11 July 1927
By Vance Wynn
Jack the Ripper
How many persons on this country recall the ghoulish crimes committed by the infamous Jack the Ripper in London's Whitechapel district during the years of 1887 and 1888? They aroused the horror of the civilized world, coming one after the other until the mysterious murderer had twelve atrocities to his credit.
Strange enough all of his victims were women of doubtful character and of little means so far as the goods of this world are concerned. The methods were the same in almost every instance. The throat of each one was cut and the body brutally disfigured. And always the monster succeeded in escaping.
Little wonder that the residents pf London were in a condition bordering on panic. That such crimes could be committed in a civilized community without detection seemed to be almost impossible. It was on September 30, 1888, when the butcher had murdered two persons, one almost after the other, that public indignation reached white heat. It was then the newspaper dubbed the murderer Jack the Ripper. Nearly everybody had a theory. He was said to be, in turn:
Another Jekyll and Hyde
An escaped gorilla
An insane Russian
A maniac from Vienna
A sufferer from epilepsy
A mad butcher
A religious monomaniac
But whoever or whatever he was the terrible crimes continued. The famous criminologist, L. Forbes Winslow, finally undertook a personal investigation. He spent the whole night in Whitechapel trying to locate the slayer. Presently he inserted an advertisement in a London paper saying that a gentleman strongly opposed to the presence of "street walkers" in London hoped to get into correspondence with some one who would like to cooperate in their suppression.
The bait had its effect. He received several confessions in the same handwriting. One letter expressed glee over the hideous work that was going on in the slums and stated that the next murder would be committed on Nov. 9.
This terrible prophecy was literally fulfilled. It satisfied the doctor that he had actually been in correspondence with the horrible maniac. On the day named a poor girl named Kelley (sic) was found dead, with her throat cut and her body butchered. She was discovered on the ground floor of a tenement, and passers by, looking through the curtainless window, could see the mutilated corpse.
In an archway was found a note scribbled on a bit of dirty paper. It said, "Jack the Ripper will never commit another murder." Amazing as it may sound the promise appears to have been kept. In the belief that the culprit from his great strength must have been a butcher, many men from Scotland Yard went to work in a slaughter houses. But they had only their labor for their pains. In the end Doctor Winslow was convinced that Jack the Ripper was "a man of position and means - a Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde phenomenon suffering from a religious monomania, and who, while his paroxysms lasted, was bent on exterminating fallen women, but who, when these seizures passed, returned to the bosom of his family in the west end of London."
On the theory that one guess is as good as another we shall probably have to accept this as a possibility.