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Williamsport Sunday Grit
22 February 1891

IS JACK A WOMAN?

The renewal of the Ripper excitement in London has caused much tribulation in Scotland Yard. The cunning of this criminal, and the ease with which he appears to baffle all efforts of the detectives, make the whole metropolitan force sore. The heads of the department share the general chagrin. But, more than this, they are unable to find sufficient men efficiently to patrol Whitechapel, and at the same time to maintain enough men at the docks and along the river side to protect the non union laborers against the attacks which are constantly being threatened by the unionists. There is little doubt in the minds of the police that the murder of the unfortunate woman in Whitechapel last week, was done by the hand of the same monster who now has ten ghastly crimes to his record. But the mystery of the identity of the fiend is increased by the latest tragedy. When the policeman found the victim under the railway arch her eyes were still opening and closing, and her hands convulsively twitching in her death throes, while the blood was still pumping great jets from the severed jugular. The officer who found the body must have been almost within a hundred feet of Jack the Ripper, when he cut the woman's throat, and yet he heard not a sound of footfalls, nor the slightest noise of a struggle. This lends interest to Dr. Lawson Tait's theory, expounded to a reporter of the Pall Mall Gazette, that the murderer is of the same sex as the several victims. Said Dr. Tait: "Nothing is more likely than that Jack the Ripper is some big, strong woman engaged at the slaughter house in cleaning up, and now and then in actually cutting up meat. Again, in a number of instances, the women when found were hardly dead. The bodies were warm. The murderer could not be far away. The fact that the police were so close upon the criminal goes to prove to a wonderful degree that the operator was a woman. I will tell you why. On the discovery of one of the murders, the police promptly made a circuit round the neighborhood. Nobody was arrested, or rather no man was arrested. They did not look for a woman. It must be clearly understood that whoever was the criminal would be thoroughly splashed with the blood. It would impossible to hack and hew a warm body in the Ripper fashion without getting all over blood. A man who thus besmeared himself could not possibly have got clear away, time after time. The thing would be perfectly easy for a woman. Conceive the murder done and the woman is all splashed. All she to do is roll up her skirt to her waist, leaving her petticoat, and fold up the shawl that is over her shoulders and tucked in at her middle. Then she might pass through the crowd with the very slightest risk of detection. Then as to washing the bloody garment, what would a man do? Plunge them into hot water. Result: the blood coagulates, won't come off and stains the clothes. And where is he to get hot water or how is he to pour away the bloody water undetected? A woman is always at the washing tub and she would put the clothes in cold water, when, with a little soap and rubbing, they would become clean, practically unstained, and she would be unsuspected."