Take Him Off the List

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 by dbloss

Deidra Blossom

Professor Towell

First Seminar

21 April 2009

Take Him off the List

            For years many have tried and failed at identifying the infamous Jack the Ripper; hundreds of suspects have emerged, though few are actually plausible.  Some believe that a Mr. Carl Feigenbaum appears as a strong candidate.  Feigenbaum’s attorney, William Stanford Lawton, was stated as saying he believed his client was indeed the notorious killer.  Trevor Marriott wrote his theory on how Feigenbaum was the killer in his book Jack the Ripper-The 21st Century Investigation.  However taking a closer look into the actual facts reveals ragged theories with loose ends and distortions.  Although Lawton and Marriot’s theories are both appealing, they are founded on a lack of evidence.  When examining the actual concrete facts, it is clear that Carl Feigenbaum should not be considered a suspect in the Ripper murders.

            When taking a closer consideration of Feigenbaum as a Ripper suspect one must look into his history, though very little is know.  It is not known exactly how many brothers and sisters or other family members Feigenbaum, or Anton Zahn, had, nor is the actual town he was born in known.  He stated he was born in Capitoheim, Germany, however, during Marriott’s investigation he could find no such town.  Feigenbaum worked many years of his life at sea aboard the Atlantic Star, according to Lawton.  Ironically, one definitive fact know about Feigenbaum is that he was pronounced dead in the Sing Sing Prison at 11:18:30 on April 27th 1896.  He had been charged with the murder of Juliana Hoffman, the woman from whom he was renting a room.  The electric chair was the price he paid for his crime.  He rented a room from Mrs. Hoffman on the 29th of August, a Wednesday, with the promise that he would pay her the rent that following Saturday the 1st of September.  Mrs. Hoffman’s son awoke late that evening to see Feigenbaum standing over his mother covered in blood.  Feigenbaum would later be captured and sent to jail to await trial.  During this trial he repeatedly proclaimed his innocence while placing the blame on “a friend” with whom he had been traveling.  He stubbornly stated this friend, Jack Weibel committed the crimes.  Feigenbaum even went as far as saying, “had I known that the man was such a scoundrel I would not have permitted him to be near me for a moment” (casebook).  Obviously, the bloody knife, the bloody clothes, as well as Mr. Hoffman identifying Feigenbaum as the killer, did little to convince twelve honest men of this “friend” tale (casebook).

            Attorney William Stanford Lawton received his fifteen minutes of fame when he told a reporter he believed his crazed client was the infamous prostitute killer.  It is surprising that Lawton, a seasoned attorney, would make a statement like this considering the evidence to back his argument is purely circumstantial.  Lawton told a reporter what he believed only after his client had been executed.  He said that Feigenbaum had “confessed” to the crime by stating that “I have for years suffered from a singular disease, which induces an all absorbing passion.  This passion manifests itself in a desire to kill and mutilate the woman who falls in my way.  At such times I am unable to control myself” (casebook).  One important issue with this statement is that Feigenbaum never actually confesses to being Jack the Ripper, he confesses that he has a desire to kill women.  Killing multiple women makes a person a serial killer, but it does not necessarily make that killer the notorious Jack the Ripper. 

Lawton never tells anyone about this “confession” other than the reporter, not even his own partner, Hugh Pentecost.  Pentecost admits that “In Feigenbaum I found nothing in his homicidal method to remind me of the Ripper” (casebook).  The question remains, why did Lawton never speak to anyone about Feigenbaums “confession” until after he was executed?  It could be that Lawton was unable to speak of this “confession” due to attorney-client privileges, however, if that is the issue why would Lawton not tell his partner on the case?

            Lawton also reveals the lack of evidence in Feigenbaums’ past.  Feigenbaum has been known to go by multiple aliases and is known to have lied multiple times about his past (casebook).  As mentioned earlier, little is known about his upbringing or his family members.  Lawton takes this lack of information and turns it against Feigenbaum by making him seem more deceitful.  However, being a deceitful person or a pathological liar does not make a person Jack the Ripper.  It may be true that Feigenbaum had a very shady past, but there is not enough hard evidence to prove he was the killer. 

            Lawton also states that he believed Feigenbaum has some form of anatomical knowledge.  Lawton never reveals any information to back this statement.  Where and when Feigenbaum would gain this knowledge is also questionable, when one takes into consideration that Feigenbaum was at sea for most of his life.  He worked aboard the Atlantic Star for a great deal of his life.  Lawton also uses this fact, that Feigenbaum traveled the world, as evidence to back his argument.  Lawton believes he has proof that Feigenbaum was in the London area at the time of the murders.  He states that he had been “corroborating evidence from England” but never reveals any information to back this claim.  Lawton should have revealed this vital evidence against Feigenbaum.  No one has been able to prove that Feigenbaum was in the locations of the murders on the right dates (casebook).

            As with Lawton’s claim, Marriott too, lacks the accurate and definite evidence to prove Feigenbaum was Jack the Ripper.  Marriott looked into other suspects during his investigation finding problems with each.  He stated that he has “always believed that, should the truth ever come out, the killer would be revealed as someone who did not fall under suspicion at the time and has not been mentioned by any researcher to date.  For a long time I have suspected that Jack the Ripper may have been a merchant seaman” (casebook).  Therefore, Marriott focuses his attention to the ships at dock during the time of the murders. 

            During his investigation Marriott found that a few ships were at port during most the dates of the murders.  He specifically looks into German merchant ships.  According to his investigation, ships from the Norddeutscher Lloyd Line were at port during all of the dates.  One ship, the Reiher, had been at port during five of the eight dates of murders.  These ships sailed from Bremen to all parts of the world.  The main problem with Marriott’s theory is that he was unable to find evidence that an individual had been on these ships and left for land, on the dates of the murders.  Due to the time period and the lack of official paperwork, Marriott failed to release a specific name from the ships (casebook).  This information proves nothing other than the fact that London had many merchant ships at dock during the time of the Ripper murders.  Feigenbaum only fits into Marriott’s theory because Lawton suggested his client as a suspect, not because Marriott linked Feigenbaum to the murders.

            Marriott also gives information on other Ripper-like murders during the time.  A few of these murders were committed during the time that ships had sailed into town.  Most of these reports were proven to be hoaxes.  One incident in particular, the murder of six prostitutes in Managua, Nicaragua, had the closest appearance of a Ripper mutilation.  Marriott received his information on these murders from an article in the New York Sun.  According to casebook, no one at the time was able to find any evidence to prove these murders ever occurred.   

Marriott also mentions the murder of a prostitute, Lottie Morgan, in Hurley, Wisconsin.  Was this young prostitute a victim of Jack the Ripper?  Marriott seems to believe so, even though the overwhelming evidence points to a regular non Ripper-like murder.  Unless the Ripper changed his MO to a single blow to the head with an axe, Morgan was not murdered by the Ripper.  Marriott again, failed to prove that Feigenbaum was in the area when the murder was committed.  He does state that a ship from the Norddeutscher Lloyd Line (sailing from Bremen) was reportedly docked in the port of New York on April 9th 1890.  Miss Lottie Morgan was killed two days later on the morning of the 11th.  Marriott strongly believes two days was “ample time to get from New York to Wisconsin” (Marriott 405).  The drive today would take hours, and it is impossible to believe that Feigenbaum would have the means to cross two states in two days in 1890, when most were traveling by horseback or carriage. 

Marriott then discusses the murder of Carrie Brown.  Brown was a prostitute, often referred to as “Shakespeare” because she liked to quote William’s famous lines during drinking games (absoluteastronomy).  The last man seen with Brown was described as a 5 foot 8 or 9, very thin, with light features and blonde hair and mustache.  This man was said to have looked around 30 to 35 years old with a thick accent, probably German.  Carl Feigenbaum fits in that had a thick German accent; however, he was around 51 years old with dark skin and hair.  Feigenbaum was also considerably shorter, standing around 5 foot 4 inches.  Marriott questions if Brown had left to fetch another client; however, according to the hotel owner, Ameer Ben Ali, women were not permitted to leave the hotel once they had checked in for the evening.  Ali was afraid the hotel would get the reputation of a brothel (absoluteastronomy).  Marriott seems to ignore all of these exceptions to his “facts” and “evidence.”  It is very unlikely that Feigenbaum was the murderer of Carrie Brown, because he does not fit the profile at all; Feigenbaum just happened to live in New York at the time of her murder. 

Marriott then tells his readers that after the execution of Feigenbaum the Ripper-like murders all around the world mysteriously stopped.  Again, Marriott misleads his readers.  There were multiple Ripper-like murders long after the execution of Feigenbaum.  One example would be the murder of prostitute Francisca Hofer, in Vienna, sometime in December of 1898 which remained unsolved (esm 76).  Others such as the mutilation of Sarah Martin in New York City, again in December, 1903 were solved (casebook).  Due to the inconsistencies in Marriott’s theory, Feigenbaum should not be seriously considered a suspect for the Ripper murders.

 The majority of Marriott’s theory is heavily based on the assumption that Lawton was as honest as Abe himself.  Marriott is bit naïve in believing that Lawton had no ulterior motives for lying to the press.  Marriott bases the validity of his information on the belief that Lawton had no reason to lie to the press.  He asks why neither the Metropolitan Police, nor the New York City Police ever followed through with this inquiry.  The answer to that question is that the police realized that Lawton only wanted his fifteen minutes of fame, and there are no facts or evidence to back up his statement.  The police must have understood that they would be wasting there time following up on this “lead” that had already been executed.  Marriot even goes as far as saying that “Surely if they [the police] had spoken to Lawton he could have given them details of the enquires he conducted, and this is where Lawton’s credibility as a witness is confirmed.  Lawton would not have made that statement if the facts contained in it were false or untrue” (Marriott 406).  This statement is completely based on opinion.  There is no way of knowing if Lawton would have told the truth on this issue.  Lawton has way more reason to lie about his client being the infamous Jack the Ripper than he does to honestly speak the truth.  Being the attorney for Jack the Ripper, Lawton’s name would be written in history books years from now which is enough reason to lie. 

The fact that Lawton never told anyone about his client’s “confession” until after his execution raises serious questions.  Why would he wait until his client was dead?  Why would he not tell his partner on the case?  Was this a failed attempt to be written about in history books at the attorney for Jack the Ripper?  Obviously these questions need to be answered before Lawton’s statement can be taken into consideration seriously.  Due to the fact that Marriott bases most of his information on the subject from Lawton, Marriott too, is misleading.  By association with Lawton’s theory, Marriott’s theory has flaws that cannot be overlooked.  The fact that the Ripper-like murders did not end when Feigenbaum was executed is an important against this theory.  Simply because a person was guilty of killing one woman, does not make that person a serial killer let alone Jack the Ripper.  It does not matter if a person has a shady past, or has lied and changed his name, because that is not evidence of murder.  All of the circumstantial evidence proves more that Feigenbaum should not be considered a suspect in the Ripper murders. 


Works Cited

Absolute Astronomy. 22 Apr. 2009 <http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Carrie_Brown_(murder_victim)&gt;.

ESM. “The Vienna Ripper.” Ripper Notes: Jack the Slasher: 65-77.

Marriott, Trevor. “Carl Feigenbaum-aka Jack the Ripper.” The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper. Philadelphia: Running P, 2008. 390-407.

Vanderlinden, Wolf. “Carl Feigenbaum: An Old Suspect Resurfaces.” Casebook. <http://www.casebook.org/suspects/carl-feigenbaum.html&gt;.




Real or Fake?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 by dbloss

There really is no way of knowing if any of the letters were actually sent from Jack the Ripper.  In my opinion I don’t believe any of the letters were “real”.  Many people became obsessed with the case and decided it was a good idea to pretend to be the Ripper and write a letter.  We may never know the real reason to this but I don’t believe any of the letters have true validity to them. Yes, many killers correspond with the police and their investigation, but none of the letters really sick out.  Something has to be in the letters that proves to the police they were indeed getting letters from Jack the Ripper.  I feel that the Ripper wouldn’t necessarily risk writing a letter to the police, unless he decided to go all out and really mess with the police.  These letters just seem mediocre.

Sickert #7

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 by rachelvukson

7. I do not believe that Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper. It is said that Sickert left clues of the murders in his paintings, and he became obsessed with Jack the Ripper after hearing that Jack the Ripper formerly lived in his room. I find the ideas about the paintings to be very far-fetched. Sickert was a prominent figure in London, and therefore I do not believe he had any reason to kill helpless prostitutes. Patricia Cornwell has also linked Sickert’s DNA to one letter from “Jack the Ripper.” I do not believe that this link can be taken seriously, as the letter was written over 100 years ago, and there is no proof that any of the letters were written by the Ripper himself. During the months of the murders, Sickert spent a great amount of time in France. Some believe he took a ferry from France to England on weekends, and committed the murders during that time. I find it extremely difficult to believe this idea, because there would have been mention in letters concerning Sickerts whereabouts. I believe his constant traveling from France to London, and back would have raised great suspicion among his friends and family. I do not believe Sickert had any reason to kill whatsoever.

Too Many Mistakes

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 by dbloss

The police simply made too many mistakes.  I will take into consideration the time period and the limited technology but still beyond that, the police really messed up the case.  The newspapers/media should not have found out intimate details of the investigation.  The police force should have known the area they were patrolling much better.  Washing away/erasing vital evidence to the case is inexcusable.  With the contradictory police reports, and lack of communication, the Metropolitan Police force might as well be called FEMA. 





Five Victims #6

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 by rachelvukson

6. I believe the five victims murdered in Whitechapel during late 1888 were all victims of Jack the Ripper. There are so many similarities surrounding the victims of the Ripper. Each of the five victims was a prostitute. They were all murdered during the early hours of the morning, and each was brutally killed. The women’s throats were all cut. Liz Stride is a victim who is sometimes not considered to be a Ripper Victim. Her throat was cut jagged, unlike the other female victims. I still believe that Stride was a Ripper victim. I believe that the Ripper was in a rush while killing Liz, and therefore had to do it quickly. After killing Liz, and possibly not being fulfilled enough with the quick murder, he moved on to kill Catherine Eddowes. I believe that each of the five women were killed by Jack the Ripper.

Final Paper

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 by lumpy1015

Michaela Marine        

April 17, 2009

Lavaughn Towell

Jack the Ripper’s London


                                                            Wanted: Big Foot


            With every strange occurrence, unexpected murder, or public scandal there are always those people who wish to theorize about what truly happened. When Marilyn Monroe was found dead in her home conspiracy theorists wanted the blame to be put on the Kennedy’s. There are tons of conspiracy theories involving the United Sates government that the list would be much too vast. The point is that we as a species thrive on gossip, lies, and deceit. We want so badly for there to be a bigger story or a cover-up. The fact of the matter is that most of the time the story is what it is and nothing more. People honestly still think that Elvis and Tupac are still alive out there somewhere and are just waiting to make a comeback. This stretching of the truth and sometimes just downright lying has been occurring for decades. This emphasis on the “what ifs”, can be seen in a very popular unsolved murder case from the 1880s. The story of Jack the Ripper has fascinated readers and captivated audiences for years. The appeal is because of the unknowns that exist. Because of these unknowns people began creating their own version of what they believe to have happened to those unfortunate women. The Royal conspiracy theory is a popular one amongst the public. However, this theory is filled with loose facts, un-supported claims, and outright lies. Although it makes for an entertaining tale, the conspiracy theory is one of little merit.

            The first and main suspect involved in the Royal Conspiracy is Prince Albert or Eddy as he was referred to as by his family. During his younger days Eddy is described as a ladies’ man and is suspected as being involved in many a scandal. Growing up Eddy was always described as a slow child and when he went to Cambridge he required a tutor and many historians now believe Eddy may have been mildly retarded. Party of Eddy’s difficulty in school could be attributed to the fact that he was partially deaf. This fact will be presented later to corroborate other evidence (1). As a young man Eddy was diagnosed with syphilis. The diagnosis was made by the royal family’s physician Dr. William Gull. The infection caused Eddy to go insane and caused him to commit the murders. This is the first of three theories that exist about Eddy’s involvement. It is believed that the Royal family knew of Eddy’s involvement after the second murder. It wasn’t until after the double event that anything was done to restrain Eddy. It was after the double event that Eddy was taken away in restraints to a private mental hospital. Somehow Eddy was able to escape and carry out the final murder of Mary Kelly. It was after this that he was apparently locked away yet again and died in 1892 (2). There are many things that upfront are obvious problems with this theory. Polly Nichols was murdered on August 31, 1888. The prince was staying with the Viscount Downe in Yorkshire from August 29th- September 7th. Annie Chapman was murdered on September 8; the prince was at the Calvary Barracks in York from September 7th-10th. Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were murdered between 1:00 and 2:00 a.m. on September 30th. Eddy was Abergeldie, Scotland where Queen Victoria has it noted in her journal that Eddy came and visited her from the 27th to the 30th of September (3). Mary Kelly was murdered on November 9th; the prince was at Sandringham from November 2nd– 12th (3).

            Eddy seems to have proven that he was not the main mastermind behind the Ripper killings due to the fact that he was absent during every murder. However, Eddy takes on the role of accomplice in Michael Harrison’s biography of Eddy entitled Clarence. According to the book Harrison took the idea from Stowell’s article and made Eddy the accomplice to his tutor James Stephen. Harrison claims that Stephen’s motive was out of  “a twisted desire for revenge” because he was convinced that Eddy and he had a homosexual relationship (6). Harrison writes that a sexual relationship between teacher and pupil emerged while Stephen was Eddy’s tutor. Stephen apparently suffers some sort of trauma that leaves him with permanent brain damage. It was after this that he began to go mad and wrote two volumes of poetry that depicted extremely violent images of women (6). Harrison claims that it is the combination of the break up and the accident that caused Stephen to go mad and kill ten women. Harrison counts Alice Mackenzie, Frances Cole, Mellett and Annie Farmer. It is believed that Harrsion does this just to prove his own theory because he only counts the double event as one. The reason it has to be ten women is because of a poem that Stephen wrote entitled “Air Kaphoozelum” (6). In the poem the villain kills ten harlots.

            The last of the theories is one that first surfaced in 1973 in the BBC program Jack the Ripper. The directors of the show wanted to take some of history’s most famous detectives and have them try to figure out who Jack the Ripper was. Through a series of phone calls and recommendations the directors and writers were set up with a man by the name of Joseph Sickert. Sickert told them a story of how Eddy was having an affair with a common woman who lived on or around Cleveland Street. This woman’s name was Annie Crook (1). She was a poor Catholic girl who worked in a tobacco shop. Annie also was rumored to work as a prostitute at times. The two were married in a Catholic church and eventually had a child, Alice Margaret. When the queen found out about the marriage she immediately launched a plan to help eliminate the problem (1). The Queen found had Annie taken away and put in a mental institution. It is here that she became a test subject and was given a lobotomy to erase her memory. The baby was put in the care of Mary Kelly, a friend of Annie Crook. The problem with this theory is that in Rumbelow’s book Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook, Rumbelow proves that Annie Crook moved from workhouse to workhouse and that Alice Margaret was with her during most of this time (5). A marriage certificate of Alice Crooks was found and on the certificate Alice lists her father as being William Crook. William Crook is the father of Annie Crook, in other words William Crook is Alice Crook’s grandfather (5). One of the points that many conspiracy theorists make is that Alice Crook had a hearing problems and was prone to epileptic seizures. The point they make is that Eddie also had genetic hearing problems was prone to seizures however; it has been discovered that Sarah Crook (Alice’s grandmother) was deaf and had epilepsy (5). Mary Kelly left Alice in the care of nuns and they moved to the East End. Mary Kelly told the story of what she had witnessed to a few of her friends (Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes). Her friends encouraged her that it would be a good idea to try and blackmail the government and extort money from them. When the Queen heard of this she once again called on one of her subjects to take care of the problem. The problem with this theory is that there is no evidence that links Eddy to Cleveland Street or to a woman named Annie Crook. The other piece of information that is missing is that there is no proof that any of the victims knew one another.

            There are several theories that revolve around Eddy. The public would love to believe that this really is a conspiracy theory and that the Royal Family has done a brilliant job of covering it up all these years. The last theory about Eddy is the most popular and is extensively analyzed in Stephen Knight’s book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. This book supports the theory that Eddy had a love affair and a bastard child with an “unfortunate” but was not involved in the actually killing. The person who is mostly to blame in this tale is Dr. William Gull. As mentioned previously, Gull was the physician to the Royal Family. When Victoria first learned of the affair and secret marriage, she turned to the Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury. Salisbury then took the problem to Dr. Gull. Sickert claims that Nichols, Chapman, and Eddowes were all murdered because of what they knew about the situation (4). Joseph Sickert told Knight that Stride was a mistake because she often went by the name Mary Kelly. Because no one could know that the Royal Family had any involvement in the murders a scapegoat was chosen. Montague Druitt was chosen to take the fall and according to Sickert, was then murdered for it. Sickert also insinuates that Gull had help at each murder. It is believed that Gull acquired the help of John Netley a coachmen who used to chauffer Eddy to the East End. Gull needed a way to flee the scene with relative ease so Netley provided the getaway car so to speak (4). Because the murders were often committed in the middle of the street and required a decent amount of time, there had to be someone to would stand guard and warn Gull if anyone was approaching.

            The theory that is discussed in Knight’s book was originally brought to light by the producers of the BBC program when they found Joseph Sickert. Knight became fascinated with the story and asked Sickert if it would be possible to write an article on the story. Although Sickert didn’t want to be in the public eye he agreed to the interview. As the interview progressed Knight decided that an article would not do this story justice and decided to write a book. The difference between Knight’s book and the BBC program is that Knight suggests that the third man involved in the murders was not Sir Robert Anderson but Walter Sickert.

Walter’s connection to the case is that he was close a friend of the Royal family at the time. Princess Alex asked Sickert to watch out for Eddie. It is said that Sickert was the one who introduced Eddie to Annie Crook. Sickert was a painter and had used Annie Crook and some of her friends as models for his paintings. Knight implicates Sickert in the book because he believes that Sickert seems to know too much about the murders. Knight reasons that anybody who knows that much had to have some hand in the actual deed (4). One of the witnesses who gave details about the appearance of the suspect claims that the man was carrying a parcel. Knight argues that the parcel is actually a portrait that Sickert painted of Mary Kelly, the painting was being used as a way to recognize Mary Kelly (4). This is doesn’t make any sense because if Sickert had painted Mary Kelly then he would know what she looked like and therefore would not have to carry around a portrait of her (5). Almost the entire of basis of Knight’s theory is centered on a red handkerchief. One of the eyewitness testimonies claims that the last man who was seen with Mary Kelly gave her a red handkerchief. In many of Sickert’s paintings there is a red handkerchief painted in (1). The last point that Knight has against Sickert is that he was supposedly given “hush money” from Lord Salisbury. The story that is told is that Salisbury randomly visited Sickert’s studio one day and without looking at any of the paintings bought one for 500 pounds when it was apparently a worthless piece. Possibly the biggest problem with Knight’s entire theory is the fact that shortly after the book was published, Joseph Sickert admitted to fabricating the entire story (1).

The last piece of the puzzle when talking about the Royal Conspiracy is the inquiry as to the involvement of the secret organization known as the Masons. This is so typical of a conspiracy theory. Government involvement? Check. Secret ritualistic practices by a historically secret organization? Check. The Mason’s are a good way to top off a conspiracy theory because there is no way to prove or disprove involvement. Knight argues that the lack of evidence in this case is due to the fact the Mason’s and the government conspired to destroy any and all evidence that could possibly implicate them (1). “No marriage certificate for Eddy and Annie? Conspiracy. No evidence that Gull, Salisbury Warren and Anderson were Masons? Conspiracy. Evidence suppressed at the inquest? Conspiracy.” (1). Knight makes the argument that the murders were part of a ritual that the Masons used in the murder of Mason Hirem Abiff in Soloman’s Temple. The murder was committed by three members, Jubela, Jubelo, and Jubelum. In this ritual the victim’s throat is cut and their torsos are cut completely open in order to disembowel them (4). The other significant piece of Knight’s argument is the analysis of the location of the victim’s bodies. Mitre Square for example is said to be significant to the Masons because it was a popular meeting place and the words Mitre and Square are prominent symbols of the Masons (4). Many ripperologists have a problem with this because the method is neither sensible, nor discreet. If the Royal Family wanted to have something taken care of quickly and quietly this does not seem like the way to do it.

Conspiracy theories are definitely entertaining and provide great fiction novels. However that’s all that most conspiracy theories are, fiction. Marilyn Monroe dies from an overdose and I am sorry to report that Tupac and Elvis really are dead. It’s amusing to sit around and talk about all of the possible what ifs and the crazy explanations. When we get down to it though, chances are that Jack the Ripper is still some random guy that isn’t one of the prominent suspects and maybe he wasn’t ever even questioned. It is just about as likely that Big Foot or the Lochness Monster killed all those women in London, as it is that Prince Albert, a crazed doctor, a twisted painter, and a secret society of men did.



                                                                               Work Cited


Begg, Paul, and Martin Fido. Jack the Ripper A-Z. 3rd ed. United Kingdom: Headline Books, 1994. Print. (3)

Harrison, Michael. Clarence: The Life of H. R. H. the Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864-1892).. 1st. London: W,H Allen, 1972. Print. (6)

Knight, Stephen. Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. 1st. Chicago, IL: Academy Chicago Publishers, 1986. Print.(4)

Rumbelow, Donald. Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook. 1st. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1988. Print. (5)

Ryder, Stephen P.. “Prince Albert Victor.” “Good Knight: An Examination of the Final Solution”  Casebook. 2009. Casebook. 5 Apr 2009 (1)

Stowell, Dr. Thomas. “A Solution.” The Criminologist 5(1970): 18. Print (2)


Into the Mind of Jack the Ripper: A Comparison of the FBI’s 1988 Criminal Profile to the Suspect Aaron Kosminski

Posted in Uncategorized on April 27, 2009 by emilym90

The case of Jack the Ripper is considered to be one of the most infamous murder mysteries of the twentieth century. Many aspects of the gruesome murders that occurred during the fall of 1888 still remain a mystery today. Many individuals remain interested in the ripper case, and continue to investigate different aspects and evidence involving the case. However, despite ripperologists’ relentless investigation, the true identity of Jack the Ripper has yet to be unveiled. Over the century, numerous suspects have been suggested as the true ripper. Suspects range from individuals of various monetary backgrounds, nationalities, and motives. Some individuals point to conspiracy theories or claim that the ripper was a distinguished person such as author Lewis Carroll or Prince Albert Victor. However, with every suggested suspect, another wave of argument, inconsistencies, and discrepancies follow closely behind. In reality, no suspect fits the ripper case with enough certainty to be overwhelmingly deemed as the perpetrator. Thus, despite the numerous suspects of Jack the Ripper, it is doubtful that the real perpetrator was or has been a suspect in the investigation.
However, the passage of time since the murders has not deterred many legitimate investigatory services from lending their skills and opinions regarding the identity of the assailant. In 1988, the Federal Bureau of Investigation became involved in the ripper case and compiled a criminal profile of the ripper based on the evidence found at the crime scenes of the canonical five victims. Based on the FBI’s criminal profile of the perpetrator and evidence of the ripper case, the most likely suspect that currently exists is Aaron Kosminski, a polish Jew that lived in Whitechapel during the murders and was committed to a mental institution in 1891. Based on the current lists of suspects, Aaron Kosminski best fits the FBI profile. Since then, other professional investigators and ripperologists have stated their belief that Kosminski is the most likely suspect. Also, much case evidence exists to suggest that Kosminski’s guilt was the belief of lead investigators Sir Robert Peel and Chief Robert Swanson after the murders during the early twentieth century.
Due to conflicting records and a general lack of information, much of Aaron Kosminski’s early life remains unknown. It is generally believed that Kosminski was born in 1864 or 1865 in Klodawa, Poland. He lived briefly in Germany before emigrating to England in 1882 when he was seventeen (Begg 331). He had a brother named Woolf and at least two sisters named Betsy and Matilda. Little is known about his parents, and it is believed that his father was not present in his life from an early age (he did not emigrate with the family to England). Also, the whereabouts of Kosminski’s mother remain unknown until 1891, and it is possible that she was absent during much of his adolescence (Casebook 7).
Family interviews and records indicate that during the first few years after emigrating to England, Kosminski worked as a hairdresser in East End and never married (Begg 331). On July 12, 1890, Kosminski was admitted to the Mile End Old Town Workhouse at the insistence of his brother. According to workhouse records (which was probably information given by Woolf Kosminski at the time of admittance) states that Aaron Kosminski resided at 3 Sion Square and had been insane for two years (Begg 331).
Kosminski was discharged on July 15, 1890, only three days later, into the care of his brother (Begg 331). Little is known regarding his condition for the next several months until he was readmitted to the same workhouse on February 4, 1891. Again, he was discharged from the workhouse three days later and sent to the colony lunatic asylum at Colony Hatch (Begg 334). During his admittance to Colony Hatch, an initial physical and emotional examination was given. This proved to be a wealth of information regarding Kosminski’s mental status. According to Paul Begg, the examination noted that Kosminski had been “insane for six years (since 1885)”, suffered physically from self-abuse, was manic and incoherent, had a fair physical state, and was not dangerous to others, suicidal, or epileptic (Begg 334). Doctor E.K. Houchin declared Kosminski insane stating, “He declares that he is guided and his movements altogether controlled by an instinct that informs his mind; he says that he knows the movements of all mankind; he refuses food from the gutter for the same reason” (Sugden 402). Dr. Houchin continued commenting on his unclean, disheveled appearance and the fact that he had been unemployed for several years (Sugden 402). It was also noted in the report that Kosminski had allegedly threatened his sister with a knife (Begg 335, Sugden 402).
Kosminski’s approximate three year stay at Colony Hatch was marked by “aural hallucinations” (Sugden 403), visual hallucinations, refusal to work, uncleanliness, and before being discharged was described as “demented and incoherent” (Sugden 403). Only one report described him as being violent when he “took up a chair, and attempted to strike the charge attendant” on January 9, 1892 (Sugden 403). On April 19, 1894, Kosminski was transferred to Leavesden Asylum, where he remained for the last twenty five years of his life. His emotional and physical health deteriorated until he died March 24, 1919 (Scott 1).
The identity of Aaron Kosminski as a suspect remained unknown for many decades after the murder investigation had ceased. In 1907, Sir Robert Anderson’s book, Criminals and Crime, claimed that Jack the Ripper had been identified years ago, had been “safely caged in an asylum”, and had not written the ‘Jack the Ripper’ letter (Sugden 397). Further details were revealed in Anderson’s memoir, The Lighter Side of My Official Life, published in 1910. According to his writing, the ripper was a low-class Jew that lived in the vicinity of the murders. He continued stating, “The only person who had ever had a good view of the murderer” positively identified the suspect, but refused to testify once he learned “that the suspect was a fellow-Jew” (Sugden 398).
The identity of this suspect remained unknown until 1959, when a copy of Sir Mellville Macnaghten’s draft report of 1894 was released to the public. According to Macnaghten, Kosminski, a polish Jew suffering from insanity, was second on the list of probable suspects (Sugden 399). The latest evidence regarding Kosminski was revealed in 1981. Sir Robert Anderson’s memoirs, annotated by Chief Inspector Donald Sutherland Swanson, were found among some of Swanson’s old belongings. His annotations convey his belief that Kosminski was the polish Jew that Anderson had referred to in his writings. In the margins, Swanson had noted that the witness refused to testify because the suspect was a fellow Jew and he did not wish to be responsible for his execution. He also stated that “after this identification… no other murder of this kind took place in London” (Sugden 400). According to Swanson’s notes, Kosminski was watched by the police between workhouse stints and died shortly after he was admitted to Colney Hatch (Sugden 400).
Nearly seven years later, the FBI released a profile for the Jack the Ripper murders. When considering the suspects individually, each suspect possessed similarities with the profile. However, Aaron Kosminski possesses more similarities than any other suspect to date. He was a white male with 28 to 36 years of age. He was most likely single, never married, had poor hygiene/disheveled appearance, but blended in with the poor crowd of East End. As the FBI profile suggests, Kosminski is noted in medical records as possessing diminished emotional response and a low self-image (Sugden 403). He most likely lived and worked in Whitechapel, close to the murders. Also, Kosminski had no medical knowledge or surgical expertise necessary to commit the crimes, was of average intelligence (lucky not clever), and was a victim of a broken home (Rossmo 11). The profile stated that the perpetrator was interviewed by the police at some point during the investigation and did not write any of the “Jack the Ripper Letters”. Similar to the suggestions of the profile, Kosminski was mentally disturbed, behaved erratically, but did not commit suicide (Rossmo 11). This last point regarding the perpetrator’s mental status is especially crucial when distinguishing Kosminski from other suspects. Finally, the FBI profile indicated the belief that the perpetrator resided very close to where the murders took place, and it is apparent that Kosminski resided very near the center of canonical five murders (House 14).
Although the profile suggests many similarities, it is important to understand that the ripper profile does not fit any subject perfectly. Many aspects of the profile cannot be related to Kosminski, because details from his earlier life remain unknown. For example, the profile suggests that the perpetrator had difficulty interacting with individuals, especially women (Rossmo 11). However, no medical records indicate that Kosminski ever had difficulty with women in particular. It also suggests that the assailant desired control and dominance over others (Rossmo11). Medical records described that although Kosminski exhibited manic symptoms, he was docile and withdrawn at other times (Sugden 403). No evidence suggests indicating that he was of particularly controlling nature, and several hospital assessments indicated doctors’ beliefs that he was not violent. The profile suggests that the perpetrator most likely possessed a solitary menial job Monday through Friday, however, the hospital records indicated that Kosminski had been unemployed for years. Due to the fact that little is known regarding Kosminski’s childhood, it is difficult to corroborate the FBI’s beliefs that he was raised by “a dominant female figure who drank heavily, consorted with different men, and physically, possibly sexually, abused him” (Rossmo 11). It is not known if Kosminski set fires or abused animals as a child. Finally, the profile indicated that the perpetrator most likely was nocturnal, drank in local pubs, and was witnessed walking around Whitechapel at night. However, no known information regarding Kosminski exists to describe his sleep or living patterns, and only one witness positively identified Kosminski (Sugden 409).
There are other factual discrepancies that prevent Kosminski from being labeled the ripper as well. One such issue is the fact that Kosminski was not admitted to Colony Hatch until 1891, two years after the murders stopped. Thus, it is misleading for Swanson to have claimed that no brutal murders had occurred after Kosminski was admitted to an asylum. In reality, the murders ceased nearly two years before his admittance.
Secondly, Kosminski did not die soon after entering Colony Hatch, but lived there for twenty eight years (Sugden 401). Anderson’s unfortunate error casts a question of credibility on his all of his statements regarding the suspect.
Finally, that the positive identification of Kosminski by the unknown witness occurred nearly two years after the murder. Sugden, along with many others, believe that the witness was most likely Joseph Lawende (Sugden 407). Even though Anderson stated that the witness immediately identified the suspect, it is doubtful that this identification could withstand in a court of law.
Regardless of these controversial factors related to the investigation, Kosminski has been identified by many investigators as the most likely suspect for the murders. In his book, The Cases that Haunt Us, John Douglas, one of the most acclaimed FBI criminal profilers, identified Kosminski as the most likely candidate for the murders.
Although Kosminski seemed to fit my profile and evaluation, I cautioned…that a hundred years after the fact, I could not prove that he was the actual killer. What I said was that Jack the Ripper would either be Aaron Kosminski or someone like the man I was describing. And I stand by that (Douglas and Olshaker 79).
Other investigators have identified Kosminski as the most likely suspect as well. Christopher Scott, author of “Jack the Ripper: A Cast of Thousands”, described other incidences in which Kosminski was named as a lead suspect.
Of all the established suspects, one of the perennial frontrunners is Aaron Kosminski. A number of major works in the Ripper canon have taken Kosminski as their subject of choice and in a made for TV film entitled “The Secret Identity of Jack the Ripper” a panel of experts, including a barrister, an ex police officer and two FBI personnel, unanimously selected Kosminski as the most likely to have been the Whitechapel murder of the suspects whose cases were laid before them (Scott 1).
Despite the inconsistencies in historical records and the unanswered questions regarding his childhood and whereabouts between the murders and his institutionalization, Kosminski remains the most likely candidate out of the few most popular ripper suspects. This belief is shared by a variety of professional investigators and ripperologists, and it appears as if Sir Robert Anderson and Chief Inspector Robert Swanson believed this as well. The FBI profile, although created nearly a century later, suggests that Kosminski best fits the criteria for the ripper based on evidence found at the crime scenes. Discrepancy and controversy exist when questioning the validity of every popular ripper suspect. Thus, even though Kosminski is the most likely assailant, the ripper may have never been considered a suspect by police. Due to the continuing controversy and time that has elapsed, it is probable identity of Jack the Ripper will forever remain a mystery.

Work Cited
Begg, Paul. Jack the Ripper: The Definitive History. Great Britain: Pearson Education Limited, 2005.
Douglas, John and Mark Olshaker. The Cases that Haunt Us. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000.
House, Robert. “Aaron Kosminski Reconsidered.” Casebook: Jack the Ripper. 20 April 2009 .
Rossmo, Kim. “Jack the Ripper.” Center for Geospacial Intelligence and Investigation. 15 April 2009 .
Scott, Christopher. “Jack the Ripper: A Cast of Thousands.” 2004. Casebook: Jack the Ripper. 17 April 2009 .
Sugden, Philip. The Complete History of Jack the Ripper: New Edition. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2002.