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Atlanta Constitution
Georgia, U.S.A.
Friday, 5 October 1888

Opinions of Medical Experts on the Whitechapel Murders

New York, October 4.

Dr. William A. Hammond, the insanity expert of this city, says the Whitechapel murders are committed by a homicidal maniac who is like a tiger in his nature. If caught, the law should shield its eyes while society hangs the maniac. Continuing, the doctor said:

"Cases of homicidal insanity are very common. They are confined to no class or country, and the books are full of them. The last instance of this kind in New York that I recall was that man, I have forgotten his name, who ran through Fourteenth street with a carpenter's compass in his hand, stabbing every woman he met. I examined him and found it a plain case of homicidal insanity."

"Are people affected in this way particularly noticeable?"

"Now, that's just the mistake the London police are making," replied the doctor, sharply, "they are looking for a repulsive, uncouth butcher, dripping with blood and hiding in the cellars about Whitechapel. In society he is probably a mild-mannered man. He may move in the very best circles. He may be known among his acquaintances for his modesty, his refinement, his humanity. He may even have an effeminate horror of bloodshed and strife. And yet, for some one of a dozen causes - disease, drink or what-not - he may have, at times, this insatiable desire for blood. My own opinion is," continued the doctor, "that he is actuated by some fanatical religious ideas. He thinks that he is doing religion a service in ridding the world of such women as he kills, for in every case they are reported as being prostitutes. The appetite increases with indulgence. This Whitechapel lunatic thinks now that he is doing a service in killing ignorant, depraved women. Presently it will occur to him to kill women whom he thinks belong to the same class, but who are in high life, and it would not at all surprise me if the next victim was a duchess or a countess. Then he will be caught."

"What are the symptoms of homicidal insanity?"

"They are different in different cases. Usually the disease is accompanied by inability to sleep, rush of blood to the head, dizziness, confusion of ideas, and then delusion."

"The fact of an American offering hundreds of dollars for anatomical specimens is absurd, is it not?"

"To the last degree. I see the coroner dwelt on it in charging the jury. The specimens referred to can be purchased in this city in unlimited quantities for $1."

Theories of a Chicago Medical man

Chicago, October 4.

Dr. J. G. Kiernan, of this city, a recognized medical authority and editor of the Medical Standard, said today that the Whitechapel murderer is a cannibal pure and simple. The doctor added: "The Whitechapel murders are clearly the work of a lunatic of the so called "sexual pervert" type, fortunately rare in Anglo-Saxon lands but not infrequently met with in Russia, Germany, Bohemia and France. In these lunatics there is a return to the animal passions of the lowest cannibalistic savage races. Cannibalism is shown in a thirst for blood, and these animal passions come to the surface when the checks imposed by centuries of civilization are removed either by disease or by the defects inherited from degenerate parents. The most noted of these cases was that of Giles De Retz, the original Bluebeard, of the reign of Louis XV, who slaughtered two hundred female children in the same way as the Whitechapel butcher. The mutilations were very similar. A number of similar cases are on record in which the murderer devoured the mutilated parts. It was only a few years ago, in 1883, that all Westphalia, in Germany, was roused by several mysterious murders of females of the same type as those of Whitechapel. The vampirism of the middle ages, extending down through the fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth and early eighteenth century was a phase of this form of insanity."

"As to the remedy," continued Dr. Kiernan, "shut up the harmless, logical lunatics and release fewer so-called 'sane' men by legal procedures from state insane hospitals, and crimes of all kinds by the insane will cease. No lunatic should be at large unless some reliable person is pecuniarily responsible for his acts. The 'philanthropists' who release 'sane' people from the insane hospitals always decline pecuniary responsibility. There are lunatics now at large in Chicago, released as sane from insane hospitals, who, under certain conditions, are fully capable of committing Whitechapel murders."

Related pages:
       Press Reports: Alderley and Wilmslow Advertiser - 5 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Atchison Daily Globe - 27 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Chicago Tribune - 7 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 29 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 26 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 27 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 28 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 29 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 27 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 28 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Lancet - 29 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Lloyds Weekly News - 30 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Manitoba Daily Free Press - 5 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Montreal Daily Star - 5 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 8 October 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Tribune - 27 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 29 September 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 29 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 27 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 28 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Te Aroha News - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 27 September 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 28 September 1888