James May-be-Not

James Maybrick has the unfortunate relation to the Jack the Ripper case because a diary emerged in 1992 alluding to a secret double life as a murderer. However, before the “discovery” of the diary, Maybrick was not associated with the Ripper case at all. Information implicating Maybrick mostly stems from details and “facts” in the diary. The diary supposedly was written in 1888 by Jack the Ripper and allusions are made to Maybrick, particularly his battle with arsenic addiction and tumultuous relationship with his wife. This does not mean that the diary is authentic, though. Some details are farfetched, such as the statement that a letter was sent by Maybrick to the police. Though Maybrick, who apparently showed some interest in the case, may have sent a letter to the police, it is likely that Jack the Ripper never did. It is odd that a man would claim to write a taunting letter as Jack the Ripper in a diary also proposed to be from the same hand when there is strong evidence to suggest that the true murderer never became involved in the police investigation. Beyond that, Maybrick does not reasonably fit the eye-witness accounts. As an upper-class gentleman, he would not have a shabby or worn appearance as many witnesses claimed the man they saw did; likewise, he was not “foreign-looking”, as some witnesses also testified. What perhaps is also telling is that Maybrick does not fit many of the attributes compiled by the FBI. Though issues can rightly be made against profiling, at least some violent behavior or motive is needed for a suspect to be strongly regarded as plausible. The motive associated with Maybrick is that he targeted prostitutes because he wanted to attack women with few morals because his wife had been having an affair. Why then did he not kill or harm his wife? The same satisfaction could not be received in killing women of low social standing rather than compared to his upper-crust wife. The motivation simply is too improbable. Though James Maybrick led an interesting life, the only evidence pointing to him as a suspect is a diary that was likely not written by him, Jack the Ripper, or anyone else in the 19th century. His name should be stricken from suspect lists and the mystery of the diary laid to rest.


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