Among the plethora of "facts" presented for our delectation by the world's Ripper scribblers one consistent theme emerges - contradiction. This marked disagreement between those bold enough to put their thoughts into 100,000 or so words has led we Ripperologists into the wilderness of mirrors. It almost seems to be the case that the medium has now supplanted the message as we look for guidance from our own well worn paperbacks and trusting the research and veracity of others which, in itself, is a problem. Basically we are only reinforcing our own bias. How many people for instance, and be honest here, still hold a slight belief in a Masonic Conspiracy because they have read the late Steven Knight's brilliant novel? How many of us have allowed ourselves to be deluded by opinion subtly disguised as fact?
Because of the inconsistencies in reports and opinions I decided, purely as an exercise, to draw up a thumbnail table of definitely established facts. From this flimsy material, I hoped to arrive at a logical conclusion as to the signature of Jack the Ripper. My conclusions are rather original and I present them here in two parts. The first part shows the table that I drew up and my take on the emergence of a theme. The second part involves how I believe the dastard worked, not who though a small element of profiling as to why crept in. And no, the irony is not lost on me. The latter part of this document is basically composed of my opinion dressed up as fact!
|Dark thoroughfare with warehouse, lodgings and stable.||Throat cut, slight bruising on face, disembowelled, two stabs to genitalia.|
b/w 5 & 6am
|Backyard of densely inhabited tenement.||Throat cut, bruising on face, signs fo asphyxiation, culminating in removal of uterus.|
b/w 12 & 1am
|A high-walled court beside a busy club and tenement buildings.||Throat cut, bruising on chest and shoulders.|
b/w 1 & 2am
|A square faced on all sides by warehouses and housing.||Throat cut, severe mutilation, removal of kidney and uterus.|
Time of death contested
|A small room obviously surrounded by neighbours and houses.||Throat cut, gross disfiguration.|
So, what can be gleaned from the above table. Well the first detail that merits a mention is the sheer audacity of the killer. Look at the locations, notice how the murders were not committed in some out of the way place. Therefore, the first indication of Jack the Ripper's work, allowing for future amendments, is this conceptual invisibility. No screams were heard, nor were any other signs of struggle audible. It is true that one witness, Cadosh, reported that he heard a woman say "no" followed by a bump, as if something had fallen. Yet he did not investigate the occurrence. In other words he sensed no alarm, discerned no signs of danger to the woman. It is a far reaching conclusion but I propose, as Cadosh deemed the activity innocuous, to call this attack "silent".
This notion of silence is a recurring theme, though I will make mention of Stride's murder later, and it immediately begs the question how did the Ripper kill so swiftly. It is accepted that he merely used the quaintly termed "Judas like advances" to hold on to his victim from behind and cut the throat. This means that the clutch and attack would have to be almost simultaneous in order to preclude the possibility of the victim screaming in alarm. I don't actually think that this would be possible. Think about it, not only would he have to completely and securely cover the mouth, he would then have to make an accurate cut to the throat. No, an attack of that order would result in at least one of the five victims being heard and also clear signs of struggle being discerned.
A far more plausible theory is to look at the signs of asphyxiation as evinced by two of the victims. But strangulation with bare hands, instantaneously silencing the victim, would mean that the killer had at least some prior experience of this horrible technique. It may be mooted that he used his forearm for the attack, which is plausible but inconsistent with the evidence. Again it would mean that he would have to position himself for an attack and it does not adequately account for street-wise prostitutes, where violence was an occupational hazard, reading these signs and making known their alarm.
The answer to this conundrum lies in Jack the Ripper first totally immobilising his victim. In effect he kills twice, the throat cutting becomes ritualistic, perhaps a sadistic coup de grace. I believe that Jack the Ripper used a garrotte in his initial attack. The line left on the victim's throat being obliterated by the jagged wound.
This leads on to Liz Stride and Israel Schwartz' testimony. She was heard to say "murder" although enigmatically not very loudly. This can be explained by the presence of the bruising on the face, shoulders and chests which leads me to conclude that the unfortunate Stride was first beaten by her killer. Also, though the location seems to broadly fit the previous pattern there is one crucial difference. The other murders were committed in silent streets, courts, or whatever. Stride was murdered outside a club whose members were carousing inside. This merry activity would effectively mask any other sounds of disorder outside. Another aspect to consider is Stride's killer murdering her accidently and then cutting the throat to disguise the work as the Ripper. This is not as far fetched as it seems because in recent weeks a similiar event occurred which, as the matter is now sub judice, I legally cannot detail further.
However, Stride's killing is the only murder where signs of a struggle exist which means that this initial aspect of silence, the signature remember, is not adhered to. Therefore poor Long Liz was not killed by the Whitechapel Murderer. She should still be counted as a Ripper victim though because she forms part of the "double event", the nature of which cemented the reputation of the mythical Jack the Ripper. This proposition also opposes the opinion of Dr. Bond who felt that "there appears to be no evidence of struggling" but he did then of course state that "the attacks were probably so sudden and made in such a position that the women could neither resist nor cry out." A position which I feel is best described by the use of a garotte.
Finally, with regard to the location, I think it reveals the killer was actually a local man or at the very least someone with long standing ties to the area. He knew where to look for his victims, perhaps he even knew enough of their habits to guess where they would lead him to and ultimately they walked into his trap. This may perhaps be an indication that he frequently used prostitutes and so could have been known by the victims. Another indicative feature appears in the Chapman murder - the curious timing. Only a man inimitably comfortable in his surroundings would kill at a time when it could be expected that people were starting to rise, workers were heading for their jobs, shifts were ending and people were heading home.
So why did he do it, what compelled this human being towards the greatest act of inhumanity. I think that the mutilations carry the key. The attacks on the reproductive organs and genitalia seem to point to some form of sexual inadequacy. But what of the ritualistic throat cutting? The fact that he carries out a double murder, as it were, on each victim may reveal something of the perpetrator's pysche. He doesn't have the courage to use the knife initially then falls into a frenzy of the utmost cruelty robbing his victims of their personality and their femininity. Perhaps the cutting of the throat symbolises his hatred of speech, that is, his hatred at his own lack of communication.
For me, Jack the Ripper was a timid, almost frail little man with a speech defect who felt the need to portray the total and complete subjugation of his victims. He wanted to prove to himself and the world that he was the lord and master of all he surveyed. Indeed the date of his last, most callous and brutal slaughter, the Lord Mayor's Parade, seems to indicate his own inflated self-worth. This type of man had no need to write letters to the paper, his forte was the sword not the pen. He would be far more likely to make egotistical observations and offhand remarks about his supposed intellectual prowess whilst quietly thrilling that he was the Blood Red Pimpernel outwitting the finest brains in England. (Bit purple there, I do apologise.)
So who was he and why did he stop? Well that's another story, a tale without an end!