Archive for April 24, 2008

Jack the Ripper is…

Posted in Solution on April 24, 2008 by kimberjtrl

      More than a hundred years ago, a series of murders occurred in the Whitechapel district of London, England. The name given to the man who brutally killed these women is “Jack the Ripper”, from an alleged letter written to detectives during the height of the killing spree. Five (possibly more) women were found slaughtered like animals, not much more than a mile from one another, on separate dreary London nights. Although the number of Jack the Ripper victims is highly debated, ranging from four to seven, five is accepted by the majority of Ripperologists. These five women are known as the canonical murders: Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols, murdered Friday, August 31, 1888, Annie Chapman, murdered Saturday, September 8, 1888, Elizabeth Stride, murdered Sunday, September 30, 1888, Catharine Eddowes, also murdered that same date, and Mary Jane (Marie Jeanette) Kelly, murdered Friday, November 9, 1888. All of the victims are described as poverty stricken prostitutes, however Catherine Eddowes, in fact, was not a prostitute. Each of the victims’ bodies had numerous stab wounds, and each woman’s throat was slit, thus giving the appropriate name “Jack the Ripper” to the unknown suspect. The press made use of these tragedies by printing newspapers with headlines, pictures, and horrid details of the murders. People, especially women, would not go out late at night without an accomplice, in fear of being added to the list of Ripper victims. The city of London, England endured a short period of sheer terror

      More than a hundred years later, this case still remains unsolved. It has haunted many Victorian scholars, detectives, and Jack the Ripper enthusiasts for years. Lack of forensic abilities and lack of evidence left at the crime contributes to the unsolvable nature of the crime. Contributing to the difficulty of the case, much of the recorded evidence written down by detectives at the time of the murders has been lost, making the case an even more romantic and intriguing puzzle waiting to be solved.    However, much of the evidence that still remains points to one suspect distinctively. The name of this man is Montague John Druitt, or as I like to call him, Jack the Ripper. Montague John Druitt was born in 1857 in Wimborne, Dorset to a prominent and successful surgeon, William, and Ann Harvey-Druitt. Druitt’s family is said to have been wealthy at the time. Druitt was the second homosexual son to the two. Druitt enjoyed a large family life with one older brother, William, two younger brothers, and three younger sisters, Edith, Ethel, and Georgiana (Sanctuaryfans). While at school and college, Druitt was s successful debater and sportsman (fives and cricket), and an unsuccessful actor ( Begg, 111). In 1880, Druitt graduated from Winchester College with a degree in Classics. “Immediately after graduation, Druitt began teaching at a boarding school in Blackheath. In 1882, Druitt decided to focus on a law career, and was admitted into the Inner Temple on May 17” (TheDorsetPage). Druitt was described as most as being very rational, an eloquent orator, and socially accepted.

      He was later employed as a schoolmaster at Mr. Valentine’s School in Blackheath in 1880. However, he was dismissed by Mr. Valentine on November 30th, 1888 for, “…being in serious trouble at the school” ( Begg, 111). Montague John Druitt was last seen alive on December 3rd 1888, and shortly after, on December 31st 1888, his body was found floating in the Thames.

      The body was discovered by Henry Winslade and examined by PC George Moulson who speculated that it had been immersed for 3 weeks to a month. In 1885 Montague John Druitt’s father passed away of a heart attack at the age of 65. He left Montague 500 pounds inheritance. His mother’s health began deteriorating in July 1888, and after a suicide attempt, she was permanently hospitalized in a number of private asylums and clinics until her death. It is said that mental illness ran in Druitt’s family. Druitt’s grandmother and aunt had committed suicide and own sister was to do so, although many years later. The date of his mother’s death is significant since the Ripper murders began in August 1888, and her mental state may have acted as a catalyst for Montague John Druitt’s decent into murder, and eventually suicide (Casebook).

      When Druitt’s body was found in the Thames stones were discovered in the pockets of his overcoat. “He had left a letter for Mr. Valentine, alluding to suicide, and a paper addressed to his brother with words to the effect that, ‘Since Friday I felt that I was going to be like mother, and it would be best for all concerned if I were to die’. The inquest on 2 January 1889, found ‘suicide whilst of unsound mind’, which permitted burial in consecrated ground, Wimborne cemetery” (Begg, 111). Did the burden of the murders begin to pressure Druitt’s conscious, and that is why he committed suicide? According to the Macnaghten Memoranda, the literature which first described Montague John Druitt as a suspect in the Ripper murders, “It will be noted that the mutilations increased in each case, and, seemingly, the appetite only became sharpened by indulgence. It seems, then, highly improbably that the murdered would have suddenly stopped in November ’88…A much more rational theory is that the murderer’s brain gave way altogether after his awful glut in Miller’s court, and that he immediately committed suicide, or as a possible alternative, was found to be so hopelessly mad by his relations, that he was by them confined in some asylum” (Jack-The-Ripper-Tour). Druitt committed suicide at an estimated 3 weeks after the last of the five conical murders. This would lead one to assume that the reason the murders stopped so suddenly was because Jack the Ripper had committed suicide, making Montague John Druitt the most plausible suspect.

      Most of the suspicions aimed towards Druitt stem from the Macnaghten Memoranda written by Sir Melville Macnaghten. Macnaghten joined the Metropolitan Police as Assistant Chief Constable, second in command of the Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D.) at Scotland Yard in June 1889 (Metropolitan Police). “Druitt came to notice in 1959 when Daniel Farson discovered the Aberconway version of Macnaghten’s Memoranda, naming him as the probable Ripper and describing him as:

“Me M.J. Druitt, a doctor of about 41 years of age and of good family, who disappeared at the time of the Miller’s Court murder, and whose body was found floating in the Thames on 31 Dec: i.e. 7 weeks after the said murder. The body was said to have been in the water for a month, or more – on it was found a season ticket between Blackheath and London. From private information I have little doubt but that his own family suspected this man of being the Whitechapel murderer; it was alleged that he was sexually insane” (Begg, 112).

            Macnaghten’s Memoranda must not be taken too gravely, however. The entire report is according to Sir Melville’s memory and hearsay. However, “Druitt’s acceptance as a Ripper suspect must lie in the belief that Macnaghten had more information than he wanted others to know – information which he claims he destroyed so as not to cause an uproar” (TheDorsetPage).

According to the Holmes Typology Report (Part 1) there are two personality types           of serial killers: Disorganized asocial offenders and organized nonsocial offenders. Montague John Druitt corresponds almost flawlessly into the organized nonsocial offender’s category. The Typology Report states that this type of serial killer has a high IQ (possibly college educated), is socially adequate, and is geographically/occupationally mobile. Druitt was a college graduate and was said to have been rational and logical. He also had many friends, and ran in circles with the upper class. Thanks to his skill and love of the game of cricket, he was extremely mobile, going to cricket tournaments out of town often. The report also states that this type of serial killer has good hygiene, does not keep a hiding place, usually stays in contact with the police to play games, may dismember the body, and leaves little physical evidence. Montague John Druitt was a well kept man who had no hiding place (that we know of). Also, there was a letter sent to Mr. Lusk containing the kidney of one of the victims of the Ripper murders. “Throat cutting attended the murders of Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes, and Kelly, the five canonical victims. In all except the cases of Stride there was abdominal mutilation. In the case of Chapman the uterus was taken away by the killer; Eddowes’ uterus and kidney were taken; and in Kelly’s case, evidence suggests, the heart” (Metropolitan Police). There was never any solid evidence left at any of the crime scenes.

Serial killers are also identified by certain characteristics, according to the Criminal Profiling Research Cite. “Serial murderers kill three or more victims, each on separate occasions. Unlike mass and spree types, serial killers usually select a certain type of victim who fulfills a role in the killer’s fantasies. There are cooling-off periods between a serial murders, which are usually better planned than mass or spree killings” (CriminalProfiling). Montague John Druitt murdered five (possibly more) women in the fall season in London. All three of the murders occurred on separate occasions and in separate locations. All of the victims, with the exception of Eddowes, were prostitutes in the Whitechapel district of East End London. However, Jack the Ripper could have very well mistaken her for one. Serial killers are also generally white males, aged 25-34, with at least average intelligence and charming personalities. Montague John was 31 years of age and obtained both of these qualities.

            The Criminal Profiling Research site also states that serial killers tend to select vulnerable victims of some specific type who gratify their need to control people. All of the victims (dismissing Eddowes) were prostitutes who are considered vulnerable because they are willing to go into dark secluded places with strange men. Serial killers also prefer to kill with hands-on methods such as strangulation and stabbing. They are obsessed with sadistic fantasies involving domination and control of their victims. Since Montague John Druitt was allegedly sexually insane this would fit his characteristic type perfectly. There are four subtypes of serial killers, one in which being the mission-oriented type. Montague John Druitt was the mission oriented type, who seeks to kill a specific group of people who he believes are unworthy to live and without whom the world would be a better place. He is not psychotic; in fact, his everyday acquaintances frequently will describe him as a fine and upstanding citizen (CriminalProfiling).

A person’s childhood is also a contributing factor to their personality as a serial killer. Studies show that the most important figure in a child’s life is their mother. Druitt’s mother was deemed mentally unstable and eventually committed suicide, shortly after which the Whitechapel murders began. Druitt is a perfect candidate for the role as Jack the Ripper. “Many of the pre-crime stressors that seem to precipitate murderous actions are the same as those that happen to lots of people every day – the loss of a job, the breakup of a relationship, money problems. Normal people cope with the help of a normal pattern of development. The potential murderer, however, turns inward and focuses on his own problems to the exclusion of all else, and on fantasies as the solution to the problem, because his mental coping mechanisms are faulty” (CriminalProfiling). Abruptly after the loss of Montague John Druitt’s mother and father’s deaths, and the loss of his job, the murders began. Druitt’s fantasies began taking over his mind and the potential victim turned into a real one. Druitt began to think that he was invincible and will never be caught. He experienced the thrill of a vicious murder, and enjoyed it. The kill was a complete thrill. Druitt continues seeking out women to act out his fantasies on. The crimes become more and more violent, eventually ending with the bloody and gruesome murder of Mary Jane Kelly. With the recent struggles he endured and the realization of what he has been committing, Druitt snaps. Montague John Druitt commits suicide and drowns himself in the Thames.

All evidence points to Montague John Druitt as the true identity of Jack the Ripper. Although the world may possibly never know who the true murderer is, Druitt will remain the most plausible suspect. Because of the horrendous murders that occurred that fall in East End London, the town will continue to be haunted until the true identity is revealed.


Works Cited


      Fletcher, Matthew. “Montague John Druitt.” Casebook. 23 Apr. 2008 <;.

“Genrealized Characteristics of Serial Murderers.” Criminal Profiling Research Site. 24 Apr. 2008 <;.

Holmes, R. “The Holmes Typology (Part1).” Phychology. 1996. 24 Apr. 2008 <;.

Paul, Begg, Martin Fido, and Keith Skinner. The Jack the Ripper a to Z. London: Headline Book PLC, 1991.

“The Enduring Mystery of Jack the Ripper.” Metropolitan Police. 24 Apr. 2008 <;.

“The Man Who May Have Been Jack the Ripper.” The Dorset Page. 24 Apr. 2008 <;.

“Was This Man Jack the Ripper?” Jack the Ripper Tour. 24 Apr. 2008 <>.


The Original Jack the Ripper Club: Must Kill One Prostitute to Join

Posted in Solution on April 24, 2008 by katelinm

The five canonical victims of Jack the Ripper had no known connection between them during their lives. The only similarities between them stem from where they lived, their involvement with prostitution, and their violent deaths. The five women were killed within twelve weeks of each other in seemingly similar ways causing a panic throughout London about a murderer on the loose. However, there were differences in the murders that lead to the possibility of multiple murderers to the extent that all five of the murders could have conceivably been committed by five different people. The two victims that have the most similarity in their murders are Polly Nichols and Annie Chapman and seeing as how they were the first two of the canonical victims it is very likely that they were killed by the same person. The differences in the bodies of Catherine Eddowes, and especially Mary Kelly, make it hard to believe that they were killed by the same person who killed the others or even each other. Liz Stride presents an interesting case with her possibly incomplete murder. This possibility makes it hard to determine if she was killed by the same person as Polly Nichols and Annie Chapman, or by someone else entirely. The area of Whitechapel in the East End of London was full of poorly lit, winding passageways that allowed the killer to move around undetected and the circumstances of the people living there made it even easier for victims to be found. The murders of women in the area brought light to the conditions of Whitechapel. This helped outsiders realize the horrible living conditions of the area, but when the murders first began they may have also caused residents to wonder if they could get away with murder as well.

Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols was found murdered on August 31, 1888, lying on her back in the street (Begg 111). She was 42 years old when she died, had dark hair, and was around 5’2” (Casebook). She was first discovered by Charles Cross and Robert Paul around 3:30 am on Buck’s Row while they were on their way to work. A few minutes later PC Neil arrived on the scene. He saw that her clothes had been raised up to her stomach and that “blood had oozed from her throat” (Begg 112). The post-mortem was performed by Dr. Llewellyn who noted the deep cuts in Nichols throat that reached to the vertebrae and the “extensive injuries to the abdomen” (Begg 114). The abdominal injuries were very violently done by a knife in a downward motion (Sugden 41). The abdominal injuries and deep cuts in the throat are the two main aspects of the murders that tie together the canonical victims with the exception of Liz Stride. Bruises were also found on Nichols’ face and neck that Dr. Llewellyn thought must have been done at the same time (Begg 115). This hints at some form of strangulation by the murderer. A majority of Nichols’ blood had drained out of her veins and Dr. Llewellyn thought that the murder might have only taken four or five minutes (Begg 115). He also thought that the murderer must have had some anatomical knowledge because he seemed to have attacked all the vital parts (Sugden 41).

Annie Chapman was 45 years old when she died and was around five feet tall with dark wavy hair (Casebook). She was murdered on September 8, 1888. Her body was discovered by John Davis in Hanbury Street. He “‘saw a female lying down, her clothing up to her knees, and her face covered in blood…What was lying beside her I cannot describe-it was a part of her body’” (Begg 187). Dr. Phillips, who performed the post-mortem, described the positioning of the body as “lying in the yard on her back…the left arm was across the left breast, and the legs were drawn up, the feet resting on the ground, and the knees turned outwards” (Sugden 87). He believed that she had been strangled due to signs of asphyxia on her face, lips, and hands. Her throat was cut to the spine and there were severe abdominal mutilations. Parts of her abdominal wall were lying over both shoulders along with some of the small intestines lying over the right shoulder (Begg 193). Dr. Phillips also believed that the murderer must have had some anatomical knowledge because he felt that it would have taken him close to an hour to perform the murder as a professional surgeon (Begg 193). He also felt that the evidence to support the killer’s anatomical knowledge wasn’t obvious because the killer would have had to rush through the murder (Sugden 92). Inspector Abberline discussed Chapman’s murder with Superintendent West and Inspector Helson of J Division where Nichols’ body was found. They all agreed that the same man who had killed Polly Nichols had killed Annie Chapman (Begg 193).

Elizabeth Stride was 45 years old when she was murdered. She was 5’5” and had dark curly hair (Casebook). She was found on September 30, 1888, by Louis Diemschutz when he was pulling into George Yard and his horse began to shy away from something on the ground. When he went to investigate he discovered Stride’s freshly killed body (Begg 216). She was lying on her back with her right arm over her stomach. During the post-mortem the cause of death was determined to be the severance of the left carotid artery. However, there was an absence of post-mortem mutilation. This leads to two conclusions; Liz Stride was not killed by Jack the Ripper or the killer left the scene before he could finish (Begg 217). There were no signs of strangulation on Stride’s body, but there were discolorations found on her shoulders. These were determined to be pressure marks caused by two hands pressing down on the shoulders (Sugden 199).

A few hours later that night, the body of Catherine Eddowes was discovered by PC Watkins in a dark corner of Mitre Square (Begg 242). Eddowes was 46 years old when she died, had dark hair, and was five feet tall (Casebook). Dr. Frederick George Brown, the police surgeon, described her body when he arrived on the scene. According to him she was lying on her back with the clothes drawn up above the abdomen with the left leg lying straight and the right leg bent (Sugden 178). Eddowes’ throat was cut to the bone and had more extreme mutilation than any of the previous victims. Her face was extensively mutilated with cuts on her eyes, nose, lips, and cheeks. In particular, the tip of her nose had been cut out and there were inverted v cuts located under each eye. Her abdomen was also mutilated. The intestines were pulled out and placed over the right shoulder. The left kidney and portions of the womb were missing from the body. (Begg 243). Additionally the liver was slit and there were stab wounds on the thighs and the groin (Sugden 242). Dr. Brown thought that the killer must have had a good deal of anatomical knowledge to be able to locate and remove organs in the abdominal cavity. He also said that this knowledge is similar to knowledge that a person who cuts up animals on a regular basis would have (Begg 243).

Mary Kelly is the fifth canonical victim of Jack the Ripper and was only 25 years old when she died. She was taller than the other victims at 5’7” and had light colored hair (Casebook). She was discovered in her room in Miller’s Court on the morning of November 9, 1888, by Thomas Bowyer when he went to collect rent from her (Begg 299). Dr. Thomas Bond’s post-mortem notes describe Kelly’s position on the bed. She was lying on her back with her left arm lying across her abdomen. Her legs were spread apart and were bent at different angles. Mary Kelly was mutilated beyond recognition. Her neck was cut to the bone, her face was shredded, her breasts were cut off, the surfaces of the abdomen and thighs were removed, and several of her organs were spread around the room (Begg 301).

The similarities between the murdered women led the police to assume at the time that the murders had all been done by the same person. Serial killers were unheard of at the time and the police were unequipped to deal with crimes of this nature. The coincidence of the timing, location, and violence of the murders led to a natural assumption that one person had killed all of the women. However, as technology has progressed and crimes of this nature have become more prevalent re-evaluations of the victims make it harder to assume that the murders were committed by the same person. Polly Nichols and Annie Chapman were similar enough in style that it is acceptable for them to have been killed by the same person. The next three victims are harder to be sure about. Liz Stride suffered a similar fatal slash to her throat, but was not mutilated any further and did not appear to be strangled. Since Louis Diemschutz appeared to have scared off the killer though, it is possible there was no time to commit the mutilations to the abdomen. Also, the murderer would not have been able to predict Stride’s reaction and may have had to hold her on the ground rather than previously strangling her. This puts Stride’s murder on the fence of being absolutely committed by the same Ripper who had killed Annie Chapman and Polly Nichols.

The murders of Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly appear to be far too different to have been killed by the original Ripper. Most police forces now believe that murderers kill their victims practically the same way every time. The extent to which Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly were mutilated is too different from the other victims to have been done by the same person. In Catherine Eddowes’ case the previous victims did not have cuts on their faces and the patterns that were made on Eddowes’ face make it an even more distinguishable crime. Several aspects of the murders changed when it came to Mary Kelly. First of all, hers was the only murder that took place indoors. This is a very drastic departure from the previous murders in the streets of Whitechapel. The mutilations performed on Kelly were also unlike any of the other victims. Her abdomen was mutilated, but was also practically emptied by the killer. The injuries done to the rest of her body were highly extreme. The violence of Kelly’s murder was more severe than any of the other victims. This and the location of her death make it hard to believe that Kelly was killed by a stranger, as it is assumed that Jack the Ripper was to his victims. The five canonical victims of Jack the Ripper were probably not all killed by the same person.

The conditions of Whitechapel made it surprisingly easy for murder to occur. The police were unable to do much to catch murderers at the time, but it was also “the conditions under which people lived-in the teeming yet socially isolated slums of the cities…made the sudden, unexplained death or disappearance of a human being an event that would by no means automatically come to the attention of the police” (Altick 283). In 1883, novelist George Robert Sims travelled through the East End and released a series of articles debating the causes of the conditions of the East End. He determined that “overpopulation…meant that the East End labor market was flooded, which kept wages down to a bare minimum, while inadequate housing for the laborers and their families had brought about the forced co-mingling of working-class families with the criminal element” (Paley 16). Charles Booth’s poverty maps of London released in the decade after Sims had done his studies showed the East End of London colored primarily in black and two shades of blue. This was a range from the vicious, semi-criminal lowest class to the poor who live off of eighteen to twenty-one shillings a week (Paley 19). The area was a display of despair and desperation of the people who lived there. There were always people in the streets due to lack of shelter and not many police officers were present because it was not an important part of society.

In spite of the conditions murder was actually uncommon in Whitechapel when the Jack the Ripper murders occurred. There was plenty of violence in Whitechapel and it had a reputation as being a dangerous place, but there were very few murders. In 1887, there were eight reported homicides in London, but none of them took place in Whitechapel (Paley 70). A series of murders was not only a new occurrence, but also a highly shocking one. The murders became a spectacle and were covered heavily by the media. Murder was found to be fascinating by Victorian society and it therefore “provided an inexhaustible source of material for the mass-circulation journalism that developed in the course of the Victorian Era” (Altick 288). Sensationalism was popular and the media strived to uncover whatever they could about the murders. The flooding of information about the murders, regardless of truth, caused problems for the police and worsened the panic in the area. It is safe to assume that every person in Whitechapel knew what was going on with the murders and the inability of the police to catch the culprit. This opens up the possibility that people then realized that they could get away with murder. There was enough panic in the streets that any murder would probably be attributed to Jack the Ripper if the throat was violently slashed.

This comes back to the issue of if it can be determined that the victims were all killed by the same person. There were disturbing similarities between the murders. Not only were all of their throats cut similarly, but the positioning of their bodies after the murder was similar. They were all found lying on their backs with their legs spread apart and slightly bent in some way, with the exception of Liz Stride. The different degrees of violence displayed by the murders though make it hard to believe they were all done by the same person. The attention that was given to these events makes it possible for people to have copied aspects of the murders to place the blame on Jack the Ripper.

It was bad enough for the residents of Whitechapel to imagine one killer on the loose that multiple murderers would have caused even more of a panic. The five canonical victims are the ones that the police believed were a part of the Ripper murders. Aside from this there is no guarantee that the murders were all committed by the same person calling into question the very existence of Jack the Ripper. Jack the Ripper was transformed from the shadow of a killer to a warning about the fall of future society and a critique of Victorian society. As time passed the idea of Jack the Ripper vastly overshadowed the actual man, or most likely men, that committed these murders. Even if the identity of Jack the Ripper was finally discovered the motives of the man would still be unknown and would probably forever remain so. The mystery of Jack the Ripper will never be fully solved and the lasting effects of the murders on society will never let the Ripper die.

Works Cited

Altick, Richard D. Victorian Studies in Scarlet. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1970.

Begg, Paul. Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History. London: Pearson Educated Limited, 2004.

“Generally Accepted (Canonical) Victims.” Casebook: Jack the Ripper. 20

April 2008 <>.

Paley, Bruce. Jack the Ripper: The Simple Truth. London: Headline Book Publishing, 1996.

Sugden, Philip. The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. New York: Carroll and Graf, 2002.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2008 by leighannejoyce

Leigh Anne Joyce     

First Seminar 

Lavaughn Towell

April 19, 2008

Who dun it?

            “Jack the Ripper.”  There are few names that have transcended through time and space that continue to intrigue and shock us even after so many years. But who exactly was Jack the Ripper. Many people today are still so captivated by his story that they dedicate their entire lives to trying to solve the mystery that went cold so many years ago. They have gone so far as to create a profile of man whose identity remains unknown even to this day and to grasp for new and even more absurd suspects just to give this murder some closure.

Jack the Ripper was described as a “man of shabby genteel appearance…wearing a dark coat.” He was also known to have a dark complexion and a “foreign appearance”, which usually meant he was Jewish. He was also described as a little over 5 feet tall. He was thought to wear a dark felt hat, and to have a beard and a moustache. However, other eyewitnesses disagree with this fact. Police Constable William Smith described him as clean- shaven.  His age varies any where from 28 to 37 years old. He was also reported by all the witness to be respectably dressed. He also had a medium build. (A-to-Z, 195-196).

            It is obvious, even with a basic knowledge of the crimes, that Jack the Ripper was a serial killer.  According to, “they are white males, aged 25 – 34, of at least average intelligence, and often with charming personalities. Many were illegitimate and experienced abuse as children. They tend to select vulnerable victims of some specific type who gratify their need to control people. They prefer to kill with hands-on methods such as strangulation and stabbing. They are often preoccupied with sadistic fantasies involving domination and control of their victims.” The majority also have the means, motive, and the opportunity to commit their crimes. This summary, while not directed towards the Ripper specifically, seems to fit the image the police of the time created of the murderer. But who in Victorian Era London could have done the horrific crimes? That’s where Sir Melville Macnaghten comes in.

            On February 23, 1894, Macnaghten “wrote his influential and ultimately highly misleading memorandum…to refute newspaper reports that a disturbed young man named Thomas Cutbush had been identified by Scotland Yard as Jack the Ripper” (Roland, 164).  In one part of the memorandum, he “mention[s] the cases of three men, any one of whom would have been more likely to than Cutbush to have committed this series of murders” (Roland, 166). However, more than one version of the document exists, the Aberconway version and the Scotland Yard version. The Aberconway version, according to Paul Begg, is far more descriptive, containing many “personal comment[s]” (Begg, 317). Both documents though contain “errors that suggest that Macnaghten was relying on his memory” (Begg, 317). However, one item that remains constant through both versions of the memorandum is the names of the suspects, Druitt, Kosminski, and Ostrog.

             Montague John Druitt was “Macnaghten’s own preferred candidate” though it is unclear why he was chosen (Begg, 318). There is no hard evidence that Druitt was the murderer even though there are some facts that can be used against him.

            M.J. Druitt was born into a well to do family which unfortunately carried the curse of “failing health” (The Facts, 322). His mothers side of the family was wracked with mental instability and it is beloved that he inherited the trait which could have caused him to “become depressed and suicidal as a result of any significant disappointment” (The Facts, 325).  Unluckily for him, on November 30, 1888, he was fired from his job as a teacher. Almost a month later, his body was pulled from the Thames River. Among his possessions was a suicide note which read, “Since Friday, I felt that I was going to be like mother, and it would be best for all concerned if I were to die” (A to Z, 109).  It seems to many that the only reason Druitt was named in the first place was the fact that his death coincided with the end of the murders. But is that the only thing he has in common with Jack?

            Druitt’s family was in agreement with Macnaghten that he was indeed, the Ripper. Both his age and his clean, presentable appearance matched what people believed the ripper to look like. There is also the fact that Druitt had no connection with the east end. It is possible that he could “have walked through Whitechapel on his way to visit his mother after her committal to the Brooke Asylum in Clapton in July 1888” (Sugden, 393). But even if that theory was correct, it would have put Druitt in Whitechapel in the summer, not during the time of the murders.

            During the time that all of the murders took place, Druitt had rock solid alibis and there is and was no possible way to connect him to Whitechapel or the murdered women, leaving the police with a  lack of not only motive, but means and opportunity as well.

            The second suspect listed by Macnaghten is a man by the name of Aaron Kosminski, a Polish Jew who “lived in [‘the very’] heart of the district where the murders were committed” (mammoth, 98). He was only mentioned in the memorandum because he was “Swanson and Anderson’s chief suspect” (Roland 129). According to the memorandum, he had “become insane owing to many years indulgence in solitary vices” (Begg 320). According to The Jack the Ripper A-Z he had a long history of mental problems as well as a strong hatred towards women and had spent most of his life in asylums. He described his own movements as “altogether controlled by and instinct that informs his mind” and was described by his doctors at Colney Hatch to be “unoccupied” and “incoherent” (A-to-Z, 229). By April of 1894 he had become “demented and incoherent” and was transferred to Leavesden Asylum for Imbeciles (A-to-Z, 229). According to Paul Roland, “he was a docile imbecile for most of his life” up until closer to the end (Roland, 129).  For this reason it is highly unlikely that he could have been capable of committing the murders. Macnaghtens writings contain many inaccuracies about Kosminski and the main conclusion is that even though he had the opportunity, he had not the means or the motive to kill the 5 women.

            However, it is a well accepted fact that Kosminski had a strong hatred for women, “especially of the prostitute class” (A-to-Z 230). Unfortunately, throughout all the books, there is no record I have found to support this theory. It is thought that he “took up a knife and threatened the life of his sister” (A-to-Z, 228) There is no other mention of this incident in any other book is used for research that I could find so it is easy to argue that it never really happened.

            The last suspect mentioned by Macnaghten is  Michael Ostrog, who was a “habitual thief and a compulsive liar” yet again, there is very little evidence to suggest that he was Jack the Ripper (Roland, 130) Ostrog was a Russian immigrant who, for many years, associated himself with a life of crime. He spent many years in several different workhouses and was declared insane in September of 1887. Less than half a year later, he was released and left to wander around Whitechapel during the height of the murders. On October 26 1888, he missed a meeting at the police station and was “listed as dangerous. Yet he had exhibited no signs of violence” other than trying to commit suicide (Roland 131) It is highly probable that Ostrog was “in Paris, where he was sentenced to two years imprisonment for theft” (A-to-Z, 331) . While it is true that he fit the profile of the Ripper, he was never charged and he eventually disappeared in 1904. While he did have the opportunity and possibly a motive due to his insanity, did he have the means? There is little if any evidence of Ostrog even having a basic knowledge of the human anatomy and without that, it would be very difficult to do what the Ripper did.

            But what if there was someone that the police had overlooked? According to Paul Roland, there is such a man, Jacob Levy. He states that, “the one tool that we have today which was not available to the police in 1888, and that is the… science of psychological profiling. The first rule of profiling is that a serial killer will almost always begin his criminal career close to home.” If you take that fact and other facts that are supplied by FBI criminal profilers, Roland believes that the “finger points at a suspect no one…has seriously considered before” (Roland, 198).

            Jacob Levy was a crazy Jewish butcher who lived in the very middle of the “killing ground” with his wife and children. Levy had obtained syphilis from prostitutes earlier in his life which lead to paranoia and violent fits. Being a butcher, he also had a very basic knowledge of anatomy and “would have been untroubled handling, and perhaps even hoarding, human body parts as macabre trophies.” He also would have to ability to walk around the streets of Whitechapel covered in blood due to the fact that dozens of butchers and slaughtermen walked around town in the early hours of the morning.  “He looked disarmingly normal and as such would have melted into the crowd.” (Roland 199-201)

            It is fact that Jacob Levy matched the psychological and physical description of Jack the Ripper. He was the right height, 5’3”, and the right age, around 32 during the time of the murders. Also, all of the victims were found in walking distance of Levy’s home. His wife once admitted that “he does not sleep at nights and wanders around aimlessly for hours.” It also noted in his file at an asylum, “[he] fears that if he is not restrained he will do some violence to someone.” The last clue that leads Roland to believe that Levy is Jack is the fact that in the year Levy died, the “Scotland Yard officially closed the files on the Whitechapel murders.” (Roland 201)

            So did Levy or any of the other suspects actually commit the atrocious murders? Depending on who you listen to, what books you read, and who you choose to believe, it is possible to make a legitimate case against almost anyone. If you squint your eyes and tilt your head to the left you can make yourself see whatever you want to. In spite of this, there is no actual evidence to incriminate anyone in the murders of the five prostitutes in the Whitechapel district in London. There is no proof, only the ideas of people who feel the need to have an answer. Life isn’t about finding answers. I think the moral of the story, whether there actually is one or not, is to be thankful for the time that we have because you never know when Jack the Ripper is going come around again!










Works Cited

Begg, Paul. Jack the Ripper: the Definitive History. Harlow, England: Pearson Education Limited, 2005. 

Begg, Paul. Jack the Ripper: the Facts. London: Robson Books, 2004. 

Begg, Paul, Martin Fido,  and Keith Skinner. The Jack the Ripper a-Z. London: Headline Book, 1996. 

Jakubowski, Maxim, and Nathan Braund, eds. The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf, 1999. 

Ressler, Robert K., and Tom Scachtman. “Generalized Characteristics of Serial Murderers.” Criminal Profiling Research. 21 Apr. 2008 <;.

Roland, Paul. The Crimes of Jack the Ripper. Edison, NJ: Chartwell Books, INC., 2007. 

Sugden, Philip. The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. New York, NY: Carroll & Graf, 2002. 

Lewis Carroll did it. Duh.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2008 by kdhughes7

Kathleen Hughes

Professor L. Towell

First Seminar JTR

Final Paper

April 2008


Brilliant Killer

“Madness in great ones must not unwatch’d go” -Shakespeare


Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, also known as Lewis Carroll, was a successful author, inventor, photographer, mathematician, Anglican clergyman, and logician.  But is it possible that this writer of the famous ‘Through the Looking Glass: Alice in Wonderland’ stories was also a ruthless murderer?  Carroll’s own writing produces evidence that he was not only a murderer, but the famous Jack the Ripper, who slaughtered at least five women in London England between 1888 and 1890.  This paper will focus first on Carroll’s life, then evidence against him in this murder case, including numerology, anagrams, and psychological profiling.

Carroll was born on January 27, 1832, in Cheshire England to a middle class family (Britton).  He was the first son for his parents, Reverend Charles Dodgson, and Francis Jane, who had been married less than four years but already had two daughters.  After Carroll was born, three brothers and five sisters came and he became the oldest boy of the couple’s eleven children (Britton).  Carroll had a relatively unremarkable childhood and was schooled at home, where he and at least two of his siblings developed stammers.  It was obvious he was an intellectual, and at age twelve he was sent to a private school in Richmond.  It was here that he sent his first anagram to his brother back at home (Wallace, 77).  Carroll liked Richmond, but for some reason transferred two years later to Rugby School.  Years after leaving Rugby, Carroll wrote

‘I cannot say… that any earthy considerations would induce me to go through my three years again… I can honestly say that if I could have been… secure from annoyance at night, the hardships of the daily life would have been comparative trifles to bear’

This seems to imply that Carroll endured some form of sexual abuse at night, which may have led to his apparent psychotic break as an adult.  He left this school in November of 1849, and a year later went to Oxford, where he befriended a young man named Thomas Vere Bayne (Cohen).  According to Morton Cohen, who wrote a biography on Carroll, Carroll’s mother died from meningitis when he a teenager, and shortly thereafter he developed whooping cough.  He did not change much physically into his adulthood; he was around six foot tall, with a soft face and curly brown hair.  His eyes were either blue or grey, and although he was attractive, he often obsessed over his stammer, or as he called it, his ‘hesitation’.  As an adult, Carroll’s obsession with prepubescent girls was so obvious that stories are still prevalent today.  One of the most famous stories is about Carroll’s fascination with Alice Liddell, who he would take around outside of town to Godstow or Nuneham for picnics (Leach).  On one of these outings, Alice inspired the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ books, which were published in 1865.  Rumor has it that Carroll even proposed to the young Alice.  It is known that he often photographed girls and young women in scandalous positions, often nude (Cohen).  In a the previously mentioned biography by Cohen, the author states

“It is a portrait of a Victorian clergyman, shy and prim, and locked to some degree in perpetual childhood… a man who ‘had no life’, who lived apart from the world and apart from normal human contact, who was monkish and chaste, and died a virgin.” 

After Carroll died of pneumonia on January 14, 1898, (Leach) his family destroyed many of his writings and diaries, and even over a century later refuse to show anything to the public.  Could these papers be hiding something important?

Carroll was a mathematician (he even taught various math classes for nearly thirty years) and often included numbers into his poetry.  In many of his stories, including Hunting of the Snark, the ‘rule 42 of the code’ and ‘rule of 3’ are mentioned.  The numbers 3 and 42 appear throughout a total of six writings in either poems or diaries (Wallace).  To everyone else, these phrases may seem random and irrelevant, but to Carroll they were important enough to mention in several writings, could the numbers have been significant enough to base murders upon?  On page 228 of ‘Light-hearted friend’, Richard Wallace examined how these two numbers were so prominent to the murders of several prostitutes.  For example, exactly 42 years after entering Rugby, where he was sexually abused, the White Chapel murders started.  Perhaps this caused a psychotic breakdown in Carroll and caused him to lose all control.  The victims’ ages seem relevant as well.  Emma Smith was 42 and Mary Ann Nichols was less than a week shy of being 42.  Martha Tabram was 39 years old, which is 3 subtracted from 42 and Elizabeth Stride was 45, which is 42 plus 3.  Not only that, but Mary Kelly was 24, which is 42 reversed.  When looking for the numbers, more occurrences appeared, such as the fact that Martha Tabram was stabbed 39 times, (which as earlier mentioned is 3 subtracted from 42).  If that is not enough, Mary Ann Nichols was killed 24, (which is 42 reversed), days after Tabram.  Are all of these numbers simply coincidences, or was Carroll’s numerology obsession exerting itself in a violent way?

From a young age (the earliest recorded is twelve), Lewis Carroll liked to play with words, using anagrams and different languages.  He even made his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, by translating his first two names, Charles Lutwidge, into Latin, Carolus Lodovicus, then anglicizing and reversing there order.  Wallace has looked through many of Carroll’s writings and has found several interesting phrases.  For example, in a line mentioning that ‘Rule 42’ in Hunting of the Snark’, if you remove two of the letters (there were 44 letters, remove two to equal 42, the ‘optimum’ number), it says “Rugby turned a keen Dodgson child into a demon king”.  Another passage, this one from ‘Nursery Alice’ saying

‘So she wondered away, through the wood, carrying the ugly little thing with her. And a great job it was to keep hold of it, it wriggled about so. But at last she found out that the proper way was to keep tight hold of itself foot and its right ear’.

can have the letters changed around to say:

‘She wriggled about so! But at last Dodgson… found a way to keep hold of the fat little whore. I got a tight hold of her and slit her throat, left ear to right. It was tough, wet, disgusting, too. So weary of it, they threw up – Jack the Ripper.’ 

Another passage from ‘Sylvie and Bruno’ can be changed to say ‘He had to key to a whore- Marie Kelly’s door, opened it through a window.  He dug a fist in and feasted as a dog- a leech- really a Satan, at her mutilated body.’  Is it really that all of these lines from stories and poems, written by Lewis Carroll, by Charles Dodgson himself, can be twisted around so violently by coincidence?  Carroll loved anagrams and logic problems, and it has been shown over and over that serial killers often ‘brag’ about their accomplishments.  Perhaps the mathematician Carroll used his own writings, supposedly harmless children’s stories about nonsense, to confess his sins.

Ronald and Stephen Holmes, authors of Profiling Violent Crimes, have compiled a list of serial killer characteristics after John Douglas from the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed thirty six random incarcerated criminals.  Many of these characteristics match Carroll.  The interviewed were all males, predominantly white with pleasant appearances, and usually the eldest son.  These all match Carroll.  The majority of the criminals were of average or above average intelligence and began life in two-parent homes.  Many of the criminals felt as if they were loners, with low social attachment.  It is hard to argue that Carroll, who never married and lived alone most of his life, was an intelligent and independent man.  The criminals Douglas interviewed felt that the world was unjust, and fantasy is often reality.  If believing an eleven year old girl would willingly marry a middle age man is not fantasy, what is? Carroll became famous based on one of the most bizarre children’s stories ever written, which he often told as truth (Cohen).  Perhaps he felt judged because of his promiscuous photography and connection with young women and dealt with his anger in an aggressive manner. 

Carroll’s diary seems to provide a few interesting clues about the murders as well.  As previously mentioned, Carroll’s family destroyed much of his diary entries which may have held important clues.  However, even the few entries remaining seem to show things.  For instance, he wrote in purple ink every day but on the days of the White Chapel murders would write in black ink (Wallace).  He even mentions Jack the Ripper on August 28, 1891, saying that he spoke with an acquaintance about ‘his very ingenious theory about Jack the Ripper’ (Wallace).  Even though it is unknown that theory he was referring to, it is suspicious that he would even mention a murderer in his diary.  Another writing of Carroll’s that is questionable is a line in a poem in his diary saying “They sought it with thimbles… they pursued it with forks and with hope…they charmed it with smiles and soap.”  According to, all of the victims had at least one of these items (a thimble, utensil, or soap) on them at the time of their death.  Some, like Catherine Eddowes, had all three items, and even Mary Jane Kelly, who was killed in her house, was wearing a thimble.  If Carroll’s own writings are not believable, let us turn to that of the true Jack the Ripper, who sent letters to the White Chapel police.  One letter is as followed: “I’m not a butcher, I’m not a Yid, Nor a foreign skipper, But I’m your own light-hearted friend, Your’s truly Jack the Ripper”.  If Carroll did indeed write this letter, he could have made it no clearer who he was.  He says he is not a butcher, Jew, or sailor, all of which were being investigated.  He then says he is the ‘light-hearted friend’.  In all of his biographies, people described him as an ‘eternal child’, of course one would have to be to concoct such stories as ‘Alice in Wonderland’!

It has already been discussed that Lewis Carroll, Charles Dodgson, was a brilliant man.  After seeing all of the clues Carroll left behind confessing, how is it possible people still deny him as a suspect?  He seemed to use the three occupations he was known for, mathematician, logician, and writer, to show numerology, anagrams, and hints to plead guilty to these crimes.  Perhaps Carroll will never be known as Jack the Ripper by anyone except his family, who will continue hiding his secret writing forever.



Work Cited


Cohen, Morton. 1995. Lewis Carroll: A Biography. London:



Holmes, Ronald, & Holmes, Stephen. 2002. Profiling Violent

Crimes: An investigative tool (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks,

CA: Sage.


Leach, Karoline.  “Lewis Carroll”.  1996.  20 April 2008.



Wallace, Richard.  1996.  Jack the Ripper: Light-hearted Friend.

USA: Gemini.





You Don’t Know Jack

Posted in Solution, Suspects on April 24, 2008 by damuffnman

You Don’t Know Jack

Murder used to be a simple game; one man killed the other for personal gain or revenge, no sadists, psychos, or freaks. That was until Jack the Ripper. But who was this man who could kill and dehumanize his victims? This question has plagued criminologists, and more recently deemed “ripperologists.” With countless suspects to choose from, it soon became obvious that it was the butler who did it! All jokes aside there exists a man, well…existed a man, who fits the criteria to be the Ripper, and William Bury is this man. Bury was a simple man, and to borrow William Beadle’s term, he had perfected the art of being a Jack. The art of being a Jack is that he was Jack Who, nobody saw him enter and nobody saw him leave; he went out and about unnoticed (Beadle 120). But this Jack was Jack the Ripper.

William Henry Bury lived in Stourbridge, Worcestershire from sperm to approximately his early twenties, at which point he may have lived with his uncle in Wolverhampton (this is only hearsay and there is no proof of this). Not much else is know of his early life, for Bury’s life was almost entirely uneventful (Beadle 119). His father, a fishmonger, had little motivation and it took him nearly a month after William’s birth to file a birth certificate. The first true account we have of Bury is when he moved to London in 1887. After he arrived in London he was hired by James Martin a “general dealer”, this was in reality more of a brothel than a super market, and Bury was employed as a sawdust collector. While working for Martin, Bury met his future wife Ellen Elliot, a prostitute whom he probably married for her inheritance. They were married on April 2, 1888. Bury, obviously a manipulative man, convinced his wife to sell part of her inheritance; Bury used the proceeds to buy a pony and cart, which he used to sell sawdust (Beadle 123). On January 19, 1889 the “happy” Bury couple sailed for Dundee Scotland. However, those who asked where they we going received an answer of Brisbane, Australia. Seventeen days after arriving in Dundee, Bury killed his wife- in a manner very similar to that of Jack the Ripper. She was strangled and then carved up. Five days after the murder, Bury went to the local police telling them he and his wife had been drinking and when he awoke he found she strangled herself. Bury appeared mildly inebriated and told stories which did not match to two different police officers. When they inspected his house they found two counts of graffiti pointing to Bury as the Ripper as well as Ellen’s mutilated body. The Dundee police, having no knowledge of the Ripper case, had no reason to report to London authorities. Bury was tried and found guilty of the murder and sentenced to hang. The sentence was carried out on April 29, 1889 (Macpherson 19).

That is an interesting background, but what is it that makes him Jack the Ripper? To begin with Bury is an almost perfect match to the FBI’s psychological profile for the Ripper. In 1988 the Federal Bureau of Investigation in corporation with British authorities released a psychological profile of Jack the Ripper:

· In childhood, there was an absent or passive father figure

· White male, aged 28 to 36, living or working in the Whitechapel area.

· The killer probably had a profession in which he could legally experience his destructive tendencies.

· Jack the Ripper probably ceased his killing because he was either arrested for some other crime, or felt himself close to being discovered as the killer.

· The killer probably had some sort of physical defect which was the source of a great deal of frustration or anger. (Joseph)

The first fit is the fact that Bury’s father appears to have been negligent; it took Bury’s father nearly a month to file for a birth certificate, not the image of an ideal father. This was the first brick building Jack the Ripper. Second, when Bury moved to London in late 1887 he was 28, and he began working for James Martin, whose store was located in Bow, which is adjacent to Whitechapel. Driving a nail further in to the coffin is the fact that “Bury had been a horsemeat butcher before migrating to London” (Beadle 120). Bury was built into the perfect serial killer, but why did he quit? This is a simple answer, but one that comes in two parts. First, he felt that is area of operation was too hot for him to handle, causing him to flee to Dundee Scotland and telling those who asked that he was going to Austria. If he was simply moving why would he lie about his destination unless he was afraid of being followed or watched? Second, he was arrested on February 10, 1889 for the murder of his wife, and subsequently was hung on April 24. Jack the Ripper was never heard from again. The only aspect of the profile which lacks concrete proof of applying to Bury is a physical defect. However, there is a theory which states Jack the Ripper killed his victims and removed their sexual organs for gratification because he had some form of erectile dysfunction, though he was not completely impotent for Bury frequently used prostitutes. I feel that Bury had ED and caused him humiliation with his female companions, fueling his hatred of women, giving Jack the Ripper his victimology, prostitutes who humiliated him.

Now that Bury has been nailed in the coffin, his must be buried (a bad pun, yet one that had to been done). The dirt is that of escalation. Serial killers don’t start off killing; they start small, usually killing animals or non fatal attacks, and Bury has a strong case for experiencing escalation. There was a woman named Annie Millwood who was the victim of a knife attack. Her injuries were similar to those of the Ripper victims. Around her legs and genitalia she was brutally stabbed multiple times. Although this is not exactly how the other victims were killed, but it is a step in the evolution of a killer. This attack happened in Spitalfields, just a few miles walk from Bow where Bury worked. A few weeks later Ada Wilson was attacked in her home by a man who demanded money and stabbed her twice in the throat. This was in the latter half of March, just after Bury had been fired from his job for theft. But the question is now is this Bury or not? Knife attacks were not common Whitechapel; violent crime in general was an anomaly with no murders happening in 1886 or 1887. Bury had a history of violent crime: he slept with a knife under his pillow, and there exist many counts of abuse toward his wife (one neighbor even walked in with Bury kneeling atop his wife trying to slit her throat). If Bury had been drinking, and began his walk home from work and saw a prostitute, he would have possible endowed her with the characteristics of his wife and attacked her. Additionally when Bury had been fired he would have used the little money he had to buy gin; and when he ran out of coin, he did the most logical thing he could, he would steal it from the first person he saw (Beadle 122). If these attacks were carried out by Bury, it also gives a clue into the evolution of his modus operandi, Annie was hacked around her legs and genitalia and Ada had her throat cut, if both are put together, it is the MO of the Ripper.

What of the five victims of Jack the Ripper? Bury drank nearly every day of the week, with the exception of Sunday. This has a striking corollary to the murders, if the times are lined up late Sunday and early Monday are missing, the only times at which Bury was sober. The first widely accepted victim of the Ripper was Polly Nichols; there exists one problem with her candidacy as a Ripper victim. The location of her murder never quite matched. Bury took his wife to Wolverhampton sometime in late July and/or August. If Bury was parking his cart late on August 31 he would have seen Polly; Bury could park his cart, enlisting Polly’s services, escorting her into Bucks Row, and killing her is a perfect scenario. A week later Bury finishes his day of sawdust collecting parks in George Yard and starts his walk home. Two-minutes later he walks along Hanbury Street and chooses his next victim, Annie Chapman. At the end of the month Bury needs to park his cart, and release his sexual tension through another kill: Liz Stride. This time he leaves George Yard from the south entrance walks for a few minutes reaches Settles Street and ends the life of Long Liz. Unfortunately for Bury he was interrupted before he could finish with her, disemboweling and the like, so he had to find another outlet for his hormones. How Bury left the street is unknown, but he fled and found Catherine Eddowes, and had his way with her. After he experienced the thrill of his kill he took a path[1] back to George Yard where his pony and cart were waiting allowing him a safe ride away from the scene.

The climax of the killings was with the mutilation of Mary Kelly. She had been almost butchered with the meat of her muscles being removed and placed around the room, and according to Nick Warren, editor of Ripperana and a surgeon, her femur had been split with a small axe. A butcher’s main tools are a knife and a small axe, and Bury had been a horsemeat butcher before moving to London. Probably even more condemning is the fact that on the day Bury killed his wife, he asked a neighbor to borrow a hatchet. All of the canonical victims could have been easily killed by Bury, but what of Martha Tabram? She was killed in George Yard. Bury goes to pick up his cart; inebriated he sees Tabram substitutes her for his wife, and commits his first murder. It is almost more than he can handle; he needs to get out of London. He takes his wife for a vacation in Wolverhampton and returns at the end of August placing him in perfect place to kill Polly (Beadle).

The most damning evidence against Bury is the murder of his wife and his resulting actions. On February 5, two weeks after fleeing London, Bury strangled his wife with a piece of rope and stabbed her multiple times -several long cuts along her abdomen with twelve inches of intestines hanging out- and stuffed her body into a trunk. He hadn’t sliced her throat, but he had tried to do it previously. Contrary to popular belief serial killers don’t kill in the same way every time; they kill in a very similar manner adapting to previous experience with kills and the current situation- how much the victim fights and other hard to control events. Five days later Bury went to the police telling them his wife had commit suicide. Two different constables took reports from Bury, but his stories did not match each other so an investigation ensued. When the constables reached Bury’s apartment two messages were found on the walls. The first was on the stairway down to Bury’s apartment it read “Jack Ripper is in this Seller” [sic]. Once they reached the apartment on the back of the door they read “Jack Ripper is at the back of this door.” Inside they found Ellen, still in the trunk. Bury was arrested, tried, and found guilty. Just before Burry hung he told them “I suppose you think you are clever to hang me.” (Beadle, emphasis added) The detectives present at the time thought he meant “I suppose you think you are clever to hang Jack the Ripper” and they were right.

Countless people have been accused of being Jack the Ripper: some are viable [though little tangible evidence may exist], while others are completely insane *cough* Lewis Carol *cough*. However, none fit as well as William Bury. Serial killers don’t start out killing, and Bury gives a huge case for the escalation experienced by Jack the Ripper. He also answers the question of how the Ripper was able to walk about Whitechapel with the police out in force. He was a common sight to the prostitutes and police in the area, simply another face; also, slaughter houses purchased saw dust to line their floors with, giving Bury a viable reason to be covered in blood. What truly places this man as Jack the Ripper is the murder of his wife: it was too graphic, too through, too brutal to have been a first kill. April 29, 1889- the day Jack the Ripper died.

Works Cited

Beadle, William. “The Real Jack the Ripper.” The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper. Ed. Maxim Jukubowski and Nathan Braund. London: Robinson Ltd, 1999. 119-131.

“Joseph Barnett.” Casebook. 17 Apr. 2008 <;.

Macpherson, Euan. The Trial of Jack the Ripper: the Case of William Bury. Great Britain: Mainstream Company, 2005.

[1] For the exact path see Beadle’s essay on John Bury, but unless one has a very accurate knowledge of London’s streets the street names don’t matter.

So Far Away: The Truth of The Whitechapel Murders of 1888

Posted in Solution on April 24, 2008 by gregsteible

From cannibals to prisoners to arsonists, serial killers come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be basically anyone from the man next door to the unknown recluse in Nevada who goes to town to murder his victims.  The true identity of Jack the Ripper is similar in this regard.  Ripperologists have suggested people as diverse as Lewis Carroll, the Prince, and a poor Polish Jew.  Regardless of who people suggest, there is only one truth: the murders occurred, and someone committed them.  These clearly were not suicides, so there must be some sort of murderer, and it probably was not Lewis Carroll, but more likely the Polish Jew Aaron Kosminski.
Some ripperologists suggest some fairly implausible solutions to the Jack the Ripper problem.  One of the most unusual of these suggestions is that one Lewis Carroll was the Whitechapel Murderer.  Simply from looking at his youth and how he grew up this does not even seem plausible.  Carroll, born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, son of the reverend Charles Dodgson, was a middle class boy (Leach “Lewis”).  A member of the middle class would probably not be wondering around Whitechapel at night.  Because of this middle class nature, he attended boarding school for most of his childhood.  He was always strong academically.  He, after secondary school, attended the Oxford Christ Church School in order to become a man of the cloth so to speak (Leach “Lewis”).  It would be unexpected for a seminary student to become the most infamous serial killer of all time.  That is not to say that all seminarians are good people that do not kill or commit adultery, because that is simply not true.  All that is meant by that statement simply is that as a rule it is safe to assume a seminarian is a pacifist.  Dodgson, later in life, wrote the Alice in Wonderland stories.  A children’s writer is also someone who would not be the most prime suspect for the ripper.  Of course there is one characteristic of Dodgson that would suggest potential psycho.  This characteristic is simply a rumor even.  In boarding school growing up, young Charles may have been sexually assaulted (Leach “Jack”).  This is a common cause of being disturbed later in life that could lead to serial killing and disemboweling.  Of course this suspect has become a considered suspect simply due to a book written fairly recently that discusses some fun coincidences.
In 1996, Richard Wallace published the book, Jack the Ripper, Light-Hearted Friend.  The basic argument of this book is simply that Lewis Carroll, or Charles Dodgson, is Jack the Ripper.  Wallace basis his main argument on anagrams (Adams). The idea seems to be presented that some of the writings of Lewis Carroll can be rearranged in such a way as to be read as a confession to the brutal murders of the five so-called canonical murders of Jack the Ripper.  An example of this effect is demonstrated through the opening lines of his poem “The Jabberwocky,” from Through the Looking Glass.
“’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.”
Is the first passage that Wallace uses in his book (Adams).  Wallace translates this into:
“Bet I beat my glands til,
With hand-sword I slay the evil gender.
A slimey theme; borrow gloves,
And masturbate the hog more.”
This does not seem much like a confession.  Some of the other anagrams work out slightly better, but still this system by its very nature feels flawed.  The only reason that a reasonable person can see as to why this poem should be ‘translated’ is that throughout the whole poem Carroll uses nonsensical words.  One reason for these words could possibly be that Carroll needed certain letters to write what he wanted and then translated that into a silly poem.  A question arises from all of this idiocy.  Could this not simply be done with any work by any author?  The simple answer is yes.  Cecil Adams of The Straight Dope, an internet discussion site, takes this answer one step further, proving Christopher Robin, from A.A. Milne’s work Whinnie the Pooh.  The first line of the work is, “Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now.”  Adams creates this dark accusation: “Stab red red women! CR is downing whores – AA.”  This accusation suggests that Milne had some inside knowledge and decided to tell the world the truth behind Jack the Ripper, that Christopher Robin killed those prostitutes in 1888 Whitechapel.
Not all of the accusations of suspects are as silly as that of the Lewis Carroll issue.  One man that has been suggested from nearly the beginning is a man named Aaron Kosminski.  This suggestion seems to have first come from the Macnaghten Memoranda.  This memo outlines the basics of the murders, names the five canonical murders, discusses four additional murders that Macnaghten says are not Ripper murders, and discounts the suspect “The Sun” suggests (Macnaghten).  It is widely considered one of the most important documents to ripperologists.  The three suspects Macnaghten suggests are M.J. Druitt, a Kosminski, and Michael Ostrog.  The memo gives a little information about all three of these suspects, particularly concerning Druitt and Ostrog.  The information on Kosminski is very vague.  Macnaghten lists Kosminski by only one name, with no first name.  This immediately feels suspicious considering it means that Macnaghten must not know too much about Kosminski.  If this is the case, then it would make even more sence that Kosminski over Ostrog and Druitt is Jack the Ripper because it would mean that Macnaghten has done more research into Ostrog and Druitt, and has decided that neither of them with out a doubt is the Witechapel Murderer.  This means that it is possible that the fellow he has done less research on has perhaps a higher chance of being the Ripper but simply cannot find more information about him.  Of the things he does know, Macnaghten lists Kosminski as a “Polish Jew… [and] resident in Whitechapel” (Macnaghten).
Several reasons exist as to why it is important that Kosminski is a Jew from Poland.  His religion itself is very important.  In chalk writing, the words “The Juwes are not the men that will be blamed for nothing” were found on a wall on Goulston Street shortly after the double murder event.  It is also possible that the words said, “The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing.”  In either instance, it is clearly either a defense of Jews or an anti-Semitic statement.  It would make more since if it was defending the Jewish people simply because in 1888 many anti-Semitic people roamed the streets.  It would seem like the perfect venue and medium for defending Jews particularly if maintaining anonymity is necessary.  The easiest way to understand the wording itself, so as to get a feel for what kind of tone it is written in, is to replace the word nothing with anything.  Using nothing when meaning anything is a common mistake, particularly for non-native English speakers.  If one does that then it reads: the Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for anything, or, the Juwes are not the men that will be blamed for anything.  The first of these makes simply a false statement that the Jews will not be blamed for anything.  Being very anti-Semitic times, this clearly is not the case because they are blamed for all bad.  Because of this fact, it would make sense that a Jew would write this because then it is a hopeful statement in the use of will as in saying in the future the Jews will not be blamed for anything.  The second reading with the replaced word also is positive from a Jewish stance, with a similar meaning with the first one.  Of course both of these two readings of the graffiti requires the person to be new to the language such that he or she would have written the wrong last word.  This would also allow for a misspelling of the word Jews.  If someone is new to the English language, a supposedly difficult language to learn, it is possible that a small spelling error could occur.  Who better to be new to learning English than a man from Poland?
Macnaghten also mentions the mental state of this Kosminski fellow.  Macnaghten writes, “This man became insane owing to many years indulgence in solitary vices.  He had a great hatred of women, specifically of the prostitute class, & had strong homicidal tendencies” (Macnaghten).  Psychotic problems are common among serial killers.  It is what makes them commit such heinous crimes. Many of the serial killers are what are known as phychopaths, implying that they do not seem crazy, but simply are.  Many of them have sexual torments as well as social torments (“Inside”).  This is something that presumably the Kosminski referenced in the Macnaghten Memo had experience with.  The memo mentions that Kosminski was placed inan asylum shortly after the murders stopped (Macnaghten), implying some serious mental issues.  Rumors have also circulated about an Aaron Kosminski being placed in the same asylum at the same time as Macnaghten’s Kosminski.  This Aaron is presumably the same Kosminski, though not necessarily, but for argument’s sake it is the same man.  This A. Kosminski, also a Whitechapel-residing Polish Jew, is known to have had a masturbation problem (House).  This is one of the warning signs of serial killers.  To have a masturbation problem shows that the individual also is suffering from sexually imposed depression.  This is a major issue and can cause people to do unsightly things.  This would also perhaps be reason to believe he would be interested in killing prostitutes and women of the night.  In light of his sexual frustration, targeting sexual deviants would be somewhat logical.  Just because he is full of sexual angst does not mean he is Jack the Ripper, or even that he killed all of the canonical five Macnaghten mentions.
The first of the canonical five murders, that of Polly Nichols is fairly straightforward, and frankly could have been done by any number of people.  Born Mary Walker, Mary Ann Nichols was a prostitute.  The same year as her death, she moved away from her husband due to alcohol issues and moved in with a fellow prostitute.  This was in May and her death occurred on August 31, 1888.  She was not a very wealthy person, which is why she turned to the streets to gain money.  Most of her injuries were around her neck and towards the lower part of her abdomen.  Her throat was slit and there were some smaller lactations around her lower torso, all of which caused by the same weapon (Fido 23).  This is the first of the five murders, and a seemingly logical choice for a first murder for Jack the Ripper.
The second murder that the Ripper preformed is that of Annie Chapman.  This suspect is slightly different in that a witness placed her with a man shortly before the murder.  This man was a shorter man with a foreign accent (Fido 30).  Someone with a foreign accent would probably be foreign, and perhaps Polish.  The fact that this man is foreign suggests that it is at least not a horrible stretch of the imagination to place Kosminski as the man seen with Annie Chapman.  This murder is slightly more savage than the first.  This murder included some removal of organs.  The throat was again slit and then the uterus was removed and the vagina cut (Fido 35).  It also seems as though the murderer knew how to cut these parts of the body for “there were no meaningless cuts” (Fido 35).  This murder seems to plausibly be the work of the same murderer of Mary Ann Nichols, more accurately, Aaron Kosminski.
The next two murders occurred on the same evening.  The murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes occurred on the very same evening.  This is uncommon for serial killers.  Normally serial killers have a cool down period after each murder for longer than just an hour or so (“Generalized”).  This is part of the reason they not both Jack the Ripper cases.  The first one of the evening, that of Liz Stride, is significantly less grotesque than either of the previous murders or even that of Catherine Eddowes.  The same person that cut out a woman’s uterus probably would not simply settle with a throat slitting.  This leads many ripperologists to believe that some how the murderer got interrupted and had to kill someone else instead.  This does not seem plausible, simply because people like this seem to enjoy the thrill of killing, and nearly being found out would not stop someone like this.  From these assertions it is easy to see that the murderer of Liz Stride was simply not Aaron Kosminski.  It does not fit with the M.O. of increasing brutality in the murders.  Catherine Eddowes’ murder, on the other hand, does just that.  One of her kidneys was missing, and she had been un-seamed towards the bottom part of her torso. She also, of course, had similar lacerations to her throat as the other victims.  Of course there is one issue with the murder of Catherine Eddowes, which is that she simply was not a prostitute.  She was a hops farmer who was out late a few nights at pubs and things, but she was not a prostitute.  Kosminski probably did not realize this, and took her out anyway.  She is the final murder of the Jack the Ripper, Aaron Kosminski.
The same fellow who killed some of the other four simply did not do the fifth canonical murder of Mary Jane Kelley.  Mary Kelley was killed inside.  This is not at all part of the way Jack the Ripper works.  Kosminski has previously killed people in the streets, not people laying in bed.  Another issue with this murder is that it is presumed that an ax was used as well as a knife.  This also does not fit the modus operandi.  The Ripper previously only used a knife to cut his victims, and had no need for an ax.  Mary Kelley was also significantly more brutally murdered.  Her body, mostly mutilated, simply was too cut up to be considered one of the Jack murders.
The Jack the Ripper murders happened.  This is a fact.  Another fact is that Aaron Kosminski murdered some of the victims.  One more fact is that not all of the accepted five murders were committed by the same person.  This is simply not possible.  Murders do not happen this way.  Serial killers tend to act one way and not another.  They tend to be people more like Kosminski than fun loving Lewis Carroll.  Thanks to more modern developments in crime analysis and criminal profiling, it is clear that Kosminski is Jack the Ripper, but this is not exactly as important as this fact: the author of the Jabberwocky simply is NOT the brutal and malicious Whitechapel Murderer.

Works Cited
Adams, Cecil. “Do anagrams in Lewis Carroll’s poems prove he was Jack the Ripper?” The Straight Dope. 7 Mar. 1997 <;.
“Generalized Characteristics of Serial Merderers.” Criminal Profiling Research. 22 April. 2008 <;.
House, Robert. “Aaron Kosminski Reconsidered.” Casebook. 21 April. 2008 <;.
“Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer.” 21 April. 2008 <;.
Leach, Karoline. “Jack Through the Looking Glass (or Wallace in Wonderland).” Casebook. 8 April. 2000 <;.
Leach, Karoline. “Lewis Carroll.” Casebook. <;.
Macnaghten, S.M. Memoranda. 23 Feb. 1894.
Fido, Martin. The Crimes, Detection & Death of Jack the Ripper. Great Brittain: The Guernsey Press Co. Ltd, 1987.