What do you think is the most likely ?

  • The Ripper was a Freemason?

    Votes: 7 10.0%
  • The Ripper had medical knowledge?

    Votes: 9 12.9%
  • It was Maybrick?

    Votes: 4 5.7%
  • The Ripper was 'of the same class' as his victims?

    Votes: 8 11.4%
  • The Ripper was foreign?

    Votes: 2 2.9%
  • It was Druitt?

    Votes: 2 2.9%
  • None of the suspects yet put forward?

    Votes: 17 24.3%
  • It was a woman?

    Votes: 2 2.9%
  • Another?

    Votes: 19 27.1%

  • Total voters


Okay, Dark Detective, but you do realise this will now be ALL my social life?

Aaron Kosminski - supposedly McNaughten's favourite suspect, but losing favour these days. Kosminski was said to have threatened his sister with a knife and threatened another with a chair leg. Neither of which is strong evidence to support the 'strong homicidal tendencies' reported by McNaughten. In fact, there are no reports of Kosminski being anti-women or even particularly violent. He entered the Mile End Old Town Workhouseon 12th July, 1890, diagnosed able bodied but insane, he was discharged into the care of his brother, and finally admitted to Colney Hatch on 7th February, 1891. The doctor who committed him wrote that Kosminski declared himself to be controlled by outside influences 'He refuses food from others because he is told to do so and eats of the gutter for the same reason'.

It's quite picky, I know, but 1892 is a quite important year as this is the year the Yard closed the case, so I like to look at the significance of the date.

Okay, 'Cry Havoc and let loose the dogs of war!'
My twopennoth...

I think that the Whitechapel Murder was not one of the publicised suspects. Just as a comment, I think he was known to the Police for other matters and probably had somesort of criminal record beyond the common D&D of Whitechapel. Addtionally, he (and its a pretty good chance of it being a he) would have been one of the early volunteers in Lusk's citizen's patrol. I also wonder if Long Liz was a victim of the primary killer or just another murder in The Abyss that night...

One final remark about the case. If you can understand the MJK murder scene, I think you have the key to mind of the man. The body is posed to be viewed from the window and door, and, for those of you familiar with late victorian erotica, does look like the 'Parisian' postcard from hell. IMHO, the solution is there, since the killer had the chance to linger and interact with the environment to set the scene for the next viewer of his handywork.

In some ways, it reminds me contexturally of the Beth Short murder scene, although the mores and aesthetic of the killers have changed from the 1880's to the 1940's, both JtR and the killer of the Black Dahlia were aiming at art.

Indeed,the game is afoot


PS IF this turns into something looking like the low end of Casebook.org, I'm taking me ball home and telling me Mum...
Well, as I'm not familiar with casebook.org, I'll have to rely on you to slap my wrist if it turns into that.

Interesting point about the positioning of Kelly's body. I would certainly agree that with Kelly, the Ripper was 'showing off' his handiwork, so displayed the body to maximum advantage.

Do we think Kelly was the last victim? Out of interest, how many victims do people think there were? I tend to subscribe to the traditional five - Nicholls, Chapman, Eddowes, Stride and Kelly.
Have all the files on the Ripper case been released yet?

Ripper Files

Apparently so. A brilliant book is The Ultimate Jaclk the Ripper Sourcebook by Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner. All witness testamonies, police reports, medical notes etc. Of course, you have to rely on the witness statements not having been tampered with at the time:) Very good book if you want the evidence to make up your own mind, because it's amazing how different theories forget to mention certain statements, but then you get that with all sorts of things, not just Ripperology.
Blimey, you know your stuff! A biker babe with a PhD in Ripperology...there is a God. :D
Just as an aside, to all the folks prepared to vote, why not leave it till later in the thread as each potential perp gets debated. That way each of our current theories can be fully discussed and challenged.

Just to elaborate on the Discovery Channel show fingering Kosminski: The show was basically one of those efforts retreading the events of each of the five, and taking the 'let's see what modern law enforcement makes of the evidence' tack. Kosminski was fingered for four reasons, and please shoot these down Helen if they're not correct (I see from your first post they may not be).

1) FBI profilers say that the MO of the case matches Kosminski more than the other suspects. The murders were, and I'm quoting here, carried out by a traditional disorganised, psychotic killer rather than an organised one. The killer was most likely to be a loner with poor social skills and an anger/fear towards women. The discarding of an apron after one of the murders showed that the killer was headed back into the East End rather than the richer West, and knew and was comfortable with the locality. Of all the suspects, the profiler concluded, Kosminski was the best fit. They accepted that this does not mean Kosminski did it, and profiling is an art rather than a science.

2) A quotation from papers years after 1888 written by, I think, the chief of police at the time. He named the top three suspects as John Druitt, a guy whose name escapes me but was a well-known local con artist, and Kosminski. A modern day Scotland Yard copper who was interviewed stated that after the final murder, the police had Kosminski tailed pretty much 24 hours a day. He also stated that Kosminski was committed to an asylum in December 1888. The investigation was officially wrapped up at about the same time, which was strange as the time period between the last murder and the wrap up was actually shorter than the longest period between two other murders in the chain. The copper concluded from this that the police 'knew' they'd got their man, and when he was admitted to the local laughing academy they wrapped up. And indeed no further crimes were committed.

3) I wasn't paying full attention, but they also mentioned a guy called Schwartz, who had some kind of evidence against Kosminski (I don't know what) but refused to testify in court, therefore the case against Kosminski went nowhere.

4) Some graffiti was found near the scene of, I think, the 4th crime which made a reference to the Jewish community not being responsible. This may or may not have been written by the Ripper. The police took the odd step of obliterating the graffiti without photographing it. Kosminski was of course Jewish and maybe there was a link.

BTW Helen, I apologise for ruining your life!:p
That film made several years ago (with Michael Caine) was highly amusing in its portrayal of the victims, eg Susan George with a bit of dirt on her face. Quite a contrast to the real appearance of the victims (from the police photos), the deprivation of their lives is shown only too clearly on their faces.

Of the recent suspects the only one that sounds realy convincing to me is the American, Twumbelty.

Apart from that I sould like to point out that the so-called surgical skills could have applied to a butcher or tanner.

Niles Calder said:
Two words:

Sacred Geometry


Just because Alan Moore says so does'nt make it fact. It's an interesting theory but I doubt it's anything more.

isnt there a theory that a member of the royals was the perpetrator?

if the name is mentioned in the above posts the please ignor this post, its just i can't remember the name of the suspected royal

Originally posted by Niles Calder
Two words:

Sacred Geometry


Niles, care to expand on that for us lay people? Sounds interesting, but I'm a bit ignorant of everything but the basics on Jack. Thanks!

i think its something to do with either the cuts or the ways the bodys were positioned, im in the dark as much as you though m8 i only know the basic's of the ripper cases as well

I've had my doubts about Liz Stride being a victim since reading Stephen Knights wholly apocryphal(IMHO) work at the age of fifteen. He did't make any point about the murder, but its unlikely that, if the murderer was going change knives between murders on the night of the double event.

All other victims had been attacked with a long, sharp knife. Long Liz had her throat slit with a short knife. Catharine Eddows was mutilated an eviscerated with a long knife, there being some evidence of attempted decapitation. An interesting, possibly significant point about Eddowes, she was the second worst mutilated body, and earlier in the evening she had given the name 'Mary Ann Kelly' when cautioned over being drunk in the street. However, bear in mind she was possibly living with an irish porter called John Kelly, and there is little knowledge of any commonly used assumed names. One other interesting point about Eddowes,she had evinced the opinion that she may know who the killer was, but again, that could be post mortem embellishment by witnesses.

Apropos files. All that are known to exist are in the public domain. A lot were summarily destroyed, or mis-filed, or stolen down the years. This doesnt necessarily scream conspiracy, mearly the depredations of 120 years on a case file that, at the time was believed to be unsolved but 'closed'; i.e. the perpetrator had been stopped, or unsolved and unsolvable, and who gave a stuff about a few East End Drabs? Just because the public were interested, doesnt mean the police could afford to be once the killings seemed to dry up.

File materials appear from unexpected sources even now.

Don't forget Francis Tumblety, the American doctor who was widely thought to be the killer at the time, and was followed to America by Scotland Yard.

Press reports of the time speculated that he was indeed the killer, and his hatred of women, fascination with unusual sexual practises, collections of uteri, medical knowledge and a witness statement stating that he returned to his lodgings covered in blood on the night of one of the killings,make him a very strong suspect.

check out :

Tumblety is not a bad suspect, being in the area for most of the right time, abd almost certainly NOT in jail for the keynote deaths. Certainly a better suspect than Neil Cream, who was probably in jail in the US at the time. My problem with T is that usually homosexual serial killers kill men, having no real sexual interest in women. However, against the backdrop of Victorian sexual mores, may have turned a self-loathing homosexual to externalise his hatred and loating onto the gender he blamed for his state.*
His pedalling of pornography may coincide with my pet MJK crime scene theory that it was somehow an exhibition by the kller.

Question: Is there any evidence of similar killings in the US after his return?


*NOTE: Bear in mind we are dealing with a mindset over 100 years out of synch with ours, a time when 'self-abuse' (masturbation) was regarded as a cause of homicidal mania...
Dunno where to start, really...

Okay, Kosminski. There's no real record of him being a homicidal manic, only suffering from aural hallucinations, and he was at large for about two years after Kelly's death (of course, that's if you subscribe to the view that Kelly was the last murder). I know he's the profilers' perpetrator of choice, but, with no history of violence either before or after, he doesn't really fit in with the idea of the disorganised killer. In fact, one peer described him as insane but harmless. I would expect someone capable of the violence evident in the Ripper murders to have some kind of history of violence, certainly before if not after the murders.

The writing on the wall at Goulston Street after Eddowes' murder was 'The Juwes are not the Men Who Will Be Blamed for Nothing'. Ripperologists are divided as to the significance of the graffiti. Either you believe it's Jews mis-spelt, or you can buy into the Knight-esque theory of it being the Masonic shorthand for Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, the three murderers of Hiram Abiff, whose murder is central to the Masonic way. The graffiti was washed away on the orders of Warren before a photograph could be taken. This is was, even at the time, widely held to be a big mistake. The policeman who found it made a careful note as to the arrangement of the words and the spelling. Of course, you can also believe it had nothing to do with the murder. Personally, I don't really believe in coincidence, at least not to certain lengths.

Tumblety? No, sorry, I'll believe it was Kosminksi before I'll believe it was him. Tumblety was of interest to the police because he was a known Fenian terrorist, and Littlechild was head of the Special Branch with specific instructions to beware any Fenian plots against Good Queen Vic (Gawd bless 'er!). The biggest problem I have with Tumblety is that he was just too damn' noticeable. He was unusually tall (at least 6 foot) dressed very well, was always followed by two greyhounds (okay he could have left them at home:p ) but he had a huge moustache, a proper old twirly long bushy thing that you would have had to be blind not to notice. Now, I'm prepared to accept that witnesses aren't the most reliable of creatures, but surely to God they would have noticed a monstrosity like THAT under his nose? As for him being a misogynist, well most Victorian blokes were, and it's not necessary in a serial killer. The stuff about the uteruses (uteri? uterus'?) in jars was at best hearsay (and not the crappy pop group either!). The Tumblety Fanciers also only really credit Tumblety with three murders, Nichols, Chapman and Eddowes, which would still leave us with another serial killer on our hands to account for the others.

Me? Well, as I said, I don't like coincidences, and I just can't ignore the fact the five victims all shared similar names. And the only one who didn't, Long Liz Stride, shared the name of the only reliable witness to the Ripper with a victim, Liz Long. So we have Mary Ann Nichols (alias Polly Nichols); Annie Chapman (alias Dark Annie); Elizabeth Stride (alias Long Liz); Catherine Eddowes (alias Mary Jane Kelly); Mary Jane Kelly (alias Marie Jeanette or Black Mary). I believe that after Catherine Eddowes, the Ripper believed he had got the one he was after, so he left the apron and the graffiti. This would also explain the overkill used on the real Mary Kelly. I think he was after her all along.

But I don't believe it was William Gull.

There - I've said enough:D
Has anyone read the case for Whitbred in 'The Mammoth Book of Jack The Ripper'? It is a sterling example of how known and validatable facts can be used to fit up veirtually any contemporaneous figure as Jack the Ripper. I agree with Helen, that T is pretty unlikely, for some of the reasons she outlines above.

Helen, Do you think it likely that Dandy Jack was: -

a) Local


b) would pass in most social circumstances as a normal denizen of that part of the East End?

Was Jack a local boy? Well, not necessarily. All kinds and classes frequented the East End. Would he pass as a normal denizen? Again, going by the witness reports, not likely. They all agreed he looked foreign (whatever THAT means), even shabbily genteel. Liz Long said the man she saw talking to Chapman was both of these, with a dark complexion (which, I suppose, could have been makeup), wearing a deerstalker cap and dark coat, and a little taller than Chapman (who was 5'1''). Constable Smith saw a man in the company of Stride, who was cleanshaven, about 28 years old, about 5'7'' tall, wearing a deerstalker and dark clothes. Moreover, he carried an ominous looking parcel, about 18 inches long and 6-8 inches wide, wrapped in newspaper. Another witness, Schwarz, descibed a man about 30 years old, 5'5'' with fair complexion, small brown moustache, full face, broad shoulders, dark jacket and trousers with black peaked cap. Mind you, it must be remembered that this stranger yelled 'Lipski' and Schwarz ran, so it's unlikely he hung around for a good look. Hutchinson claimed to have got a good look at who he believed to be Kelly's assailant. Given where he was hanging around, he was probably there with voyeuristic intent. He described a man about 5'6'', 34/35 years old, with dark complexion and dark moustache, wearing a long dark coat, trimmed, a white collar, dark spats, a waistcoat with gold watch, dark eyes, bushy eyebrows and a pair of brown kid gloves. He seemed to think he had seen this man in the area before, and assumed he lived nearby.

All in all, we have varying descriptions, but all seem to point to someone who is not a denizen of the Abyss, unless perhaps by choice, wishing to slum it a little.

Actually, I should have stopped waffling on and just said, no I don't think he was a local boy, and I don't think he blended in very well with the locals. Promise to behave next time:)
I have a theory about the Ripper that I haven't heard anywhere, though I haven't investigated the case in enough detail to be sure that no-one else has suggested it.

I find it interesting that the victims were killed very quickly and simply and that the real violence took place after death. It seems to me that the mutilation was much more important to the Ripper than the act of murder itself. I think that if the Ripper had commited previous crimes they may more to do with grave-robbing than assault.

I think the only thing he wanted from his victims was that they be dead. I think that the purpose of the murders was to furnish him with bodies to mutilate.

I'm probably not explaining this very well.

'Kay, so we've dealt with Kosminski, Tumblety and Whitbred.

Cases against:

Kosminski: No history of violence
Tumblety: Too distinct
Whitbred: Ditto

So who's next... John Druitt the good doctor. Number one suspect for many. Macnaughten favoured his guilt. The killer having possible medical knowledge (don't go with this myself). Committed suicide December 1888....

BTW Was any analysis (modern or Victorian) done of the Dear Boss letter or the piece of mailed kidney? Does this shed any light if indeed written by the killer?
Dark Detective said:
'Kay, so we've dealt with Kosminski, Tumblety and Whitbred.

Cases against:

Kosminski: No history of violence
Tumblety: Too distinct
Whitbred: Ditto

So who's next... John Druitt the good doctor. Number one suspect for many. Macnaughten favoured his guilt. The killer having possible medical knowledge (don't go with this myself). Committed suicide December 1888....

BTW Was any analysis (modern or Victorian) done of the Dear Boss letter or the piece of mailed kidney? Does this shed any light if indeed written by the killer?


Whitbred was never a serious contender, just an example in the Mammoth Book of how the facts could be made to fit anyone contemporaneous :) More off the wall (serious) ideas have been Lewis Caroll and Dr Banardo!!!

Druitt was actually a schoolmaster, not a Doctor (BA, Lit. Hum. Oxon), with, possibly, a taste for little boys, or fear of some form of congenital insanity,depending on who you read. Macnaughten in his memorandum mistakenly remebered him as a Doctor. Probable date of suicide was 1st December 1888.

The whereabouts of the Lusk kidney are currently unknown. The letter accompanying the kidney read:-

Mr Lusk
I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer
signed Catch me when
you can
Mishter Lusk

I think it can be safe to say that the only person at the time who was involved with the case and thought that the killer was a 'mad doctor' was a certain sensation seeking coroner/ME.

A similar series of murders occured in december 1888 in Jamaica....involving prostitutes. Then again in Managua, Nicaragua that following year. More disemboweled prostitutes.


Do you have references for this? I'd like to try and follow up. There were some killings in the US allegedly similar, prior to the London series, but I can't find any solid refernce to them, other than a throw away line in one book, which is currently on loan. Any help will be greatfully recieved, esp as it sort of supports Helen's remarks about the tall foreigner... your average victorian seaman beign a swarthy soul.

I personally always favoured either a fish porter , a slaughterman or an ex-soldier for JtR, but the sailor may well pay better attention


Dr. Phillips was of the opinion the killer had anatomical knowledge. Dr. Llewellyn thought the killer could have some rough anatomical knowledge. Knight says that about a quarter of the 103 opinions he read argued the case of the Ripper having medical knowledge. Serial killers don't need medical knowledge, though, in order to rip up a corpse. I would agree that the Ripper had no medical knowledge, probably not even basic, except perhaps that gleaned from books.

I don't really believe the Ripper was a disorganised killer. I believe he was after Kelly from the start, which isn't disorganised. In order to get the victims into the situation where he could kill them, he would have had to talk to them and trick them into dark alleys (ok doesn't take much to trick a gin sodden prozzie) but there is nothing anywhere to even suggest that he grabbed them off the street. The ability to sweet talk victims, and the use of a murder kit, usually indicates an organised killer. I believe the bodies were displayed, not ripped open haphazardly, and the mutilations a major part of the display, along with the positioning of the bodies; again the sign of an organised killer.

As to sailors etc, this was checked out exhaustively at the time. The records of all ships were thoroughly examined and no one ship was found to be in port every time a murder occured. The closest was when the Customs officer who so vigorously pursued this notion found that two ships came out of the same port so he checked the records but could find no sailor who had served on all ships that had been in port on the required dates. He argued the case for two killers, so keen was he to blame sailors, who came from Spain, where disembowelling (he claimed) was a common method of killing.

I don't think we'll every really know about the 'From Hell' letter. I'm in two minds about whether it's genuine or not. Either way, though, it isn't a major piece of evidence. Certainly the spelling in the 'From Hell' letter is a little erratic, and I'm inclined to believe it was written by an educated man attempting to hide his literacy. Whether he was Jack is another matter.
I don't really believe the Ripper was a disorganised killer. I believe he was after Kelly from the start, which isn't disorganised.

Good point. It then removes the Whitechapel killer out of the usual pattern for SSKs. He doesn't behave like them because he's not one. Im dubious of parallels, since they can be seductive and you wind up forcing facts to fit the similie, but there are similarities to the Beth Short murder, where it seems likely the only target was Beth. An SSK with a series of one.


Joseph Barnet, Billingsgate fish porter and Mary Kelly's common law. Met Kelly April 1887 and lived with her for two weeks before her death. The police grilled Barnet for four hours after Kelly's remains were found and checked all his clothes for bloodstains. He died in 1926. Interestingly, he seems to have suffered from echolalia, repeating the last few words said to him.

What would have been his motive for butchering five women?

Someone asked earlier about the Royal suspect. That would be Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence aka Eddie or Collar and Cuffs.

Montague Druitt had alibis for at least two of the murders. He was playing cricket a few hours after the murders a very long way away. McNaughten's opinion of him as being most probably the Ripper is more than a little tainted by the fact that he gets almost all of Druitt's details wrong, such as age, profession, date of death. He describes him a being sexually insane, but then he was probably homosexual, which to a Victorian was the same thing. Druitt committed suicide 3 weeks after Kelly's death, leaving a note saying that he was scared he'd become like his mother, who was a depressive who had attempted suicide. The only reason he got labelled as a possible Jack was he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I'll have to get my copy of Mammoth Book back.

Helen, Bruce Paley - 'JtR - The Simple Truth' not a bad read :)

I think I agree with the idea that JTR was organised. To do things as extreme as that in the locations he did out of being insane would almost certainly have led to his capture. To lure his victims in the way he did requires a certain level of sophistication, and a thorough knowledge of the area such that he knew he wouldn't be disturbed. The mutilation, if carried out after the act, backs this up too. This discounts nutters like Kosminski.

Helen - can you expand on the theory that JTR was after a particular person? Why would he be after one person? How did he not know who she was? Something must trigger something that specific. How can you go after someone on the basis of their name only (unless it's Sarah Connor ;) )? Killing someone is one thing, but the brutality of what followed, if visited upon a specific person, must have some kind of stressor.
Originally posted by harlequin

Helen, Bruce Paley - 'JtR - The Simple Truth' not a bad read :)


'S'okay. That's the theory that Barnett killed the first four to scare Kelly off the game, then killed her in a frenzy because she didn't take his subtle hint, isn't it?

Seems a little excessive.

Helen - can you expand on the theory that JTR was after a particular person? Why would he be after one person? How did he not know who she was? Something must trigger something that specific. How can you go after someone on the basis of their name only (unless it's Sarah Connor )? Killing someone is one thing, but the brutality of what followed, if visited upon a specific person, must have some kind of stressor.

Okay, oh Dark One, but promise not to laugh :)

The only theory to take into account the similarity in the victims' names is Knight's. He has the five of them blackmailing royalty with the illegal marriage of Eddie to the Catholic Annie Crook, begetting the child, Alice Crook. I don't think blackmail was involved however.

But I do like my theories good and complicated :)

I think the Ripper was after the woman who acted as matchmaker between Eddie and Crook. He couldn't get his hands on Crook, as she was lobotomised and in Bedlam with her infant daughter. So he went after the next best thing, being the woman who led his prince astray. He didn't know what Kelly looked like, only her name and the area she frequented, so that's what he went on. I think it was Eddowes and Stride who stayed at the same lodging house as Kelly, either at the same time or within a few days of her. That's why Eddowes' mutilations were the worst so far, as he thought he'd got Kelly. Also why he left the message and the apron behind (the apron to taunt the police with Leather Apron perhaps?). There was quite a gap between Eddowes and Kelly, and when he finally got Kelly, he went (for want of a better phrase) a bit mad. Then he stopped.
Now I know how Crook must have felt...