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Athens Messenger (Ohio, U.S.A.)
1 March 1928

Jack the Ripper is back again!

Mothers in Bridgeport, Conn., following the twenty third stabbing case during the past two years, are clutching at their hearts with fear and anxiety every minute that their little ones are out of their sight.

Somewhere in that city roaming the streets, eager for the blood of the innocent, is a murderous maniac, brother of Jack the Strangler, the Stabber, the Clipper - all of them names for varieties of the same type of criminal.

The "rippers" have written a red record of maniacal horror in many great cities of the world and are continuing to do so today. Scotland Yard officials are now in the midst of solving such a case.

This Bridgeport fiend has, so far, manifested no desire to kill his victims, but merely to stab them and then take to flight. Those who have seen him describe him as middle aged and of an incredible fleetness of foot. His method is to spring suddenly out of the darkness, run at top speed upon some unsuspecting girl, plunge the needle like point of a weapon into her chest or arm or throat, and then dart away into the shadow without once slackening his flight.

In the latest case in Bridgeport, the Ripper stabbed Isabel Parker, aged sixteen, in a department store at five o'clock in the afternoon.


Alarming New Outbreak of Stranglers, Stabbers and Clippers

Connecticut's "Phantom Fiend" Returns to Claim His Twenty-Third Victim, While Overseas Scotland Yard Is Ferreting Out the "Burke of 1927"

"Jack the Ripper" is back again!

Mothers in Bridgeport, Conn., following the twenty-third stabbing case during the past two years, are clutching at their hearts with fear and anxiety every minute that their little ones are out of their sight.

Somewhere in that city roaming the streets, eager for the blood of the innocent, is a murderous maniac, brother of Jack the Strangler, the Stabber, the Clipper-all of them names for varieties of the same type of criminal.

The "rippers" have written a red record of maniacal horror in many great cities of the world and are continuing to do so today. Scotland Yard officials are right now in the midst of solving such a case.

This Bridgeport fiend has, so far, manifested no desire to kill his victims, but merely to stab them and then take to flight. Those who have seen him, for he has been pursued, though ineffectually, describe him as middle-aged and of an incredible fleetness of foot. His method is to spring suddenly out of the darkness, run at top speed upon some unsuspecting girl, plunge the needle-like point of a weapon into her chest or arm or throat, and then dart away into the shadow without once slackening his flight.

In the latest case in Bridgeport the "Ripper" stabbed Isabel Parker, aged sixteen, in a department store at five o'clock in the afternoon. The girl was in the store, surrounded by hundreds of shoppers and clerks, when she felt a knife plunged into her side and back. She screamed, "I've been stabbed!" and then fainted, and was taken to a hospital. There was a scene of wild confusion in the store; nobody actually witnessed the incident, and the "Ripper" escaped easily.

Twenty-three times now has this terrifying, mysterious creature unsheathed his knife in Bridgeport. Twenty-three times have young women, and sometimes mere school children, been the victims of this man's fiendish attacks, and the police are still searching in vain for him.

In consequence, a measure of mute apprehension has taken hold of the community, for scarcely a girl feels safe if she ventures abroad after nightfall, even though she be not alone.

These attacks are ominously like echoes of the notorious atrocities in the Whitechapel district of London, performed by London's famous "Jack the Ripper," the first of the brutes to be so labelled. It was in this London slum district that he slew and mutilated his victims. There were seven of them, seven mounting horrors.

Blue-blooded, conservative Boston has not been exempt. She received a visit from a "Ripper" and Alberta Ross, an eighteen-year-old girl, was attacked in a crowded Cambridge street by a marauder, who made his escape.

New York has had more than its share of these "ripper" crimes, some as horrible as those of the British capital; Paris has known them, as have Berlin and Canada. Chicago and Atlanta have been the scenes of similar attacks.

Belvedere, N.J., knows the terror of the "ripper," for Helen Becker, a school girl of that town, had her hair cut off by a maniac who jumped upon her from the underbrush as she was carrying milk cans.

But Bridgeport's list of victims is a record and includes many young girls. Catherine Dillon, thirteen years old is one of these. She was stabbed in the breast with a sharp instrument. Rose Kerensky gave the police a vivid description of the mysterious maniac who attacked her. Rose who is twelve years old, said she had a feeling that someone was following her several days before she was knifed.

Mary Dirgo is another of the girl victims of Bridgeport's "phantom stabber." She is believed by the police to have been struck with an implement resembling an ice pick. She is sixteen, but like most of the other girl victims is mature beyond her age.

Atlanta has a "Jack the Ripper," all of whose victims were negro women. He worked his horrors in that city for two years and he murdered twenty of them. He was as methodical and cunning about his work as the London "Jack" and possessed, too, quite knowledge of anatomy.

Saturday night was the time invariably chosen for his crimes. He came upon his victims from behind and with a single stroke of a razor, supposedly, or with a surgeon's sharp knife, cut their throats.

Berlin was baffled for an entire Winter by a "ripper." One woman was killed by a stab wound in the abdomen, three were mortally wounded, fourteen seriously hurt, five slightly injured and eight merely scratched.

Scotland Yard is unraveling a "strangler" case even now. Mrs. Mary Alice Mottram, 21, wife of George Edward Mottram, miner, of Sheffield, England, was murdered by strangulation. Soon after the crime was committed the police intimated that they were anxious to interview a strange, tall, dark, middle-aged woman "with a masculine voice" who had been lurking in the neighborhood, and had expressed her determination to find a couple she was in search of, "if she died in the attempt."

Then, with dramatic suddenness, a man surprised a policeman by voluntarily giving himself into custody and making a statement in regard to the murder. Mrs. Mottram had been done to death as she sat having her tea. A book, which she had been reading, was propped up on the table, and there were also the remains of a half-eaten meal. The dead woman's husband, who had been on the afternoon shifts at the colliery, leaving home about 1:30 p.m. and returning about 10:30 p.m., made the distressing discovery immediately on entering the house.

Going into the kitchen, he saw his wife lying on her back with her head close to a table and her feet against the wall of the room. Around her throat was a towel knotted and on top of it a piece of clothes line. It had two knots in it. Everything was in its usual place and there were no signs of a struggle. The police and a doctor were called. The doctor certified that the woman had died of asphyxiation.

Mrs. Mottram, who had been married two years, had continued to work for a cutlery firm and had been so employed on the day of her murder. She had complained of late of not feeling well. She said her nerves were bad and she felt "evil hanging over her," adding that she had not an enemy in the world and could not understand her feelings.

The man who surrendered to the police is Samuel Case, 24, a married miner, also of Sheffield. He trembled violently when he appeared in court charged with the murder of Mrs. Mottram.

Coincident with what the authorities take to be a new crime wave in Great Britain has come, on the part of authors, a revived interest in the dark deeds of England's past. Just as, last year, the startling series of killings in the United States was artistically reflected in Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy," which was a success in the theatre, so now memories of the notorious Thompson-Bywaters case have inspired an actor, Frank Vosper, to write its dramatic parallel in his play, "Surmise," or "Spellbound," as it was later called.

The slaying of Percy Thompson, morose husband of pretty Edith Thompson, by her 20-year-old lover, Freddie Bywaters is a murder classic. Mrs. Thompson and her sulky mate were returning from the theatre one night when Bywaters, a roving sailor, set upon the man and fatally knifed him. The Lord Chamberlain forbade the production of the play in London, but it was done in the United States with the eminent actress, Pauline Lord, in the central role, and succeeded in further stirring up interest in the international crime waves of yesterday and today.

Few "rippers" have been caught, but those that have, like all vainglorious evildoers, are found to be boastful of their acts. William Hannaford, eighteen years old, arrested in Boston during an epidemic of such horrors in that city, proudly asserted that he had attacked six girls in one week without being caught. He declared that the attacks were made because of "an irresistible impulse."

It is a sad list, this category of curious crimes, whose perpetrations, in the greater number of cases, have gone unpunished and it offers endless food for reflection. As one glances over the series of unsolved crimes, which extend back for a period of years one finds there deeds of horror that have spread over the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific and which also have been perpetrated equally as brutally in the countries across the sea.

The deeds of the "rippers" stand out strongly because they resemble each other to great degree, through varying the techniques of execution.

Medical science explains that "Jack the Ripper," "Jack the Strangler," "Jack the Stabber," "Jack the Clipper" is a person who is always mentally deficient. Though he may appear in all respects normal, except when he is seized with the uncontrollable desire to commit an attack, he is nevertheless mentally unbalanced. It is a type of mental derangement that spasmodically occurs and numerous cases are on record of men of intellect and even genius who were seized by a desire, long slumbering in the unconscious mind, to commit such a depredation.

In many instances it is a case of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," for the "ripper" may be a man of culture, possibly the father of a family whose children are the example of good behavior, but who from time to time has the terrible urge to see people suffer. Not often, scientists state, do these men attack their own. Education and age make little difference, for "rippers" of all ages and classes have been known.

Deeds of "Jack the Rippers" recorded in criminal history have been bloodier than the mere "cave man" attacks of today. The darkest traditions of Scotland Yard have to do with the heinous Whitechapel murders by "Jack the Ripper," who ran at large many years ago. A whole literature of stories grew out of the Whitechapel killings, now revived in the vicious and vigorous outbreak of clippings, stabbings and rippings on both sides of the Atlantic, which, it almost seems, is practically the only place these masters do not choose for their playground.