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Birmingham Evening Mail, U.K.
6 October 1888

The hue and cry after the Whitechapel fiend has exercised an almost irresistible influence over the minds of innumerable men and youths in all parts of the country. A feverish desire to run him to earth, combined with a notion that they command the acumen of a {illegible}, goads them on to be ever on the alert for a "dark man with a black bag." Under these circumstances the danger of carrying a black bag is very great. It resulted in the attention of the police being called to a suspect in Birmingham during the week. Late on Tuesday night a commercial traveler with a small black bag was hurrying down Stephenson Place to catch a train, when he was pounced upon by a strongly-built man. The suddenness of the attack took the possessor of the bag by surprise, and wishing to escape from the rather tight grip his assailant had of his throat, he began to struggle violently. The unknown retaliated and shrieked for help, but before the police arrived the pair were wriggling on the pavement. The strife having ended, the gentleman wished the constable to arrest his assailant for assaulting him, while the latter requested the policeman to lock the unfortunate owner of the black bag up for being the Whitechapel murderer. He was never as sure of anything in all his life, he contended, and, therefore, insisted upon his arrest. The policeman saw that the too zealous murderer-hunter was under the influence of drink, and escorted him to Moor Street, while the traveler proceeded on his journey. The prisoner did not grieve over his arrest; his only trouble being that the other man had been permitted to escape. He expressed himself confident that the constable would merit dismissal in the morning, but when before the Court the prisoner seemed exceedingly glad to escape with a small fine.


There was another Whitechapel scare in Birmingham the night before last. A man was seen hanging about Ladywood Road, peering into the face of every female that passed by. The rumour went abroad that he was the Whitechapel murderer, and one terrified female actually went to Ladywood Police Station for a detective to arrest him. I believe a policeman did investigate the mysterious stranger, and he turned out to be an inoffensive short-sighted young gentleman who had arranged to meet his sweetheart at ten o'clock but the lady had failed to keep her appointment. Being very short-sighted he made a close scrutiny of the features of every petticoated pedestrian, and hence the alarm that his prescence {sic} excited among the fair sex. It is a fact that several women in the neighbourhood were as excited by the rumour that they were afraid to go to the public-house for their supper beer.

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