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Te Aroha News
New Zealand
8 December 1888


London, October 19.
The series of horrible and mysterious murders in Whitechapel have riveted public attention and aroused the police to unusual exertions. The sensation caused by the perpetration of the cold blooded crimes has been added to and varied by the latter from the supposed murderer under the signature of Jack the Ripper. But a much more horrible communication has now been received by Mr. George Lusk, the chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. A few days ago a postman delivered at Mr. Lusk's residence in Alderney Road, Globe Road, Mile End, a postcard which read as follows:

Say Boss,
You seem rare frightened, guess I'd like to give you fits, but can't stop time enough to let you box of toys play copper games with me. But hope to see you when I don't hurry too much.
Bye bye, Boss.

The card was addressed "Mr. Lusk, Head Vigilance Committee, Alderney street, Mile End." As Mr Lusk had received other communications of the same kind since he has been connected with the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, he paid no attention to the communication; but on Tuesday evening there reached him through the post a small parcel, similarly addressed, which on examination proved to contain some meaty substance that gave off a very offensive odour. A closer inspection showed that the article was a portion of a kidney. Enclosed in the box with it was a letter worded in revolting terms, the writer stating that he had eaten "other piece", and threatening to send Mr. Lusk the knife "that took it out if you only wate a whil longer." The letter was dated "From Hell" and signed "Catch me when you Can."

Mr. Lusk was naturally much exercised in his mind on receiving this extraordinary parcel, and decided to bring the matter before the Vigilance Committee, which met at The Crown, Mile End road, at a late hour on Wednesday evening. It was then agreed to investigate the subject next day, and yesterday morning Mr. J Aarons, the treasurer, Mr. W Harris, the secretary, and Messrs Reeves and Lawton, members of the Vigilance Committee, proceeded to Mr. Lusk's house to inspect the strange parcel. There they examined the postcard, letter and kidney, the latter of which had evidently been immersed in spirits of wine. As no definite conclusion could be arrived at, it was decided to call upon Dr. Wiles, of 56, Mile End road. In his absence, however, Mr. F S Reed, his assistant, examined the contents of the box, and at once expressed an opinion that the article formed the half of a human kidney, which had been divided longitudinally. He thought it best, however, to submit the kidney to Dr. Openshaw, the pathological curator at the London Hospital and this was at once done. By the use of the microscope Dr. Openshaw was able to determine that the kidney had been taken from a full gown human being, and that the portion before him was part of the left kidney. It at once occurred to the Vigilance Committee that at the inquest on the body of the woman Eddowes, who was murdered at Mitre square, Aldgate, it was stated that the left kidney was missing, and in view of this circumstance it was deemed advisable to at once communicate with the police. Accordingly the parcel and the accompanying letter and postcard were at once taken to Leman street Police station and the matter placed in the hands of Inspector Abberline. Subsequently the City Police were communicated with, as the discovery relates to a crime occurring within their jurisdiction.

The cardboard box which Mr. Lusk received is about 5 and a half inches square, and was wrapped in paper. The cover bears a London postmark, but the stamping is not sufficiently clear to enable it to be stated from what postal district of the metropolis the article was sent. On this point it is expected that the assistance of the Post Office officials will be invoked. The portion of the kidney which it enclosed has, according to the medical experts, been preserved for some tome in spirits of wine. The person from whom it was taken was probably alive some three weeks since, a circumstance which fits in with the suggestion that the organ may have been taken from the body of the deceased woman, Eddowes, murdered in Mitre square. Another fact is that the kidney is evidently that of a person who had been a considerable drinker, as there were distinct marks of disease. The handwriting of the postcard and letter differs altogether from that of Jack the Ripper, specimens of whose calligraphy were recently published. The writing is of an inferior character, evidently disguised, while the spelling, as will be seen, is indifferent.

Mr. J Aarons, the Treasurer of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, made the following statement last evening:

"Mr. Lusk, our Chairman, came over to me last (Wednesday) night in a state of considerable excitement. I asked him what was the matter, when he replied. "I suppose you will laugh at what I am going to tell you, but you must know that I had a little parcel come to me on Tuesday evening, and to my surprise it contains half a kidney and a letter from Jack the Ripper." To tell you the truth, I did not believe in it, and I laughed and said I thought somebody had been trying to frighten him. Mr. Lusk, however said it was no laughing matter to him. I then suggested that, as it was late, we should leave the matter over till the morning, when I and other members of the committee would come round. This morning, at about half past nine, Mr. Harris, our secretary, Mr. Reeves, Mr. Lawton and myself went across to see Mr. Lusk, who opened his desk and pulled out a small square cardboard box, wrapped in brown paper. Mr. Lusk said: "Throw it away; I hate the sight of it." I examined the box and its contents, and being sure that it was not a sheep's kidney, I advised that, instead of throwing it away, we should see Dr. Wills, of 56 Mile End road. We did not, however, find him in, but Mr. Reed, his assistant, was. He gave an opinion that it was a portion of a human kidney which had been preserved in spirits of wine; but, to make sure, he would go over to the London Hospital, where it could be microscopically examined. On his return, Mr. Reed said that Dr. Openshaw, at the Pathological Museum, stated that the kidney belonged to a female, that it was part of the left kidney, and that the woman had been in the habit of drinking. He should think that the person had died about the same time the Mitre square murder was committed. It was then agreed that we should take the parcel and the letter to Leman street Police station, where we saw Inspector Abberline. Afterwards some of us went to Scotland Yard, where we were told we had done quite right in putting the matter into Mr. Abberline's hands. Our committee will meet again tonight, but Mr. Lusk, our Chairman, has naturally been much upset."

The force of police, dressed in private clothes, who have been told off to make a house to house search in Whitechapel and Spitalfields, were busily engaged yesterday. At every house or tenement visited they left a copy of the subjoined police notice: "To the Occupier - On the morning of Friday, August 31st, Saturday 8th and Sunday Sept. 30th, 1888, women were murdered in or near Whitechapel, supposed by someone residing in the immediate neighbourhood. Should you know of any person to whom suspicion is attached, you are earnestly requested to communicate at once with the nearest police station." The police have everywhere been received with the greatest good feeling, even in the poorest districts and have had no difficulty in obtaining information.

The following memorial, signed by upwards of 200 traders of Whitechapel, has been sent to the Home Secretary through Mr. S Montagu, M.P. "We, the undersigned traders in Whitechapel, respectfully submit for your consideration the position in which we are placed in consequence of the recent murders in our district and its vicinity. For some years past we have been painfully aware that the protection afforded by the police has not kept pace with the increase of population in Whitechapel. Acts of violence and of robbery have been committed in this neighbourhood almost with impunity, owing to the existing police regulations, and the insufficiency of the number of officers. The universal feeling prevalent in our midst is that the Government no longer assures the security of life and property to the east of London, and that in consequence respectable people fear to go out shopping, thus depriving us of our means of livelihood. We confidently appeal to your sense of justice, and ask that the police in this district may be largely increased, in order to remove the feeling of insecurity which is destroying the trade of Whitechapel."

It is stated that the City Police are making inquiries with respect to a man, supposed to be an American, who was arrested in Bermondsey yesterday morning. The man is stated to have been seen under suspicious circumstances in the neighbourhood of Whitechapel.