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Sims, O'Connor, & The Fate Of The Ripper ( 1900)

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  • #16
    I think the article I posted from Forbes Winslow was referring to the William Gull/Thomas Mason story from "Dr Howard" in which a prominent physician was judged by a special jury of his peers and incarcerated, a mock funeral being held for him with an empty coffin


    • #17

      Hello Cris. A hearty amen.



      • #18
        Hi How.

        On a different note, Nemo, notice that this article emanated from Indiana ( there are probably others found in American papers around the same time, if we look ).
        It seems to be worded in a way ( the remark about "These facts are all known to the English authorities, and it is conceded that the man now in the asylum is Jack the Ripper") that it was made for the American press ( I may be wrong...)
        The Forbes Winslow interview that appeared in the Fort Wayne Weekly Gazette came originally from The New York Times, 1 September, 1895. Winslow was attending the Medico-Legal Congress in New York in September of that year.

        The New York Times
        1 September, 1895.


        He Is Hopelessly Insane, Says Dr. Forbes Winslow of London


        He Was a Medical Student, and religious Mania Caused him

        to Butcher the Women of the Street.

        Dr. Forbes Winslow of London, a well known specialist on suicide and insanity, says that “Jack the Ripper,” who by his crimes terrorized London a few years ago, is incarcerated in a county lunatic asylum in England. Dr. Winslow says this fact is known to the authorities, but they have hushed up the case. Dr. Winslow also asserts that the Ripper was a medical student suffering from homicidal mania....
        Dr. Winslow related some of his experiences with insane patients, and the many times his life has been threatened. In this manner the conversation got around to Jack the Ripper, of whom the doctor said:
        “Jack the Ripper was a medical student, of good family .He was a young man, of slight build, with light hair and blue eyes. He studied very hard, and his mind, being naturally weak, gave way. He became a religious enthusiast and attended early service every morning at St Paul’s.
        His religious fervor resulted in homicidal mania toward the women of the street, and impelled him to murder them. He lodged with a man whom I knew, and suspicion was first directed toward him by reason of the fact that he returned to his lodgings at unseasonable hours; that he had innumerable coats and hats stained with blood.
        “I have in my possession now a pair of Canadian moccasins stained with blood that the Ripper wore on his murderous expeditions. I notified the Scotland Yard authorities but at that time they refused to cooperate with me. Subsequently the young man was placed in confinement and removed to a lunatic asylum, where he is today. Since his incarceration there has been no repetition of the horrible murders that he perpetrated.
        "These facts are all known to the English authorities, and it is conceded that the man now in the asylum is Jack the Ripper. It was deemed desirable, however, to hush the matter up. The details were too horrible to be made the subject of a public trial, and there was no doubt of the man's hopeless insanity.”


        • #19
          Thanks Wolf....much appreciated !
          To Join JTR Forums :


          • #20
            To me, Forbes Winslow is mixing his lodger suspect with the reports about the Thomas Mason story which is fully described in the Wiki for William Gull as follows (I haven't taken out the links, sorry)...

            1895–1897 – USA newspaper reports

            The earliest known allegation that links the Whitechapel murders with a prominent London physician was in two articles published by a number of US newspapers between 1895 and 1897.
            The first article appeared in the Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel (24 April 1895),[39] the Fort Wayne Weekly Gazette (25 April 1895)[40] and the Ogden Standard, Utah.[41] It reported an alleged conversation between William Greer Harrison, a prominent San Francisco citizen, and a Dr Howard of London. According to Howard, the murderer was a "medical man of high standing" whose wife had become alarmed by his erratic behaviour during the period of the Whitechapel murders. She conveyed her suspicions to some of her husband's medical colleagues who, after interviewing him and searching the house, "found ample proofs of murder" and committed him to an asylum.
            Variations of the second article appeared in the Williamsport Sunday Grit (12 May 1895);[42] the Hayward Review, California (17 May 1895);[43] and the Brooklyn Daily Eagle (28 December 1897).[44] This article comments that "the identity of that incarnate fiend was settled some time ago" and that the murderer was "a demented physician afflicted with wildly uncontrollable erotic mania." It repeats some of the details in the earlier report, adding that Dr Howard "was one of a dozen London physicians who sat as a commission in lunacy upon their brother physician, for at last it was definitely proved that the dread Jack the Ripper was a physician in high standing and enjoying the patronage of the best society in the West End of London." The article goes on to allege that the preacher and spiritualist Robert James Lees played a leading role in the physician’s arrest by using his clairvoyant powers to divine that the Whitechapel murderer lived in a house in Mayfair. He persuaded police to enter the house, the home of a distinguished physician, who was allegedly removed to a private insane asylum in Islington under the name of "Thomas Mason". Meanwhile the disappearance of the physician was explained by announcing his death and faking a funeral – "an empty coffin, which now reposes in the family vaults in Kensal Green, is supposed to contain the mortal remains of a great West End physician, whose untimely death all London mourned." (This detail does not correspond with Sir William Gull, who was buried in the churchyard at Thorpe-le-Soken in Essex.)
            The identity of the Dr Howard who is alleged to have provided the information for the first article was never established. On 2 May 1895, the Fort Wayne Weekly Gazette published a follow-up quoting William Greer [sic] as reaffirming the accuracy of the story, and describing Dr. Howard as a "well-known London physician who passed through San Francisco on a tour of the world several months ago".[45] A further follow-up article in the London People on 19 May 1895, written by Joseph Hatton, identified him as Dr. Benjamin Howard, an American doctor who had practised in London during the late 1880s. The article was shown to Dr. Benjamin Howard on a return visit to London in January 1896, prompting a strong letter of denial published in The People on 26 January 1896:

            In this publication my name is dishonourably associated with Jack the Ripper – and in such a way – as if true – renders me liable to shew cause to the British Medical Council why my name with three degrees attached should not be expunged from the Official Register. Unfortunately for the Parties of the other part – there is not a single item of this startling statement concerning me which has the slightest foundation in fact. Beyond what I may have read in the newspapers, I have never known anything about Jack the Ripper. I have never made any public statement about Jack the Ripper – and at the time of the alleged public statement by me I was thousands of miles distant from San Francisco where it was alleged that I made it.


            • #21
              I'd just point out that the Wiki is incorrect about the origin of the stories being in 1895 in that Forbes Winslow stated in November 1894 that he personally subjected a mmedical man to a jury of his peers and incarcerated him after being informed of him by his wife

              I see significance in the story elsewhere in that it was this suspect that was supposedly a lunatic incarcerated three years previously (1891) and that Forbes Winslow stated this in November 1894, the time of the Reginald Saunderson case, and shortly before the authorities declared the Ripper had died

              ie IMO Someone mentioned Kosminski at this time, being incarcerated in 1891 and thought to have died, and Forbes Winslow obliged by covering up the details by incorporating it into a questionable story

              Also, in 1905 a Scotland Yard authority (possibly MacNaghten) stated that the Home Secretary knew who JtR was and that he had drowned, this being in an article that mentioned Sims -

              Click image for larger version

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              • #22
                Here's Forbes Winslow's story from Nov 1894...


                "One day I was called upon by a

                lady, the wife of a physician in this
                city, and who herself had upon one
                or two occasions been a patient of
                mine. The lady was in great distress,
                and I saw her nervous condition was
                serious; she was unquestionably
                laboring under great mental excitement
                and could hardly control herself
                while in my office so as to talk
                connectedly with me. Much to my
                surprise, instead of the usual conversation
                that transpires between a physician
                and his patient, this lady at
                once, upon her being seated, talked
                of the Jack the Ripper murders, asked
                me whether I had studied them
                at all, what my opinion was in the
                matter and whether I had any theory
                as to the guilty party. I replied to
                her questions as clearly as possible
                and told her all I had conjectured on
                the subject. I explained the theory
                that I had formed and then called her
                attention to the letter, which just
                previous to that time I had framed.
                At the sight of this document she
                became still more agitated, and
                I realized there was something on her
                mind she wished to make known to
                me and I endeavored by gentle and
                kindly words to encourage her to do

                "Finally she, after much hesitation
                and violent feeling, told me she
                believed her husband to be the man
                who had committed the 'Jack the Ripper'

                "At this information I naturally
                was horrified and astounded. I
                knew who her husband was and I
                knew him to be a practitioner of
                supposed responsibility, and so incredible
                did her suspicion appear to me that
                I thought she herself had become
                crazed in some way and this awful
                idea had taken possession of her. I
                questioned her carefully on other subjects
                until she had calmed down somewhat,
                which the revelation of her
                secret seemed to aid her in doing, and
                then I asked her for the reasons she had
                for this belief.

                SHE WENT TO SEE HIM

                "She recounted to me the singular
                action of her husband at certain
                periods, how he appeared for a day or
                two to become irresponsible and how
                she had finally noticed that upon the
                occasions when these murders were
                committed he had been absent from
                home and had returned in such mental
                exhilaration, followed by terrible
                mental depression, that she felt
                confident he had passed through some
                extraordinary experience. There
                were other evidence, she explained,
                which became suggestive when the
                thought occurred to her of his
                connection with the 'Jack the Ripper'

                "Impressed with what she told me
                and recognizing in it a verification of
                the theory I had arrived at, I went
                to see her husband and after a number
                of interviews I became satisfied
                that the lady's suspicions were well
                founded. Upon every other subject
                the man was thoroughly sane, but
                upon this he was totally irresponsible.
                He was possessed by a congenital
                insanity, and the appetite for blood
                to be satisfied in this manner was
                growing upon him. Not only would
                this growth influence him to more
                frequent victims, but to an increased
                number of victims at the same time,
                and had he been permitted to remain
                at large it would have been only a
                comparatively short time before two
                or three murders would have been
                committed by him where only one
                had been committed theretofore.

                HAD HIM LOCKED UP

                "After satisfying myself that the
                man was responsible for these crimes,
                I took steps to have him placed in
                an asylum, where he could do no
                more mischief. He was examined by
                competent physicians and found to
                be mentally unbalanced and then was
                placed in an asylum, where he now

                "A London paper shortly after the
                man was locked up contained a
                paragraph on the subject and it doubtless
                would have led to the entire matter
                being thoroughly exploited and given
                to the public, but this it was not
                thought desirable to do, and at the
                request of certain parties the paper
                made no further reference to the matter,
                and as the paragraph in question
                escaped the eye of any one who was
                interested in the case it never went
                any further."