14 February 1894
SOLUTION OF THE GREAT MURDER MYSTERY.
HIS PERSONALITY, CAREER, AND FATE.
We know the Christian name and surname of Jack the Ripper. We know his present habitation; our representatives have seen him, and we have in our possession a morass of declarations, documents and other proofs which prove his identity. We have a facsimile of the knife with which the murders were committed, purchased at the same place. We are able to trace the whole career of the man who committed those crimes, we can give the names of his employers, their places of business, the terms of his service there, and the incidents of his connection with them - incidents which clearly show that he was in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel at the time when the murders were committed; that he developed tendencies even in his employment of homicidal insanity; and finally he was at liberty and close to Whitechapel during all that period when the murders were committed; and that these murders immediately came to an end - as well as other crimes of violence - from the moment when he was safely under lock and key.
But at this moment our readers must be satisfied with less information than is at our disposal. Jack the Ripper has relatives; they are some of them in positions which would make them a target for the natural curiosity - for the unreasoning reprobation which would pursue any person even remotely connected with so hideous a monstrosity, and we must abstain, therefore, from giving his name in the interest of these unfortunate, innocent, and respectable connections. We are the more resolved to do so at the moment as a pathetic point in this otherwise hideous and awful story is the tenacity with which some of his relatives have clung to this awful type. They have tended him, nursed him, watched for him, borne with him with a patience that never tired, with a love that never waned. While he has been out through the watches of the night on his fiendish work, one of them has sat up, waiting anxiously for his return - frightened at every noise - apprehensive of every possible form of mishap; in imagination picturing this tiger who marched from crime to crime as some innocent, harmless, and helpless child in need of protection from the violence of others. In human history there is not a more remarkable case of the difference in the view between the relative of a human being and the world generally.
And now what is the story - what are the characteristics - what are the habits of the man whom we identify as Jack the Ripper?
It will be understood that for everything we say about him we have documentary and other proofs. In the first place, that he was an idle, somewhat dissolute fellow. He was dissolute, that is to say, in the sense that he kept bad company; that he exhibited the same tendency as Neill to consort with the women who were his victims.
He was in several situations years ago, but he was not steady in any of them; and he was impelled to retire from one of them. This was because he was suspected of something which at the time appeared merely a violent assault under the influence of passion, but which subsequent light on his character proves to have been an outcome of his homicidal mania.
His habits of life when he was out of employment were those one would imagine in such a creature as Jack the Ripper. He has spent most of his day in bed; it was only when night came that he seemed roused to activity and to interest in life. Then he used to go out, disappear no one knew whither, and never return till early on the following morning. And when he did return, his appearance was such as to reveal to any gaze but that of blind affection some idea of this bloody and horrible work in which he had been engaged. Even, however, to his relatives his appearance suggested something terrible. His clothes were covered with mud; there were other stains which might suggest the nature of his work; but, above all things, there was the expression of his face. His face was so distorted as hardly to be recognized. Such is the description which has been given of him.
The manner in which the creature spent the portion of the day in which he was not in bed, is also clear proof of his nocturnal occupations and of his identity. Persons who knew him declare that he always exhibited a strong love for anatomical study, and that - this is most significant - he spent a portion of the day in making rough drawings of the bodies of women, and of their mutilations, after the fashion in which the bodies of the women murdered in Whitechapel were found to be mutilated. His own reason assigned for these performances was that he was studying for the medical profession - a reason that must be taken in connection with that startling interview in North London, the particulars of which we gave in our issue of yesterday.
We have already said that the man we identify as Jack the Ripper had been employed in Whitechapel, and had in this way had the opportunity of learning all about the infinite and labyrinthine construction of that strange region. It is also a further proof that we have identified the right man that he lived within a ten minutes' walk of the locality of most of the murders. He had thus the necessary knowledge on the one hand of this peculiar; and on the other, was within easy reach of a place of refuge.
The next point in the identification, on which we lay particular stress, is that this man was a victim of that strange form of delusion with regard to constitutional disease which is one of the most frequent accompaniments of the murder of fallen women. On this point we have an accumulation of evidence. But we must be content for the moment with stating that it is a confirmation in the most emphatic manner that the man we refer to suffered from strong delusions of constitutional disease, and also from homicidal delusions such as one would expect to find in Jack the Ripper. The next point in the process of identification is the personal appearance of the man supposed to be Jack the Ripper. On this point the evidence is necessarily important. Curious as it may seem - paradoxical as it may sound - the only person whose identification of Jack the Ripper would be most indicative(?) is a blind boy.
illegible 5 lines
... fiendish hand which had done so many murders was responsible for her awful end. Her throat was cut, with the clean incisive cut which characterised all the atrocities; her body was mutilated, and her legs were hacked and slashed to the bone. Her murderer met her leaving a public house, and the fact was held to be clearly established at the time that she was, when accosted by the man, accompanied by a blind boy in whom she took a passionate interest. The boy heard the voice of the man who spoke to her - he remembered its strange tones distinctly and perfectly - and it was afterwards thought that in this lay a clue to the discovery of the murderer. But this boy does not seem ever to have been confronted with the man whom we declare to be Jack the Ripper. This is the more curious as the boy's description of the voice is said to have been of such a character as to make it clear that he would have been able to identify the voice. Therefore the description as to Jack the Ripper's appearance upon which we have to rely is that published by the City Police in October 2, 1888, a few days after what was known as the Mitre square murder.
But before giving this description we present the reader with the notes of the appearance of the man we identify as Jack the Ripper, taken by our representatives at the asylum in which he is at present incarcerated. He is just over 33 years of age. He is a man of about 5ft 8in to 5ft 9in in height. He is thin, and walk with a slight stoop, as if his chest troubled him. His face is narrow and short, with a high receding forehead, his eyes large and dark, with the expression of a hunted beast in them; his nose thick and prominent, his lips full and red, and his jaws give sign of much power and determination.
Now compare this with the official description, allowing, of course, for the necessary indefiniteness of the police description. This official description, it may be stated, was taken from the account given by a fallen woman of a man who had accosted her in a public house a few days before the Mitre square murder. It will be seen that a description of this kind would necessarily be less perfect and detailed than that which comes from the pen of trained observers who went specially to see this man for the purpose of observing and describing him. But taking those two things into account, we ask our readers to place the descriptions side by side, and say whether they are not startlingly alike in their main features.
On October 2, 1888, the City Police announced that the man wanted for the Mitre square murder was "Aged 28; slight; height 5ft 8in; complexion, dark; no whiskers; black diagonal coat; hard felt had; collar and tie; carried newspaper parcel; respectable appearance."
We now come to what is perhaps, after all, the most convincing link in our chain of evidence. I began by saying that a man who had committed such murders as those in Whitechapel must have been so insane as to have the daring simplicity of a lunatic, and, therefore, able to make an escape when a sane human being would find it impossible to do so, from the sheer simplicity and calmness of utter insanity. Here is an instance that occurred in a district of London, busy, teeming with population, almost impassable. A man is in detention, all his clothes have been stripped off with the exception of his shirt; he is in bed, four men armed guard over him. Here certainly is security for his detention if such a thing is possible. But the prisoner swings from the bed, knocks down the four men on guard and scales, with the ease and nimbleness of a monkey, a wall 8ft in height.
He drops on the other side, and then he finds himself in the midst of an open and crowded district. At once the hue and cry is raised, and the whole district joins in it.
Policemen's whistles bring constables on the scene, and within a few moments of the man's escape descriptions of him are being wired from the district police station to every other station in London. His scanty apparel, it is thought, is sufficient to warrant his speedy capture.
Into a house in a busy thoroughfare goes the fugitive, with bare legs and shirt tail flying, and passing through it reaches the back garden, and then, jumping several garden walls, comes to another house, which he enters. His entrance and subsequent proceedings in the house are unobserved, because the inmates have gone into street to gaze at the other house. Here he finds a pair of striped trousers, check jacket, brown overcoat, black felt hat, and a pair of old boots, which he immediately puts on.
And while the crowd in full pursuit are clamouring for admission at the other house into which he had been seen to go, the fugitive comes out of the front door of the neighbouring house, and walks calmly and collectedly past the excited crowd and under the very nose of the people who are looking for him.
Now here we have an incident of a most remarkable character - an incident which is in many respects suggestive of the Whitechapel murders. The real secret of the success of the Whitechapel murderer's escape was his daring and simplicity, his power of doing the most terrible and extraordinary things in an ordinary way, and it would scarcely be possible that there could be in the same city two human beings so miraculously expert in escaping detection under such equally hopeless circumstances. When we add that the person who made this extraordinary escape was a person whom we can prove to have been employed for a considerable time in Whitechapel - to have been compelled to leave his employment there for a crime of violence suggestive of the homicidal tendency - to have been living at the time of his escapade within an easy distance of the scene of the murders in Whitechapel, accumulating proof becomes extremely strong.
But this is by no means the whole case. The rooms in which the man lived were searched. In them was found that extraordinary letter which we published yesterday - but there were other things - papers which had reference to women; and stuffed up the chimney a police inspector found waistcoats wet, having been washed, and coats, the sleeves of which smelt of turpentine. Among some papers which had been torn up and found in an overcoat in the room, were
illegible 12 lines
Now we ask distinctly whether these were not the exact kind of drawings that would be found in the rooms (?) of Jack the Ripper?
And now we see who was the man who had evidently committed offences not so horrible as the Whitechapel murders, but somewhat similar to them; and whose rooms contained the batch of drawings which one might expect to find in the possession of Jack the Ripper. Evidence would stop abruptly and hopelessly short of conviction if we were unable in any way to associate the fugitive with Whitechapel and the murders; but we are about to do so; to bring this same man, with employment in Whitechapel, to show that the date of his employment synchronises exactly - almost to the day and hour - with the murders; and that their cessation for eight months equally corresponds with his dismissal from his employment and his disappearance from the immediate neighbourhood.
On July 24, 1888, exactly a fortnight before the date of the first Whitechapel murders, which occurred on August 7, 1888, a young man succeeded in obtaining employment at a firm in the immediate district of the murders. His age was about 27. He was swarthy in complexion, and his frame was slight and wiry. His only strong peculiarity, or eccentricity, as it was then thought, was a desire to advise all with whom he came in contact as to the treatment of certain horrible diseases. He was noticed to have possessed himself of certain medicines and lotions which he kept in his pockets. These he frequently partook of during the day, and it was remarkable that, while seemingly in good bodily health, it was his practice from time to time to retire, and when come upon suddenly, was found to be anointing his face with washes and ointments in front of a glass. This, and a faculty for drawing caricatures and anatomical figures, were his principal distinctions when not discussing nasty illnesses.
One day, an elderly official of the firm, noticing that the young man was employed anointing his face in front of the looking glass, said, in a bantering way quite innocent of malice, "I have known much better looking men than you who did not spend half as much time in looking at themselves."
No particular notice was taken of this incident, but when the elderly gentleman was proceeding upstairs, to his immense surprise, the young man, who up to this had never shown any violent propensities, sprang out of a dark corner where he had been lying in wait and hurled him to the bottom of the stone stairs, where he lay insensible in a pool of blood, which flowed from a terrible cut in his head. When people came upon the scene, the author of this outrageous assault remarked, "Poor gentleman, he has fallen downstairs."
This apparently ingenuous observation disarmed all suspicion, and it was not till the injured man came to himself weeks afterwards that the true facts were made known.
It is worthy of note at this point that the
which started immediately after his employment in the Whitechapel firm, and continued in almost regular intervals, as mysteriously ceased with his departure and were not heard of again for eight months.
And now here we have this striking combination of circumstances - that a man, admittedly a homicidal lunatic, almost clearly guilty of attempting to murder women - was the same man who at the time of the Whitechapel murders was employed in Whitechapel, and was guilty in the open daylight of just the kind of crime a Jack the Ripper would commit.
So far we have brought the case today: tomorrow we shall present the remainder of our proofs - so far as the public interest will permit them to be published - and, summing up this whole case, leave it to the judgement of our readers and commit it to the attention of the authorities.