Jack the Ripper Part Two

Jack the Ripper Part Two

By Michael James Cook

The Credible and the Bizarre Myths


jack the ripper 

What we do know is that the five murders attributed to Jack the Ripper took place in the Whitechapel area, which is part of The Tower Hamlets borough in the dock area of East London. The area itself is quite small yet there were 62 brothels and 1,200 working girls. It was a slum area that attracted sailors and paupers and foreign immigrants. With that kind of environment came crime; it was the perfect killing ground for someone like Jack. During the Victorian Era, London was plagued by fog from coal being burnt—it was an easy place to disappear into the night and not clearly be seen. Prostitutes were very much victims of murder but it was not until the heinous acts of  Jack and the mutilation of  their bodies did it bring down the full force of Scotland Yard into the investigation.

Frederick Abberline, who had been promoted out of the area, was brought back to lead the investigation. Many believed it was the work of local gangs who would try and extort money from the prostitutes. With Abberline’s knowledge of the gangs, it was hoped one would turn and give information about the killer. When this proved fruitless, they conducted over 2,000 door to door interviews; of that total 300 were investigated and 80 people detained. At that time police investigations were not very sophisticated and the police were loath to tell the newspaper journalists anything regarding the case.

Cases were solved by informers or catching the perpetrator in the act. The Jack the Ripper letters are held in the Scotland Yard archives. They are so badly contaminated that DNA testing would be inconclusive to the possible identity of Jack the Ripper. Profiling was something in the future. Artist’s sketches did appear in the papers from witnesses showing some shadowy figure fleeing down a dark ally.

At the height of the investigation the public demanded that the police put up a reward. This didn’t happen because The Home Office which is responsible for the police force in the U.K. refused. So let’s examine some of the theories about the identity of Jack the Ripper starting with Prince Albert Victor.

Prince Albert Victor, the son of Queen Victoria, was never brought in for questioning, but theories emerge when people put two and two together and get a dozen. They say that the Prince impregnated a shop girl called Annie Crook. It was left to the Queen’s physician Dr Gull to make it go away. He did so by institutionalizing her and with cruel methods make her forget. Now this is where things get interesting—the child was left with Mary Kelly the last of Jack the Ripper’s victims. They say that she spread word about the Princes dalliances with her fellow prostitutes. And so they too had to be disposed in the most grisly fashion. Another theory about the Prince was because of his penchant for slum girls he contracted syphilis and went insane making him in people’s eyes a natural serial killer. The kicker to put a damper on this was that the Prince was out of London when these murders were committed.

The creator of “Sherlock Holmes,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, speculated that Jack the Ripper could have been a woman. Mary Jill  Peacey was convicted later of killing her lover’s wife. The theory posed is that she pretended to be a midwife and that in Victorian times it was common to see a woman with blood-stained clothing walking the streets. An Australian scientist in 2006 also suggested that Jack the Ripper could have been a woman but the DNA testing proved inconclusive.

Richard Wallace must be the “magic bullet” of Jack the Ripper theories In his book Jack the Ripper, Light Hearted Fiend he suggested Lewis Carroll, the author, was the murderer. Wallace took passages from Carroll’s children’s books and made rubbish anagrams. He changed words and left out letters to suit his theory. This is just an extract from Carroll’s Nursery Alice interpreted by Wallace. Dodgson and Bane found a way to keep hold of the fat little whore. I got a tight hold of her and slit her throat, left ear to the right. It was tough, wet, disgusting too. So weary of it, they threw up.

Over 500 names have been put forward as Ripper suspects, but Aaron Kominski, a Polish immigrant, seems the most credible suspect. The blood stained shawl of Catherine Eddes was kept by a police sergeant Amos Simpson who was first on the scene. He wanted it for his wife but she was horrified and the shawl was put away and passed down through generations. It came up for auction in 2007 and Russell Edwards, a self-confessed Ripper fan, bought it. He sought out Jari Louhelainen, an expert in molecular biology, who using pioneering techniques found DNA from her blood and that of the killer. In his book, Naming Jack the Ripper, he says it proves beyond doubt Kominski was the killer. It was shortly after the last murder that Kominski was admitted to a lunatic asylum and the murders stopped. He died in 1899 of gangrene.

In Part 3, I will look at what makes a psychopath turn to violence and become a serial killer.

Ojo Del Lago
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