…But who was Jack?

ripperWell we don’t know whether it just one person or maybe even two?

Mei Trow believes it to be Robert Mann, a morgue attendant. Trow has used up to date CSI forensic techniques as well as current psychological profiling and also geographical profiling.

In 1988 the FBI took an examination of the Ripper case which led to an apparently rather comprehensive criminal personality profile:

This profile described the killer as lower class white man probably the product of a broken home, he had a menial job and would’ve had some anatomical knowledge. Maybe a butcher, mortuary assistant or possibly a hospital porter and because of the solitude of his job he may well of found it difficult to interact with others and could’ve been rather socially inept, possibly somewhere on the autistic spectrum.

Mann who I have never heard of was generally fatherless and spent much of his time a child in a workhouse, but then again that could describe many, many poor people.

“I wanted to go beyond the myth of a caped man with a top hat and knife, and get to the reality, and the reality is simply that Jack was an ordinary man.” states Trow.

He also believes that Martha Tabram was stabbed to death in Gunthorpe Street may well have been his first and an Alice Mackenzie may have been his last.

In terms of psychological profiling, Robert Mann is the one of the most credible suspects from recent years and the closest we may ever get to a plausible psychological explanation for these most infamous of Victorian murders.” explains Professor Laurence Alison, Forensic Psychologist from Liverpool University.

However, it is worth bearing in mind that with more than 100 suspects over the years, Robert Mann will be another identity to add to the been proposed one over the years.

It is a fascinating mystery but one we probably never get to the bottom of!

Jacks back!

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It’s been some 125 year since Jack the Ripper and now a team of historians are bringing the killings into the 21st century to mark the anniversary of the Ripper’s murders.

Of course we still hve no idea who murdered at least five women and possibly more on

the streets of Whitechapel at tail end of the 19th century, now with twitter you too can relive the events and horror of the time through the @WChapelRealTime account. This went live live today and will give real-time updates for four months which covers the time of the murders in foggy East End in 1888.

Steven Halliday who is a ripper historian or ‘ripperologist’ as some may call him is the man behind the project.

He says “Jack the Ripper attracted more attention than any other criminal before that time. His crimes were so gruesome he disembodied his victims. But he was also never caught.His antics were horrific and a microcosm of the horrors of Victorian London. It was a lawless place, with great division in society.”

The tweets are quite raw and very detailed but may well make fascinating reading. Historian Jamie Wolfendale added ‘Social media is what young people use nowadays. We hope this will engage them in history more’ which is a fine sentiment if you ask me

Knife of Jack the Ripper?

Jack the Ripper and his knife?

Jack the Ripper never seem to cease fascinate us, but why?

Well I would hazard that it is the classic ‘whodunit’, it is also the setting of poverty and squalor which all tied up in the literature of the time from Dickens to Conan-Doyle.

So to add to all this we have Tony Williams, 49, Sir John Williams great-great-great-great nephew.

He has now published a book which features the startling image of the knife, supposedly used by he ripper, his relative’s.

The Welsh surgeon Sir John Williams was a chief suspect in the Victorian murders. Sir John or ‘Uncle Jack’ as he was known to his family was (and more importantly) the surgeon to Queen Victoria who was living in London at the time of the slayings. Sir John Williams removed himself from the capital after the murders.

Back to the present day, it appears that Tony Williams has unearthed the old black-handled surgeon’s knife which he used for operations and believes it could be the murder weapon, but then again he was a surgeon and I’m sure that he had several knifes as tools of the trade so to speak.

The knife was among a number of possessions left by the Welshman which included three glass slides which contains smears of a uterus.

Mr Williams told The Telegraph:

”Why would he leave this behind? I am convinced that this is the knife used by Sir John Williams to murder those women. ”It is widely know that the person who carried out the killings would have had significant medical knowledge. ”Sir John Williams was an accomplished surgeon and routinely performed abortions on women. He held surgeries all over London at the time of the murders.” He added: ”Dr Thomas Bond, a pathologist who examined the body of Mary Kelly, said the ripper had used the same six inch knife in all the murders. ”He said it would have been at least six inches long, very sharp, pointed at the top and about an inch in width – a surgeon’s knife. ”This is the knife that fits the description that I’ve held in my hand back in the National Library of Wales.”

Tony Williams claims that the possessions including an old diary, the knife and some glass slides prove his ‘Uncle Jack’ had the medical expertise and motive for the murders.

He went to tell the Telegraph:

”I looked through the possessions that he left and found the knife along with three glass slides. ”The smears on the glass slides have been tested and are confirmed as being matter from the uterus. ”I know Sir John was obsessed by the fact that his wife, Mary Hughes, could not have children. I think that was his motive.” He added: ”I think he was a Jekyll and Hyde-type character who may have been driven to commit murder because his wife could not have children. He was also known to be working on a cure for his wife’s problem.”

So another theory to add to the ever-growing list and tine continue to feed our fascination with the most infamous serial killer of all time.

Jack the Ripper: The Definitive Story – review

Jack the Ripper’s dead 
And lying in his bed 
He cut his throat 
With Sunlight soap 
Jack the Ripper’s dead. 

The Whitechapel Murderer, Leather Apron or as he is commonly know Jack the Ripper has been a source of fear and fascination since the horrific serial murders of 1888 and although released in Jan 2011 I came across ‘Jack the Ripper – The Definitive Story’ a few nights ago on HD5.

Great CGI/real life

I have a hard time to believe that this is the ‘definitive’ story, more like another story really or opinion but it is very well put together.

It starts off informing us that jack started his attacks with Emma Smith and Martha Tabran, they were attacked around the same time, in the same area and they too were alcoholics very much other 5 known victims.

    • Mary Ann Nichols
    • Annie Chapman
    • Elizabeth Stride
    • Catherine Eddowes
    • Mary Jane Kelly

Initially there was some belief that a solider, a coldstream guard was the killer but that proved to be false.

An 'expert' - Bill Beadle

There are lots of ‘experts’ pop-ups, some good acting and the computer graphics are not bad really and do make good backgrounds and give you an idea of what it was like compared to Whitechapel nowadays.

There are maps with arrows showing who was where, the CGI has the lighting set as it was in 1888.

It gives the gruesome details of death and the authentic photos of the victims and lots of ‘facts’ are bombarded at you..but It was very interesting to hear the background of the victims, something we don’t often hear.

It was also interesting to see how the press dealt with it and the sensationalism around the case.

I guess my only problem was whether to believe these’ facts’ or not, and sadly I understand these were cut (no pun intended) by some 45m mins so we didn’t get the whole story anyway.

and the conclusion…well you need to watch it for yourself but all in all a great introduction to one of the defining crimes of the Victorian Era.

From the makers:

Jack the Ripper the Definitive Story. Written by Paul Begg and John Bennett. Featuring experts: Philip Hutchinson, Richard Jones, Neil Bell, Neal Shelden and many more experts.

JTR, The Definitive Story, is a two hour docudrama that sets out to portray the Jack the Ripper murders as accurately as possible. Going back to original source materials and featuring the virtual environments of Jakko Luukanen.

The program sets out to reconstruct the witness statements as accurately as possible using the latest technologies available..

Broadcast on Channel FIVE in December 2010 and HISTORY UK in February 2011, JTR The Definitive Story is set for world wide release. DVD featuring extra footage!

Our aim is to provide the most accurate portrail of the Jack the Ripper murders ever . Two hours of cats taken from original source material and in conjunction with the soon to be released Jack The Ripper A to Z

Jack the Ripper, The Definitive Story is the first HD surround sound documentary ever created by Ripperologists. A program at last dedicated to the facts surrounding the case. 

Produced/Directed by Jeff Leahy

Currently available to watch on Channel 5

Is this the face of Jack the Ripper?

I came across this on the BBC Website by Dr Xanthe Mallett

Jack the Ripper?

On this day 123 years ago, Jack the Ripper claimed his first victim. But who was this serial killer? This new e-fit finally puts a face to Carl Feigenbaum, a key suspect from Germany.

Jack the Ripper is the world’s most famous cold case – the identity of the man who brutally murdered five women in London’s East End in autumn 1888 remains a mystery.

More than 200 suspects have been named. But to Ripper expert Trevor Marriott, a former murder squad detective, German merchant Carl Feigenbaum is the top suspect.

Convicted of murdering his landlady in Manhattan, Feigenbaum died in the electric chair in New York’s Sing Sing prison in 1894. His lawyer suspected him of the Ripper murders too.

No photos of Feigenbaum exist. So Marriott has produced this new e-fit for BBC One’s National Treasures Live, created from the description on the admittance form when he was in prison on remand in New York.

Why does Marriott think Feigenbaum is Jack the Ripper? Evidence, in the form of police documents and hundreds of letters to the authorities and newspapers, give us some clues.

The assumption has long been that Jack must have had anatomical knowledge because of the skill with which his victims’ organs were removed.

But it’s possible these were cut out in the mortuary, rather than by Jack at the scene. The 1832 Anatomy Act made it legal for medical personnel to remove organs for training purposes.

This theory is supported by documents on the fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes. The inquest report shows only 14 minutes elapsed from the time the police did their last sweep of the square in which she was killed and her body being discovered.

Was this really enough time for someone to have killed Eddowes, removed her uterus with surgical precision, and all in near complete blackness? Regardless of one’s medical knowledge, this seems a stretch.

So Marriott believes Jack wasn’t necessarily a surgeon after all.

He began to investigate other groups who might have been in the area. St Katharine and the London Docks are a short walk from Whitechapel, a place merchant seamen would have flocked to as it was an infamous red light district. Such close proximity would have made it easy for the killer to steal back to his ship unnoticed.

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