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Jack The Ripper, Who Do You Think Jack The Ripper Was?

Updated on March 21, 2013

Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper was the name given to a serial killer active in the Whitechapel area of London in the later half of 1888.The name was taken from a letter sent to the Central News Agency by someone who claimed to be the murderer.The letter was later published in the newspapers during the same time period.

The legends surrounding the Ripper murders have become a combination of genuine historical research, conspiracy theory and folklore. The lack of a confirmed identity for the killer has allowed Ripperologists — the term used within the field for the authors, historians and amateur detectives who study the case — to accuse a wide variety of individuals of being the Ripper Newspapers, whose circulation had been growing during this era, bestowed widespread and enduring notoriety on the killer owing to the savagery of the attacks and the failure of the police in their attempts to capture the Ripper, sometimes missing the murderer at his crime scenes by mere minutes. This has led some people to assume the Ripper may have used the tunnels that run all under Whitechapel for his escapes. This would explain how he was able to seem to simply vanish. Other people have speculated that it may have been a policeman who was the killer. But you would have thought a policeman would have been spotted with bloody clothing and asked for an explanation.

The Ripper's Victims were women earning income as prostitutes. Most of the Ripper murders were in a public or semi-public place; the victim's throat was cut, after which the body was mutilated. Some believe that the victims were first strangled in order to silence them. The removal of internal organs from some victims has led to the proposal that the killer possessed anatomical or surgical knowledge or skill. Keep in mind as you read down this hub page that a mid wife would have had this knowledge.

Some People Now Believe Jack The Ripper Was Involved In Black Magic

There has been a lot of recent speculation that Jack the Ripper was taking body parts from his victims to be used in black majic rituals. If this is the case then other people may have been involved at least in the rituals.

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The cover of the September 21, 1889, issue of Puck magazine, featuring cartoonist Tom Merry's depiction of the unidentified Whitechapel murderer Jack the Ripper

The cover of the September 21, 1889, issue of Puck magazine, featuring cartoonist Tom Merry's depiction of the unidentified Whitechapel murderer Jack the Ripper
The cover of the September 21, 1889, issue of Puck magazine, featuring cartoonist Tom Merry's depiction of the unidentified Whitechapel murderer Jack the Ripper

Victims Of Jack The Ripper

The number and names of the Ripper's victims are the subject of much debate. The canonical five are a subset of the eleven victims listed in the police file documenting what were called "the Whitechapel murders".


The canonical five victims


The most widely accepted list, referred to as the canonical five, includes the following five prostitutes (or presumed prostitute in Eddowes' case) in the East End of London:


* Mary Ann Nichols (maiden name Mary Ann Walker, nicknamed "Polly"), born on August 26, 1845, and killed on Friday, August 31, 1888. Nichols' body was discovered at about 3:40 in the early morning on the ground in front of a gated stable entrance in Buck's Row (since renamed Durward Street), a back street in Whitechapel two hundred yards from the London Hospital.

* Annie Chapman (maiden name Eliza Ann Smith, nicknamed "Dark Annie"), born in September 1841 and killed on Saturday, September 8, 1888. Chapman's body was discovered about 6:00 in the morning lying on the ground near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields.

* Elizabeth Stride (maiden name Elisabeth Gustafsdotter, nicknamed "Long Liz"), born in Sweden on November 27, 1843, and killed on Sunday, September 30, 1888. Stride's body was discovered close to 01:00 in the early morning, lying on the ground in Dutfield's Yard, off Berner Street (since renamed Henriques Street) in Whitechapel.

* Catherine Eddowes (used the aliases "Kate Conway" and "Mary Ann Kelly," from the surnames of her two common-law husbands Thomas Conway and John Kelly), born on April 14, 1842, and killed on Sunday, September 30, 1888, on the same day as the previous victim, Elizabeth Stride. Ripperologists refer to this circumstance as the "double event". Her body was found in Mitre Square, in the City of London.

* Mary Jane Kelly (called herself "Marie Jeanette Kelly" after a trip to Paris, nicknamed "Ginger"), reportedly born in either the city of Limerick or County Limerick, Munster, Ireland ca. 1863 and killed on Friday, November 9, 1888. Kelly's gruesomely mutilated body was discovered shortly after 10:45 am lying on the bed in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller's Court, off Dorset Street, Spitalfields.


The authority of this list rests on a number of authors' opinions, but the initial basis for these opinions mainly came from notes made privately in 1894 by Sir Melville Macnaghten as Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police Service Criminal Investigation Department, papers which came to light in 1959. Macnaghten's papers reflected his own opinion and were not necessarily shared by the investigating officers (such as Inspector Frederick Abberline). Macnaghten did not join the force until the year after the murders, and his memorandum contained serious errors of fact about possible suspects. For this and other reasons, some Ripperologists prefer to remove one or more names from this list of canonical victims: typically Stride (who had no mutilations beyond a cut throat and, if one witness can be believed, was attacked in public), and/or Kelly (who was younger than other victims, murdered indoors, and whose mutilations were far more extensive than the others). Others prefer to expand the list by citing Martha Tabram and others as probable Ripper victims. Some researchers have even posited that the series may not have been the work of a single murderer, but of an unknown number of killers acting independently.


Except for Stride (whose attack may have been interrupted), mutilations became continuously more severe as the series of murders proceeded. Nichols and Stride were not missing any organs, but Chapman's uterus was taken, and Eddowes had her uterus and a kidney carried away and was left with facial mutilations. While only Kelly's heart was missing from the crime scene, many of her internal organs were removed and left in her room.


The five canonical murders were generally perpetrated in the dark of night, on or close to a weekend, in a secluded site to which the public could gain access, and on a pattern of dates either at the end of a month or a week or so after. Yet every case differed from this pattern in some manner. Besides the differences already mentioned, Eddowes was the only victim killed within the City of London, though close to the boundary between the City and the metropolis. Nichols was the only victim to be found on an open street, albeit a dark and deserted one. Many sources state that Chapman was killed after the sun had started to rise, though that was not the opinion of the police or the doctors who examined the body. Kelly's murder ended a six-week period of inactivity for the murderer. (A week elapsed between the Nichols and Chapman murders, and three between Chapman and the "double event.")


A major difficulty in identifying who was and was not a Ripper victim is the large number of horrific attacks against women during this era. Most experts point to deep throat slashes, mutilations to the victim's abdomen and genital area, removal of internal organs and progressive facial mutilations as the distinctive features of Jack the Ripper.

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Other possible victims of Jack the Ripper

Victims of other contemporary and somewhat similar attacks and/or murders have also been suggested as additions to the list. Those victims are generally poorly documented. They include:

* "Fairy Fay", a nickname for an unknown murder victim reportedly found on December 26, 1887 with "a stake thrust through her abdomen." It has been suggested that "Fairy Fay" was a creation of the press based upon confusion of the details of the murder of Emma Elizabeth Smith with a separate non-fatal attack the previous Christmas. The name of "Fairy Fay" does not appear for this alleged victim until many years after the murders, and it seems to have been taken from a verse of a popular song called "Polly Wolly Doodle" that starts "Fare thee well my fairy fay". There were no recorded murders in Whitechapel at or around Christmas 1886 or 1887, and later newspaper reports that included a Christmas 1887 killing conspicuously did not list the Smith murder. Most authors agree that "Fairy Fay" never existed.

* Annie Millwood, born c 1850, reportedly the victim of an attack on February 25, 1888. She was admitted to hospital with "numerous stabs in the legs and lower part of the body". She was discharged from hospital but died from apparently natural causes on March 31, 1888.

* Ada Wilson, reportedly the victim of an attack on March 28, 1888, resulting in two stabs in the neck. She survived the attack.

* Emma Elizabeth Smith, born c 1843, was attacked in Osborn Street, Whitechapel April 3, 1888, and a blunt object was inserted into her vagina, rupturing her perineum. She survived the attack and managed to walk back to her lodging house with the injuries. Friends brought her to a hospital where she told police that she was attacked by two or three men, one of whom was a teenager. She fell into a coma and died on April 5, 1888. This was the first killing in the "Whitechapel murders" file in contemporary police files.

* Martha Tabram (name sometimes misspelled as Tabran; used the alias Emma Turner; maiden name Martha White), born on May 10, 1849, and killed on August 7, 1888. She had a total of 39 stab wounds. Of the non-canonical Whitechapel murders, Tabram is named most often as another possible Ripper victim, owing to the evident lack of obvious motive, the geographical and periodic proximity to the canonical attacks, and the remarkable savagery of the attack. The main difficulty with including Tabram is that the killer used a somewhat different modus operandi (stabbing, rather than slashing the throat and then cutting), but it is now accepted that a killer's modus operandi often changes, sometimes quite dramatically. Her body was found at George Yard Buildings, George Yard, Whitechapel. This was the second victim listed in the Whitechapel murders police file. (The third through seventh being the canonical five listed above.)

* "The Whitehall Mystery", term coined for the headless torso of a woman found in the basement of the new Metropolitan Police headquarters being built in Whitehall on October 2, 1888. An arm belonging to the body had previously been discovered floating in the Thames near Pimlico, and one of the legs was subsequently discovered buried near where the torso was found. The other limbs and head were never recovered and the body never identified.

* Annie Farmer, born in 1848, reportedly was the victim of an attack on November 21, 1888. She survived with only a light, though bleeding, cut on her throat. The wound was superficial and apparently caused by a blunt knife. Police suspected that the wound was self-inflicted and ceased to investigate her case.

* Rose Mylett (true name probably Catherine Mylett, but was also known as Catherine Millett, Elizabeth "Drunken Lizzie" Davis, "Fair" Alice Downey or simply "Fair Clara"), born in 1862 and died on December 20, 1888. She was reportedly strangled "by a cord drawn tightly round the neck", though some investigators believed that she had accidentally suffocated herself on the collar of her dress while in a drunken stupor. Her body was found in Clarke's Yard, High Street, Poplar. This was the eighth case listed in the Whitechapel murders file.

* Elizabeth Jackson, a prostitute whose various body parts were collected from the River Thames between May 31 and June 25 1889. She was reportedly identified by scars she had had prior to her disappearance and apparent murder.

* Alice McKenzie (nicknamed "Clay Pipe" Alice and used the alias Alice Bryant), born circa 1849 and killed on July 17, 1889. She died reportedly from the "severance of the left carotid artery" but several minor bruises and cuts were found on the body. Her body was found in Castle Alley, Whitechapel. This was the ninth crime listed in Whitechapel murders file.

* "The Pinchin Street Murder", a term coined after a torso was found in similar condition to "The Whitehall Mystery", though the hands were not severed, on September 10, 1889. The body was found under a railway arch in Pinchin Street, Whitechapel. An unconfirmed speculation of the time was that the body belonged to Lydia Hart, a prostitute who had disappeared. "The Whitehall Mystery" and "The Pinchin Street Murder" have often been suggested to be the works of a serial killer, for which the nicknames "Torso Killer" or "Torso Murderer" have been suggested. Whether Jack the Ripper and the "Torso Killer" were the same person or separate serial killers of uncertain connection to each other (but active in the same area) has long been debated by Ripperologists. This was the tenth of the Whitechapel murders.

* Frances Coles (also known as Frances Coleman, Frances Hawkins and nicknamed "Carrotty Nell"), born in 1865 and killed on February 13, 1891. Minor wounds on the back of the head suggest that she was thrown violently to the ground before her throat was cut. Otherwise there were no mutilations to the body. Her body was found under a railway arch, Swallow Gardens, Whitechapel. This was the eleventh and last of the victims included in the Whitechapel murders police file, which was closed as unsolved.

* Carrie Brown (nicknamed "Shakespeare", reportedly for quoting sonnets by William Shakespeare), born circa 1835 and killed April 24, 1891, in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA. She was strangled with clothing and then mutilated with a knife. Her body was found with a large tear through her groin area and superficial cuts on her legs and back. No organs were removed from the scene, though an ovary was found upon the bed. Whether it was purposely removed or unintentionally dislodged during the mutilation is unknown. At the time, the murder was compared to those in Whitechapel though London police eventually ruled out any connection.

Goulston Street graffiti

After the "double event" of the early morning of September 30, police searched the area near the crime scenes in an effort to locate a suspect, witnesses or evidence. At about 3:00 a.m., Constable Alfred Long discovered a bloodstained scrap of cloth in the stairwell of a tenement on Goulston Street. The cloth was later confirmed as part of Eddowes' apron.

There was writing in white chalk on the wall above where the apron was found. Long reported that the graffiti read: "The Juwes are the men That Will not be Blamed for nothing." Other police officers recalled a slightly different message: "The Juwes are not The men That Will be Blamed for nothing."

Police Superintendent Thomas Arnold visited the scene and saw the graffiti. He feared that with daybreak and the beginning of the day's business, the message would be widely seen and might worsen the general Anti-Semitic sentiments of the populace. Since the Nichols murder, rumours had been circulating in the East End that the killings were the work of a Jew dubbed "Leather Apron". Religious tensions were already high, and there had already been many near-riots. Arnold ordered the graffiti erased from the wall. He did not make any effort to photograph the graffiti beforehand.

While the writing was found in Metropolitan Police territory, the apron was from a victim killed in the City of London, which has a separate police force.

Some officers disagreed with Arnold's order, especially those representing the City of London Police, who thought the graffiti constituted part of a crime scene and should at least be photographed before being erased, but Arnold's order was upheld by Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren. The message was wiped from the wall at about 5:30 a.m.

Most contemporary police concluded that the writing of the graffiti was a semi-literate attack on the area's Jewish population. Author Martin Fido notes that the graffiti included double negatives, a common feature of Cockney speech. He suggests that the graffiti might be translated into standard English as "The Jews are men who will not take responsibility for anything" and that the message was written by someone who believed he or she had been wronged by one of the many Jewish merchants or tradesmen in the area.

There is disagreement as to the importance of the graffiti in the Ripper case. Several possible explanations have been suggested by various authors:

* Author and conspiracy theorist Stephen Knight suggested that "Juwes" referred not to "Jews," but to Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum, the three killers of Hiram Abiff, a semi-legendary figure in Freemasonry, and furthermore, that the message was written by the killer (or killers) as part of a Masonic plot (however, there is no evidence that anyone prior to Knight had ever referred to those three figures by the term "Juwes")

* The murderer wrote the graffiti and then dropped the piece of apron to indicate a link

* The writing on the wall was already there and the murderer wanted to indicate a link in support of the message

* The message was already there and the murderer dropped the scrap coincidentally, without interest in making a link (perhaps failing to notice the graffiti)

* The writing was added sometime after the apron piece was dropped — presumably shortly after the murder (thought to have happened just before 1:45am) — but before the discovery of the scrap at 3am

The Ripper Letters

Over the course of the Ripper murders, the police and newspapers received many thousands of letters regarding the case. Some were from well-intentioned persons offering advice for catching the killer. The vast majority of these were deemed useless and subsequently ignored.

Perhaps more interesting were hundreds of letters which claimed to have been written by the killer himself. The vast majority of such letters are considered hoaxes. Many experts contend that none of them are genuine, but of the ones cited as perhaps genuine, either by contemporary or modern authorities, three in particular are prominent:

* The "Dear Boss" letter, dated September 25, postmarked and received September 27, 1888, by the Central News Agency, was forwarded to Scotland Yard on September 29. Initially it was considered a hoax, but when Eddowes was found three days after the letter's postmark with one ear partially cut off, the letter's promise to "clip the ladys ears off" gained attention. Police published the letter on October 1, hoping someone would recognise the handwriting, but nothing came of this effort. The name "Jack the Ripper" was first used in this letter and gained worldwide notoriety after its publication. Most of the letters that followed copied the tone of this one. After the murders, police officials contended the letter had been a hoax by a local journalist.

* The "Saucy Jack" postcard, postmarked and received October 1, 1888, by the Central News Agency, had handwriting similar to the "Dear Boss" letter. It mentions that two victims — Stride and Eddowes — were killed very close to one another: "double event this time." It has been argued that the letter was mailed before the murders were publicised, making it unlikely that a crank would have such knowledge of the crime, though it was postmarked more than 24 hours after the killings took place, long after details were known by journalists and residents of the area. Police officials later claimed to have identified a specific journalist as the author of both this message and the earlier "Dear Boss" letter.

* The "From Hell" letter, also known as the "Lusk letter", postmarked October 15 and received by George Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee on October 16, 1888. Lusk opened a small box to discover half a human kidney, later said by a doctor to have been preserved in "spirits of wine" (ethyl alcohol). One of Eddowes' kidneys had been removed by the killer, and a doctor determined the kidney sent to Lusk was "very similar to the one removed from Catherine Eddowes," though his findings were inconclusive. The writer claimed that he had "fried and ate" the missing kidney half. There is some disagreement over the kidney: some contend it had belonged to Eddowes, while others argue it was "a macabre practical joke, and no more".

Some sources list another letter, dated September 17, 1888, as the first message to use the Jack the Ripper name. Most experts believe this was a modern fake inserted into police records in the 20th century, long after the killings took place. They note that the letter has neither an official police stamp verifying the date it was received nor the initials of the investigator who would have examined it if it were ever considered as potential evidence. It is also not mentioned in any remaining police document of the time.

Ongoing DNA tests on the still existing letters have yet to yield conclusive results.

George Lusk, President of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee.

George Lusk, President of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee.
George Lusk, President of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee.

Jack The Ripper Investagation

It is important to appreciate that investigative techniques and awareness have progressed greatly since 1888. Many valuable forensic science techniques taken for granted today were unknown to the Victorian-era Metropolitan Police. The value of interpreting motives of serial killers, the concept of criminal profiling, fingerprinting, and other such knowledge and intelligence that have developed were poorly understood if not altogether unknown. Police recognised a sexual motive or element to the attacks, but were otherwise thoroughly unfamiliar with such crimes.

The investigation into the Whitechapel murders was initially conducted by Whitechapel (H) Division C.I.D. headed by Detective Inspector Edmund Reid. After the Nichols murder Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore and Walter Andrews were sent from Central Office at Scotland Yard to assist. After the Eddowes murder, which occurred within the City of London, the City Police under Detective Inspector James McWilliam were also engaged.

On 20 November 2006, the British television channel Five released an E-FIT-generated photo illustration showing what the researchers affiliated with the documentary believe the serial killer may have looked like. A former Metropolitan Police commander, John Grieve, was quoted as saying: "This is further than anyone else has got. It would have been enough for coppers to get out and start knocking on doors... they would have got him". Experts on the case, including author Stewart P. Evans, reacted with scepticism, noting that facial composites are usually only put together through direct questioning of a live witness and that various Victorian police officials investigating the Ripper killings stated that either no one had gotten a good look at the killer, or perhaps only one or two, but certainly not the alleged "13 witnesses" Grieve and others affiliated with the documentary claimed to have based the image on.

The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee was a group of people that patrolled the streets of London during the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888. The committee patrolled London mainly at night in search for this murderer. The committee was led by George Lusk in 1888 and later by


Montague John Druitt (August 15, 1857–December 1, 1888). Druitt was born in the town of Wimborne Minster, Dorset, England, the son of a prominent local physician. Having received his B.A. from the University of Oxford in 1880, he was admitted to the bar in 1885. From this time he practised as a barrister and a special pleader until his death. He was also employed as an assistant schoolmaster at George Valentine's boarding school, 9 Eliot Place, Blackheath from 1881 until he was dismissed shortly before his death in 1888. He was an avid sportsman and was an amateur cricket player. His body was found floating in the River Thames at Chiswick on December 31, 1888. Medical examination suggested that his body was kept at the bottom of the river for several weeks by stones placed in his pockets. The coroner's jury concluded that he committed suicide by drowning "whilst of unsound mind." His mother suffered from depression and died in an asylum in 1890. His disappearance and death shortly after the fifth and last canonical murder (which took place on 9 November 1888) and alleged "private information" led some of the investigators of the time to suggest he was the Ripper, thus explaining the end to the series of murders. More recently some have expressed doubts if he committed suicide or was himself murdered. Recent research shows that between the Kelly murder and his death he had been involved as legal representation in a court case and, according to the judge, argued his side well. Some people suggest that this counters the notion that Druitt had broken down mentally after the Kelly murder. In Sir Melville Macnaghten's famous memorandum, from which modern suspicion about Druitt originated, the barrister is incorrectly described as a doctor and his age is incorrectly given as 41 (he was 31 at the time of his death). Furthermore, Inspector Frederick Abberline doubted Druitt as a serious suspect.

George Chapman

Severin Antoniovich Klosowski (alias George Chapman -- no relation to victim Annie Chapman). He was born Severin Klosowski in Poland, but came to Britain in the late 1880s and assumed the name of Chapman. He was undoubtedly guilty of poisoning three women, for which he was hanged in 1903. He was a violent man who lived in London at the time and probably did have some medical knowledge. He was at one time the favored suspect of Inspector Frederick Abberline. He is considered by a number of commentators to be a likely suspect. He is alleged to fit some descriptions of men seen walking with the victims, and to have had the medical skills needed to commit the mutilations; however, the main argument against him is the fact that he murdered his three wives with poison, and it is uncommon for a murderer to make such a drastic change in modus operandi.

Aaron Kosminski

Aaron Kosminski (1865– 1919). A member of London's Polish-Jewish population, Aaron Kosminski was born in Klodawa Russia/Poland in 1865. He was transferred to a mental hospital in February 1891. He was named as a suspect in Chief Constable Melville Macnaghten's memoranda, which stated that there were strong reasons for suspecting him, that he "had a great hatred of women, with strong homicidal tendencies", and that he strongly resembled "the man seen by a City PC" near Mitre Square. (This is the only mention of any such sighting, and it has been suggested by some authors that Macnaghten really meant the City Police witness Joseph Lawende, though others suggest alternative explanations.). Written comments by former Assistant Commissioner Sir Robert Anderson and former Chief Inspector Donald Swanson claimed that the Ripper had been identified by the "only person who had a good view of the murderer", though many authors express skepticism that this alleged identification ever happened, for a variety of reasons. Anderson and Swanson further stated that no prosecution was possible because the witness was not willing to offer testimony against a fellow Jew. In marginalia in his copy of the memoirs, Swanson said that this man was "Kosminski", adding that he had been watched at his brother's home in Whitechapel by the City police, that he was taken to the asylum with his hands tied behind his back, and that he died shortly after. These last two details are quite untrue of Aaron Kosminski, who lived until 1919. His insanity took the form of auditory hallucinations, a paranoid fear of being fed by other people, and a refusal to wash or bathe. Kosminski also meets many of the criteria in the general profile of serial killers as outlined by John Douglas and Robert Ressler, including compulsive masturbation, unsteady employment, and absence of a biological father (his father died when Kosminski was 8 years old). He also lived close to the sites of the murders. He was described as harmless in the asylum, although he had once brandished a chair at asylum attendants. He was previously reputed to have threatened his sister with a knife. These two incidents are the only known indications of violent behavior. The copy of Anderson's The Lighter Side Of My Official Life containing the handwritten notes by Swanson was donated to Scotland Yard's Crime Museum in 2006.

Michael Ostrog

Michael Ostrog (1833– 1904?), professional con man. Used numerous aliases and disguises. He was mentioned as a suspect by Macnaghten, who joined the case in 1889, the year after the "canonical five" victims were killed. Researchers have failed to find evidence that he committed crimes any more serious than fraud and theft. Research by author Philip Sugden discovered prison records showing that Ostrog was jailed for petty offenses in France during the Ripper murders. Ostrog is last mentioned alive in 1904, though his date of death is uncertain.

John Pizer

John Pizer (1850-1897). Pizer was a Polish Jew who worked as a bootmaker in Whitechapel. After the first two Ripper murders, Police Sergeant William Thick brought Pizer in for questioning. Thick apparently believed that Pizer was a man known as "Leather Apron", a local man who was notorious for committing minor assaults on prostitutes. In the early days of the Whitechapel murders many locals suspected that "Leather Apron" was the killer. He was cleared of any suspicion when it turned out that at the time of one of the murders he had been talking with a police officer as they watched a spectacular fire on the London docks. Pizer claimed that Thick had known him for years, and implied that his arrest was based on animus and not evidence.

Francis Tumblety

"Dr." Francis Tumblety (c. 1833–1903). Seemingly uneducated or self-educated American, he earned a small fortune posing as an expert doctor throughout the USA and Canada and occasionally traveling across Europe as well. Perceived as a misogynist, he was connected to the deaths of some of his patients, though it is uncertain if this was deliberate or not. Francis was in England in 1888. He was arrested on November 7, 1888, "on charges of gross indecency", apparently for engaging in homosexual practices. He was released on bail on November 16, 1888. Awaiting trial, he instead fled the country for France on November 24, 1888. It has been suggested that he could have been released in time for the murder of Mary Jane Kelly (on November 9), though there is no evidence of it having happened. Notorious in the United States for his scams, news of his arrest led some to suggest he was the Ripper. Whether he was a killer or an eccentric regarded with unjust suspicion is a matter of debate. Tumblety was mentioned as having been a Ripper suspect by a member of the Metropolitan Police in a letter to a journalist many years after the murders, but this official was not known to have been directly connected to the Ripper investigation. Claims that Scotland Yard sent an officer to the United States in 1888 to try to bring Tumblety back in connection with the crimes have been disputed by recent research. One common objection to Tumblety's viability as a suspect lies with his alleged homosexuality, since in general male homosexual serial killers kill other men and not women.

Other contemporary suspects

Various other people were named at the time as potentially being guilty of the Whitechapel murders by journalists and others. Some of the most notable are:

William Henry Bury

William Henry Bury (May 25, 1859–April 24, 1889). Having recently relocated to Scotland from London, he strangled his wife Ellen Elliot, a former prostitute, on February 10, 1889, inflicted deep wounds to her abdomen after she was dead and "packed" her into a wooden box (which he subsequently used as a table to play dominoes on). She remained in the suitcase and Bury went about his normal life for almost a week before reporting the murder to the local police. Some people believe the wounds were similar to ones inflicted upon Martha Tabram and Mary Ann Nichols, in fact Bury claimed the reason he inflicted these wounds and packed her in the wooden box was because he was frightened that people would think he was Jack the Ripper. Bury was hanged soon afterwards in Dundee, Scotland, having by then made a full confession to his wife's murder. His was to be the last hanging in the city.

Thomas Neill Cream

Dr Thomas Neill Cream (May 1850–November 15, 1892), doctor secretly specialising in abortions. Born in Scotland, educated in London, active in Canada and later in Chicago, Illinois, USA. In 1881 he was found to be responsible for fatally poisoning several of his patients of both sexes. Originally there was no suspicion of murder in these cases, but Cream himself demanded an examination of the bodies. This was apparently an attempt to draw attention to himself. Imprisoned in the Illinois State Penitentiary, located in Joliet, Illinois, he was released on July 31, 1891, on good behavior. Relocating to London, he resumed his murderous activities and was arrested. He was hanged on November 15, 1892. According to some sources, his last words were reported as being "I am Jack...", interpreted to mean Jack the Ripper, but the words were muffled by a hood. Experts note that this whole incident may be nothing more than a story invented at a later date, as police officials who attended the execution made no mention of this alleged interrupted confession. He was still imprisoned at the time of the Ripper murders, but some authors have suggested that he could have bribed officials and left the prison before his official release or that he left a look-alike to serve the prison term in his place. Neither notion is seen as very likely by most authorities.

Frederick Bailey Deeming

Frederick Bailey Deeming (July 30?, 1842–May 23, 1892), sailor living at the time in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and four children. A British citizen, Deeming was brought to court in England on December 15, 1887, on charges of bankruptcy. Sentenced to fourteen days of imprisonment, he was apparently released on December 29, 1887, and promptly fled with his family to Cape Town, South Africa to escape his debt collectors. Soon upon arrival he was brought to the attention of the local police on charges of fraud. He sent his family to England and headed to recently founded Johannesburg, disappearing for a time from historical record. There is no reliable account of his activities or his whereabouts between March 1888 and October 1889 (covering the period of the murders). He resurfaced in Kingston upon Hull, England, where he was known by the name of Harry Lawson, one of his many aliases. Well into a career as a professional con man, he apparently attempted to reconcile with his estranged wife. They moved together with their children to a rented house in Rainhill in July 1891. The reconciliation ended on August 11, 1891, when he cut his wife and children's throats as they slept. Having introduced himself to the locals as a bachelor and his family as his visiting sister and nephews, it proved easy to explain their absence. He wooed Emily Mathers, his landlord's daughter, and they married on September 22, 1891. The newlyweds left by ship from Southampton, England, on November 2, 1891, and arrived in Victoria (Australia) on December 15, 1891. He murdered Emily on December 24, 1891, buried her under their rented house, and left. Her body was soon found, resulting in a local investigation and the discovery of the other bodies in England. This led to his arrest on March 11, 1892, and his trial and subsequent execution by hanging. The public of Australia was convinced he was the Ripper. He is said to have been an acquaintance of victim Catherine Eddowes and to have maintained correspondence with her, but this allegation remains unproven.

Robert Donston Stephenson

Robert Donston Stephenson (aka Roslyn D'Onston) (April 20, 1841–October 9, 1916). A journalist / writer known to be interested in the occult and black magic. He arrived as a patient at the Whitechapel Hospital shortly before the murders started, and left shortly after they ceased. He is the author of a newspaper article and letter to the police concerning the case. His strange manner and interest in the crimes resulted in an amateur detective reporting him to Scotland Yard. Two days later he visited them himself to report his own suspect, a Dr Morgan Davies. Subsequently he fell under the suspicion of newspaper editor William Thomas Stead, the writer Mabel Collins and her friend Baroness Vittoria Cremers.

Further theories about the Ripper

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and William Stewart advanced theories involving a female murderer dubbed "Jill the Ripper." Supporters of this theory believe that the female murderer worked or posed as a midwife. She could be seen with bloody clothes without attracting unwanted attention and suspicion and would be more easily trusted by the victims than a man. A suspect suggested as fitting this profile is Mary Pearcey, who in October 1890, killed her lover's wife and child, though there is no indication she was ever a midwife.

There are also several theories suggesting that "Jack the Ripper" was actually multiple killers working in unison. Some theorists argue that this is the explanation for why police could not pinpoint a single suspect and how the September 30 murders occurred so close in proximity.

Mary Pearcey Was She Jill The Ripper

Mary Pearcey Was She Jill The Ripper
Mary Pearcey Was She Jill The Ripper

Was Jack The Ripper really Jill The Ripper

Mary Pearcey, like many other famous Victorian-era murderers, has been suggested as a suspect in the Jack the Ripper slayings. She was apparently the only female suspect mentioned at the time. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes speculated at the time that the Ripper might have been female, as a woman could have pretended to be a midwife and be seen in public in bloody clothing without arousing suspicion or notice. This theory was then expanded upon in 1939 by William Stewart in his book Jack the Ripper: A New Theory, which specifically named Pearcey in connection with the crimes. All evidence given is circumstantial, and there is no physical evidence or eyewitness reports linking Pearcey to the Ripper crimes.

In May, 2006, DNA testing of saliva on stamps affixed to letters allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper to London newspapers, and thought to be genuine, appeared to come from a woman. This led to extensive discussion of Pearcey and her crime in the global press.

Murder of Phoebe Hogg

On October 24, 1890 Mrs. Hogg, with her baby, called on Mary at Mary's invitation. The neighbours heard screaming and sounds of violence about 4:00 that afternoon. That evening a woman's corpse was found on a heap of rubbish in Hampstead. Her skull had been crushed, and her head was nearly severed from her body. A black perambulator was found about a mile away, its cushions soaked with blood. An eighteen-month-old baby was found dead in Finchley, apparently smothered. The deceased were identified as Phoebe Hogg and her child. Mary Pearcey had been seen pushing the perambulator (Phoebe's) around the streets of north London after dark. The police searched her house, and found blood spatters on walls, ceiling, a skirt, an apron, and other articles, blood stains on a poker and a carving knife. Mary Pearcey was charged with murder and convicted. She continually protested her innocence throughout the trial, yet was hanged on December 23, 1890.

As with many other crimes by women, Pearcy's murder case generated extraordinary press attention at the time. Madame Tussauds wax museum of London made a wax figure of Pearcey for their Chamber of Horrors exhibit, and also purchased the pram used in the murder and the contents of Pearcey's kitchen. When the Tussaud exhibit of these items opened, it attracted a crowd of 30,000 people. The noose used to hang Pearcy is on display at the Black Museum of Scotland Yard.

Thus begins the theory of Jill the Ripper -- sometimes labeled the mad midwife. As ludicrous as it may sound initially, there are several points which add credibility to the theory. First, the fact that all of London was looking for Jack the Ripper (i.e. a man) would allow a female murderer to walk the streets of Whitechapel with considerably less fear of capture or discovery. Second, a midwife would be perfectly common to be seen at all hours of the night. Third, any presence of blood on her clothing would be immediately discarded as a result of her work. Finally, based on the evidence pointing to an anatomically educated murderer, a midwife would have the anatomical knowledge some believed the murderer possessed.

13 Miller's Court, off Dorset Street , Our Ghost Story

13 Miller's Court, off Dorset Street

Our Family's Ghost Story Involving One Of The Ripper Victims 


At one time I and my family lived in the same building in White Chapel where Mary Jane Kelly was killed and discovered on the morning of November 10, 1888. Our downstairs area in the apartment was actually her old room. The building had been changed and we had a full apartment upstairs and used the downstairs for a office and storage. The stairs coming down from the apartment above were very narrow barely wide enough for a large man to walk down and the downstairs area that included the former room of Kelly was always dark. We added new lighting but their was always something you could feel down there and it for lack of a better word was just plain spooky.


The really interesting thing was we have three cats and our cats simply would not have anything to do with the downstairs area. They simply would not come down the stairs and would even fight you if you tried to carry them down the stairs. We lived there for over three years and the cats just simply avoided the downstairs like their was a giant dog down there.


At one time we had a bed downstairs for when we had company come to visit and there was just to much going on to leave it there. I  my Mom and others were setting on the bed at different times when it would feel like a small child would jump onto the bed with you. My Mom and a friend of hers were  laying in bed talking one night when it walked up between them and bounced down like a small child playing. If you were able to get to sleep you would wake in the morning or in the middle of the night and all your covers would be gone. Carried off into the other room down there.You would never see anyone but your blankets would be taken away in the night. What ever or who ever it was did not want you sleeping down there.


One day on a rainy dreary morning I started down the stairs from upstairs and a lady dressed like the late 1800's came up the stairs and walked right thru me. My Mom saw her walk out thru the wall downstairs one day. My niece who was 14 at the time told of using the bathroom downstairs one day and the lady walked in one wall of the bathroom where she was setting and out the other side of the wall. Passing directly in front of her. My niece came up the stairs like Jack The Ripper himself was after her and she refused to ever go back downstairs again.


Why Not Post Your Jack The Ripper Comments Below Now

Why Not Post Your Jack The Ripper Comments Below Now
Why Not Post Your Jack The Ripper Comments Below Now

Why Not Post Your Comments About Jack The Ripper Now

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    • profile image

      S. R. Harvey 

      23 months ago

      You are all wrong! In 2015 I corresponded with the great-granddaughter of Mary Kelly's landlord John McCarthy. She knows the Ripper's real ID & motive, but was prevented from stating either to me by a book contract she's signed. However, she did tell me a lot of inside info not yet made public, including that the Police knew who the Ripper was & mounted a cover-up to shield him because he was "one of the highest in the land". This corroborates what Nigel Morland, late editor of The Criminologist, said Inspector Abberline had privately told him, implying Morland was also truthful re Abberline telling him JTR wasn't a butcher, Jew or foreign skipper etc but a long way up in 1888 London Society. So not an Eastender at all but a Gentile toff/VIP! JTR was also the smartly- dressed man with brown hair, dark moustache & very peculiar eyes whom John's assistant, Thomas Bowyer, saw with Mary in Commercial Street circa 8-45 pm on Wed Nov 7th, & again at Millers Court circa 3am on Fri 9th, the actual murder morning. My informant also told me that the victims ALL knew each other & were all killed for the same specific reason implying JTR wasn't a random killer, & that there were more than 5 victims. She says her father - John's grandson - told her John knew of at least one more victim, of whom my informant would tell me only that she'd been killed before Mary, not at a later date. So we'll have to wait for the book to get full details on the extra victim.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      What is the ripper really out looking for at night? What does he lust for? How do you think he discovered that he has these unusual cravings?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      hi guys, i need your help. why did the all the witnesses disagree what he wore, carried, his height, age and his appearance when they saw jack the ripper s a witness?

      I would appreciate if you could help me please thanx

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      my opinion is,that the answer is right before our eyes,all the experts tell us that one thing for certain,that he blended in, he knew the area,because he lived right in the hottest spot and he gave us the description of the jack the ripper that we know,and i think he picked the pieces from previous press reports and sightings and invented the statement when he found out that he had been identified at millers court. answer, george hutchinson.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've always been concerned about the message scrawled on a wall adjacent to one of the Ripper victims: 'The juws are the ones'.....etc This misspelling is more likely to be made by a female than a male. However, I believe that the Ripper was probably male, but with a female accomplice.

    • profile image

      Bill Pfitzer 

      6 years ago

      I have seen many documentaries about this killer,studied autopsy reports,seen photos of crime scene,read books,and Kosminski being the killer always comes up.Now Jill the Ripper.William Sickert & Rasputin were also named at some point. For 40 years I studied various aspects of this case,& here's what I think.I once conducted a séance to summon the spirit of JTR,& mentioned the guy known at that time as the "black apron". I can tell your readers this DONT DO IT.I got vibes both indoors & outdoors,& SAW A GUY IN A BLACK OUTFIT standing by my bedroom door.If this guy wasn't the guy,I don't know how much more convincing anybody would need.Jill the Ripper only brings cold air in the room during seances.She AINT the one.Sorry.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Im not sure jack the ripper ever write a single letter, thing is ive always beveled if jack the ripper WANTED to guarantee a letter was by him and proven 100% by him he would have left a letter with the body or in a pocket on the victim. If jack the ripper was trying to kill for fame or goad the police..then he would have possibly been annoyed by all the fake ones taking his credit and made sure that the next victim had the letter to prove it was by him. I beleve jack the ripper was killing for his own personal idea what they were but he had a reason to hate them in his mind..he diddnt care about the police whatsoever..obviously he diddnt want to get caught but he wasn't interested in being famous or bothered about their investigation.

      The idea of jack the ripper being a dont beleve he was a woman, as i have watched documentary's describing the effort and strength needed to cut through bone in the chest, plus it seemed to be done with alot of anger and hate and usually only a man would wield the amount of anger and brutal reckless hate to do these injuries to a woman, thus injuries to the sexual areas also indicated a man...clearly with no remorse whatsoever either as many of the bodies were displaying there open wounds in personal area's and not covered or concealed somehow. If he was killing because he felt he had to and needed to then guilty after then he would have covered up the woman somehow. In my personal opinion he hated women..or prostitutes in general and wanted to destroy them in anyway he could..and he finally got his chance to fulfill his desires on his possible last victim, Mary Anne kelly...other victims were not as cut up as that because of the time limit he had with the victims..and the 1 occasion even did 2 victims in 1 night..double event..i think he was local and new the area, i think he would have been considered normal like bundy was...and wouldn't have drawn suspicion to himself. Its possible to me he caught something syphilis or some sexual transmitted disease off a prostitute in this particular area and wanted revenge when he realized he hadent long to live. Of course he may not have looked ill if he attracted his victims. Im not 100% but id say he killed his victims when they wasn't aware rather than pretending to be a client. 1 of the victims i remember had bruising round the neck and cheek including a thumb was clear the a hand was grabbing her from behind and stopping her from screaming by being round her mouth, and then slit her throat from behind slowly to stop splatter...but pulled her head back pulling her to the floor thus why there was no blood all over her clothes or around the area. A bottle of alcohol was also near the body, so he saw his opportunity knowing she was drunk. Mary Anne Nichols i think that victim was.

      I also think there was alot of other things going on at the time to cloud and ruin the investigation, what with the Jews, leather apron, and witnesses statements which in most cases provided police with a different suspects, if jack the ripped killed every victim by pretending to be a client then surely someone would have identified the same person each time or most times, but then all seem to describe different looking men..unless he wore disguises but im not sure about that.

      Anyone think they can elaborate on my theories or am i talking nonsense? haha

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      History and human nature are amusing and anger and revenge strong motivators. Jack the ripper seems very inappropriate for a fishmonger using very sharp knives which do not rip but rather slice cleanly through skin and muscle etc. He was a working man with his own small business, not classed as a gentleman but not lower class, very much lower middle class. He knew his victims because they came to him for the best fish cuts regularly and his genorisity helped him know them better.

      Income from fish mongering though not high, it was enough for him to at times go and employ the pleasures of a local prostitute. As he himself was a local figure, discretion was important and he kept a close circle of ladies which he was willing to visit and pay.

      One of these ladies passed on a veneral sickness to him which he knew was serious enough to place him on the road to brain damage and eventual death. Almost just as bad was the fact that he had given the sickness to his younger lover and sentenced her to the same fate as him.

      In his close circle of ladies willing to trade sex for income he wanted to know which one had given him this sickness and remove her from society. But how to idenitify the women which gave him the disease? None of the circle would be willing to admit they gave him this disease as a death sentence for him later in his life so he decided to kill them all and saved his young lover for last. Just like his trade as a fish monger he did at times choose to gut his victims and target the parts of their bodies where they might be carrying the diasease or be unclean. Some of his victims appeared to be carrying disease and in his anger he mutiliated them greatly. The day came when he felt his task was completed and only his young lover remained alive, when he killed her he cut her up and searched her for signs of the disease but found none, he cut further and still found nothing. Yet he felt certain he must have passed the disease on to her but what he did not know is that after a time, visable signs of the disease on the genitallia vanish as the disease retreats into the body and incubates. The deeds were done, his tormentors were punished, his loved one also dead, the hue and cry seeking him out was at a high, he had no reason to continue.

      But, over the years he would sometimes note a lady that was worthy of being punished and removed from society and for a brief moment his anger and revenge would boil over. Later in years as expected, the disease attacked his brain and his body after a long period of incubating in his body. He lived longer than he expected but died in obscurity.

      The theories that he was a serial killer connected to royalty, a surgeon, the free masons etc are facinating and make delightful historical reading but they are not true.

      Perhaps it is not so interesting to note that the killer was an angry fish monger seeking revenge and used the tools of his trade to deliver punishment but as often is the case, the truth is easier and simplier than that produced by the human imagination.

      Am I following the trend and creating outlandish theories as to the identity of the skilful cutter and killer? No I am not, the killer was a well known fish monger and once even interviewed by the police but only as being related to the final victim and not as her killer.

    • lorddraven2000 profile image

      Sam Little 

      7 years ago from Wheelwright KY

      I very much enjoyed this. I have been an avid reader of Ripper texts. Thank you for posting this

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      it seems to me that there is only one theory that makes any sense, this theory suggests the killer may have been a policeman or at least someone who was dressed as a policeman.

      when scotland yard discovered who the killer really was they had him declared insane and committed to a mental institution and of course all the investigation reports were destroyed to protect the integrity of the police department

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      Your username reminds me of something. Although crazy horse was long gone Chief Sitting Bull was still around at the time of the ripper murders as was Chief Joseph, Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Cole Younger and Frank James, not to mention Theodore Roosevelt and a gentleman named Winston Churchill. Maybe the ripper's time in history has something to do with why the mystery has stayed with us so long.

    • FuzzyCookie profile image


      8 years ago

      I've watched so many documentaries and always keep wanting to know more about jack the ripper... so had to read all of this in one go..good research :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i agree with matt. IF prince eddie (the duke of clarence) had married a "commoner" (annie crook) the marriage could be annuled by royal decree. that "statute" is in fact still on the books and was enacted just prior to world war 11 when a duke (i forget his exact title but it was well publicised at the time) married an american divorcee. of course they can't prevent him from marrying but prince eddie would have lost his royal privilages including his liniage to the throne. he'd have been bypassed to the next one in line. so why would victoria or anyone in the royal hiarchy send someone out to butcher half a dozen women when it could be resolved just by signing a document? stehen knight's book has the queen's physician (sir willian gull) committing the murders. gull was 72 years old at that time, had already suffered one stroke and was dead 2 years later after having 2 more yet knight has him running around whitechapel like he was spiderman or something. it just doesn't make sense.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile imageAUTHOR

      Thomas Byers 

      8 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Thanks for all the great comments about Jack The Ripper. They are appreciated.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Fascinating stuff! I did see that downstairs room some years back when on an evening "Jack the Ripper walk" with Donald Rumbelow. My only slight connection with the case is that my father had a dear friend, Dr A.P. Moore-Anderson, who was the son of the head of Scotland Yard at the time who supervised the investigation. I met Moore-Anderson but once when I was very young and still knew nothing about Jack so didn't get to ask him anything!

      Love and peace


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      seek reality,instead of making up theories,therious are un proven,who wanted all the attention back then????,who was so fasinated by these crimes back then????,who new details of these crimes BEFORE they happened?????????,who painted pictures of these crimes?????????? think about it???,whos lifestyle was secretive,and would take walks at all hours of the night and even involved himself in the investagation???? NO,it wasn't any royalty,though this person wanted to be the center of attention at all times.

    • profile image

      DIANA KAY 

      9 years ago


    • profile image

      vanessa berejkoff 

      9 years ago


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I think francis tumblety was the ripper ! HE was their prime suspect at the time !


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