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JACK THE RIPPER, who was it?

Updated on June 10, 2013
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A brief introduction of the crimes

The identity of the killer of five - or possibly six - women in the East End of London in 1888 has remained a mystery, but the case has continued to horrify and fascinate.

Between August and November 1888,the Whitechapel area of London was the scene of five brutal murders. The killer was dubbed 'Jack the Ripper'. All the women murdered were prostitutes, and all except for one - Elizabeth Stride - were horribly mutilated.

The first murder, of Mary Ann Nicholls, took place on 31 August. Annie Chapman was killed on 8 September. Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddoweson were murdered 30 September and Mary Jane Kelly on 9 November. These are often referred to as the 'canonical five' Ripper murders, although Martha Tabram, stabbed to death on 6 August 1888, is considered by some 'ripperologists' to be the first victim.

There has been much speculation as to the identity of the killer. It has been suggested that he or she was a doctor or butcher, based on the evidence of weapons and the mutilations that occurred, which showed a knowledge of human anatomy. Many theories have been put forward suggesting individuals who might be responsible. One theory links the murders with Queen Victoria's grandson, Prince Albert Victor, also known as the Duke of Clarence, although the evidence for this is insubstantial.

Violence to prostitutes was not uncommon and there were many instances of women being brutalised, but the nature of these murders strongly suggests a single perpetrator.

A quarter of a mile from the scene of Catherine Eddowes' murder, the words 'The Juwes are not the men to be blamed for nothing,' were found scrawled on a wall in chalk, and it was suggested this was written by the killer. A police officer ordered the words to be removed, fearing an anti-Semitic backlash in an area with a large Jewish population. The murderer is also sometimes thought to have made contact by letter with several public figures. These letters, like the chalk message, have never been proved to be authentic, and may have been hoaxes.

Jack the Ripper was never caught and he is not thought to have killed again after November 1888.

It begins

During the ‘autumn of terror’ 5 London east end prostitutes were savagely murdered, the murders are all thought to be from the same hand.
Many people have claimed to know the identity of the Ripper the suspects have ranged from butchers to royalty.
But the case remains unsolved to this day still, will it be solved? Can it be solved? Regardless of what side of the fence you stand on, everyone has their ‘prime’ suspect.

Here I give my prime suspects.
Through study in books, TV shows, documentaries etc. I have put all the pieces together and came up with my own opinion on who could have committed those murders.

Was there more than 5?

First let me start by saying I believe there was at least 5 but no more than 6.
For me the first could quite easily be Martha Tabram though I’m not so sure, she was found brutally murdered on the floor in a hallway of a lodging house on 7th of august 1888, found to have up to 36 stab wounds to her body, the fatal blow believed to be to the heart.
The coroner stated the wounds were caused by two different blades one a long blade which struck the fatal blow to the heart and a small bladed instrument. This signals to me an opportunistic murder by someone contemplating it and then given the opportunity to exercise those thoughts.
My guess is if it was the ripper, Martha Tabram went out drinking got worse for wear and ended up getting spotted vulnerable and alone and was followed to her destination, once there the murderer has the time and privacy to commit his act.
The amount of stab wounds says to me that the murderer was nervous and to be honest a little bit reckless, the repeated stabbing is the murderer getting in a frenzy and losing control, I would say if it was the Ripper I think the first wound therefore would have been the blow to the heart, the ripper always made sure he was in total control from the start and a fatal blow to begin with is an ideal way to achieve that. Once he’s in control his ‘evil side’ takes over.
If the ripper did not commit the murder of Martha Tabram I would not be surprised, for example as we can see in modern times stabbings are common among gangs and there was a lot around the east end along with pimps, drunks etc.

Over the next 3 months there would be 5 more murders, now the first thing that jumps out to me is why so quick? Modern day serial killers prove they ‘space’ out there crimes, some over 25 years. So again why so quick? Well in my opinion the murderer seems to work himself up into frenzy that he can’t control himself when the need to kill takes over, although could quite easily look in total control when not in that frame of mind.
Idea that the Ripper was ‘lucky’ can’t be ignored too, if he was indeed just plain and simply mad, could he kill 5 women in 6 months and then ‘disappear?
Well it depends on what you think may of happened , if he was mad he could have been committed to one of the many insane asylum’s around then, If he was a touch more ‘in control’ he could of left the country or stopped for some other reason like an illness or wound.

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A round up if the murders, victims and my thoughts on them

The next Murder is that of Mary Ann Nichols on August 31, 1888 found mutilated in in Bucks Row, this murder is far bloodier and gruesome than the one of Martha Tabram with the first fatal wound a cut to the throat, which leads me to think it is a different murderer and the ‘start of the Rippers work’.
The next murder is on September 8, 1888, Annie Chapman killed in Hanbury Street, again mutilated with the fatal blow a cut to the throat.
Now there starts the pattern, again organs where either removed or attempted to be and the throat was cut.
So now we can see he has his developed method, I say developed because this is something he had learned and that worked for him and satisfied the urges. So it’s my opinion he had committed similar acts before, I wouldn’t had learned his method through committing previous murders, because he may of learned them from Medical school or even butcher and such trades. But either way it was a method of killing that he liked and was for what it seems he was able to be in control although maybe not calm.
The next murders were what have become known as the ‘double event’ this was the murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes on September 30, 1888, killed at 1:00 and 1:45 am respectively.
Out of all the original 5 victims thought to be killed by Jack the Ripper the Stride murder is the one that is given the most doubt, Stride had just her throat cut with no mutilations, it is common consensus that the killer may have been disturbed by a man arriving in the yard with his horse and wagon.
The fact is, if this was the ‘work’ of the Ripper he would of have had to of cut Strides throat at 1:00 and then got to Mitre Square, a good 10 to 15 minutes brisk jog/walk away found Eddowes, murdered and mutilated her by 1:45am.
Not impossible by any means but just suppose he can’t find a girl for another 5 minutes, then has to walk with her to a secluded area and then kill her. Even if you round up the time to 20-25 minutes, he is still only leaving himself around 20 minutes to commit the mutilations.
For that reason the murder of Elizabeth Stride is another I believe is not by the Ripper and is just pure coincidence it was committed on the same night as Catherine Eddowes.

The fifth and what I believe to be the final murder is, that of Mary Kelly killed in Miller's Court on November 9, 1888.
Kelly had took the killer back to her room in Miller’s Court where she was killed. This murder was by far the worse of the lot; the killer had the time to do exactly everything he wanted resulting in one of the most savage murder scene’s probably ever to be seen at the time.

The end?

The murder of Mary Kelly is the clear indicator of the ‘end’ in the mind of the killer for me, a stopping point, whether it is for years or more.
It does not mean he didn’t want to do it anymore or died, it could. But as I have said it could be for many reasons such as illness or leaving the country etc.
either way this time the killer had the time to be given free rein on a victim for a substantial amount of time with not a threat of policeman or witness able to see him, in other words he could be safe to do whatever he wanted.

The human brain is a funny thing it can allow you to convince yourself of many wrongs to be right and in a killer such as Jack the Rippers mind, In my opinion he was somewhat safe from his own conscious by the fact he had thought of a lot worse things to do if he was given the time, but at the moment had not acted, through probably the thought of capture and death. Once given the situation in to be able to act out his thoughts he did and even by the maddest of minds once you have committed an act you had so far kept as a ‘conscious blocker’ the mind will crumble and many emotions and feelings then come into play such as fear, nervousness, nausea etc. which can then trigger reactions they are less in control of and being in a very unstable state of mind.

What sort of person should be looked at?

So what sort of person should we be looking for?
Well in my opinion they would be very ordinary for the times, maybe a bit loose and prone too mood swings. Violence would be prominent in this person’s life, whether it is man or woman.
They would have some level of education and more than likely have a frequent cash flow.
That’s not saying they were of the ‘upper class’ or even middle but all the characteristics of these murders point me towards someone ‘comfortable’ in there being, an almost ‘normal’ life, on the outside.

George Chapman

My suspects

So who do I think committed these murders? Well I can’t really pin down one suspect and convince myself of their guilt, but out of all the names I have looked at the 3 most creditable suspects are;

George Chapman- a.k.a. Severin Antoniovich Klosowski .
Born as Severin Antoniovich Klosowski in the Polish village of Nargornak on December 14, 1865 to Antonio and Emile Klosowski. His father, a carpenter, apprenticed Severin to a Senior Surgeon in Zvolen named Moshko Rappaport, whereupon he entered into a career as a surgeon from December 1880 until October 1885, after which he completed his studies in the Hospital of Praga in Warsaw. Rappaport claimed he was "diligent, or exemplary conduct, and studied with zeal the science of surgery." Another unnamed source spoke of Klosowski's "very skilful assistance to patients."
This man was a nasty piece of work. His date of entry to the east end of London is in the spring of 1888, he eventually left London for America where he was hung for poisoning his wife, it’s worth pointing out when we was arrested in America he never admitted guilt and lied about where he was in 1888 onwards. Did he have something to hide?

David Cohena.k.a. Nathan Kaminsky
In December 1888 a young and confused Polish Jew, found rambling on the streets and speaking little but Yiddish, was brought in by the police to the Leman station. Since he was uncommunicative, it was decided that he was unable to care for himself and that he should be taken to the parish workhouse. Then he suddenly became violent and had to be brought in under restraint. Since he didn't give them his name or address, and no one recognized him, he was registered at the Infirmary as "David Cohen", which supposedly was used as a "John Doe" for East End Jew's without known identity, address and next-of-kin.
In the Infirmary Cohen proved too dangerous for the other patients (and himself) and was therefore transferred to Colney Hatch, once again under restraint. There he had to remain under constant observation due to his violent tendencies; he was rambling and described as "spiteful and mischievous", he spat out food, had to be force-feed, tore down a lead pipe and wire window-guard in the yard, he was destructive, kicked passers-by and had to wear a "strong dress" in order not to tear his own clothes into pieces. Today he would most likely have been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. In October 1889 he was confined to his bed in the asylum and a few days later he died.
There is no doubting that David Cohen was a raving lunatic, which would give good credence to the ‘lucky’ and the murders kept him sane theory.

The last is a strange one and to any1 familiar with the Ripper case recently will have heard of James Carnac.
Carnac was supposedly from Tottenham, north London although know one has been able to locate a person or family by that name, this could be because he changed the names in his manuscript or he is simply lying.
James Carnac moved in with his uncle after his father a doctor; slit his mother’s throat and then his own, leaving James Carnac a rather wealthy man for the time.
After a few years at his uncles he decided to go to medical school but dropped out after ‘’getting an urge to cut throats’’. After a few altercations with himself and his obvious split personality from schizophrenia, he fled his uncles one night after deciding to follow through with his thoughts of slitting his throat and found him in his uncle’s bedroom with a knife, only for his uncle to wake up and see him.
He fled to the East end of London, Whitechapel.
He says he eventually stopped because of an accident when his leg was run over by a taxi being pulled by a horse, resulting in him having to have a leg amputated.
This is all based upon a book found by a toy seller who brought a box of the famous Sydney George Hulme Beaman, famously known for creating Larry the lamb and toy town.
in the box was an envelope containing a manuscript from someone called James Carnac confessing to be Jack the Ripper, now obviously it sounds fairy tale stuff but in the book he describes certain areas of the case very well and in great detail in which only someone who was there would know how to.
All in all, my feeling is it is an incredible work of fiction but either way he deserves a lot attention and maybe research.

Summary

So to put my suspects in order of who I think is more likely to have committed the Jack the Ripper murders it would have to go;

1/ George Chapman - a.k.a. Severin Antoniovich Klosowski

2/ David Cohen - a.k.a. Nathan Kaminsky

And maybe if a bit more research can be done and found that the writer of the manuscript can be identified.

3/ James Carnac

Either way I feel it’s very unlikely ever to get enough proof to solve this case it’s still very intriguing to study the case, look at the little evidence there is and put a case together for your own suspects.

Thank you very much for taking the time out to read this, I would love to know your suspects too.

Chris

Do you think it can be solved?

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      fenceline 4 years ago

      chrisechris,

      I really don't have a suspect but I tend to go along with M.J. Trow's book where he speculates that the ripper was a cockney staying in the local area. Each murder from Nicoles to Kelly (except Stride which may have been interrupted) was more gruesome than the last. Kelly may have been killed inside simply because by that time the crimes were well known and people were probably more alert. Unfortunately the victims had been mistreated by the public due to the Victorian concept of what women should be like. Annie Chapman's husband had supposedly left her because of her drinking yet 3 years before her murder he himself had died of pserosis of the liver. Too much tea and milk I guess. Stride did volunteer work with the salvation army and Eddowes worked at least part time picking hops. Only two of the canonical five were full time prostitutes (Nicoles and Kelly). Little is known about Kelly's past but the autopsy report noted that Nicoles was hygienically very clean which says something considering the filth people lived in in East London. I hope someday someone does a thorough background on the victims so we can know who they really were. None were born that way. Who knows, we may actually find out who JTR was by doing so.

    • chrisechris profile image
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      chrisechris 4 years ago

      Yes I totally agree, Eddows was for me the worst in terms of avoid-ability.

      I would also agree that the policeman on the 'beat' was not there, if he was doing his job I honestly believe the ripper would have been caught.

      While you are here I would like your opinion on Thomas Cuttbush, I have been reading about him for a while now and there is no getting away from the fact he was mad as a hat and a paranoid schizophrenic.

      I am very interested in finding out if anyone has dug up anymore info on this man, he fits the bill 100% in terms of what I believe the ripper to be, how about u?

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      fenceline 4 years ago

      While Mary Kelly was the most gruesome I think Eddowes was the saddest. The City of London Police had a policy then of escorting prostitutes released from custody during late hours. Had it been followed with Eddowes both her and Kelly might have been saved because JTR came very close to being caught in Mitre Square. Just 50 feet from the murder scene was a dwelling where a constable lived. He was home at the time but unfortunately was asleep as was the family that lived upstairs from him. Next to his house was a warehouse where the watchman (a retired police constable) was sweeping out. There were two on duty police constables patrolling as well and as if that weren't enough there were two detective constables in the immediate area checking doors and windows. How on earth he could have committed the Eddowes murder in the midst of them as well as mutilating her in that short of time is beyond me. I suspect some of the ones on duty weren't there at all and just noted in their logs that they were. If I were a constable I sure wouldn't want to answer to my superiors why I wasn't where I was supposed to be in light of what happened.

    • chrisechris profile image
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      chrisechris 4 years ago

      Yes Kelly stabbing his wife in the neck is very different in my opinion, First this should not be aspect to pin to Kelly when trying to identify him as the ripper.

      Domestic violence was prominent back then and killings of the spouse too, with deaths by wounding the throat and poisoning some of the most common methods.

      The fact is that Kelly Stabbing his wife in the neck was not a 'unique' technique back then.

      People often take the 21st century back with them when exploring the case, back then in order to connect a person with a murder you needed either a confession, enough circumstantial evidence or to 'catch the person in the act'. Today with forensic evidence, connection to the crime is more easily attainable .

      I'm in no way saying he's not a suspect, just that he doesn't rate in my top 5.

      One thing that does infuriate me about this case is the way certain Ripperologists quite easily discard a person because they do not fit there ideas or theorys on the killer. Trevor Marriott put together a plausible theory in terms a killer (Carl Feigenbaum ) albeit with a few crazy notions thrown in there too and because of this his suspect often gets harsh treatment when discussed. Not just him, there are many others out there that have found it very hard to get a new suspect introduced into the case.

      As I have said James Carnac or the person responsible for the book needs to be identified, I have tried and accept its hard but others out there have far more knowledge on how to go about these things and are more than happy disregard the book as fiction (which it more than likely is) but even if there's a 10% chance it's a genuine confession, it deserves to be looked at more closely.

      Chris

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      fenceline 4 years ago

      You're right chrisechris. I read James Tully's book about James Kelly being a suspect about 3 years ago and I guess it's the latest today. I seem to remember that Kelly murdered his wife by stabbing her in the neck with a penknife but she actually lived for several days before dying. Tully compares that to the murder of Martha Tabrahm who was also stabbed in the neck. Trouble is Kelly's wife was stabbed once and Tabrahm was stabbed 39 times and not just in the neck. Also Tabrahm did not have her neck cut (as opposed to stabbed) like the five canonical victims (Nicholes, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes and Kelly).

    • chrisechris profile image
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      chrisechris 4 years ago

      Although a very plausible theory, the first thing that springs to mind is, why would it be kept so quiet? I mean if the gangs and pimps were losing money there would be no point it 'staying quiet', the women were still scared to 'work' for many years later thus the money was still being lost.

      Also the police were under so much pressure to solve the case and simply turning a blind eye to JTR's death and the gang that done it, then keeping it quite would not of relieved this.

      Something fishy did happen though, Because after the last known murder by JTR (Mary Kelly) the police disbanded at an alarming rate and it all seems very quick and calculated considering there was an apparent serial killer on the loose still.

      They must have had some knowledge, unfortunately I believe they kept this quite to try to lure out the killer again to catch him in the act.

      I am torn between my 2 main suspects in Kaminsky(David Cohen) and Chapman.

      Cohen ticks all the boxes in terms of Swanson's claims he went in to an asylum shortly after the murder of Kelly and died shortly after.

      But then we have Chapman who quickly took off to America after, which also adds to the theory he went to America and killed there.

      Like I said I would plump for Chapman just because of his Medical background (although little, still a background in the subject).

      Stan Russo has a very interesting theory although its loosely based on the political theory in terms of who and why, its still a very interesting theory, although I must say I disagree with it.

      Interesting stuff though(from you) and another aspect of the case that I feel needs exploring.

      I'm not into conspiracy theory's at all but this case is smelly than a 4 month old fish left out in the sun, something happened and I still believe there is info missing out there that will open up the case again, sadly wherever it is I think the place or person does not even know they have it, or if they do it connects there family to the case in a less than desirable way and will want to keep it hush hush for as long as they can.

      Thanks for the reply although I am still interested in your suspect :)

      Chris

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      fenceline 4 years ago

      There's something I've always wondered about regarding what happened to JTR. During that time gangs of pimps roamed the streets of East London (Bullyboys). They exploited prostitutes, taking their money so the Ripper couldn't have been doing their "revenue" any good. It wasn't just the 5 canonical victims but also the hundereds of prostitutes who were afraid to go out in the streets. Doesn't it stand to reason that they would have been looking for JTR too? Maybe they were laying for him and just got lucky one night shortly after the Kelly murder. Would the local police really want to bring them "to justice"? After all, in their own sick way they might have metted out a more poetic form of justice themselves if they really caught him.

    • chrisechris profile image
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      chrisechris 4 years ago

      I totally agree fenceline,

      for me this has and always will be a money making scheme(Royal theory).

      I would be extremely interested in your suspect if you care to tell, like I said mine is Chapman.

      But, if anyone can actually find out if this James Carnac was a 'real' person and his story is true and I have tried, he would shoot straight to the top of the pile, sadly I dnt think he was, or if he did exist hid his identity very well, (even in the book). I suggest everyone interested in the case read the book which you can find in my post from amazon as, if it is only a 'story' its a very good one and tells us a lot about people of that time.

      I see this decade James Kelly is the new fad. This for me is another Kosminsky type suspect, Right place at the right time and it fits also with him being mad, and that fits with a lot of people's impression of what they 'think' the killer was like.

      Myself I believe he was mad but a lot more clever than people actually think who no the case in-depth.

      Anyway thanks for the reply I look forward to your reply.

      Chris

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      fenceline 4 years ago

      The royal conspiracy by Stephen Knight was largely discredited by the book Ripperology by Robin O'dell. According to O'dell Knight's suspect (Sir William Gull, the queens physician) was 72 years old at the time of the Whitechapel murders. He had suffered what was then called a brain seizure (possibly a stroke) the year before the murders and was dead two years later after suffering two more episodes. While 72 is not "ancient" now it certainly was in 1888. He was hardly in condition to be running around Whitechapel committing the murders.

    • chrisechris profile image
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      chrisechris 4 years ago

      Thanks mate

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      Shariful Islam 4 years ago from Bangladesh

      Thanks for your valuable information