Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Welcome, everyone braving weather, lag and doldrums, to the eighty-fourth Aether Salon.
Lady Sumoku: Wouldn’t you?
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Before we start, there are a few points to go over for the best Salon experience.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 1) To ensure you can hear the speaker, stand or sit on the patterned carpet.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 2) Sit wherever you might like in the provided seating. If you would prefer a wearable chair, please contact me in IM. The director’s chairs are for Tinies.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 3) Please remove all lag-feeding thingamajigs you might be wearing.
Tepic Harlequin: the floors fer urchins……
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach chuckles
Edward Hyde: Or people who just don’t care…
Jimmy Branagh: We can keep it?
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 4) A tip jar is out for our speaker. Do please show your appreciation!
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 5) Any tips to help support the establishment will also be welcome – just click on one of the support signs or this handsome clank floating above us.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 6) If you are not a member of the AEther Salon group, there are signs that will let you join up. You’ll be most heartily welcome.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 7 ) Edited and unedited transcripts of these proceedings will be posted at http://aethersalon.blogspot.com.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: 8) Tea and treats are set out – help yourself! Beware of possible Hatchies guarding the sweet biscuits.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Our speaker today is a veteran of the Salon.
Ceejay Writer grabs a biscuit, kills many to get it
Lady Sumoku dies valiantly for no reason.
Ceejay Writer nibbles daintily
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Herr Jimmy Branagh has spoken here many times, making the most popular, gory and fascinating presentations. He has another feast of blood and terror for us today.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Herr Jimmy, good to see you here again.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach applauds
Grace Winstanley: ✿◕‿◕✿
Grace Winstanley: APPLAUSE!!!!!
Grace Winstanley: APPLAUSE!!!!!
Grace Winstanley: ✿◕‿◕✿
Lady Sumoku cheers from under a protective tarp.
Jimmy Branagh: Thank you, Herr Baron
Ceejay Writer: Yay Jimmeh! Don’t terrify me.
Jimmy Branagh bows and looks over the audience.
Jimmy Branagh: As is tradition, I shall speak normal English for the duration of this talk.
Jedburgh Dagger gasps
Jimmy Branagh grins.
Edward Hyde: That’s a first.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Shocking.
Wildstar B.: 🙂
Jimmy Branagh: Behind me, a letter sent to George Lusk, chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, 15 October 1988 –
from hell. Mr Lusk, Sor I send you half the Kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer signed Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk
Kailyn Stormraven breaths deeply in relief
Jimmy Branagh: Thank you for coming. Let me start out by saying that when I began gathering the records for this talk, I had no idea of the sheer volume of information available, nor that much of it is somewhat to completely contradictory.
Jimmy Branagh: One would need hours to cover everything. Therefore, I shall attempt today to cover only some of the more salient points in the case, and I will begin with the environment of the setting and the times.
Jimmy Branagh: Whitechapel District, East End, London 1888.
Ceejay Writer: go for a PhD on the topic!
Jimmy Branagh: To my right, the lovely streets of Whitechapel, circa 1988. Gas lamp lit streets and foggy dark alleys didn’t offer the residents of Whitechapel too much in the way of an inspiring backdrop by which to lead their lives. The area was steeped in poverty and all manner of crime and disease. Growing up in this part of London offered a challenge in itself; many children were seen as a strain on their parents’ resources, and two in every ten died before reaching five years old.
Jimmy Branagh: Needless to say that Whitechapel offered a breeding ground for crime and poor behavioural habits, including murder, prostitution and violence. Vicious circles were rarely broken in such poor districts. The lack of work and money would lead women and girls to prostitution, a service in high demand by those wishing to escape their grim realities.
Tepic Harlequin: Errr… point of order? 1888?
Jimmy Branagh: Yes
Tepic Harlequin: phew!
Jimmy Branagh laughs
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach raises a curious eyebrow
Lady Sumoku: Typos? Or man from the future?
Lady Sumoku stares at Jimmy closely.
Jimmy Branagh: Oh. missed one.
Jimmy Branagh: The women, commonly referred to as ‘unfortunates’ owned only what they wore and carried in their pockets, their deeds would pay for their bed for the night. However, a lack of contraception meant that unorthodox abortions were performed in dirty facilities, including back streets. This, of course, fed into the circle of disease and many women would die of infection from these ill-performed surgeries, or from ingesting chemicals or poison.
Jimmy Branagh: While the streets were lined with the starving, penniless inhabitants of the drab and dark capital, the insides of the houses throughout the borough were no less uninviting. Many were makeshift brothels and offered a bed and a room to those wishing to escape and form a living. However, this was a dangerous trade, as disease was passed from person to person very quickly and doctors did not come cheap.
Jimmy Branagh: Housing was extremely over-crowded, with entire families or groups of strangers crammed into a single room for cooking, eating and sleeping. They would share beds or sleep on the floor, with rags covering broken windows and often flea or insect-infested rooms. These damp and cold conditions offered an ideal climate for further disease and sickness to multiply.
Jimmy Branagh: Surviving in the late 19th century came through ‘sweated’ labor, like tailoring, boot making, and making matchboxes. The premises would more than likely be in small, cramped, dusty rooms with little to no natural light. Horrible living and working conditions resulted in large amounts of the population turning to drink to cope. Pubs and music halls were many in number in the East End, and drink was cheap. All of Jack the Ripper’s victims were addicted to alcohol; some believe this would have made them easier targets for the killer.
Jimmy Branagh: It is difficult to imagine such dank and fearful times, and to picture how it was people managed to spend their lives in them.
Edward Hyde: Not really.
Edward Hyde is one to talk.
Jimmy Branagh: ((Technical difficulty))
Lady Sumoku: The best kind
Jimmy Branagh: All righty then …
Jimmy Branagh: The Whitechapel Murders
Jimmy Branagh: The Whitechapel murders were committed between 3 April 1888 and 13 February 1891. At various points, some or all of these eleven unsolved murders of women have been ascribed to the notorious unidentified serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.
Jimmy Branagh: Most, if not all, of the victims—Emma Elizabeth Smith, Martha Tabram, Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, Mary Jane Kelly, Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, Frances Coles, and an unidentified woman—were prostitutes. Smith was sexually assaulted and robbed by a gang. Tabram was stabbed 39 times. Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes, Kelly, McKenzie and Coles had their throats cut. Eddowes and Stride were killed on the same night, minutes and less than a mile apart; their murders were nicknamed the “double event”, after a phrase in a postcard sent to the press by someone claiming to be the Ripper.
Jimmy Branagh: The bodies of Nichols, Chapman, Eddowes and Kelly had abdominal mutilations. Mylett was strangled. The body of the unidentified woman was dismembered, but the exact cause of her death is unclear.
Jimmy Branagh: There were reportedly over 500 suspects targeted over the course of the investigation. The Metropolitan Police, City of London Police, and private organizations such as the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee were all involved in the search for the killer or killers. Despite extensive inquiries and several arrests, the culprit or culprits evaded identification and capture.
Jimmy Branagh: Police work and criminal prosecutions relied heavily on confessions, witness testimony, and apprehending perpetrators in the act of committing an offense or in the possession of obvious physical evidence that clearly linked them to a crime. Forensic techniques, such as fingerprint analysis, were not in use.
Jimmy Branagh: Policing in London was—and still is—divided between two forces: the Metropolitan Police with jurisdiction over most of the urban area, and the City of London Police with jurisdiction over about a square mile (2.9 km.) of the city center. The Home Secretary, a senior minister of the United Kingdom government, controlled the Metropolitan Police, whereas the City Police were responsible to the Corporation of London. Beat constables walked regular, timed routes.
Jimmy Branagh: The eleven deaths in or near Whitechapel between 1888 and 1891 were gathered into a single file and referred to in the police docket as the Whitechapel murders. Much of the original material has been either stolen or destroyed.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach frowns
Edward Hyde: Gee, I wonder why?
Ceejay Writer: 500 suspects. What a circus that would be
Jedburgh Dagger: Souvenirs
Tepic Harlequin: in a police house too, can’t trust the bobbies…..
Edward Hyde: Maybe someone didn’t want the evidence to be reviewed?
Jimmy Branagh: The Victims
Jedburgh Dagger: it has been a few years on top of it
Jimmy Branagh: There are many, many post-mortem photographs of the victims and the crime scenes available, most horrifying in the extreme. I have decided not to show them publicly due to the sensitive nature of most civilized persons. They are easily found in the archives should you wish to view them.
Kailyn Stormraven: collectors
Edward Hyde grins.
Jimmy Branagh: How many victims were there? That is in dispute, but these five, known as The Canonical Five, are the most generally accepted due to the pattern of injuries as victims of Jack the Ripper.
Kailyn Stormraven: too late. Saw them by mistake while investigating Victorian London
Jimmy Branagh: Mary Ann Nichols
Jimmy Branagh: On Friday 31 August, prostitute Mary Ann Nichols was murdered in Buck’s Row, a back street in Whitechapel. Her body was discovered by cart driver Charles Cross at 3:45 am on the ground in front of a gated stable entrance. Her throat had been slit twice from left to right and her abdomen was mutilated by a deep jagged wound. Several shallower incisions across the abdomen and three or four similar cuts on the right side were caused by the same knife used violently and downwards.
Jimmy Branagh: As the murder occurred in the territory of the J or Bethnal Green Division of the Metropolitan Police, it was at first investigated by the local detectives. On the same day, James Monro resigned as the head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over differences with Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Charles Warren. Initial investigations into the murder had little success, although elements of the press linked it to the two previous murders and suggested the killing might have been perpetrated by a gang, as in the case of Smith.
Jimmy Branagh: The Star newspaper suggested instead that a single killer was responsible and other newspapers took up their storyline.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: ‘Two previous’?
Jimmy Branagh: There were two previous killings but evidence was too thin to officially connect them to the Ripper, though many believed they were.
Jimmy Branagh: Suspicions of a serial killer at large in London led to the secondment of Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore and Walter Andrews from the Central Office at Scotland Yard. On the available evidence, Coroner Baxter concluded that Nichols was murdered at just after 3 am where she was found.
Jimmy Branagh: In his summing up, he dismissed the possibility that her murder was connected with those of Smith and Tabram, as the lethal weapons were different in those cases, and neither of the earlier cases involved a slash to the throat. However, by the time the inquest into Nichols’ death had concluded, a fourth woman had been murdered, and Baxter noted: “The similarity of the injuries in the two cases is considerable.”
Jimmy Branagh: Annie Chapman
Jimmy Branagh: The mutilated body of the fourth woman, prostitute Annie Chapman, was discovered at about 6:00 am on Saturday 8 September on the ground near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. Chapman had left her lodgings at 2 am on the day she was murdered, with the intention of getting money from a client to pay her rent.
Jimmy Branagh: Her throat was cut from left to right. She had been disembowelled, and her intestines had been thrown out of her abdomen over each of her shoulders. The morgue examination revealed that part of her uterus was missing. The pathologist, George Bagster Phillips, was of the opinion that the murderer must have possessed anatomical knowledge to have sliced out the reproductive organs in a single movement with a blade about 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) long. However, the idea that the murderer possessed surgical skill was dismissed by other experts.
Jimmy Branagh: As the bodies were not examined extensively at the scene, it has also been suggested that the organs were actually removed by mortuary staff, who took advantage of bodies that had already been opened to extract organs that they could sell as surgical specimens.
Jimmy Branagh: On 10 September, the police arrested a notorious local called John Pizer, dubbed “Leather Apron”, who had a reputation for terrorizing local prostitutes. His alibis for the two most recent murders were corroborated, and he was released without charge. At the inquest one of the witnesses, Mrs Elizabeth Long, testified that she had seen Chapman talking to a man at about 5:30 am just beyond the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, where Chapman was later found.
Ceejay Writer: I’ve never heard that supposition before
Jimmy Branagh: Baxter inferred that the man Mrs Long had seen was the murderer. Mrs Long described him as over forty, a little taller than Chapman, of dark complexion, and of foreign, “shabby-genteel” appearance. He was wearing a brown deer-stalker hat and a dark overcoat. Another witness, carpenter Albert Cadosch, had entered the neighboring yard at 27 Hanbury Street at about the same time, and heard voices in the yard followed by the sound of something falling against the fence.
Jimmy Branagh: ((Hold question until after. There’s a lot here))
Jimmy Branagh: In his memoirs, Walter Dew recorded that the killings caused widespread panic in London. A mob attacked the Commercial Road police station, suspecting that the murderer was being held there. Samuel Montagu, the Member of Parliament for Whitechapel, offered a reward of £100 (roughly £10,000 as of 2017) after rumors that the attacks were Jewish ritual killings led to anti-Semitic demonstrations.
Jimmy Branagh: ocal residents founded the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee under the chairmanship of George Lusk and offered a reward for the apprehension of the killer—something the Metropolitan Police (under instruction from the Home Office) refused to do because it could lead to false or misleading information. The Committee employed two private detectives to investigate the case.
Jimmy Branagh: Robert Anderson was appointed head of the CID on 1 September, but he went on sick leave to Switzerland on the 7th. Superintendent Thomas Arnold, who was in charge of H (Whitechapel) Division, went on leave on 2 September.
Jimmy Branagh: Anderson’s absence left overall direction of the inquiries confused, and led Chief Commissioner Sir Charles Warren to appoint Chief Inspector Donald Swanson to co-ordinate the investigation from Scotland Yard. A German hairdresser named Charles Ludwig was taken into custody on 18 September on suspicion of the murders, but he was released less than two weeks later when a double murder demonstrated that the real culprit was still at large.
Jimmy Branagh: Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes
Jimmy Branagh: On Sunday 30 September, the body of prostitute Elizabeth Stride was discovered at about 1 am in Dutfield’s Yard, inside the gateway of 40 Berner Street, Whitechapel. She was lying in a pool of blood with her throat cut from left to right. She had been killed just minutes before, and her body was otherwise unmutilated. It is possible that the murderer was disturbed before he could commit any mutilation of the body by someone entering the yard, perhaps Louis Diemschutz, who discovered the body.
Jimmy Branagh: However, some commentators on the case conclude that Stride’s murder was unconnected to the others on the basis that the body was unmutilated, that it was the only murder to occur south of Whitechapel Road, and that the blade used might have been shorter and of a different design. Most experts, however, consider the similarities in the case distinctive enough to connect Stride’s murder with at least two of the earlier ones, as well as that of Catherine Eddowes on the same night.
Edward Hyde: Tch. Long Liz probably didn’t deserve that.
Jimmy Branagh: At 1:45 am Catherine Eddowes’ mutilated body was found by PC Edward Watkins at the south-west corner of Mitre Square, in the City of London, about 12 minutes walk from Berner Street. She had been killed less than 10 minutes earlier by a slash to the throat from left to right with a sharp, pointed knife at least 6 inches (15 cm) long.
Jimmy Branagh: er face and abdomen were mutilated, and her intestines were drawn out over the right shoulder with a detached length between her torso and left arm. Her left kidney and most of her uterus were removed.
Ceejay Writer: Egads
Jimmy Branagh: The Eddowes inquest was opened on 4 October by Samuel F. Langham, coroner for the City of London. The examining pathologist, Dr Frederick Gordon Brown, believed the perpetrator “had considerable knowledge of the position of the organs” and from the position of the wounds on the body he could tell that the murderer had knelt to the right of the body, and worked alone.
Jimmy Branagh: However, the first doctor at the scene, local surgeon Dr George William Sequeira, disputed that the killer possessed anatomical skill or sought particular organs. His view was shared by City medical officer William Sedgwick Saunders, who was also present at the autopsy. Because of this murder’s location, the City of London Police under Detective Inspector James McWilliam were brought into the inquiry.
Jimmy Branagh: At 3 am a blood-stained fragment of Eddowes’ apron was found lying in the passage of the doorway leading to 108 to 119 Goulston Street, Whitechapel, about a third of a mile (500 m) from the murder scene. There was chalk writing on the wall of the doorway, which read either “The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing” or “The Juwes are not the men who will be blamed for nothing.” At 5 am, Commissioner Warren attended the scene and ordered the words erased for fear that they would spark anti-Semitic riots. Goulston Street was on a direct route from Mitre Square to Flower and Dean Street, where both Stride and Eddowes lived.
Jimmy Branagh: The Middlesex coroner, Wynne Baxter, believed that Stride had been attacked with a swift, sudden action. She was still holding a packet of cachous (breath freshening sweets) in her left hand when she was discovered, indicating that she had not had time to defend herself. A grocer, Matthew Packer, implied to private detectives employed by the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee that he had sold some grapes to Stride and the murderer; however, he had told police that he had shut his shop without seeing anything suspicious. At the inquest, the pathologists stated emphatically that Stride had not held, swallowed or consumed grapes.
Jimmy Branagh: They described her stomach contents as “cheese, potatoes and farinaceous powder [flour or milled grain]”. Nevertheless, Packer’s story appeared in the press. Packer’s description of the man did not match the statements by other witnesses who may have seen Stride with a man shortly before her murder, but all but two of the descriptions differed.
Jimmy Branagh: Joseph Lawende passed through Mitre Square with two other men shortly before Eddowes was murdered there, and may have seen her with a man of about 30 years old, who was shabbily dressed, wore a peaked cap, and had a fair mustache. Chief Inspector Swanson noted that Lawende’s description was a near match to another provided by one of the witnesses who may have seen Stride with her murderer.However, Lawende stated that he would not be able to identify the man again, and the two other men with Lawende were unable to give descriptions.
Jimmy Branagh: Criticism of the Metropolitan Police and the Home Secretary, Henry Matthews, continued to mount as little progress was made with the investigation. The City Police and the Lord Mayor of London offered a reward of £500 (roughly £50,000 as of 2017) for information leading to the capture of the villain.
Jimmy Branagh: The use of bloodhounds to track the killer in the event of another attack was considered, but the idea was abandoned because the trail of scents was confused in the busy city, the dogs were inexperienced in an urban environment, and the owner was concerned that the dogs would be poisoned by criminals if their role in crime detection became known.
Jimmy Branagh: On 27 September, the Central News Agency received a letter, dubbed the “Dear Boss” letter, in which the writer, who signed himself “Jack the Ripper”, claimed to have committed the murders. On 1 October, a postcard, dubbed the “Saucy Jacky” postcard and also signed “Jack the Ripper”, was received by the agency. It claimed responsibility for the most recent murders on 30 September, and described the murders of the two women as the “double event”, a designation which has endured.
Jimmy Branagh: On Tuesday 2 October, an unidentified female torso was found in the basement of New Scotland Yard, which was under construction. It was linked to the Whitechapel murders by the press, but it was not included in the Whitechapel murders file, and any connection between the two is now considered unlikely. The case became known as the Whitehall Mystery. On the same day, the psychic Robert James Lees visited Scotland Yard and offered to track down the murderer using paranormal powers; the police turned him away and “called [him] a fool and a lunatic”.
Jimmy Branagh: The head of the CID, Anderson, eventually got back from leave on 6 October and took charge of the investigation for Scotland Yard. On 16 October, George Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee received another letter claiming to be from the killer. The handwriting and style were unlike that of the “Dear Boss” letter and “Saucy Jacky” postcard. The letter arrived with a small box containing half of a human kidney preserved in alcohol. The letter’s writer claimed that he had extracted it from the body of Eddowes and that he had “fried and ate” the missing half.
Jimmy Branagh: Opinion on whether the kidney and the letter were genuine was and is divided.By the end of October, the police had interviewed more than 2,000 people, investigated “upwards of 300”, and detained 80.
Jimmy Branagh: Mary Jane Kelly
Ceejay Writer: Huge burden on manpower
Jimmy Branagh: On Friday 9 November, prostitute Mary Jane Kelly was murdered in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller’s Court, behind 26 Dorset Street, Spitalfields. One of the earlier victims, Chapman, had lived in Dorset Street, and another, Eddowes, was reported to have slept rough there. Kelly’s severely mutilated body was discovered shortly after 10:45 am lying on the bed. The first doctor at the scene, Dr George Bagster Phillips, believed that Kelly was killed by a slash to the throat.
Jimmy Branagh: ((Jack confused hall out of them))
Jimmy Branagh: ((Hell too))
Jimmy Branagh: After her death, her abdominal cavity was sliced open and all her viscera removed and spread around the room. Her breasts had been cut off, her face mutilated beyond recognition, and her thighs partially cut through to the bone, with some of the muscles removed. Unlike the other victims, she was undressed and wore only a light chemise. Her clothes were folded neatly on a chair, with the exception of some found burnt in the grate. Abberline thought the clothes had been burned by the murderer to provide light, as the room was otherwise only dimly lit by a single candle.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach winces at the scene
Jimmy Branagh: Kelly’s murder was the most savage, probably because the murderer had more time to commit his atrocities in a private room rather than in the street. Her state of undress and folded clothes have led to suggestions that she undressed herself before lying down on the bed, which would indicate that she was killed by someone she knew, by someone she believed to be a client, or when she was asleep or intoxicated.
Jimmy Branagh: The coroner for North East Middlesex, Dr Roderick Macdonald, MP, presided over the inquest into Kelly’s death at Shoreditch Town Hall on 12 November. Amid scenes of great emotion, an “enormous crowd” of mourners attended Mary Kelly’s funeral on 19 November. The streets became gridlocked and the cortège struggled to travel from Shoreditch mortuary to the Roman Catholic Cemetery at Leytonstone, where she was laid to rest.
Edward Hyde: Hope you don’t have a weak stomach.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: I? Am a doctor. I’d best not.
Jimmy Branagh: On 8 November, Charles Warren resigned as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police after the Home Secretary informed him that he could not make public statements without Home Office approval. James Monro, who had resigned a few months earlier over differences with Warren, was appointed as his replacement in December. On 10 November, the police surgeon Thomas Bond wrote to Robert Anderson, head of the London CID, detailing the similarities between the five murders of Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes and Kelly, “no doubt committed by the same hand”.
Jimmy Branagh: On the same day, the Cabinet resolved to offer a pardon to any accomplice who came forward with information that led to the conviction of the actual murderer. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner reported that the Whitechapel murderer remained unidentified despite 143 extra plain-clothes policemen deployed in Whitechapel in November and December.
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Tepic Harlequin!
Jimmy Branagh: And now, Jack the Ripper
Jimmy Branagh: To this day, no one knows with certainty who he was.
Jimmy Branagh: In 1894, Sir Melville Macnaghten, then Chief Constable, wrote a confidential report in which he names the three top suspects. Although some information concerning the suspect he believed most likely to have been the murderer had been available before the turn of the century, the name of that suspect was not made public until 1959.
Jimmy Branagh: Macnaghten’s suspect was M.J. Druitt, a barrister turned teacher who committed suicide in December 1888. Unfortunately for Macnaghten who wrote his memoranda from memory, the details he ascribes to Druitt are wrong. According to the Chief Constable, Druitt was a doctor, 41 years of age, and committed suicide immediately after the Kelly murder. In actuality Druitt was 31, not a doctor, and killed himself nearly a month after the last official murder.
Jimmy Branagh: No other police officer supported Macnaghten’s allegations, and one in fact, stated that the theory was inadequate and that the suicide was circumstantial evidence at best that the drowned doctor was the Ripper. While it is still possible that he was the Ripper, correct information gathered about Druitt so far makes him seem an unlikely candidate.
Jimmy Branagh: In 1903, Frederick Abberline, a retired crack detective who had been in charge of the Ripper investigation at the ground level stated that he thought that multiple wife poisoner Severin Klosowski, alias George Chapman, might be Jack the Ripper. As with Macnaghten, no other officer has concurred with his opinion and modern criminal profiling science tends to reject Klosowski as a serious candidate.
Jimmy Branagh: The name of Macnaghten’s second suspect was confirmed as Aaron Kosminiski in the early 1980s when a researcher came upon Donald Swanson’s personal copy of Robert Anderson’s book of memoirs. Both Swanson and Anderson were officers who participated in the Ripper investigation; indeed, they were the ones given the responsibility of being in charge of the case. Anderson had written in his memoirs that appeared for the first time in 1910 that the police knew who the Ripper was.
Jimmy Branagh: According to Anderson the Ripper was a Polish Jew who was put away in an insane asylum after the crimes, and then died soon after. Swanson had made some notes in his copy of the book concerning Anderson’s suspect, and wrote that the suspect’s name was Kosminski. At first it seemed that the case had been solved, but research has found a number of problems with the theory. No other officer supports’ Anderson’s allegation, and Swanson’s notes seem to question his superior’s claims rather than support them.
Jimmy Branagh: Aaron Kosminski was a real person and was placed in an insane asylum. His records show him to be a docile and harmless lunatic that heard voices in his head and would only eat food from the gutter. The dates of his incarceration are wrong, and he did not die soon after his committal but lived on until 1919. Some researchers have tried to explain the problems by saying that the name Kosminski’ was confused with another insane Polish Jew, who really was dangerous.
Jimmy Branagh: The search continues. The third Macnaghten suspect, Michael Ostrog, has been investigated and there is nothing to indicate that he was nothing more than a demented con man.
Jimmy Branagh: Dr. Francis Tumblety, the latest serious suspect, only became known to students of the Jack the Ripper murders in 1993. A collector of crime memorabilia obtained a cache of letters belonging to a crime journalist named G.R. Sims. Among the letters was one from John Littlechild, who had been in charge of the Secret Department in Scotland Yard at the time of the murders.
Jimmy Branagh: Dated 1913, Littlechild writes to Sims: “I never heard of a Dr. D. (which many assume is a reference to Druitt as Macnaghten thought Druitt was a doctor and Sims was a confident of the Chief Constable), in connection with the Whitechapel Murders but amongst the suspects, and to my mind a very likely one, was a Dr. T . . . He was an American quack named Tumblety . . . ” A book by the collector who found the letter goes to great lengths in trying to prove that Tumblety is the final solution for the mystery.
Jimmy Branagh: Unfortunately, he fails to do so. There is no doubt that Tumblety was a legitimate suspect and that when he fled to America, Scotland Yard detectives came over to investigate him further. It is unlikely that Scotland Yard continued to view him as a serious suspect. James Monro, who succeeded Warren and was in overall command of the Secret department before becoming Commissioner, thought that the Alice McKenzie murder of July 1889 was the work of the Ripper. He stated in 1890 that he did not know who the Whitechapel murderer was but that he was working on his own theory.
Jimmy Branagh: Most recently, mystery writer Patricia Cornwell has been involved in a continuing, self-financed search for evidence to support her theory that painter Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper.
Jimmy Branagh: She wrote “Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed”, which was published in 2002 to much controversy, especially within the British art world and among Ripperologists. Cornwell denied being obsessed with Jack the Ripper in full-page ads in two British newspapers and has said the case was “far from closed”. In 2001, Cornwell was criticized for allegedly destroying one of Sickert’s paintings in pursuit of the Ripper’s identity. She believed the well-known painter to be responsible for the string of murders and had purchased over thirty of his paintings and argued that they closely resembled the Ripper crime scenes.
Jimmy Branagh: Cornwell also claimed a breakthrough: a letter written by someone purporting to be the killer, had the same watermark as some of Sickert’s writing paper. Ripper experts noted, however, that there were hundreds of letters from different authors falsely claiming to be the killer, and the watermark in question was on a brand of stationery that was widely available.
Jimmy Branagh: To date, Jack has gotten away with it. He remains unidentified.
Jimmy Branagh: Jack the Ripper has remained popular for a number of reasons. He was not the first serial killer, but he was probably the first to appear in a large metropolis at a time when the general populace had become literate and the press was a force for social change. The Ripper also appeared when there were tremendous political turmoil and both the liberals and social reformers, as well as the Irish Home rule partisans tried to use the crimes for their own ends.
Jimmy Branagh: Every day the activities of the Ripper were chronicled in the newspapers as were the results of the inquiries and the actions taken by the police. Even the feelings of the people living in the East End, and the editorials that attacked the various establishments of Society appeared each day for both the people of London and the whole world to read. It was the press coverage that made this series of murders a “new thing”, something that the world had never known before.
Jimmy Branagh: The press was also partly responsible for creating many myths surrounding the Ripper and ended up turning a sad killer of women into a “bogey man”, who has now become one of the most romantic figures in history. The rest of the responsibility lies with the Ripper. He may have been a sexual serial killer of a type all too common in the 1990s, but he was also bent on terrifying a city and making the whole world take notice of him by leaving his horribly mutilated victims in plain sight. Lastly, the Ripper was never caught and it is the mysteries surrounding this killer that both add to the romance of the story and creating an intellectual puzzle that people still want to solve.
Jimmy Branagh: And with that, I thank you for your attention.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach applauds
Lady Sumoku claps
Grace Winstanley: ✿◕‿◕✿
Grace Winstanley: APPLAUSE!!!!!
Grace Winstanley: APPLAUSE!!!!!
Grace Winstanley: ✿◕‿◕✿
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Herr Jimmy may now take questions.
Ceejay Writer: Whew! Well done, Jimmy.
Kailyn Stormraven: claps
Jimmy Branagh: Thank you
Jimmy Branagh smiles
Lyrical Bookworm claps enthusiastically.
Wulfriðe Blitzen: Jimmy, what do you make of the exumation of his last victim?
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Ceejay Writer!
Edward Hyde: Ya know, they actually have a name for people who study this stuff, right?
Jimmy Branagh: Oh, the white box to my left is a small token for everyone.
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Lady Sumoku!
Ceejay Writer: Ripperologists?
Edward Hyde: Ye.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Is it a kidney?
Ceejay Writer: The box is labeled FROM HELL. Oh dear.
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Jedburgh30 Dagger!
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Ancasta Resident!
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Serafina Puchkina!
Jimmy Branagh: No, no kidney, though I did consider it 🙂
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, CmpZ Resident!
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, promiscute Resident!
Sera: Thank you, Jimmy. Most informative.
Kailyn Stormraven: knowing you, was a possibility
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Spare kidneys are quite useful.
Ceejay Writer: The fact that you considered it……
Tepic Harlequin: that were great Jimmy…. past me bedtime though, so night all!
Lady Sumoku waves
Sera: Night Tepic
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Gute Nacht, Tepic.
Jimmy Branagh: I didn;t go into the exhumation Miss Wulfi. That’s further reading.
Wulfriðe Blitzen: Night, Tepic
Kailyn Stormraven: good night
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: From your research, Herr Jimmy, to which suspect are you most inclined?
Edward Hyde: G’night, you lot.
Jedburgh Dagger: Will Gull
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Wildstar Resident!
Salon Speaker Tipjar: Thank you for supporting the Aether Salon, Nyanka Jinx!
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Gute Nacht, Herr Hyde.
Wulfriðe Blitzen: A top serial killer profiler also said that the Ripper would have been a quiet person, never violent in public. Which is rather alarming in its own right.
Sera: that’s interesting
Jedburgh Dagger: Duke of Clarence
Wulfriðe Blitzen nods
Lady Sumoku: It’s always the quiet ones.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Commodore, explain your suggestions, bitte.
Ceejay Writer: Interestng to me is the amping up of news coverage.
Jimmy Branagh: No particular leaning, Herr Baron. There was never a clear description, much of the evidence was contradictory or unsupported. They were simply unable to pin anything down
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: It seems much like the news of the future, does it now.
Jedburgh Dagger: or my theory that he was killed himself in the day to day goings on
Jimmy Branagh: Yes, thus began the age of Breaking News
Lady Sumoku: He was hit by a bus.
Wulfriðe Blitzen: There was an outbreak not long after the London murders stopped in New York. And they decided it was a copycat
Sera: (ah, need to leave. Apologies, all. waves goodnight)
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Gute Nacht, Fraulein.
Jimmy Branagh waves to Miss Sera
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: (Too quick.)
Grace Winstanley: goodnight
Lady Sumoku waves
Wulfriðe Blitzen: If folks ever find themselves in London I can recommend the tour in Whitechapel if they are interested. But the guides have their drama dial set to high.
Jedburgh Dagger: Will Gull was one of the later suspects the writers tossed out. He was Queen Victoria’s doctor
Ceejay Writer: SO MUCH to think about.
Jimmy Branagh: Yes, he was prime for a long time
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Interesting. And the Duke?
Ceejay Writer: But for now I must go make fish and shrimp tacos. Thanks so much, Jimmy!
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Gute Nacht, Fraulein Ceejay.
Jimmy Branagh: Yay!
Jimmy Branagh: Nothing like a snack after Jack!
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach groans
Ceejay Writer: Jimmy behave yourself!
Wulfriðe Blitzen: Have a good evening those leaving
Jean Zee: Mr Branagh, did you say that William Gull was a prime suspect at the time?
Lady Sumoku: Hooray for tacos!
Jimmy Branagh: Not at that time
Ceejay Writer: Enjoy the tail end of your weekend, all! Bye
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: For those who are leaving without taco destinations, Lord Olde reminds us about the Privateers’ Ball.
Jedburgh Dagger: Someone wrote a book in the 60s and said the Duke was a suspect because he was driven crazy by Syhillis
Ceejay Writer is Offline
Lady Sumoku: A taco-less destination is a sad destination indeed.
Jean Zee: Were there any prime suspects at the time? Did the early police force even have a concept of that?
Jimmy Branagh chuckles
Jedburgh Dagger: Yes they did.
Lady Sumoku: Just not enough to help.
Jedburgh Dagger: the big thing is this is before forensic evidence was a thing
Jedburgh Dagger: they had photographs
Jimmy Branagh: With 500+ and no defining evidence, it was impossible to have a prime.
Jean Zee: I see.
Jedburgh Dagger: a lot of cases were solved as they are now. Someone talked
Lady Sumoku: In this case, too many people talked. About gibberish.
Jedburgh Dagger: Never discount the power of an angry Ex
Jimmy Branagh: They were hoping for that, that Jack had some sort of assistant who would talk. Even offered a large reward if one would come forward
Jimmy Branagh: Basically, in the end, they had not much.
Jedburgh Dagger: they had a lot of mechanism. but true motive was tough
Wulfriðe Blitzen: Some writers blamed the murders on a midwife who worked with the prostitutes. But I find that one odd.
Jedburgh Dagger: the german sailor was a good theory
Jean Zee: German sailor theory?
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Damen tend to poison for their murders.
Wulfriðe Blitzen: There was a recent case of the DNA
Jimmy Branagh: ((brb))
Jedburgh Dagger: knives are very personal
Wulfriðe Blitzen: Someone bought a shawl that belonged to one of the victims that had been passed down in the family
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach nods thoughtfully at the Commodore.
Wulfriðe Blitzen: The DNA test revealed a link with the Polish angle
Wulfriðe Blitzen: They even confirmed it with decendants, but it was dismissed due to lack of clean storage and contamination
Jedburgh Dagger: but professionally speaking Klaus, women use knives more than guns.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach nods
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Drowning, smothering, poison… intimate crimes, ja?
Lady Sumoku: No anvils over the doorway?
Grace Winstanley: interesting that the murders took place over only 3 years and that none before 1888 were pinned on him, as if he appeared from nowhere
Jedburgh Dagger: only in Acme Acres
Jedburgh Dagger: That’s why I wonder if some of them were misattributed
Wulfriðe Blitzen: They think he may have killed up to ten women, but the earlier ones just had their throats cut
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: The pathology for many killers of this sort usually escalates from boyhood, killing small animals and pets, easy victims.
Jedburgh Dagger: maybe Jack was escalating
Lady Sumoku: Getting his sea legs
Jedburgh Dagger: but Whitechapel was a rough place.
Wulfriðe Blitzen: Well some think they may have been his victims, and he just got more bold, or more psychotic as time went on
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Begging the question, then – what stopped him?
Jedburgh Dagger: and the coroner process wasn’t exact like it is now
Jimmy Branagh: Without the forensic techniques available today, he was like ectoplasm. He came out of the fog, and disappeared back into it, leaving nothing behind.
Jedburgh Dagger: I think he either ODed or died due to something else
Jimmy Branagh nods
Lady Sumoku: Most likely, died. That was common enough without stabbings.
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Terminal disease, perhaps.
Wulfriðe Blitzen: Well there was a series of gruesome murders in the late 1870’s of prostitutes in the naval town of Portsmouth
Jedburgh Dagger: I have a copy of the LOndon Coronor stats
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Fascinating!
Wulfriðe Blitzen: It was mentioned by a famous doctor who lived there and went on to write the Sherlock Holmes stories
Baron Klaus Wulfenbach: Which ties to next month’s Salon, in fact.
Jedburgh Dagger: they had lots of people who were either declared natural causes or accidents
Wulfriðe Blitzen nods
Jedburgh Dagger: Drunks sleeping on train tracks
Jedburgh Dagger: The good news is the railroad police writes the report
Jedburgh Dagger: the bad news is we still get to walk the tracks looking for parts
Jimmy Branagh: Gah
Wulfriðe Blitzen: They still exist here, they still have that very unpleasant task
Jedburgh Dagger: I need to sit down and make a list one day
Wulfriðe Blitzen: British Transport Police.
Lady Sumoku: Pieces parts.
Jedburgh Dagger: the thing about Jack
Wulfriðe Blitzen: Mostly they deal with drunks
Lady Sumoku: And parts is parts.
Jedburgh Dagger: We had a domestic murder where the man killed the wife with a knife
Jedburgh Dagger: but she lived for almost 5 minutes after having her throat cut and getting 30 stabs
Wildstar B.: !!!
Jedburgh Dagger: she was able to dial 911
Lady Sumoku: Blergh.
Jedburgh Dagger: so posit that Jack would have to restrain the victim
Jedburgh Dagger: and yes, it was a mess
Grace Winstanley: or they were drunk
Jedburgh Dagger: and yes, her daughter found her
Jimmy Branagh: He kew what he was doing, anatomically speaking. I agree with that part of the equation
Jedburgh Dagger: but I had to fight someone with a BAC of something like .35
Jedburgh Dagger: and it was a donnybrook, until he passed out from blood loss
Jedburgh Dagger: then we threw him in the ambulance
Lady Sumoku: Mean drunk.
Jedburgh Dagger: I agree too Jim
Jimmy Branagh: To quiet someone quickly in an open street, you gotta know what to cut
Jedburgh Dagger: but he could have been a butcher