10 November 1888
Again the East end fiend has been at work, and this time the insane love of mutilation is more apparent than ever. The victim in this case, Mary Ann Kelly, has been cut, eviscerated, and disfigured as none of her unfortunate predecessors sacrificed by the "Lust Morder" have been. Still the manner of the handicraft shows, we believe, that the same artist has been engaged. We call him an artist not in ridicule, but in very seriousness, from the evident fact that he loves his diabolical work, and endeavours to excite in ever increasing degree the attention of the world. His art is horror and he seeks ever to intensify it. On September 10 we ventured to suggest that the murderer was a monomaniac, and also possibly an epileptic. We did not then condemn the police, as many of our contemporaries did, for their failure to trace the assassin, recognising as we did the obscurity that surrounds the acts of the insane. We did, however, recommend that as the ordinary methods of criminal investigation had proved inadequate to the emergency a divergence should be made in face of the unusual circumstances. We hoped that inquiries would be made at various hospitals to discover what cases of epilepsy had been treated there, and the names of persons discharged as cured say within the last two years. We have not learned that our hint was accepted. The medical men of East London have, as far as we know, not been consulted. our theory, however, has been adopted by Dr. Forbes Winslow and every other eminent alienist qualified to judge. Most of our contemporaries have also - without acknowledgement - come round to our view. We still adhere to what we then wrote. Everything tends to the belief that one man and one man only is responsible for the series of murders, though fashion in murder as in suicide exerts potent influence on ill regulated minds. The atrocity of yesterday, a special and graphic account of which appears in other columns, shows, as in the other cases, that the murderer while revelling in mutilation is not a skilful anatomist. His knowledge, whatever it may be, is not that of a school bred man. He was proved in the Mitre square instance to have bungled his work, and if in the present case he has proceeded to greater lengths of horror, the more advantageous conditions of seclusion in a house amply explain it. Much was made by Sir Charles warren of the use to which bloodhounds could be turned. Yesterday they were sent for, but they were not forthcoming. Perhaps there is no great loss in this. The proper bloodhounds in this matter must be the police, and in order to succeed in their search, they must abandon their time honoured traditions.
A SEVENTH VICTIM SLAUGHTERED
HORRIBLE MUTILATION OF A WOMAN
ON HORROR'S HEAD HORRORS ACCUMULATE
THE VICTIM'S CRY OF "MURDER"
MRS. KENNEDY'S STATEMENT
SPITALFIELDS LAST NIGHT
SIGHTS AND SCENES
GREAT EXCITEMENT IN THE DISTRICT
THE SUPPOSED MURDERER SEEN AT KENNINGTON
A representative of The Evening News, who spent the night on the scene of the murders attributed to the revengeful knife of Jack the Ripper, states that down to a late hour, last night, the utmost excitement - if not terror - pervaded all classes of the population in the East End. The Dorset street murder, with all its revolting details, was the one topic of conversation, and as the closing hour of half past twelve approached there was an obvious renewal of the panic that ensued on the occasion of the recent double murder in Whitechapel. As then, so now, the thoroughfares which constitute the main arteries of traffic in the East End were deserted shortly after one o'clock - a strange scene to those accustomed to the bustle and turmoil of the Whitechapel streets far into the early morn. Ere an hour had passed after the midnight stroke, festive revellers had disappeared from the scene, while females of the unfortunate class were conspicuous chiefly by their absence.
But peaceful though the appearance of the streets may have been, the sturdy burghers of the East end were not unmindful of the duties voluntarily undertaken by them a few weeks back. The members of the Vigilance Committee were everywhere to be seen peering into dark and shady nooks that would afford even a suggestion for a crime, while detectives in plain clothes - and in overwhelming numbers - were ever on the alert. But in the small hours of the morning it must be confessed that Whitechapel looked dreariness itself. As the hours stole by plain clothes detectives, both amateur and professional, left the scene of their monotonous perambulations and once again the streets resounded only to the heavy mechanical tread of the blue coated guardians of the night. Even the coffee stalls were deserted, and their owners, enraged at the long continued paucity of nocturnal customers, did not hesitate to give free vent to their vocabulary of indignation. Jack the Ripper may, from his peculiar and monomaniacal point of view, be having a merry time of it, but coffee stall keepers think otherwise. This latest tragedy makes their prospects look even more gloomy than before, and the sullenness that comes of despair is rapidly stealing into the face of many an East end distributor of the cup that is said to cheer but not inebriate. Throughout yesterday Dorset street was the scene of intense excitement, and the strong cordon of police drawn around the approaches to the street only with the utmost difficulty prevented the ever increasing throng from breaking through. The search for the perpetrator of this the most revolting of all the East end tragedies has been kept up with the most persistent zeal, though so far without success. Yesterday, a man was arrested and taken to Commercial street, on the suspicion of being Jack the ripper, but subsequent information that came to hand led to his release. Late at night a further arrest was made at the same station. Here again it is anticipated by the authorities that the inquiries will fail to establish the identity of the prisoner with Jack the Ripper, and his speedy release is anticipated. The authorities themselves readily admit that up to the present they have not the slightest clue as to the perpetrator of this atrocious murder. The audacity of the deed has startled every one, and none more so than the police.
The actual scene of the murder is Miller's court, Dorset street - though the locality if known to residents in the neighbourhood as McCarthy's court. This is owing to the fact that a man named McCarthy is the chief owner or occupier of the houses there. Information has come to hand which tends to throw a strong light on the much disputed point as to when the tragedy was actually perpetrated. Immediately opposite the house in which Mary Jane Kelly was murdered is a tenement occupied by an Irishman, named Gallagher, and his family. On Thursday night Gallagher and his wife retired to rest at a fairly early hour. Their married daughter, a woman named Mrs. Kennedy, came home, however, at a late hour. Passing the Britannia, commonly known as Ringer's, at the top of Dorset street, at three o'clock on the Friday morning, she saw the deceased talking to a respectably dressed man, whom she identified as having accosted her a night or two before.
She passed them without taking any notice, and went home to bed. Between half past three and four o'clock in the morning Mrs. Kennedy, who passed a very restless night, heard a cry of "Murder" that seemed to come from the opposite side of the court, but according to her, she little thought of the awful tragedy that was then being enacted. She went to sleep, and it was not until eleven o'clock in the morning that she heard of the murder. So far as can be ascertained, Mrs. Kennedy is the only person who heard the cry of "Murder" that came from the unfortunate woman. In connection with Mrs. Kennedy, it may be mentioned that she and her sister, a widow, were, on Wednesday night last, accosted by a man when they were walking down the Bethnal Green road. It was about eight o'clock when this occurred.
The man is described by Mrs. Kennedy as having on a pair of dark mixture trousers and a long dark overcoat. He wore a low crowned brown hat and carried a shiny black bag in his hand. Further, it was stated that he was a man of medium stature, with dark moustache, and that he had an extremely awkward gait, which could at once be recognised. The stranger refused to stand Mrs. Kennedy and her sister a drink, but invited them to go with him down a dark sideway off the main road. They accompanied him as far as a gateway with a small door in it, but when he stepped through and left his bag on the ground, saying he would take either of them with him, a feeling of distrust seized the women. Mrs. Kennedy picked up the bag, whereupon the stranger exclaimed that he was not Jack the Ripper. Just then the woman noticed the unnatural glare of the man's eyes, and instinctively fled from the spot leaving him behind. They subsequently ascertained that the same man accosted other women the same night. Mrs. Kennedy is confident that the man whom she noticed speaking to the woman Kelly at three o'clock on Friday morning is identical with the person who accosted her on the previous Wednesday. Both she and her sister are most positive in their assertion that they could at once identify the man if they saw him. This evidence as to the cry of "Murder" is extremely important in view of the fact that a number of witnesses have come forward and stated that they saw the deceased woman Kelly as late as ten o'clock on the morning that the murder occurred. The entrance to Miller's court is guarded by constables night and day, and the public are rigidly excluded. It was at first erroneously stated that the body was found on a bed in the second floor front room. In reality the remains were found on the ground floor, and the windows have since been barricaded by the police. The body was in the course of yesterday removed to the Shoreditch Mortuary. It is currently reported that in the course of yesterday afternoon and evening a large number of arrests were made the police, but that in each case it was found necessary to discharge the prisoners through lack of sufficient evidence as to identity.
A somewhat important fact has been pointed out, which puts a fresh complexion on the theory of the murders. It appears that the cattle boats bringing live freight to London are in the habit of coming into the Thames on Thursdays or Fridays, and leave again for the Continent on Sundays or Mondays. It has already been a matter of comment that the recent revolting crimes have been committed at the week's end, and an opinion has been formed among some of the detectives that the murderer is a drover or butcher employed on one of these boats - of which there are many - and that he periodically appears and disappears with one of the steamers. This theory is held to be of much importance by those involved in the investigation, who believe that the murderer does not reside either in the locality or even in this country at all. It is thought that he may be either a person employed upon one of these boats, or one who is allowed to travel by them, and inquiries have for some time been directed in following up the theory. It is pointed out that at the inquests on the previous victims the coroners had expressed the opinion that the knowledge of anatomy possessed by a butcher would have been sufficient to enable him to find and cut out the parts of the body which in several cases were abstracted.
The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, who have recently relaxed their efforts to find the murderer, have called a meeting for Tuesday evening next, at the Paul's Head Tavern, Crispin street, Spitalfields, to consider what steps they can take to assist the police.
The Central News states, upon indisputable authority, that no portion of the murdered woman's body was taken away. A post mortem examination was held by the medical authorities summoned by the police, and the surgeons did not quit their work until every organ had been accounted for, and placed as closely as possible in its natural position.
John McCarthy, a provision dealer, residing at 27 Dorset street, and who is the landlord of No 26 in the same thoroughfare as the house in which the murder was committed, said: "Mary Jane Kelly, the murdered woman, was a person about 25 years of age. She was an unfortunate. The last that was heard of her was at one o'clock this (Friday) morning, when she was singing in her room and appeared to be very happy. At eleven o'clock last night she was seen in the Britannia public house at the corner of this thoroughfare, with a young man with a dark moustache. She was then intoxicated. The young man appeared to be very respectable and well dressed. About half past ten this morning I saw a man named Henry Bower (sic) go to Mary Jane Kelly's room and ask for the rent she owed me. Bower went to the house but failed to get any answer to his knocks. He then peered through one of the windows and saw the woman lying cut up on the bed. The bed was saturated with blood. Bower came and called me, telling me what he had seen, and we went and looked through the window.
"I cannot fully describe her injuries, for the sight was too much for me. I noticed that both her breasts were cut off, and that she was ripped up. he intestines were laid on the table; both ears were cut off, as was also the nose. The legs were cut to such an extent that the bones could be seen. Her face was one mass of cuts. We ran to the Commercial street Police station, and gave information."
In answer to questions as to whether the woman was married, McCarthy said deceased's husband was a fish porter, employed in Billingsgate, but in consequence of a quarrel between them four nights' ago, the man was now lodging in a boarding house in Bishopsgate street.
Mrs. Caroline Mapwell, of 14 Dorset street, the wife of a night watchman at Commercial Chambers, a common lodging house able to shelter 244 persons, and which is opposite the scene of the murder, said: "I have known the murdered woman well for the past six months. This (Friday) morning, as near as possible about half past eight, I saw Mary Jane (the murdered woman) standing outside the court. I said, "What brings you out so early, Mary Jane," and she answered, "I feel very queer. I cannot sleep. I have the horrors of the drink on me, as I have been drinking this last day or two." I said, "Well, I pity you, " and passed on. I then went to Bishopsgate; and on my return, just after nine o'clock, I saw Mary Jane talking to a man at the end of the street. Who he was I do not know. He was a short, stout man, about fifty years of age. I did not notice what he had on, but I saw that he wore a kind of plaid coat. I then went indoors to go to bed, as I had been on duty all night. Mary Jane (I only know her by that name) was a pleasant little woman, rather stout, fair complexion, and rather pale. I should say her age was be about 23. I had no idea she was an unfortunate, for I never saw her with any one, nor have I ever seen her drunk. She was a very quiet young woman, and had been in the neighbourhood about two years. She spoke with a kind of impediment. She belonged, I think, to Limerick, and had evidently been well connected.
Another important statement was made this morning to a representative of the Central News, by Mrs. Maxwell (or Mapwell) the wife of the deputy of a lodging house in Dorset street, situate just opposite the court in which the crime was committed. From the circumstantial character of Mrs. Maxwell's statement there is little doubt of its accuracy, and the police are now working on it in all directions. As Mrs. Maxwell saw the deceased woman at nine o'clock yesterday morning the crime must have been perpetrated in the broad light of day.
Mrs. Maxwell’s statement (which practically coincides with her previous statement given above) is as follows: "I assist my husband in his duties but we live next door, at No. 26 Dorset street. e stay up all night, and yesterday morning as I was going home, carrying my lantern and other things with me, I saw the woman Kelly standing at the entrance of the court. It was then about half past eight, and as it was unusual for her to be seen at that hour, I said to her, "Hallo, what are you doing up so early?" She said, "Oh, I'm very bad this morning. I have had the horrors. I have been drinking so much lately." I said to her, "Why don't you go and have half a pint of beer, it will put you right." She replied, "I've just had one, but I'm so bad I couldn't keep it down." I didn't know then that she had separated from the man she had been living with, and I thought he had been "paying" her. I then went out in the direction of Bishopsgate to do some errands, and on my return I saw Kelly standing outside the public house, talking to a man. That was the last I saw of her.
The two men arrested during the night on suspicion of being concerned in the murder in Dorset street, yesterday, have been released.
A young woman named Harvey, who had slept with the deceased on several occasions, has also made a statement. She said she had been on good terms with the deceased, whose education was much superior to that of most persons in her position of life. Harvey, however, took a room in New court, off the same street, but remained friendly with the unfortunate woman, who visited her in New court on Thursday night. After drinking together, they parted at half past seven o'clock, Kelly going off in the direction of Leman street, which she was in the habit of frequenting. She was perfectly sober at the time. Harvey never saw her alive afterwards. Hearing in the morning that a murder had been committed, she said, "I'll go and see if it is any one I know," and, to her horror, found it was her friend.
A reliable correspondent informs us that yesterday morning, about 11.45, a respectably dressed man, a stranger to the locality, was observed to stoop and wash his hands in a puddle at the corner of Clayton street, nearest to the Kennington Oval. He wore a dark suit, black coat, black billycock hat, and had a small black leather bag with him. He was about 5ft 6in in height, under 30 years of age, broad shouldered, and wore a thick, dark brown moustache. The person who saw him wash his hands in this singular place declares that he noticed marks of blood upon one hand. This, of course, occurred at a time when the news of the murder in Dorset street had not reached Kennington. He further describes this mysterious individual as having a sallow complexion and a thin, clean shaved face.
Joseph Barnet, an Irishman, at present residing in a common lodging house in New street, Bishopsgate, stated that he had occupied his present lodgings since Tuesday week. Previous to that he had lived in Miller's court, Dorset street, for eight or nine months with the murdered woman, Mary Jane Kelly. They were very happy and comfortable until another woman came to sleep in their room, to which he strongly objected. Finally, after the woman had been there two or three nights, he quarrelled with Kelly, and left her. The next day, however, he returned, and have her money. He called several other days, and gave her money when he had it. On Thursday night he visited her between half past seven and eight, and told her he was sorry he had no money to give her. He saw nothing more of her. He was indoors when he heard that a woman had been murdered in Dorset street, but voluntarily went to the police, who after questioning him, satisfied themselves that his statements were correct, and therefore released him. Barnet believed Kelly was an Irishwoman.
"What do you do? What makes people pounce on you?" "Dat is ze zing," said the unlucky fellow spreading the palms of his hands and shrugging his shoulders. "Zat is what I like to know. Why do zey?" He had given a false name at his lodging house, but that, he tried to explain, was because "it eez not grand to leave in a lodging house."
The audacity of the assassin seemed to be a very general theme among the crowds last night, and on all hands could be heard expressions of opinion that the probability was he was then among them, listening to their denunciations of him with diabolical enjoyment. This disposition of the crowd to look at each other for the criminal constituted a real peril for any stranger among them, the women especially making no secret of the longing they felt to lynch somebody, and it looked as though in one or two cases the police were compelled to make arrests to prevent something of the kind being attempted.
One unfortunate foreigner, whose physiognomy was certainly not prepossessing, was taken into Commercial street Police station, when it turned out that that was the third time he had been arrested on suspicion of being Jack the Ripper, in the course of these murders. What with his odd face, his deprecatory shrugs and posturings, and his broken English as he tried to answer the interrogatories put to him, his examination was irresistibly comic. "How d'ye manage to get into trouble like this, then?" demanded an officer.
It is generally admitted by the police that a murder attended by such hideous circumstances has never before been known. The deliberate manner in which the murderer has slain and mutilated his last victim has completely nonplussed the authorities. They state that they have adopted every possible precaution to entrap the fiend, without success, and now that he has adopted the precaution of dissecting his unfortunate victims in their own houses, their ends are completely defeated. Notwithstanding every effort, the police assert that they failed to establish the time at which, or about which, the crime was committed. Many persons who have been interviewed state that the unfortunate woman never left the house at 26 Dorset court after she entered it on Thursday midnight, while on the other hand numerous persons who declare that they were companions of the deceased, and knew her well, state that she came out of her house at eight o'clock on Friday morning for provisions, and, furthermore, that they were drinking with her in the Britannia, a local tavern, at ten o'clock on the same morning as her mutilated body was found at eleven. In view of these conflicting statements, the hour at which the murder was committed is of course the all important point in connection with the crime.
A representative of the Press Association has interviewed a woman named Kennedy, who was on the night of the murder staying with her parents at a house situate in the court immediately opposite the room in which the body of Mary Kelly was found. This woman's statement, if true - and there is very little reason for doubting its veracity - establishes the time at which the murderer commenced his operations. She states that about three o'clock on Friday morning she entered Dorset street on her way to her parents' house, which is immediately opposite that in which the murder was committed. She noticed three persons at the corner of the street, near the Britannia public house. There was a man - a young man, respectably dressed, and with a dark moustache, talking to a woman whom she did not know, and also a female poorly clad and without any headgear. The man and woman appeared to be the worse for liquor, and she heard the man ask, "Are you coming," whereupon the woman, who appeared to be obstinate turned in an opposite direction to which the man apparently wished her to go. Mrs. Kennedy went on her way, and nothing unusual occurred until about half an hour later. She states that she did not retire to rest immediately she reached her parents' abode, but sat up, and between half past three and a quarter to four she heard a cry of "Murder" in a woman's voice proceed from the direction in which Mary Kelly's room was situated. As the cry was not repeated she took no further notice of the circumstance until the morning, when she found the police in possession of the place, preventing all egress to the occupants of the small house in this court. When questioned by the police as to what she had heard throughout the night, she made a statement to the above effect.
She has since supplemented that statement by the following: On Wednesday evening, about eight o'clock, me and my sister were in the neighbourhood of Bethnal Green road when we were accosted by a very suspicious man about forty years of age. He wore a short jacket, over which he had a long top coat. He had a black moustache, and wore a billycock hat. He invited us to accompany him into a lonely spot "As he was known about here, and there was a policeman looking at him." She asserts that no policeman was in sight. He made several strange remarks, and appeared to be agitated. He was very white in the face and made every endeavour to prevent them looking him straight in the face. He carried a black bag. He avoided walking with them, and led the way into a very dark thoroughfare "at the back of the workhouse," inviting them to follow, which they did. He then pushed open a small door in a pair of large gates, and requested one of them to follow him, remarking "I only want one of you," whereupon the women became suspicious. He acted in a very strange and suspicious manner, and refused to leave his bag in the possession of one of the females. Both women became alarmed at his actions and escaped, at the same time raising an alarm of Jack the Ripper. A gentleman, who was passing, is stated to have intercepted the man while the women made their escape. Mrs. Kennedy asserts that the man whom she saw on Friday morning with the woman at the corner of Dorset street resembles very closely the individual who caused such alarm on the night in question, and that she would recognise him again if confronted with him.
This description of the man suspected of the murder tallies exactly with that in the possession of the police, and there is very little doubt that the murderer entered the murdered woman's house late on Thursday night, or early on Friday morning.
The non appearance of the bloodhounds, yesterday, is accounted for by the fact that during recent trials in Surrey the animals bolted, and, it is understood, have not been recovered.
Seven women have now been murdered in the East end under mysterious circumstances, five of them within a period of eight weeks. The following are the dates of the crimes and names of the victims so far as know:
1) Last Christmas week - An unknown woman found murdered near Osborne and Wentworth streets, Whitechapel.
2) August 7 - Martha Turner, found stabbed in 39 places on a landing in model dwellings known as George Yard buildings, Commercial street, Spitalfields.
3) August 31 - Mrs. Nicholls, murdered and mutilated in Buck's row, Whitechapel.
4) September 7 - Mrs. Chapman, murdered and mutilated in Hanbury street, Whitechapel.
5) September 30 - Elizabeth Stride, found with her throat cut in Berner street, Whitechapel.
6) September 30 - Mrs. Eddowes, murdered and mutilated in Mitre square, Aldgate.
7) November 9 - Woman murdered and mutilated in Dorset street, Spitalfields.
INTERVIEW WITH MR. STUART CUMBERLAND
Mr. Stuart Cumberland, the celebrated thought reader, has just returned from a successful tour in Scotland, during which one of the most interesting features of his seances was the interpretation of the thoughts of a supposed murderer, which was managed in the following way. The subject of the experiment first enacted a mock murder, Mr. Cumberland being absent from the room; on the return of the thought reader, he, in conjunction with the subject, re-enacted the scene, reproducing every detail of the imaginary crime. Remembering this fact a representative of The Evening News was dispatched to interview Mr. Cumberland as to the possibilities of thought reading being used for the detection of a real murderer, with special reference to the recent horrible crime in the East end.
"Well," said Mr. Cumberland, "how can I help justice in the matter? There is, at present, positively nothing to go upon, and unless I had something to go upon I could not bring my powers - as you are pleased to term them - into play."
"What do you mean by something to go upon?" asked The Evening News reporter.
"Well, it is just this way," he replied. "Like the hare that is to be cooked in the various tempting ways described in the cookery books - you must first catch the murderer before I could read his thoughts. I am not a clairvoyant," he added, "and I can no more read the future than I can see through a brick wall. All I do is to interpret the unconscious physical indications given by my subjects whilst under the influence of emotion or concentrated attention. More I cannot do."
"Admitting this. How would you proceed with a murderer?"
"In this way. We will say that a murder has been committed, and the knife with which it was done has been found, and that a person, supposed to be the murderer, has been arrested. I should have the knife placed upon a table, and the supposed murderer brought into the room and suddenly confronted with the evidence of his crime, the probability being that he would give some nervous indication of his connection with that knife."
"Could he not control himself, then?"
"Possibly he could; but if he were an emotional being he would for a certainty give himself away."
"And what part would you play?"
"Why, I should watch and interpret the bodily indications that he would unconsciously betray."
"That is all very well. But how would you fare with an habitual criminal - a hardened ruffian, able to control his feelings?"
"With such a man, a thought reader would have but little chance, unless one could instil an element of fear in his mind - I mean in the way of making him believe that I was supernaturally endowed, and that I could read his mind like an open book. On two occasions I in this way succeeded with actual criminals - once in Warsaw and the other time in Australia. I did some thought reading experiments successfully in their presence and afterwards with them themselves, and so impressed were they with my power that they owned up straight away."
"But then all murderers are not hardened, emotionless beings. On the contrary, most murderers are emotional creatures. Murderers are not born but made - by circumstances, perpetrating their crimes in the majority of instances under the influence of some sudden emotion - such as jealousy, hatred, or anger. With such folk the remembrance of their crimes would be uppermost in their thoughts, and were they to be, as I have suggested, suddenly confronted with the weapon used by them or their victim's body they would, I feel confident, betray themselves."
"How so?" "You ask how so. Do you not know that so closely allied is the mind with the body, that under the influence of concentrated attention, there is a tendency on the part of the body to lean in the direction of the thought?"
"I don't quite understand you."
"I am sorry for that," said Mr. Cumberland, with a meaning smile at my stupidity.
"But to make my meaning more clear, I will explain to you the process by which I arrive at a man's thoughts."
"We'll say you have thought of that clock in the room here, that being, for the time being, the dominant idea in your mind. I take you by the hand and as you think you unconsciously through your nerves and muscles direct me to the clock, I interpreting as I go along the indications you give me."
"But couldn't I prevent you going there?"
"Of course you could; but then the clock would not be the dominant idea in your mind, but the intention to deceive me would be the dominant idea, and I should go to any other object that you might wish to direct me."
"Couldn't a murderer trick you in a like way?"
"Oh, yes; but I shouldn't give him a chance. That is," Mr. Cumberland added with a determined look, "if I could help it."
"You see," he went on, "the murderer would have no time to make up his mind to dodge me. He would be brought suddenly into the room. There would be the knife, and the remembrance of his crime being, under the circumstances, the dominant idea in his mind, he would tremble at the sight of the knife, and I, being by, would interpret the nervous indications given by him.
"I have, as you know, succeeded times without number with imaginary criminals; that is with people who have imagined themselves murderers, re-enacting in every detail a mock murder first enacted by them during my absence from the room.
"With respect to these horrible murders which have startled not only London, but the whole of the United Kingdom, the friend who has perpetrated them is evidently no ordinary murderer; and I really cannot say what I should be able to make of him were I brought in contact with him. Time enough to speak of that when he is caught, or they, as the case may be."
"What, do you think there is more than one in it?"
"I cannot say; but the spirit of emulation is strong in human nature, and there may possibly be found amongst the criminal classes who, struck with the fact that the previous horrible murders have remained undetected, may be inspired to so some Jack the Ripping on their own account."
"It is, however, just possible that all these horrors are the work of one hand. In such case you may depend upon it that the murderer has some grievance against the class of women amongst whom he selects his victims. You, as a man of the world, will understand the nature of that grievance.
"I can only tell you, in conclusion - and I must be off in a minute - that I should be pleased to help the police all I could if an opportunity offered. In fact, I am postponing my journey to Berlin for a week or so on the chance of services being of any use. Goodbye."
And so we parted.
"If Jack o'Lantern
Shows you his way, though you should miss your own,
You ought not to be too exact with him."
Today more than any other I feel it necessary to lay stress on the motto I have adopted, to remind the reader, if not the police, that, after all, I must be looked upon as an individual billiard player, who, by dint of knowing the balls about, may pull off a few cannons now and then. I say the reader and not the police, for I do not flatter myself that I am read by them, and if I am, they are, with regard to mine and other publications, not unlike Frederick the Great was with regard to the criticisms of his policy posted on the walls of Berlin and Potsdam. "They may write what they like, I shall do what I like," he said. I will, however, leave the police alone as much as possible, having no desire to hamper them in their struggle with an intellect evidently superior to their own. I will address myself to the public, trusting that among them there may be found one or two in whom the skill of the analyst is evinced, who in silence makes a host of observations and inferences, whose difference to the majority lies not so much in the validity of his inference as in the quality of his observation.
The above sentence, more or less paraphrased, is not mine but Edgar Poe's. He used it in the introduction to his most horrible of horrible tales, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"; the murders, the perpetrators of which it seemed at the first glance well nigh impossible to track, the motives for which seemed absolutely impenetrable. I am not overlooking the fact that the crimes at present under discussion are, on the face of them, wrapt in still greater darkness, if that be possible. Nevertheless, there is in them one gleam of light, which Poe deliberately eliminated from his self proposed problem. The reader may or may not be acquainted with the story. It is as well to recapitulate it shortly.
On the fourth storey of an otherwise uninhabited house in a narrow street in Paris there lived, with her daughter, a widow more or less well to do, for a few days previous to their death they had withdrawn from their banker a sum of 4,000 francs in gold. The money had been carried to their home by a banker's clerk, who had not been permitted to penetrate further than the outer apartment. One early morning in the summer the inhabitants of the neighbourhood were aroused from sleep by a succession of terrific shrieks. The gate, after a slight delay, was eventually broken in with the bayonet of a gendarme, and the neighbours entered, accompanied by a couple of these soldiers. The cries had meanwhile ceased, but as the party rushed up the flight of stairs two or more rough voices proceeding from upper part of the house were heard in angry contention. When the second landing was reached the sounds also ceased, and a deep silence prevailed everywhere. Upon arriving at the fourth storey, the room whence the cries apparently issued had also to be broken into, for the key was inside and turned. The apartment was in the wildest disorder, the furniture smashed and strewn in all directions. On a chair lay a razor besmeared with blood. The money was scattered all over the floor, the victims were nowhere to be seen. In a few minutes one, the younger, was found thrust up the chimney head downwards, and lifeless, though the body was still warm. She had evidently been throttled to death. For upon the throat dark bruises and deep indentations of finger nails were noticed. On the hearth itself were two or three long and thick tresses of grey, human hair, that of the mother, who almost immediately afterwards was discovered lying in a small paved yard at the back of the building with her throat so entirely cut that, upon an attempt to raise her, the head fell off. Both the body and the head were fearfully mutilated.
In vain did the police look for the means by which the murderer could have entered or quitted the room. As I have already stated, the doors were locked inside, the windows were not only fastened, but nailed down, at least so they appeared. The theory of the first and foremost motive of the crime had immediately to be abandoned, for robbery there was none. Nor could the criminal have been actuated by revenge, for it was elicited that the victims never received visitors, that they had no relations, &c. Of that the witnesses chiefly living in the quarter, some of whom had known the deceased for years, were certain. The other witnesses, attracted by the cries were also unanimous upon one point: that one of the voices they had heard in angry altercation while going up the staircase was that of a Frenchman. With regard to the other, there was an absolute divergence of opinion. Five men of different nationalities asserted that it was not the voice nor the language of one of their countrymen. The Italian said it might be that of a Russian, the Spaniard said it might be that of a German, and so forth. But upon being pressed to say whether they were familiar with either Spanish or Russian, they had to confess that they had never heard it spoken.
So far these witnesses were not unlike those who have volunteered information at the fast succeeding inquests on the Whitechapel crimes. The latter, with the exception of Matthew Packer, the fruiterer of Berner street, Commercial road, and the woman Pannier, who sells roasted chestnuts at Sandys row, seem to have nothing to tell beyond that the man whom they suppose to have committed the crime carries a black bag. In this they are borne out by many others, but this evidence is worth little or nothing. That the Whitechapel murderer is not the vagrant or tramp the police suppose him to be has been threshed out in these pages long ago. We have no reason to doubt that Dr. Forbes Winslow was materially right in stating that he belonged to the better classes, that consequently he had facilities for disappearing very quickly from the spot of the crime after having done his foul deed. Still, however careful he may have been, it is evident enough that the cutting up of his victims must have been attended with the spurting of blood, even if throttling preceded the use of the knife. The reader may remember an article that appeared in these columns, giving the history of Philippe, the French predecessor of Jack the Ripper, who also throttled his victims first. Time to wash off the blood, or opportunity there is none, nor does Jack the Ripper need this. It is quite possible, indeed probable, that he has a smock frock which he dons when his victim is insensible, if not lifeless, previous to his dissection. The thing would not take a minute to do, and that smock frock is what the bag contains. To one point it may be worthwhile to draw attention. It is difficult for him to prevent his boots getting besmeared. He may wash the uppers; he cannot stay to wash the soles which must have stepped into the gore, unless we suppose him to be an Ariel or Puck. Has proper search been made for footprints? And if so have his footprints been measured or photographed? A skilled detective would at once note the difference between footsteps left by a well made or inferior boot. We do not say that it would advance him much, but in these things, as Poe says, "the necessary knowledge is that of what to observe."
This brings me back to the question, what Poe would have done under the circumstances, for it is very certain that the cold shoulder, the snubbing of the police on the plea that he was not a professional detective, would not have deterred him from putting his finger in the pie. In order to determine what he would have done in this case we must see what he did in the other. When he became aware that it was not a human being who had committed the crime the conclusion as to what kind of being it was not far off. It flashed upon his mind that it was an ourang-outang. Jack the Ripper is, unfortunately, one of our own species; but he, like the ourang-outang, is in someone's keeping, for I insist upon Dr. Forbes Winslow's theory that he is a madman. Advertising for the sailor who let the ourang-outang escape would not do, for if the keeper or parents of Jack the Ripper had any humanity in them, they would have given him up long ago, certain as they might be that the law would not exact the supreme penalty for his crimes, for I repeat, to exact such would be committing as much murder as Jack the Ripper committed.
Edgar Poe would have visited every asylum in Paris. We cannot expect one detective to do this in London. Will Sir Charles Warren depute one or two dozen gentlemen, professional men by preference, to do this? We are sure that something will leak out that will put his myrmidons on the track. We will refer to this again.