Jack The Ripper (Compendium Thread)

What do you think is the most likely ?

  • The Ripper was a Freemason?

    Votes: 6 10.0%
  • The Ripper had medical knowledge?

    Votes: 8 13.3%
  • It was Maybrick?

    Votes: 4 6.7%
  • The Ripper was 'of the same class' as his victims?

    Votes: 7 11.7%
  • The Ripper was foreign?

    Votes: 2 3.3%
  • It was Druitt?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • None of the suspects yet put forward?

    Votes: 15 25.0%
  • It was a woman?

    Votes: 2 3.3%
  • Another?

    Votes: 16 26.7%

  • Total voters
    60

Nosmo King

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Just an interesting side note, i was watching an episode of 'pawn stars' the other week and a guy came in with a hat box, a silver cartouche on it was engraved with Dr Francis Tumblety, the top hat inside had a small flintlock pistol, with a similar cartouche engraved 'FT' secreted and held with a clip, into the top of the hat.
Heres the footage, sorry its on FB
 

MorningAngel

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My fuller review of The Five:

Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five is probably the most important book in the field of Ripperology in recent years.

Rather than some further, near pointless, final solution, it gives up sensationalism for hard graft and scholarly work.

It presents the canonical five women for the first time ever in the level of detail that was reserved previously for suspects.

It is reminiscent of the methodical, thoughtful and meticulous work of Philip Sugden, and sets a new standard for empathetic, but never sentimental, historical detective work.

Rubenhold manages at once to provide a deep context and historical placement for each of the women, and then weaves the complex fabric of society around each, with their differing backgrounds and series of developments that brought them to Whitechapel, and ultimately to their utterly undeserved ends.

The author does not go into details about their deaths, only to document their lives in vivid detail, right up to their final moments where possible, and it is here that some true insights for the field come about.

Rubenhold comprehensively illustrates how the police forces of London at the time were overwhelmingly biased against the poor and destitute women of the East End, to the point where each one found homeless or drunk was immediately assumed to be at least a casual, if not fully professional, prostitute.

This was such an issue that a legal case was brought and won by a woman, prompting the Met Police Chief Sir Charles Warren to issue instruction on the matter. This was in 1887. Suffice to say, Rubehold makes a fairly watertight case for police bias in the field.

Secondly, she comprehensively proves that for both Annie Chapman and Catherine Eddowes, there is no evidence at all to support, and indeed much more to refute, the notion that they engaged in even casual soliciting. And there, for me, is the major impact from her work for the field.

Eyewitness testimony has always been an issue in the Ripper case. However, the best sightings have generally been believed to be that of Annie Chapman on the street in front of 29 Hanbury Street, and Catherin Eddowes in the passage leading to Mitre Square. Both seemed to suggest soliciting on the part of the two women, which was assumed to be a john who may or may not have been JTR in both cases.

In fact, the Eddowes sighting is the basis for the entire JTR in the asylum theory, complete with later eyewitness identification.

However, Rubenhold, in both cases, blows the idea out of the water — neither woman was given to casual soliciting. Therefore, we must question whether it was Annie who was stood with her back to the wall as a stranger said “Will you?”

Similarly, was it really Catherine Eddowes that Joseph Lawende saw by Church Passage, with her hand playfully on the chest of a fair complexioned man?

Lawende only identified Eddowes by the clothes she wore, post mortem.

If, as Rubenhold’s work now sets out, neither Annie nor Catherine were given to soliciting, then it must be assumed that JTR managed to get them to the respective secluded places to carry out his crimes.

It is now very reasonable to argue that both Annie and Catherine may have been sleeping rough and were not the women seen by either Elizabeth Long, or Joseph Lawende. Were their two murders just JTR’s opportunistic luck? Did he, in fact, throttle them on the ground, and then use the knife?

Rubenhold’s work is solid enough to reassess these two cases in particular, and re-examine their circumstances beyond the traditional narrative of soliciting the wrong man.

The Five brings vividly to life the stories of these women, who were mothers, daughters, sisters and wives. They lived in harsh times and suffered even harsher conditions before their awful, utterly undeserved deaths. But each one too once had happy times and joys, though short lived. This book reminds us that behind the grisly fascination with the murderer, are real people murdered, and real families left behind. That in itself is enough to make this a great book. But to take the study of this case a significant step further in terms of our overall understanding, is an outstanding achievement.
I’ve started listening to the audio book on the way to work. It is really interesting to know the back story of these women. I would love to see this dramatised for tv, show them as women with lives instead of just victims.
 

Lord Lucan

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There are so many bogus claims regarding Jack, suspects and his victims.

I was watching this video from a Youtube channel that I susbscribe to that focuses on the darker side of life (true crime/horror movies/paranormal & the occult/filming locations/famous graves/serial killers etc) when I was astounded by a claim made by the owner of a tattoo shop/museum of the macabre in Florida, U.S.A that he possessed the lower mandible and pelvis of Ripper victim, Annie Chapman.
He states in the video that he paid $20,000 for the remains.

The topic of Annie begins at 5:16

 
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MorningAngel

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I’ve just got to the story of Annie Chapman. Her father (who was a valet) ended up with his throat cut. It was put down to suicide but seems odd to me. I’m sure that or something similar rings a bell somewhere in my memory.
 

Ascalon

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I've been thinking a lot, while reviewing the suspect evidence in this case recently for a work of fiction.


The conclusion I am coming to is that the evidence, as it currently stands, even after a 133 years of scholarship since, is only ever going to provide a profile of the perpetrator, and never a name or identity.

The reason for this is the extant police records, including the wealth of biographies, personal accounts and retirement commentary, has not thrown up any suspect that all agree on, or that stands up to modern scrutiny.

Secondly, even if missing records do turn up, the fact that the two officers closest to the actual investigation, Abberline and Reid, did not later name anyone outside of a small group of known and well explored suspects means that any new addition, such as Robert Mann, Charles Lechmere or any other, will not have been part of the original investigation and therefore not be properly assessable as anything more than a suspect.

Now this does mean that the very reasonable theory of the perpetrator never having actually come before the investigation would be vindicated, it also means that from this distance, there is no way to critically assess any new suspect beyond the circumstantial.

In future, with new analytic techniques that may combine the likes of psychological, geographic and criminal profiling to give a probability score, might throw up some new names, but only if there is sufficient data available to give context.

The work of Hallie Rubenhold in The Five shows that even now, deep scholarly work can throw new light on the case, and give cause for re-examination of existing material. However, the likelihood now, even if lost materials related to the case turn up, is that it may be impossible to lay anything more than a probability rating against any suspect.


And what if a suspect is named that turns out to have a high probability rating under all of these criteria? Does the fact that Abberline and Reid would be unaware of them destroy any real certainty? Probably, and there lies the eternal appeal of this case. The enduring mystery and its tantalising prospect of a lasting solution.

Just my tuppence.
 

Coastaljames

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I have been fascinated with the Ripper case since I was young. However, I am no expert.

I have considerable experience working with people that have use and have used extreme violence against others. Often to the point of death.

My best idea after reading and listening and watching for years and working with nasty people for years -

The Ripper was a grotty scumbag who liked chopping women up.


No more than that. Ok...seemed to have some butchery experience, maybe a bit of autopsy experience. I do feel his "skills" were probably exagerated.

A grotty scumbag who thought he had the right to mutilate and murder women who had nothing. Women who were totally vulnerable. Poor, homeless, alcoholics. Easy targets. Nothing to be proud of. He had brains enough to realise if he wanted to get down then nobody gave two figs about these women.

Nasty, dirty, cruel, selfish. Like all murderers.


I think the "legend" is just that. A legend. I don't think there is much truth in it. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

There is no way we can ever know who tooks those lives now. But I'd be willing to bet that, if we could, nobody living today would have ever heard of him or know anything about him.
 
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Yithian

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I have been obsessed with the Ripper case since I was young. However, I am no expert.

I have considerable experience working with people that have used extreme violence against others. Often to the point of death.

My best idea after reading and listening and watching for years and working with nasty people for years -

The Ripper was a grotty scumbag who liked chopping women up.

No more than that. Ok...seemed to have some butchery experience, maybe a bit of autopsy experience. I do feel his "skills" were probably exagerated.

A grotty scumbag who thought he had the right to mutilate and murder women who had nothing. Were totally vulnerable. Poor, homeless, alcoholics. Easy targets. Nothing to be proud of.

Nasty, dirty, cruel. Like most murderers.


I think the "legend" is just that. A legend. I don't think there is much truth in it. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

There is no way we can ever know who tooks those lives now. But I'd be willing to bet that, if we could, nobody living today would have ever heard of him or know anything about him.

I don't disagree with the thrust of your point, but would you consider his evident ability to commit these crimes (largely) unwitnessed in a densely populated urban environment with the public on high alert in any way remarkable?

Or would you attribute it to sheer luck?
 

Ascalon

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All good points here.
From a cultural perspective, part of the enduring appeal of the case is that it introduced many modern elements of society that persist today.

Gonzo journalism could be said to have roots in the case. Several of the reporters, not least of which would be the one suspected to be behind the "Dear Boss" letters, from the tabloids made their reputations by insinuating themselves into the story. Not a first, but certainly an industrialisation of the phenomenon.

The same goes for the tabloids themselves. Quite a few established themselves and their model with the case.

The same goes for police methods. The methodology developed of documentation, index cards and cross referencing was much the same as was seen the Yorkhsire Ripper case nearly a century later. Cutting edge then, alas past its sell by date latterly.

Even the early profiling efforts of the likes of Coroner Wynne Baxter would later become a genuine tool for guiding, if not determining, the course of investigations.

All of these things combine to make an utterly mysterious figure at the heart of the case — in the least romantic terms possible — fascinating.

There is little doubt the perpetrator was a deeply disturbed, violent and damaged individual who in no way deservews respect or even gruding admiration. Rather it is left for us to wonder how so heinous a series of crimes could remain unsolved when the culprit was undoubtedly unremarkable in almost every other respect.
 

Kondoru

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I guess the Victorians, who in many ways were upright, had a pathological interest in pathological behaviour?
 

Cochise

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I guess the Victorians, who in many ways were upright, had a pathological interest in pathological behaviour?
I think more the coincidence of the unsolved nature and brutality of the crimes and the relatively new popular illustrated press.

A couple of things to note:

People were convinced very early on that this was a sequence of crimes.

The 'Leather Apron' lead was never properly followed up.

'Jack The Ripper' is one of several red herrings that mislead the police - the name and letters were almost certainly publicity stunts or downright red herrings (with one possible exception). The Graffiti is probably another red herring.

No-one even really knows which were 'ripper' killings and which weren't.

Some people have tried to argue the notoriety was due to the rarity of violent death at the time. not so. Violent death and mutilation was however rare.

After being very interested in the crimes for many years I've concluded they are incapable of resolution. Apart from the poor women's bodies there is no proper evidence, most of the alleged clues evaporate on investigation with a modern eye.

There are some suspects named over the years which I would accept as possibles, but certainly none of those named publicly by police actually involved in the case.
 

Stormkhan

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Let's face it.
"Jack" got lucky.
As far as finding out who Jack was, then there's a whole industry based on not only discovering the killer but maintaining the deception.
I'm not talking about the proposed cover-up at the time. I'm talking about the Ripper Industry. It has published his mutilations online, in the British Museum! It'd be a real pisser - and a financial loss - if Jacky was found, eh?
The actual killer would be laughing his socks off!
 

Cochise

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As far as finding out who Jack was, then there's a whole industry based on not only discovering the killer but maintaining the deception.
Yes, there is. And there are some involved who are cynical.

But I don't think there is any deception to maintain. No-one really has a clue who he was.
 

MorningAngel

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I think the interesting question is why did the killings stop? Did he move away? Were there similar murders elsewhere? Was he arrested for something else? Did he die? Maybe someone did him in.

How many of the suspects fit with this? Surely he wouldn’t just stop.
 

Victory

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I think the fascination is for all the reasons stated in the recent posts above, but magnified by the esoteric speculation:

Were the murders connected to certain times in the calendar?

Were the murders deliberately done at certain locations, because of their geometric relation, history or names?

Was the wider area chosen for a reason i.e. The fringes of the City and The East End for it's relative greater ethnic population or poor population?

Were the victims targeted because of a secret?

Was the method of death linked to Freemasonic ritual?

What was the motive considering their appears to have been no financial motive and no crimes of passion?
 

Coastaljames

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No-one even really knows which were 'ripper' killings and which weren't.

Some people have tried to argue the notoriety was due to the rarity of violent death at the time. not so. Violent death and mutilation was however rare.

Excellent points.

As far as finding out who Jack was, then there's a whole industry based on not only discovering the killer but maintaining the deception.

Spot on. See also Rendlesham.

I think the interesting question is why did the killings stop? Did he move away? Were there similar murders elsewhere? Was he arrested for something else? Did he die? Maybe someone did him in.

Yes. This is one area that still interests me. Deranged bxstards like this rarely stop until they are caught. I reckon he either died or was nicked for something and deported. Alternatively, yeah he just stopped. It's uncommon but does happen.

Were the murders connected to certain times in the calendar?

Were the murders deliberately done at certain locations, because of their geometric relation, history or names?

Was the wider area chosen for a reason i.e. The fringes of the City and The East End for it's relative greater ethnic population or poor population?

Were the victims targeted because of a secret?

Was the method of death linked to Freemasonic ritual?

Alan Moore's phenomenal "From Hell" takes this route. Based on Stephen Knight's theories. Interestingly, Moore concludes that no, there is nothing in it apart from an amazing story.
 

Ascalon

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I think more the coincidence of the unsolved nature and brutality of the crimes and the relatively new popular illustrated press.

A couple of things to note:

People were convinced very early on that this was a sequence of crimes.

The 'Leather Apron' lead was never properly followed up.


'Jack The Ripper' is one of several red herrings that mislead the police - the name and letters were almost certainly publicity stunts or downright red herrings (with one possible exception). The Graffiti is probably another red herring.

No-one even really knows which were 'ripper' killings and which weren't.

Some people have tried to argue the notoriety was due to the rarity of violent death at the time. not so. Violent death and mutilation was however rare.

After being very interested in the crimes for many years I've concluded they are incapable of resolution. Apart from the poor women's bodies there is no proper evidence, most of the alleged clues evaporate on investigation with a modern eye.

There are some suspects named over the years which I would accept as possibles, but certainly none of those named publicly by police actually involved in the case.

Curious to know what you mean here.
Philip Sugden goes well into the character who was known as Leather Apron, John Pizer, and concludes, as did the Police of the day, that he was not involved. Was there another Leather Apron?

I think the fascination is for all the reasons stated in the recent posts above, but magnified by the esoteric speculation:

Were the murders connected to certain times in the calendar?

Were the murders deliberately done at certain locations, because of their geometric relation, history or names?

Was the wider area chosen for a reason i.e. The fringes of the City and The East End for it's relative greater ethnic population or poor population?

Were the victims targeted because of a secret?

Was the method of death linked to Freemasonic ritual?

What was the motive considering their appears to have been no financial motive and no crimes of passion?
No author, investigator or police person, then or since, has been able to establish anything more than coincidental links between the victims. Using the same lodging houses on occasion, and occasionally using the same alias, was as much of a link as could be found. Hardly the basis of a theory.

As for Masonic element — this has been comprehensively and serially debunked.

There is no evidence whatsoever, in the three sister constitutions of England, Ireland and Scotland, for example, of the three ruffians of the Hiraf Abif legend being referred to as the Jewes/Juewes/Juwes etc.

As as for the mutilations conforming to the gruesome 'ancient penalties.' while the entrails plucked thence and thrown over the left shoulder does resonate, again, it is a very small detail on which to base an entire theory. It is also one that does not carry any further. No masonic punishment for breaking an oath could be meted out to a non-member. Therefore, by virtue of their sex, the women could not be silenced for breaking an oath that they were ineligible to take in the first place. The only proponents of the Masonic theories are the ones who don't know the history or context of relevant Masonic elements.

And as for motive, if the killer was a serial offender, then motive is tied up with the psychological state, not financial or passion based.
Ted Bundy was not financially motivated, nor was he committing crimes of passion.

As has been asserted, the killer was lucky, and audacious. That combination has often led to criminals getting away with things for years, or decades. It does not turn the killer into a phantom or wraith.

In just the same way that Denis Nilson was only caught when he became careless to the point of arrogance, his crimes were chiefly among a marginalised, silenced community of people who were ignored and disenfranchised, and thus unable to voice their experiences of being preyed upon. The Whitechapel murders fall into a similar category.
 

Ogdred Weary

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I don't disagree with the thrust of your point, but would you consider his evident ability to commit these crimes (largely) unwitnessed in a densely populated urban environment with the public on high alert in any way remarkable?

Or would you attribute it to sheer luck?

No mean feat for a guy walking around in a top hat and cape, no doubt swishing it about theatrically, all the while laughing manically.

Not to mention his ghoulish visage and glowing red eyes.
 
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OrsonSwells

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I think the interesting question is why did the killings stop? Did he move away? Were there similar murders elsewhere? Was he arrested for something else? Did he die? Maybe someone did him in.

How many of the suspects fit with this? Surely he wouldn’t just stop.

Sometimes killers do take a bit of a break. BTK springs to mind - I think there was five years plus between some murders. But they'll always resume if capable of doing so. I know people mention HH Holmes, but I wonder how much research (probably lots) has been done into any similar later case(s) that took place elsewhere in the UK.
 

Cochise

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Curious to know what you mean here.
Philip Sugden goes well into the character who was known as Leather Apron, John Pizer, and concludes, as did the Police of the day, that he was not involved. Was there another Leather Apron?
On that particular point. The evidence that John Pizer was 'Leather Apron' was flimsy in the extreme, but after clearing Pizer, the police never reconsidered whether there was another candidate for 'Leather Apron' - there could have been dozens who would have qualified for such a nickname in Whitechapel and surrounds.

It was soon after that the whole 'Jack the Ripper' circus started up and frankly from that point on the investigations just seem to have floundered around. Not due to incompetence entirely - but due to the confusion caused by the events and so-called clues themselves. The police needed a break - a clear clue - and they never got one.

As to why they stopped - difficult question. Was Mary Kelly a 'Ripper' killing or not? Were any of the later killings 'Ripper' killings? Some of the suspects on my 'possibles' list had appropriate reasons - one left the country (and may have murdered elsewhere) , another was hung for a different murder, and a third was 'saved' and ceased being a rough-sleeping opium-addicted vagrant after the MJK murder.

Interestingly, the last said a prostitute was his 'saviour' - he didn't confirm whether she was a live prostitute.
 

Ascalon

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On that particular point. The evidence that John Pizer was 'Leather Apron' was flimsy in the extreme, but after clearing Pizer, the police never reconsidered whether there was another candidate for 'Leather Apron' - there could have been dozens who would have qualified for such a nickname in Whitechapel and surrounds.

It was soon after that the whole 'Jack the Ripper' circus started up and frankly from that point on the investigations just seem to have floundered around. Not due to incompetence entirely - but due to the confusion caused by the events and so-called clues themselves. The police needed a break - a clear clue - and they never got one.

As to why they stopped - difficult question. Was Mary Kelly a 'Ripper' killing or not? Were any of the later killings 'Ripper' killings? Some of the suspects on my 'possibles' list had appropriate reasons - one left the country (and may have murdered elsewhere) , another was hung for a different murder, and a third was 'saved' and ceased being a rough-sleeping opium-addicted vagrant after the MJK murder.

Interestingly, the last said a prostitute was his 'saviour' - he didn't confirm whether she was a live prostitute.
Genuinely interested in your list.

Care to share?

Privately or otherwise.

Cheers.
 

Cochise

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I'm sort of reluctant to name suspects because people then assume you are buying into them whereas even my strongest 'possibles' are no more than 'persons of interest'. And of course the most likely killer is Mr. A Non, whether or not he wore a leather apron. NOT the Hon. A Nonny-Mouse.

I don't have a formal list with scores, and no doubt I will have forgotten others I've had an interest in at one time - it's 15 years or more since I lost active interest in the case.

The three above are

James Kelly. A paranoid schizophrenic convicted of knife murder and escaped from Broadmoor in early 1888. No specific evidence, but a truly bizarre character with a truly bizarre life which aroused periodic interest from Scotland Yard and other authorities.

W. H. Bury. Right place right time, killed wife in method with some similarities to a Ripper killing, Wife allegedly a prostitute. Moved to Dundee after MJK. Hanged for the wife murder in April 1889, Actually suspected in 1889, but not seriously followed up on (by modern standards).

Francis Thompson. Failed priest, later poet and author. Lived in Spitalfields as homeless drug addict from 1885-1888. Had a morbid interest in sex and prostitution , and as above 'saved by a prostitute'. Strange and closely monitored life from 'rescue' in Nov. 1888 until death. Suggested reading - poem "The Nightmare of the Witch-Babies".

Other possibles
Kosminsky/Kasminsky->'David Cohen' - but only if the person meant is actually the person incarcerated as Cohen,
Thomas Cutbush - Macnaughten's list of 'suspects' was deliberately intended to draw attention away from Cutbush.
George Hutchinson - don't believe his story. May have had particular hatred for MJK.

The above all assume all 5 murders were by the same hand, and possibly Martha Tabram as well. Change the murders and the suspect list changes. I stress that these are named suspects which to my mind cannot be eliminated - many of the other proposed suspects are preposterous, in a couple of cases non-existent, or more sensibly have an alibi provable beyond my reasonable doubt for at least one of the murders.
 

Yithian

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Cochise

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Agree with this point very much.

I made a sketch of a case for Tabram here (and in the post that follows):
https://forums.forteana.org/index.p...er-compendium-thread.993/page-62#post-1808594
It's always seemed to me unlikely that he started with Mary Nicholls, and Ada Wilson and/or Annie Millwood -> Martha Tabram seemed a reasonable build up. Ties in with how quickly the local population became apprehensive of a series of atrocities.

I should note that W. H. Bury was supposed to sleep with a penknife under his pillow and the injuries to the above three ladies all suggest that a penknife/clasp knife - there is overlap between the two types - was one of the weapons used.

Have you any opinion of the frequency with which the names Mary and Kelly/Kelley appear in the case?
 
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