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View Full Version : Jack the Ripper, your theory?


Halardfan
May 23rd, 2012, 02:28 PM
Just finished an impressive book on Jack the Ripper, 'The Complete History of Jack the Ripper'.

I was impressed in that it takes you through the whole case, and instead of trying to shoehorn the evidence into a favourite theory, it suggests only the most likely of the main suspects, based on the evidence.

Who do you think was responsible for these terrible unsolved murders?

From the book I have just read George Chapman (real name Severin Klosowski) sounds a strong suspect. He fits the descriptions of witnesses, lived in the area, was violent towered women, had medical training, and later murdered three women he had relationships with. The only problem being that he poisoned them. That difference of method is the big problem with him as a suspect however.

miffedmax
May 23rd, 2012, 03:17 PM
It's unlikely, but not unheard of for a serial killer to change methods or victim profiles. For that reason Chapman has always been one of my favorite suspects along with Druitt. I know there are troubles with both, but they've always seemed the most likely to me.

At home I've got a collection of essays where a famous Ripperologist builds a case around someone, only to reveal he's having us on just to prove how easy it is to spin a theory off the bits and pieces of evidence we have. I'll have to look it up when I get home. It's a pretty fun read and a good summary of most of the theories floating around out there.

I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a Ripperologist, but I do find the case fascinating.

Halardfan
May 23rd, 2012, 04:00 PM
It's unlikely, but not unheard of for a serial killer to change methods or victim profiles. For that reason Chapman has always been one of my favorite suspects along with Druitt. I know there are troubles with both, but they've always seemed the most likely to me.

At home I've got a collection of essays where a famous Ripperologist builds a case around someone, only to reveal he's having us on just to prove how easy it is to spin a theory off the bits and pieces of evidence we have. I'll have to look it up when I get home. It's a pretty fun read and a good summary of most of the theories floating around out there.

I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a Ripperologist, but I do find the case fascinating.

How many victims of the central killer do you actually think there were? Most commonly people say five these days. But the book I read suggested Martha Tabram was the first victim, which makes six victims at least.

How about the various letters puporting to be sent by the killer. My books author suggest only the From Hell letter is possibly genuine.

How about the similar murder that took place in New York, which some also link Chapman to? Has it been confirmed whether he was in the States then?

Some curious characters turn up in the investigation, the witness Hutchinson is a strange one. He is the guy who said he saw Mary Kelly with a man shortly before her murder. But his own behaviour was strange, claiming he followed the pair to her lodgings then waited for a considerable time outside. Just his story seemed curious when I read it. Subsequently I've read elsewhere that some consider him a possible suspect.

miffedmax
May 23rd, 2012, 04:30 PM
I am pretty conservative and stick with canonical five victims, while allowing he may have had more. The whole New York episode (and I'm going on memory here) to me seems unrelated, and when you try and tie Chapman in I think you weaken the case for him as the Ripper, but obviously others disagree.

I agree about the letters--if there is a genuine letter, it is most likely the only one (although it would rule out one of my favorite suspects, Druitt, if it's genuine).

I'm inclined to take Hutchinson's testimony as an effort to aggrandize his importance, because as you say, his behavior makes no sense. I think he spun a bit a of a yarn because he was getting attention (this is, of course, hardly my own theory, but one I agree with) and hoped to make himself "important" as a witness to the crime. I'm inclined to think some of his story was true, but that he elaborated on it (again, going from memory).

My two cents. I always enjoy talking about this case.

If you have some time, this is a fun place to go digging around:

http://www.casebook.org/

I've been a lurker there off and on for a long time.

Invisible Fan
May 23rd, 2012, 04:42 PM
[QUOTE=Halardfan;21476524]
Who do you think was responsible for these terrible unsolved murders?
[QUOTE]

Jack Ruby :o

*JR*
May 23rd, 2012, 05:35 PM
Just finished an impressive book on Jack the Ripper, 'The Complete History of Jack the Ripper'.

The late great Jerry Garcia shared your interest in Jack the Ripper. Hmmm... :scratch:

DJJCQ4dtAlw

Halardfan
May 23rd, 2012, 06:14 PM
I am pretty conservative and stick with canonical five victims, while allowing he may have had more. The whole New York episode (and I'm going on memory here) to me seems unrelated, and when you try and tie Chapman in I think you weaken the case for him as the Ripper, but obviously others disagree.

I agree about the letters--if there is a genuine letter, it is most likely the only one (although it would rule out one of my favorite suspects, Druitt, if it's genuine).

I'm inclined to take Hutchinson's testimony as an effort to aggrandize his importance, because as you say, his behavior makes no sense. I think he spun a bit a of a yarn because he was getting attention (this is, of course, hardly my own theory, but one I agree with) and hoped to make himself "important" as a witness to the crime. I'm inclined to think some of his story was true, but that he elaborated on it (again, going from memory).

My two cents. I always enjoy talking about this case.

If you have some time, this is a fun place to go digging around:

http://www.casebook.org/

I've been a lurker there off and on for a long time.

You are probably right in regards to the American so-called Ripper murder. Although Chapman going to America at least gave a plausible explanation for the end of that phase of murders.

How about the idea of the murderer having an accomplice? One witness I remember suggested he had seen part of one of the murders, and that the murderer had called out to another man when discovered. Though who he was calling to was ambiguous.

It would explain though his ability to escape detection, if he had an accomplice on lookout. Pretty unlikely I know, but I wouldn't completely rule it out.

What is it that convinced you most about Druitt? There seems to be lots we don't don't know about him, why he was dismissed from the school is very important.

Some form of madness seemed to run through his family, but it seems to have been self destructive and suicidal in most cases.

I know he was mentioned as the favourite suspect of a senior policeman. But the policeman didn't reveal who in Druitt's family had mentioned their suspicions that he was the killer.

I wouldn't reject him completely as a suspect, but feel that Chapman is the stronger one I've looked at so far.

SoBizarre
May 23rd, 2012, 06:17 PM
The late great Jerry Garcia shared your interest in Jack the Ripper. Hmmm... :scratch:

Every time Jerry Garcia gets mentioned, it reminds me he was "The Saragossa Manuscript" savior (http://www.nysun.com/arts/bam-restores-polish-masterpiece). :worship:

miffedmax
May 23rd, 2012, 07:54 PM
Oh, gosh, it's been awhile since I read the books that put Druitt at the top of my list so I can't remember all the things that I think point to him. I do agree that Chapman is a pretty strong suspect, probably equally if not slightly stronger.

Barnett is another suspect I'd feel good about, if he'd turned up in the original investigations.

*JR*
May 23rd, 2012, 10:10 PM
Every time Jerry Garcia gets mentioned, it reminds me he was "The Saragossa Manuscript" savior (http://www.nysun.com/arts/bam-restores-polish-masterpiece). :worship:

Jerry had a nice little sideline going in his last years. He licensed his artwork for use on neckties, though HE hadn't worn one in like 25 years. :o A little trivia: one of the longest serving members of the US Senate (Pat Leahy, D-VT and Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, a Senator since the election of 1980) is a dedicated Deadhead. ;)

Sean.
May 23rd, 2012, 11:12 PM
I read a very interesting account a while ago that pointed out how the whole affair had been manipulated by the media in order to increase their circulation.

I don't remember the all the details but, apparently, the murder of whores was not uncommon in Whitechapel at that time, and speculation that he must have had some soft of medical training (and thus a respectable figure) was overplayed and intended only to cause scandal and intrigue. Basically, the account deconstructed the whole "sensational" aspect of the story and argued that the killer, if it was even one person, wasn't really anything special.

I'll see if I can dig it out, it made a very interesting counter claim.

kwilliams
May 23rd, 2012, 11:47 PM
I like the film "From Hell", it's one of the very few films that I find at least a little bit scary because it deals with true events shrouded in mystery.

I went on the ripper tour in London a few years ago and would recommend it. Has anyone else done it?

The Dawntreader
May 23rd, 2012, 11:51 PM
More than one killer is my guess. And maybe someone with authority over the Police.

Sean.
May 23rd, 2012, 11:53 PM
I went on the ripper tour in London a few years ago and would recommend it. Has anyone else done it?

I went to the exhibition in the London dungeon when I was young, scary as fuck!

Rollo
May 24th, 2012, 12:01 AM
I went on the ripper tour in London a few years ago and would recommend it. Has anyone else done it?

It was one of the highlights on a trip I took several years ago. Best at night for the atmoshpere!

My guide added a lot of value to it IMO by going into details about the culture at that time-most of the victims were moms who had no other way to support their families and had rotting teeth from the gin they drank.

The tour I took went to the Ten Bells (????not sure of name) a bar that the Ripper probably followed one of his vics from and which still operates as a bar.

The other I recall was a woman breaking her ankle on the cobblestones-so don't wear high heels ladies!

Halardfan
May 24th, 2012, 12:06 AM
Oh, gosh, it's been awhile since I read the books that put Druitt at the top of my list so I can't remember all the things that I think point to him. I do agree that Chapman is a pretty strong suspect, probably equally if not slightly stronger.

Barnett is another suspect I'd feel good about, if he'd turned up in the original investigations.

Don't know if the book I mentioned is already in your collection, but I really recommend it. It's by Phillip Sugden. Ripper books often scavenge information from each other, and thus myths about the murders gets perpetuated and built upon. It's like Chinese whispers.

Sugden though, wherever possible goes to original sources and reports, and it feels like a very professional investigation, where his priority is to lay out the evidence for you, rather than to point to a particular suspect. He also describes movingly the tragic lives of the victims.

Barnett is an intriguing one, another example where something didn't quite ring true about his evidence. In recent years he has become a suspect. The theory being he hated Kelly being a prostitute, so went us his killing spree hoping to frighten her away from that life. Then he killed her when this failed, bringing an end to the murders. It's a long shot, but just possible. He lived in the area, knew it well, matched descriptions of the appearance of the killer. Trouble is there are so many suspects, and do many possibilities.

JN
May 24th, 2012, 12:13 AM
LL Cool J: Jack The Ripper

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Sorry, I'm having a *JR* moment. ;)