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Jack the Combo Killer?

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  • Jack the Combo Killer?

    Excerpted from Murder Most Foul:

    “Why does a Jeffrey Dahmer happen? How does a man become a serial killer, necrophiliac, cannibal, and psychopath?”19

    Why, indeed? Ed Gein was even worse off, being simultaneously a serial killer, necrophiliac, cannibal, psychopath, transvestite, misogynist, and ghoul. How can such things be understood – or explained?

    “Typologies based on motivation assume that serial killers always act according to a plan. In real life, random, unpredictable environmental factors come into play. For example, David Berkowitz ran away after his first victim screamed and bled. He had not anticipated this and so bought a gun for future attacks. Moreover, serial killers may have different motives for different victims. Their motives may change over time, and there may be a progression in the killings (personality degeneration, less and less planning, time between episodes decreases, violence increases). For example, Dennis Nilsen killed a man in the middle of his killing sequence simply because the man was annoying and in his way.”25

    The preceding summary is really profound, for it may explain much about the Whitechapel Murders that has baffled Ripperologists for decades. Does this simple paragraph explain why the Ripper’s methods changed so drastically after the murder of Polly Nichols and continued to evolve through the rest of the Canonical Five? Does it help explain the peculiarities of the murder of Elizabeth Stride and possibly those of Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly? Does it explain the out-of-character destruction of Mary Kelly? While it is generally agreed that the Ripper had to start somewhere, and one's methods would certainly evolve during that kind of work, as an artist’s might with continued ‘practice’, there remains general disagreement on the characterizations of the murders themselves. Most believe them to be all the work of one man, regardless of the differences observed in methodology. Some believe that, because of these same differences, that there were multiple killers working in parallel. Likewise, conspiracy theorists believe that there were multiple killers working in series. This confusion is easily understood, but it should be evident that a single killer with multiple motives or reasons for committing these murders could do so in an evolutionary style, whereby the last could scarcely resemble the first of the series. That may be exactly the case here.

    Conclusion – if the Ripper’s motivations or reasons were a combination of several of the above, or a variation of any of those listed, he would likely not have hesitated to kill and mutilate his victims, depending on the precise ‘combination’. It is certainly plausible that a psychopath could have a strong religious streak, that a misogynist could be drawn to exact revenge, and that a sexual deviant could perform a copycat murder, just to name a few of the more likely permutations. It would not be too much to state that the Ripper probably was driven by more than one compulsion, as many of these motives and reasons complement each other quite well. Like the prime suspect in the Kingsbury Run Murders, the Ripper could well have been a paranoid schizophrenic, manic-depressive, alcoholic child of a violent alcoholic schizoid. Or perhaps he could merely have been possessed of the sort of ‘demented sexual rage’ espoused by Martin Fido10, which could have been incredibly dangerous if present in conjunction with an obsession with the ‘occult’. His other motives for mutilation and leaving of the victims in public could then have been practically any of those listed previously for ‘mutilation’ and ‘public display’.


    1. Badal, James In the Wake of the Butcher

    2. Bloch, Robert Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper

    3. Crime SuspenStories, The Giggling Killer
    EC Publications

    4. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan The Complete Sherlock Holmes
    5. Futrelle, Jacques The Thinking Machine
    6. Jesse, F. Tennyson Murder and its Motives
    7. King, C. Daly The Curious Mr. Tarrant
    8. Maples, William Dead Men Do Tell Tales
    9. Rumbelow, Donald The Complete Jack the Ripper
    10. Ryder, Stephen
    11. Scott, George A History of Torture
    12. Sledge, Eugene With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa
    13. Smithsonian Magazine, The Shadow of a Gunman from World War II
    September 1993

    14. Spitz. Werner, Medicolegal Investigation of Death, Second
    and Fisher, Russell Edition

    15. Styron William The Confessions of Nat Turner

    16. Sugden, Philip The Complete History of Jack the Ripper

    17. Ubelaker, Douglas Bones: A Forensic Detective’s Casebook

    18. von Krafft-Ebing, Richard Psychopathia Sexualis













  • #2
    Years ago I asked an old deputy sheriff named Bill why serial killers did what they did. Bill looked at me, smiled and then said, "Think of it like this: A guy has got to have a hobby."

    Later on he would expand upon what he said by explaining that SOMETIMES guys like Gein, et al, do what they do out of boredom, for excitement and sometimes so that they can feel "powerful" over another person. The killers' "reasons" for why they do what they did often make no sense to normal people. Bill further explained that some of these killers are such weaklings that they can only feel good about themselves by killing innocent, defenseless people. Bill, by the way, was one of the officers who had escorted Richard Speck and guarded him at his trial and in the jail. Bill had gotten his chance to often talk to Speck and pick Speck's mind. Bill was a fascinating man. Bill died years ago but I was glad to have gotten to have known him. He was a good man.


    • #3
      Instructor_173 raises some good points.

      IMO, one of the strangest things about serial killers is how they act around other people. When they eventually get caught, in a lot of cases, they'll be described simply as the quiet neighbour who kept to themself. Not the sort of person who would arouse much suspicion.

      That could well be exactly what kept Jack from being caught. If he was able to fit in with the crowd and not attract attention to himself, there's no reason why anyone would suspect him. That's why, outwardly atleast, I think Jack acted quite normal and like anyone else in the East End.
      If that isn't the case....well, he was just very, very lucky.



      • #4

        Of course that is not always the case. George Carlin, perhaps the funniest comedian ever, raises a very good argument, within his hysterical stylistic delivery.

        If everyone says "it's the quiet one's you have to watch", and you are in a bar and there is a guy in the corner sitting quietly drinking his drink and a guy comes in the front door swinging a chainsaw and screaming "I'm gonna kill the next mother ****er that comes near me" - I ask you - who you gonna' watch?

        The brilliance is not in the comedy (although its pretty brilliant), but in its simplicity. Things are not always the same way when it comes to the way certain people behave. This is why psychology is not and will never be a science.



        • #5
          Good points...

          You know its true...there appears to be a wide variety of psychological types in the ranks of serial killers. Some,like Unterweger or Bundy,are actually charming people superficially at least....while others are real toads.

          I wonder if in a city the size of London...if the Ripper could be any type of character ( running the gamut so to speak ) and because that there were others similar to him ( but not killers of course )in his personal behavior,if he could fit in without really trying or "pass" as a regular Joe despite his dark side.

          In other words,he could have been a walking red flag...but because of the times and because of the volume of people "just like him"....he could have been hiding in plain sight and never was afraid of being caught or much less, even concerned of being apprehended. That is,unless,he and another associate were on a mission or a lone killer with an agenda...
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          • #6
            Hi Stan and How,

            Of course different killers behave in different ways - if they all acted the same, I'm sure they'd be much easier to catch. My point simply was that some killers have the ability to act nice around other people, therefore they tend to avoid suspicion. It's also how some killers lure their victims in - the victims come across these seemingly friendly, helpful people and then they fall into the trap.

            Even the limited information we have about JTR would seem to indicate he was like this. Most people believe that the testimony of Elizabeth Long and Joseph Lawende is the truth, and in both cases, they described Jack as standing, having a conversation with the women just before they were killed. There was no violence at that stage, or evidence of him trying to force them to go anywhere. If you believe the testimony of George Hutchinson as well (as I do), then that goes even further to support this theory - he may have seemed like a friendly customer to the women, which would have helped lure them to where he wanted, and then once they realised what he was really doing, it was too late.

            If this really was what Jack was like, outwardly a quiet, friendly person but with his vicious, violent streak underneath, in the East End of the 1880's it would have been pretty easy for him to mix in with everybody else and slip under the radar.
            It's difficult to say just what sort of person he was, it's little more than a guess really, but I do think that the ways I've just described are the most likely.



            • #7

              While you are correct, your usage of the term "some killers" should immediately show you that it is impossible to generalize and come up with an identity, or that in this case, profiling will not give you or anyone the singular name you may desire.

              I don't know much about other serial killers. I got into this case because of the history and the mystique of an unsolved group of crimes. But I guarantee that prior to the guy who eat his victims, Dahmer or Gacy (not sure), a profiler would have automatically eliminated cannibalism as a serial killer trait. Now, it must be included as a possible trait.

              Nothing is a trait of a serial killer until one killer does something, gets caught and the information is used to profile others. It is beneficial in the manner of narrowing large groups to smaller groups where hard core investigation can take over and should eventually reveal the actual criminal.



              • #8

                Again, I agree with most of what you say there. The unfortunate thing for us is that we have so little to go on with JTR, so the little bit we do know about him and his behaviour has to be taken notice of. It's more than just profiling if you have witness descriptions and/or other information to back it up, especially if the same or similar behaviour is witnessed on more than one occasion. Logic and common sense also play a part here - the field could be narrowed down a lot if we just threw out once and for all the most ridiculous of suspects and theories. It's the only way to move the case forward.



                • #9
                  Originally posted by Stan Russo View Post
                  But I guarantee that prior to the guy who eat his victims, Dahmer or Gacy (not sure), a profiler would have automatically eliminated cannibalism as a serial killer trait. Now, it must be included as a possible trait.

                  Not quite sure about that one, Stan.

                  Whoever wrote the Lusk letter, if not Jack, was very much at home with the idea, and his little missive was not automatically eliminated as an obvious hoax because of it.

                  I really don't think there is much that's new under the sun.


                  I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen


                  • #10

                    Would you believe that a murderer could murder someone, grill them at a BBQ, serve them to his guests, then coach his son's little league game, taking them to the championship I might add and then go back and indulge on the leftovers?

                    Probably not, because no one has done that yet. YET is the operative word.



                    • #11
                      Hi Stan,

                      I take the view that if something is physically possible, someone somewhere will either have tried it or considered trying it, or will try doing it at some point in the future.

                      All I really meant was that if a hoaxer in 1888 - an amateur profiler if you will - could imagine the ripper frying and eating a body part taken from a victim, and mention it in a letter intended to be taken seriously, the idea was not a new one, and if not based on the ghost of documented cases past, it spoke of the documented cases yet to come.


                      I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen


                      • #12

                        Thats a good point you've made about the reference to frying up the kidney for two reasons that come to mind.

                        First,that someone would go to the extent of hoaxing the Lusk letter and actually procure and handle a piece of human kidney....just to get his kicks...has always impressed me as going overboard to make a point in this mentally ill way....

                        A hoax letter..."I did it ! I'll rip 10 more !!!"...or something on that order seems more plausible...since people may have wanted to see their letter get attention or just to irritate and frustrate the police. This is fairly innocent compared to the degree of effort it required "just to make a point" with the Lusk letter. Just an opinion.

                        Now the second thing that comes to mind is that this is the first letter of its sort ever to appear to our knowledge with an actual body part as so referred to within the accompanying note.

                        I doubt...seriously doubt...that someone was that sick within the MEVC to concoct this package and "send" it to Lusk..for whatever purpose its delivery was supposed to serve.

                        I don't know about anyone else's opinions here on Charles Reeves...the actor mentioned in Stephen Ryder's article in Ripper Notes #27.......but I really doubt that he had anything to do with this package or the Ms. Marsh episode or anyone within the MEVC "circle" had something to do with the Lusk Letter. As much as I like to stay objective about the whole affair...something tells me that the preparation in constructing this package,letter and legitimate. Just an opinion.

                        Stan.....I would believe that scenario. I live in Philly.
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                        • #13
                          Hi How,

                          Another thing that strikes me about the Lusk package is that its sender had no guarantee that the kidney half would not be disposed of immediately in disgust and never publicised. It's as if the sender was happy for just one person - in this case Lusk - to 'get the message' so to speak, and if the world and his wife got it too, all well and good.

                          One of the arguments against the apron half and writing on the wall being linked is that the ripper would have had no guarantee that both would remain where he put them for long enough to be found together and get the public reaction they did.

                          But to me there seems to be an experimental feel to the Goulston Street episode, which carries over to the Lusk incident. "I'm going to try this and this so I can sit back and imagine what effect it might have." We know the kidney in the post would have been a novel experiment for a sick hoaxer, but it was obviously one worth risking exposure and serious trouble for. But what a doddle for Jack the Experimenter, if he had recently pulled off a public one to great effect, with the aid of Kate's pinny.


                          I wish I were two puppies then I could play together - Storm Petersen


                          • #14
                            Hi Caz

                            A few years ago I said, if Jack wanted to leave a message, he had all the time in the world in Miller's Court and yet left nothing. You made a good point in reply to this, but I'm jiggered if I can recall what it was. Can you remember?



                            • #15

                              Great post and with some ideas I have had float through the grey matter as well before....but not as succintly,I must add.

                              First,two of the most important communication events in the WM ( the GSG,whether legit or not...and the Lusk kidney...likewise..) occurred after the 4th C5 murder. Not before or after,as we know.

                              As you know,one big "drawback" for these two events to have connectivity might be the time elapsed between the GSG being written and the kidney being sent. I'd imagine that the killer "praserved" it with some sort of spirits...who knows...but its certainly feasible.

                              I like the phrase, "experimental feel".

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