Saturday, 20 October 1888
AN EXTRAORDINARY PARCEL.
Mr. George Lusk, the chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, has (says the Daily Telegraph) been recipient of some extraordinary communications from a person who is supposed to be connected with the recent murders in Whitechapel. A few days ago a postman delivered at Mr. Lusk's residence in Alderney-road, Globe-road, Mile-end, a postcard, which read as follows:
"Say Boss -
"You seem rare frightened, guess I'd like to give you fits, but can't stop time enough to let you box of toys play copper games with me, but hope to see you when I don't hurry to much. Bye-bye, Boss."
The card was addressed "Mr. Lusk, Head Vigilance Committee, Alderney-street, Mile-end." As Mr. Lusk has received other communications of the same kind since he has been connected with the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee he paid no attention to the communication; but on Tuesday evening there reached him through the post a small parcel, similarly addressed, which on examination proved to contain some meaty substance that gave off a very offensive odour. A closer inspection showed that the article was a portion of a kidney. Enclosed in the box with it was a letter worded in revolting terms, the writer stating that he had eaten "tother piece," and threatening to send Mr. Lusk the knife "that took it if you only wate whil longer." The letter was dated "From Hell," and signed "Catch me when you Can."
Mr. Lusk was naturally much exercised in his mind on receiving this extraordinary parcel, and decided to bring the matter before the Vigilance Committee, which met at the Crown, Mile-end-road, at a late hour on Wednesday evening. It was then agreed to investigate the subject next day, and on Thursday morning, Mr. J. Aarons, the treasurer; Mr. W. Harris, the secretary; and Messrs Reeves and Lawton, members of the Vigilance Committee, proceeded to Mr. Lusk's house to inspect the strange parcel. There they examined the post-card, letter and kidney, the latter of which had evidently been immersed in spirits of wine. As no definite conclusion could be arrived at, it was decided to call upon Dr. Wiles, of 56, Mile-end-road. In his absence, however, Mr. F. S. Reed, his assistant, examined the contents of the box, and at once expressed an opinion that the article formed the half of a human kidney, which had been divided longitudinally. He thought it best, however, to submit the kidney to Dr. Openshaw, the pathological curator at the London Hospital, and this was at once done. By the use of the microscope Dr. Openshaw was able to determine that the kidney had been taken from a full-grown human being, and that the portion before him was part of the left kidney. It at once occurred to the Vigilance Committee that at the inquest on the body of the woman, Eddowes, who was murdered in Mitre-square, Aldgate, it was stated that the left kidney was missing, and in view of this circumstance it was deemed advisable to at once communicate with the police. Accordingly the parcel and the accompanying letter and post-card were at once taken to Leman-street Police-station, and the matter placed in the hands of Inspector Abberline. Subsequently the City police were communicated with, as the discovery relates to a crime occurring within their jurisdiction.
The cardboard box which Mr. Lusk received is about 3 ½ in. square, and was wrapped in paper. The cover bears a London post-mark, but the stamping is not sufficiently clear to enable it to be stated from what postal district of the metropolis the article was sent. On this point it is expected that the assistance of the Post Office officials will be involved. The portion of the kidney which it enclosed has, according to the medical experts, been preserved for some time in spirits of wine. The person from whom it was taken was probably alive some three weeks since, a circumstance which fits in with the suggestion that the organ may have been taken from the body of the deceased woman Eddowes, murdered in Mitre-square. Another fact is that the kidney is evidently that of a person who had been a considerable drinker, as there were distinct marks of disease. The handwriting of the postcard and letter differs altogether from that of "Jack the Ripper," specimens of whose caligraphy were recently published. The writing is of an inferior character, evidently disguised, while the spelling, as will be seen, is indifferent.