcing another Ripper murder. The Inspector together with Lees and his friends set off for the scene of this new crime. By the light of a match, they saw these words written on a nearby wall in chalk. "Seventeen, Jack the Ripper."
Again the medium had triumphed!
Mr. Lees really lets himself go now. He describes the inspector as being in a condition "bordering on insanity," and remarks that the Ripper crimes had "baffled the police of the world for years." He goes on to say that so strong was the yearning to lay the murderer by the heels that rewards totalling £30,000 and a life pension of £1,500 a year were offered to any person bringing about the arrest. He next describes how his clairvoyant services were enlisted by the authorities ay Scotland Yard, to track down the murderer, and relates an intriguing story of how he traversed the streets of London all through one night with detectives ever on his heels.
After some hours of these bloodhound activities, Mr. Lees halted before a West End mansion. He pointed to a light in an upstairs window.
"There is the murderer, the man you are looking for," he declared, "with cracked and swollen lips."
"Impossible!" ejaculated the inspector. "That is the residence of one of the most celebrated physicians in the West End."
But the medium was insistent and when, in reply to
Yard man told her the sorry nature of his quest. The wife admitted that her husband was not of sound mind and had threatened both her and the children. He took delight in the torture of animals such as cutting off the eyelids of a rabbit and exposing it to brilliant sunlight till it died.
A search of then house, declared Mr, Lees, revealed ample proofs that the doctor was the murderer. After an examination by mental experts he was removed to an asylum in Islington. But Mr. Lees' story does not end there for he insists that in order to account for the disappearance of this eminent physician from society, a sham death and burial were gone through, an empty coffin being used for the purpose. The coffin, he concludes, now reposes in the family vault in a London cemetery.
I have accorded this theory the seriousness with which it was put forward and accepted in spiritualistic circles. But the briefest examination will prove it to be untenable as it is eerie.
In the first place there never were seventeen Ripper murders; there were no more than five. In the second place they did not extend over years as Mr. Lees suggested. They all took place during 1888 within a matter of three months at the outside. So that when Mr. Lees claims that he saw the Ripper on a bus over a year after he received his first premonition, and that while he was abroad for the second time (this must have been in 1890 at least) the Ripper murdered his sixteenth victim, I can only remark that Mr. Lees was sadly and belatedly misinformed by his spirit controls. Everything he foretold had already taken place.
09-22-2010, 09:35 AM
Here is the last part of Chapter 2:-
Finally it is alleged that this astounding story was deliberately suppressed at the personal request of Queen Victoria out of consideration for the high social standing and professional eminence of the mad doctor. It is claimed that she insisted on all twelve doctors who formed the court of medical enquiry (and indeed everyone who had knowledge of this sensational denouement to the Ripper mystery, including of course Mr. Lees himself) being sworn to absolute secrecy on the matter. We must suppose that the authorities at Scotland Yard together with the Home Secretary readily connived at this Royal censorship with the result that not a word of the story leaked out until after the death of Mr. Lees.
Could absurdity go further? No one was more concerned that the Ripper mystery should be cleared up than Queen Victoria. She took a personal interest in the matter even to the extent of suggesting to Mr. Matthews the Home Secretary, possible lines of enquiry.
"Her Majesty fears that the detective department is not so efficient as it might be," wrote her secretary to Mr. Matthews, after the fourth murder. "No doubt the recent murders were committed in circumstances which made detection very difficult; still the Queen thinks that in the small area where these horrible crimes have been committed, a great number of detectives might be employed..."
The letter then goes on to suggest the following:-
"(1) Have the cattle boats and passenger boats been examined?
(2) Has any investigation been made as to the number of single men occupying rooms to themselves in and around the district?
(3) The murderer's clothes must be saturated with blood and hidden somewhere. Where are they?
(4) Is there sufficient surveillance at night?
Is it conceivable that Her Majesty who displayed so practical an interest in solving the mystery of Jack the Ripper would ever have exercised her Royal will to suppress facts which must have put an end to any fears of further horrors? I can only think that if Mr. Lees experienced any such visions as described, they were the outcome, not of any clairvoyant faculties he may have possessed, but from a too assiduous reading of the reports of the Ripper murders which remained in his subconscious mind to be revived in after years.
Another theory equally untenable was that which formed the basis of a nook by Mr. William Stewart, in which he suggests that Jack the Ripper was really Jill. In other words that the murderer was a woman. He suggests that a midwife would, by reason of her calling, possess a "knowledge and manipulative dexterity" sufficient to remove the uterus and perform the surgical mutilations which were inflicted on the Ripper victims.
I would remind Mr. Stewart, however, that seventy years ago in 1888, midwifery was at a rather primitive stage; especially among practitioners in the squalid neighbourhood of Whitechapel, Midwives were not the skilled and highly trained women who perform that office today. Contrary to Mr. Stewart's suggestion, they knew little if anything about anatomy beyond the rudimentary physiological processes of childbirth, and nothing whatever of surgery. For the most part, such experience as they possessed in the art of midwifery, had been gained from the neighbourly act of delivering the child of the woman next door, or that of a friend up the street. And it would not be easy for such a woman to find and remove the uterus or kidney from a body lying in the street or backyard, during the dark hours of night.
And why should a midwife resort to the savage mutilations which marked the Ripper's crimes?
Mr. Stewart suggests that these were deliberately inflicted by his Jill in order to direct suspicion away from herself towards the medical fraternity. A midwife, by nature of her work, says Mr. Stewart would be immune from suspicion if encountered in the early hours with bloodstained clothing.
But in those days, when the terror reigned over London, every woman found abroad after dusk, be she respectable housewife or common street walker, was apprehended and closely interrogated as to whence she had come and whither she was going. One can rest assured that anyone, man or woman, with bloodstained clothing would not only have been rigorously questioned, but would have been called upon to give a very circumstantial account and absolute proof of how he or she had come by them.
Besides - what motive would a midwife have in such wholesale slaughter and mutilation?
A ready answer is forthcoming from Mr. Stewart who intimates that the murderer may in the past have been an abortionist who had suffered a term of imprisonment through the betrayal of her aid by one of the very women she had helped in this way. So inflamed was his Jill by this thankless treachery, he suggests, that on leaving gaol she set our to avenge herself upon "such women as those who had denounced her."
This, however, does not explain why the murderess selected all her victims from among the prostitute class, and Mr. Stewart remains discreetly quiet on this point. At the same time he is frank enough to admit in the closing passages of his book:-
"I must still remind the reader that my theory is but a theory, albeit one which contributes something not only new and original but which is based on information which has until now never so far as I know been made public."
If one concedes originality that is as far as one can go; for the "information" on which Mr. Stewart bases his theory is based is non existent in his book and, as one might expect in any records.
I come now to the final and most ingenious theory ever presented - that of Mr. Leonard Matters, whose exhaustive researches into the facts and details of the Ripper murders have rightly caused his book "The Mystery of Jack the Ripper" to be one of the most popular works on the subject.
Mr. Matters suggests that these murders were crimes of vengeance carried out by a once famous surgeon (to whom he gives the name of Dr. Stanley) driven to commit them in order to avenge the death of his only son from venereal disease. It is a remarkable story unfolded by Mr. Matters with no other support then the anonymous confession of a dying man in far off Buenos Aires, plus a few fragmentary stories, culled, one gathers, from mysterious informants, who are also permitted a blessed anonymity. Mr. Matters is quite frank regarding his Dr. Stanley, of whom he writes:-
"That such a man of such a character, and such a life story did really exist in 1888, it is beyond my hope to prove... A close search of the records of the General Medical Council of Great Britain has failed to reveal that there was on the register in 1888 anyone who could be identified with my Dr. Stanley. None the less, he must have lived - even if never under that name."
Dr. Stanley, he tells us, was a great surgeon attached to one of the big London Hospitals. So skilled was he that he scoffed at the immature efforts of such masters of the science as Lister and that "young fellow Treves," two men whose names are household words in medical history.
The death of Stanley's wife when his only son was but a child brought the first great sorrow into his life. He became morose and unsociable, and, except for the love he lavished on his son, life held but little for him.
In due course the son became a medical student and was on the way to becoming prominent in his profession when the blow fell. The boy contracted venereal disease and just before he died he confided to his father the name of the woman from whom he had contracted the complaint. According to Mr. Matters' informant, the woman was Marie Jeanette Kelly, the last, and most savagely mutilated victim of Jack the Ripper. Her address was in Wardour Street, Soho, said the dying youth. The grief stricken father vowed to be avenged on this woman, and, says Mr. Matters, from that moment Dr. Stanley "became the satanic instrument of vengeance" known as Jack the Ripper.
After the death of his son the doctor declared, "I will find that woman - and when I find her I will kill her. By God I will... Yes - that's it, I will cut her to pieces - the devil... "
In this frame of mind, says Mr. Matters, the demented Dr. Stanley set out for the address in Wardour Street. The door was opened by a rouge lipped woman who informed him that Marie had left the West End and was now living in the Whitechapel area of London.
"Come in, won't you?" she asked invitingly, but the doctor stormed at her, "No! - damn you and all your kind. I want Marie Kelly."
According to Mr. Matters, "the woman shrank back" in fear, and, as the doctor strode down the stairs, muttered:- "My God! I'm glad I'm not Marie. If I was, that man would kill me."
I have described this scene at length because it is of importance in estimating the probability of Mr. Matters' theory. He goes on to say that from thence onward the doctor's search for Marie Kelly in the East End was prosecuted with unremitting vigour. Stealthily he prowled the streets of Whitechapel night after night asking first one woman and then another, whether they knew the woman he sought. And - declares Mr. Matters - having questioned them he murdered each woman in turn and carried out his mutilations.
He killed them, suggests our theorist, in order to conceal his anxiety to track down Marie Kelly; so that men eventually he did find and kill her, there would be no living soul to come forward with a description of the man who had been making such pressing efforts to trace her.
Let us examine this proposition more closely. We are to believe that Dr. Stanley took the risk of murdering five women, one after another, in order to prevent his identification in connection with the murder of a sixth; for I must explain that Mr. Matters is guilty of the popular error of including the murder of Martha Turner at George Yard Buildings in the list of the Ripper crimes.
Stanley's aim was to destroy Marie Kelly, the woman who had ruined his son and caused his death. Had he gone about finding her by making discreet enquiries until he finally located her - as apparently he did - he could then have carried out his grim intention, and slipped quietly away, vanishing from the scene of his crime never more to be seen or heard of.
Instead of which - according to Mr. Matters - this doctor, so eager to escape detection, went out of his way to attract the greatest possible attention to himself by murdering and mutilating five women under such circumstances as to bring about a combination of police, Press, and public alike, in trying to lay him by the heels.
I do not believe that such a man as this Dr. Stanley once embarked on his pilgrimage of vengeance, would have cared two hoots whether he was discovered or not once he had avenged his son. But if, as a result of the previous murders, he had been discovered and brought to justice before he found Kelly, then his lust for vengeance and the whole object of his search would have been utterly frustrated.
we must conclude from Mr. Matters' theory that the Ripper obtained the information regarding Kelly's address in Miller's Court from the last of his previous victims; otherwise he would not have continued to murder. This would be Catherine Eddowes, his second victim on the night of September 30 whom he slew in Mitre Square.
Observe now the reactions of this man whose one object in life was to locate and murder Marie Kelly. To find her he had killed woman after woman; the last four within a month. Now, having obtained her address from Eddowes on September 30, does he set off hot foot to carry out his murderous intent?
No! He lets 40 whole days and nights elapse (nearly six weeks) with the festering sore of vengeance eating at his very heart, before embarking on the settlement of his account with Marie Kelly.
That is the suggestion of Mr. Matters; and it is a suggestion which strikes at the very root of his theory if we accept his description of the man whom he designates "the Satanic Dr. Stanley." The doctor of Mr. Matters' conception could never have delayed so long. Once he had located Marie Kelly, his own personal safety would have counted as nought with him. He would have sought her out and slain her without a moment's delay.
There is another thing which puzzles me. According to Mr. Matters, Dr. Stanley ranked so high in his profession that he looked upon Lister and Treves as mere tyros. Young Stanley too was displaying marked promise in his medical studies. It is therefore difficult to believe that he should remain in ignorance of the nature of his complaint or fail to take steps to effect a cure long before it was likely to prove fatal. He must have been cognisant of the danger of delay, and he not only had all the advantages of medical knowledge, but had at his ready command all the skill of his father together with all the necessary appliances and treatment at his immediate disposal.
But, says Mr. matters, the greatest specialists of both this country and of Europe were called in to save his life but without avail. I cannot possibly accept this assumption, for that is all it amounts to.
There is, however, something more than mere speculation to go upon in testing this theory. There are certain known facts which are at total variance with the basic feature of Mr. Matters' story.
I have carefully studied every report of the medical evidence given by Dr. Bagster Phillips at the inquest upon Kelly, all the nauseating details of which were given in such detail in the newspapers of the day. I have scoured every book of memoirs written by men either engaged on the investigations or in charge of the inquiries; and in no instance have I come upon any mention that Kelly suffered from venereal disease, Had there been any sign of syphilis about her, or of her ever having such a complaint it must have been mentioned; for in all police enquiries into the murder of a woman of that class, venereal disease has ever been looked upon as one of the strongest motives for the crime, and followed up accordingly.
Marie Kelly had never been so afflicted, and hence the whole foundation of Mr. Matters' theory is shown to be one of sand.
Stanley murdered all women from whom he sought information as to the whereabouts of Kelly, insists Mr. Matters.
What of the rouge lipped woman of Wardour Street, who first gave him the information that Marie had moved to the East End?
Why did he not kill her?
Here was a woman simply scared to death at the venomous hatred he had displayed towards Marie Kelly. A woman who knew he was looking for this girl and who had been so terrified at Stanley's demeanour that she said:- "If I was Marie Kelly that man would kill me." Though how Mr. Matters can possibly know what the woman muttered after Stanley left her I cannot imagine.
Is it even remotely probable, however, that when the news of Kelly's murder was blazoned abroad in every newspaper in the land, and the whole country was ringing with the crimes of Jack the Ripper this woman should have remained silent about her alarming visitor? Is it likely that she would have refrained from coming forward to tell the police:-
"Yes - I remember a man of such and such description calling on me and asking for Marie Kelly."
So vivid would have been the impression left upon her that she could not have failed to give a minute description of her visitor.
Yet - no such person ever came forward, nor was even heard of except by Mr. Matters. And this, mark you, with every newspaper sleuth in London let loose on the story and every dabbler in criminology, amateur and professional, concentrating on the elucidation of the Ripper mystery. I doubt whether there was a single individual who did come forward with any sort of information, who was not interrogated and interviewed over and over again by both police and reporters alike, and I can only comment that it is inconceivable to me that this woman's existence should be known only to Mr. Matters, and then not till forty years after the Ripper scare was over.
Mr. Matters states that Dr. Stanley used various disguises to conceal his identity when carrying out his crimes. Why then run the risk of murder after murder when these disguises could have provided all the concealment necessary?
However one looks at it, this theory, like all others I have examined, lacks conviction.
It stands up to some of the facts some of the time, but it does not stand up to all of the facts all of the time. Such a tragedy as is said to have animated Dr. Stanley could have provided a motive for the Ripper murders; so skilled a surgeon as he would have been well fitted to carry out the throat slashing and mutilations. But, for reasons which I have given you, the remaining circumstances surrounding these crimes fit nowhere into Mr. Matters' theory.
At the same time I agree with him that Jack the Ripper did have a motive for committing the murders where he did, when he did, and how he did; I also agree that he did have a motive for slaying the class of women from which he claimed his victims.
I have already indicated that there was a Black Magical background to these crimes, and this will be an appropriate moment to examine the grounds on which I base my view, and the nature of the beliefs held by those who are given up to the study of the black arts.
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