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Mustard & Cress November 1, 1891

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  • Mustard & Cress November 1, 1891

    Many thanks to Jon Hainsworth for transcribing.

    The Referee - Sunday 01 November 1891
    “MUSTARD AND CRESS” by Dagonet (George Sims)

    If Jack the Ripper should resume operations in London this winter, the police will do well to take a hint from the Berlin affair of the other day, which seems to run on all-fours with our Whitechapel murders. Not that I think our own veritable Jack the Ripper has been operating in Berlin, but because the motive and circumstances of the crime there committed are somewhat clearer than they were in any of the East-end cases.

    The German victim was a woman of the lowest class; she took home with her a strange man at one o'clock in the morning, and within a very few minutes, swiftly and silently, her throat was cut and her body backed and mutilated In the Whitechapel fashion. But—and this is the important point—the man was seen. He actually pushed his way past a man and a woman who were entering the victim's room, and he is described by the police as "about twenty years of age, of middle height and slightly built, with blonde hair and mustache."

    The lesson here conveyed is that we must dismiss from our minds the idea that the Whitechapel murderer is necessarily an old and hardened criminal, or experienced in the handling of a butcher's knife—or, in a word , the sort of man who might naturally be expected to shed human blood. If the murders had been committed from any ordinary motive we might be guided by our experience of murders in general in looking for the criminal. But they were clearly insane acts, and therefore not to be reasoned about on the ordinary lines.

    I think it extremely likely that the Whitechapel murderer was or is an individual of the type now wanted by' the Berlin police—not necessarily blonde, but young and slight, and possibly refined in appearance--and my reason is this: The insane motive is most probably a desire to see death, to look upon the actual palpitating heart, to feel the warm blood of the victim, and this would be more likely to occur to a student, a dabbler in science, an inquirer into the mysteries of existence, than to a rough, vulgar, or drunken corner man or bully.
    Not only the reckless hacking of the victim's body, but the cleverness of the murderer in escaping detection and eluding pursuit, is to my mind an evidence of insanity. The reputed strength and cunning of the madman are perfectly true ; the very superabundance of his nerve energy may be the cause of his insanity, and his nervous force may not only enable him to put forth abnormal muscular strength, but also to think acutely.

    If the madman's faculties were leveled up all round, be would be possessed of marvelous genius ; but for every exaltation of faculty there is a corresponding depression somewhere, and in the case of the homicidal maniac the regions of the brain concerned in conscience, which is essentially a perception of good and evil effects based upon experience and memory, are torpid. The homicidal maniac has no more conscience than a block of wood. And little boys have less conscience than grown-up people, as witness the case of the youngsters who tried for fun to wreck the Eastbourne express by putting railway chairs on the line. Conscience itself, however, may be exalted in the maniac, and then we get various forms of melancholia.

    The discovery of the Whitechapel maniac, to my thinking, is more a question for medical exports than for detectives. It is very possible that, if still alive, be may change his tactics, and for this reason the recent mysterious case of poisoning in Lambeth, where a wretched woman was induced by a "young dark man" to drink poison out of a bottle, ought to be very closely and assiduously investigated. But possibly the Whitechapel murderer is dead. The homicidal maniac often turns his hand against himself.
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  • #2
    "...the (Ripper's) nervous force may not only enable him to put forth abnormal muscular strength, but also to think acutely."

    Sims was on to something there. The Ripper may not have been a constantly physical man, but his repressed energy and hatred could have burst open like a volcano during the murders. He may have been able to sustain a show of strength for a long enough period to commit the crimes, but he might not have been necessarily known as a physical person during the daytime.

    Sims' last sentence in his article had a Druitt theme to it. Although his first sentence in the article left open the possibility that the Ripper could still be out there.