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Been away. But now I’m back
I would like to say I’m sorry to my readers! I had some personal issues come up and had to take care of them. I also started working on a book on all things paranormal. Hopefully this should come out this summer! Now to kick things off, is there anything anyone want to know about?
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Anonymous, loose-knit group of ‘hacktivists’
Anonymous, which briefly knocked the FBI and Justice Department websites offline in retaliation for the US shutdown of file-sharing site Megaupload, is a shadowy group of international hackers with no central hierarchy.
The temporary disabling of the US government websites is the latest exploit by the loose-knit hacker activists, or “hacktivists,” who have taken credit for scores of online attacks over the past few years.
The attacks range from the nuisance-like — the FBI and Justice Department websites were back up within a few hours — to the truly damaging involving the loss of data and the exposure of private financial information.
According to computer security researchers, Anonymous does not have a central authority but operates with a “hive mind mentality,” agreeing on targets in discussions in Internet chat rooms and striking simultaneously.
Anonymous, on @anonops, one of the various Twitter accounts used by the group, claimed that Thursday’s attacks on the Justice Department and FBI websites were their largest ever, involving over 5,600 people.
The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks were similar to those staged by Anonymous in late 2010 on the Amazon, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal websites in retaliation for their decisions to stop working with WikiLeaks.
In a typical DDoS attack, a large number of computers are commanded to simultaneously visit a website, overwhelming its servers, slowing service or knocking it offline completely.
The defense of WikiLeaks by Anonymous was an extension of “Operation Payback,” a movement which began on the Internet messageboard 4Chan in September 2010.
Operation Payback involved cyber attacks on the websites of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and others over their vigorous copyright protection efforts.
“Operation Payback stands for free speech and no censorship,” an Anonymous member told AFP in an online chat at the time.
The RIAA and MPAA websites were also targeted by Anonymous on Thursday in retaliation for the US government shutdown of Megaupload.com, which the US authorities accused of massive copyright infringement.
Beyond DDoS attacks, Anonymous has also taken credit for numerous other hacks, most recently the theft of emails and credit card information for subscribers to US intelligence analysis firm Stratfor.
Anonymous said the Stratfor hack was in retaliation for the prosecution of Bradley Manning, the US Army private accused of leaking more than 700,000 US documents to WikiLeaks in one of the most serious intelligence breaches in US history.
A number of Anonymous members have been arrested in Britain and the United States, but law enforcement authorities have emphasized that it is difficult to trace savvy computer users who know how to hide their tracks.
In September, the FBI arrested a member of the Anonymous-affiliated Lulz Security in connection with a crippling cyberattack on Japanese electronic giant Sony’s online operations.
Sony’s PlayStation Network, Qriocity music streaming service and Sony Online Entertainment were targeted by hackers beginning in April of last year.
Over 100 million accounts were affected and it took Sony months to completely restore its online services.
The Sony hacks were both claimed and denied by Anonymous — a not infrequent occurrence with a group that does not speak with a single voice.
The rise of HR 1981…
Senator Lamar Smith HR 1981:
So we have had the SOPA Blackout with Wikipedia and many other staking stance at the bill being pushed through congress, and it now looks like it has been buried for a while, and this is more than likely the case rather than simply buried.
So we can all rest in our liberal, rational little worlds now the thought police have decided to come back another day, but is it all that clear on the horizon of rationalism?
Back up or die:
If you are going to conquer anything worthwhile you need back up plans, so was SOPA just a smoke screen, a SOPA screen if you will?
It appears that a Senator Lamar Smith who was largely responsible for the SOPA bill could well have another bill related to Child Pornography down his pants, this bill will track all your financial dealings online by forcing your ISP (internet service provider) to do the dirty work for the government.
The data collected will include your IP address, and there are rumours that your search history, credit card and other personal information will also be stored conveniently for 18 months, though this seems to be a little scaremongering above and beyond what is perhaps intended with this bill.
The bill is HR 1981: How ironic that this bill should actually be called HR 1981 being so close to the famous Orwell novel 1984 book of a similar name which talks of “Big Brother” watching over its citizens with rather nasty intent.
This bill is thought to be more detrimental to civil liberties and freedoms on the internet than PIPA or SOPA ever tried to infringe.
Amending several areas of the “Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.” which changes key areas in Chapter 18 Section 2703 which requires disclosure of customer information or records to include a requirement that your internet service provider provide the following data:
A commercial provider of an electronic communication service shall retain for a period of at least one year a log of the temporarily assigned network addresses the provider assigns to a subscriber to or customer of such service that enables the identification of the corresponding customer or subscriber information under subsection (c)(2) of this section.
Access to a record or information required to be retained under this subsection may not be compelled by any person or other entity that is not a governmental entity.
It has been noted that the third section below does attempt to look into the additional cost of implementing this bill:
The Attorney General shall make a study to determine the costs associated with compliance by providers with the requirement of paragraph (1). Such study shall include an assessment of all the types of costs, including for hardware, software, and personnel that are involved. Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this paragraph, the Attorney General shall report to Congress the results of that study.
This changes the way that ISP’s are forced to collect Data. Where before they would have had to be given reason via a subpoena to collect personal data and then pass on this data as it was subsequently collected, now ISP’s would have to collect your personal data off the bat, just in case there is a need later, with a back up of 18 months of information on all clients.
This bill has currently gone through committee stage and is now heading for a full on vote.
Should your privacy be opened up like this for the greater safety of US kids or would this do absolutely nothing to protect children from those who are hell bent and so predisposed anyway?
I think not, this man is in fact a bit of a nutter.
SOPA & PIPA were dropped
A big hurrah to you!!!!! We’ve won for now — SOPA and PIPA were dropped by Congress today — the votes we’ve been scrambling to mobilize against have been cancelled.
The largest online protest in history has fundamentally changed the game. You were heard.
On January 18th, 13 million of us took the time to tell Congress to protect free speech rights on the internet. Hundreds of millions, maybe a billion, people all around the world saw what we did on Wednesday. See the amazing numbers here and tell everyone what you did.
This was unprecedented. Your activism may have changed the way people fight for the public interest and basic rights forever.
The MPAA (the lobby for big movie studios which created these terrible bills) was shocked and seemingly humbled. “‘This was a whole new different game all of a sudden,’ MPAA Chairman and former Senator Chris Dodd told the New York Times. ‘[PIPA and SOPA were] considered by many to be a slam dunk.’”
“’This is altogether a new effect,’ Mr. Dodd said, comparing the online movement to the Arab Spring. He could not remember seeing ‘an effort that was moving with this degree of support change this dramatically’ in the last four decades, he added.”
Tweet with us, shout on the internet with us, let’s celebrate: Round of applause to the 13 million people who stood up - #PIPA and #SOPA are tabled 4 now. #13millionapplause
We’re indebted to everyone who helped in the beginning of this movement — you, and all the sites that went out on a limb to protest in November — Boing Boing and Mozilla Foundation (and thank you Tumblr, 4chan)! And the grassroots groups — Public Knowledge, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, CDT, and many more.
Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA)
Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.
Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.
The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.
Anymore Questions or stories?
Does anyone have questions or stories they out like to tell me?
Jeffrey A. Merkley United States Senator
Thank you for contacting me to share your views about the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (S. 968), legislation that would provide new authority for U.S. officials to shut down foreign websites that sell counterfeit products.
I have heard from many Oregonians on both sides of this issue – those who support providing U.S. agencies with greater authority to shut down websites, and those who are worried that the legislation could result in Internet censorship. Thanks to your letter and the letters of fellow Oregonians, I have asked my staff to take a closer look into this legislation.
On May 26, the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which I am not a member, passed this bill out of committee. Please know that I will continue to follow its progress and will keep your views in mind should the full Senate take up this legislation. Again, I have made note of your points and appreciate your input.
I hope you will continue to send your observations and thoughts my way.
All my best,
Jeffrey A. Merkley United States Senator
Dan Aykroyd on UFOs… Yes I said Dan Aykroyd
Unless it is a very convincing joke, Dan Aykroyd most definitely believes in the existence of UFOs. We get on to the subject and his eyes start doing something strange. They bulge from his head, as if to punctuate his thoughts. And they are strange thoughts. “There’s this one website I go on a lot,” he says, “that just ends all debate about whether they’re real or not, and that’s Mufon.com.”
Aykroyd is the “Hollywood consultant” for Mufon (it stands for Mutual UFO Network), which seems to involve keeping abreast of developments in the UFO-sighting world and promoting the organisation. “Basically, [Mufon are] scientists from all kinds of disciplines that have formed this group to analyse what is real and what is a hoax. Now you could say every one of them is a fake - that footage of 200 whirling white dots in the sky, or the Phoenix Lights [a series of lights seen over Phoenix, Arizona, in 1997] - which 17,000 people saw - the Tinley Park sightings in Illinois, where whole suburbs saw these triangles and wedges go over at three miles an hour. Is it a mass hallucination? If so, why is it appearing on digital cameras and film? They’re coming and going like taxis.”
I wasn’t sure about bringing up the UFOs so soon because it makes Aykroyd seem so, well, odd, and that’s not the way he comes across. Or not entirely. He certainly has his eccentricities, and I don’t just mean the physical oddities to which he has drawn attention in the past: he has webbed toes and eyes of different colours, one brown and one green. He wears his black motorcycle boots everywhere, even on the beach (perhaps because of the webbed toes?) and he is wearing them today, providing an edge to his suit. He always carries his police badge on him, from his time as a reserve officer for the Harahan police department in Louisiana; he pulls the badge out of his jacket pocket to show me. But he is also gentle (he is a man who can fill an armchair - it makes me want to give him a cuddle), articulate, serious even, and doesn’t lack self-awareness.
Before meeting Aykroyd in the empty bar of a London hotel, I watched a programme he did last year in which he was interviewed for an hour and a half about aliens by a “ufologist” called David Sereda. At the end of it, Sereda earnestly described the actor as “one of the greatest minds in our world at this time” and Aykroyd had the grace to look slightly embarrassed. The whole thing could be a long-running joke, perhaps an attempt to keep people interested in his films Ghostbusters and Coneheads, but it’s a lot of trouble to go to just to promote old movies. Does he really believe it? “I do, absolutely, and I’m not alone.” He is very serious.
So why are they here? “There’s that old theory that humankind and this planet were seen as the centre of the universe. That was thrown away - how could we be so presumptuous? Well, I subscribe to that. I think we are the centre of the universe and that is why they’re coming. They’re visiting because this is the planet that produced Picasso, the atom bomb, penicillin … there are so many advances in science, art and culture.” But if they are able to travel here, surely they are more advanced than us? “Oh, they have technology better than ours, but they didn’t paint like Renoir, they don’t dance like Mick Jagger, they don’t write like Samuel Johnson or William Faulkner. They are envious of us. We have the most beautiful planet - the Rockies, the purple fields of the United States, the Lake District, the Pyrenees, the turquoise seas of the tropics. They don’t have that. They may have gelatinous pools and crystal mountains and they’ve got the technology to flip from planet to planet or dimension to dimension but, you know, Keith Richards didn’t come from there.” I’m not so sure about that last bit. Does he think there are aliens living here, among us? “I think there are possibly some hybrids here. I think many are here for good purposes and want to improve our planet but I think some are here for malevolent purposes.” Like what? “Probably extracting sperm and ova, or taking cow’s lips and anuses for delicacies, being cruel to animals, that kind of thing.”
Aliens and cow anuses. I could talk to Aykroyd about this for hours and so could he, probably, if he was certain I was taking him seriously. But on to more mundane pursuits. Aykroyd is in London to scout out a location for the first UK branch of the House of Blues, the music venue and restaurant chain he co-founded. His band, the Blues Brothers, still perform at the opening of every new club, even though he sold the company last year (Aykroyd has a strong entrepreneurial streak - he remains as a consultant for the House of Blues, has a winery, and imports an expensive brand of tequila into his native Canada). The other reason he is here is to promote his new film, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, in which a widowed firefighter, Larry, persuades his womanising friend Chuck (Adam Sandler) to pretend they are having a relationship and register a civil partnership so as to provide financial protection for his children. It has received terrible reviews, with critics complaing about tired, hateful “jokes” about dropping the soap in the shower, vague racism and Sandler as an unlikely sex symbol.
Aykroyd, always likable, puts in a good show as the fire captain, but is this what his career has come to? Now 55, he was influential as one of the original cast members of Saturday Night Live, had success with the Blues Brothers film and band, was nominated for an Oscar for his role in Driving Miss Daisy and wrote and starred in several hit films including Ghostbusters. But in recent years, his career hasn’t looked so good: he appeared in the sequel Blues Brothers 2000, which flopped, and took small parts in films including Pearl Harbor and 50 First Dates.
I think I have irritated him. “I went as far as one could go in the business - I wrote seven movies and got them made, and starred in them and produced them. It’s impossible to maintain because a new generation comes up and one has to relinquish one’s position. There are new stars, new types of humour, new directors and writers and they’re referencing other things, so for me to sit and home and moan that the phone isn’t ringing, that’s not my style. I’ve had 30-plus years in this business, an amazing run, and I think now it’s time for the new generation to come up. The torch has been passed to Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, and one day the time will come for them to pass the torch. I get offered things where they want a good character performance. I’ve actually turned down six movies in the last year because between the expansion of House of Blues, my schedule with the band, the tequila, the wine business, and raising three kids and maintaining a marriage of 25 years [he has three daughters with the actor Donna Dixon], I don’t have much time to be away any more.”
Aykroyd founded the Blues Brothers nearly 30 years ago with his friend John Belushi and the band is still going 25 years after the latter’s death from an accidental drug overdose. Belushi, the wild one in the partnership, had been a drug addict for several years and died at the Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles, after injecting heroin and cocaine. Did Aykroyd feel there was more he could have done? “I poured a lot of coke down the toilet. His wife and I hid a lot of vials or crushed them. We did everything we could but ultimately he was very wily and we’re all captains of our own ship. There wasn’t much we could do if he was determined to get his hands on it. He would run away or get really mad at us. This was before the time of the active intervention that you see today. We did try to get an intervention together but he bolted from the room. The last night I saw him alive, he was getting into a white limousine headed to Jersey with a coke dealer. I wasn’t enough to attract him away from that.” He thinks for a minute. “Of course I feel bad about it but I can’t lay too much guilt on myself.”
For a long time, he found Belushi’s death extremely hard to deal with. “It stopped me dead. I was 29, he was 33, we had a hit record, hit movie, everything laid out before us. It sent me into a mode of abandonment of safety - I drove my motorcycle faster than I should have, I did a lot of partying, I hung out with people I shouldn’t, but then ultimately I came round and realised I had something to give, I had a contribution to make, so I went on and did some of my best work after he died.”
It was his parents (his father was a civil engineer, his mother a secretary) who started Aykroyd on the acting path by enrolling him at an improvisational class. They didn’t particularly want him to be an actor, they just thought it would help calm their hyperactive son - he had been expelled from two schools for acting up and a psychiatrist had diagnosed mild Asperger’s syndrome, a condition on the autism spectrum, because Aykroyd had a few tics and had shown signs of obsessive compulsive disorder.
His early experience would later come in useful when Aykroyd joined Second City, the improvisation comedy troupe, where his contemporaries included John Candy, Eugene Levy and Bill Murray. For a while, his mother, especially, had hoped he might become a priest: Aykroyd had been educated in a seminary for four years (“the Catholic school board had a better system of education at that time”), but they sent his parents a letter saying Aykroyd was not a suitable candidate. “They were disappointed because I had to find a new high school, but I was totally relieved. I’d make a bad preacher. I could sound good, acting it out, but who am I to tell other people how to live their lives?”
It was in Ottawa, where Aykroyd grew up, that he discovered the blues. “There was a booker who brought all the major blues artists into town. I would sneak into this club through the back door and there were all of the great players, so very early on I was being exposed to it.” As a teenager, he would walk around Ottawa dressed like Charlie Musselwhite, the blues musician, wearing big shades and a long raincoat (the inspiration for his Elwood Blues character).
What I find most endearing about Aykroyd is his wide range of interests and the intensity with which he follows them: motorbikes, wine, music, politics (“I think Hillary would make an extremely capable president. She brings Bill along, she has knowledge and experience, and I see great leadership strength there”), law enforcement and criminology. His interest in the paranormal runs in the family - his grandparents held seances, and his younger brother Peter is a “psychic researcher”. He says he has seen UFOs - some glowing discs travelling at high speed above his house at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Another time, he says, he was outside in the street in New York, where he lives much of the time, on his mobile phone to Britney Spears (he played her father in a terrible film called Crossroads, and she had phoned to ask him to appear on Saturday Night Live with her) when he saw a black car across the street and a very tall man get out of the back. He looked back a split second later and it had vanished. The man, he says, had given him a “dirty look” that he took as “a warning”. He didn’t say if he thinks the warning was against working with Spears again.
Does he mind what others think about his beliefs? “Well, there was a poll in America which said 54% believe [in UFOs], so that’s a majority - I’m with millions of people. How about the hundreds of thousands who have seen them? Or the ones who have been taken up in the ships?” He really thinks people have been abducted? “Oh, absolutely, many. I’ve spoken with very credible witnesses who have shown me their marks.”
He points abstractly to his knees. “To those who don’t believe and don’t want to believe and think I’m crazy: good. Let the sceptics come and tear down the sighting. If I say I saw a black wedge go over my car, let them tell me that it was a cloud. I accept sceptics, you’ve got to have challenges. Please provide your explanations because that will help me to realise, along with my fellow researchers and ufologists, what is real and what isn’t.” That is sensible enough.
It is reassuring to know that Aykroyd doesn’t appear to have lost his grip on reality. Or maybe he is right. Or maybe the whole thing is a joke. I don’t think so, but suddenly I’m not sure what is real and what isn’t. He walks away, dressed in a dark suit and sunglasses, an older, cuddlier Blues Brother. I can’t see if he’s laughing.
UFO Researchers Seek ‘The Truth’
With so much planet hunting and spotting going on, we are in a showdown to see whether the universe is perhaps chock-full of extraterrestrial life.
Distant starfolk is one thing. Having ET stopovers here on Earth, via UFOs, is another. And that was just the topic du jour here at the 38th Annual International UFO Symposium, subtitled An Estimate of the Situation: The ET Hypothesis, held August 10-12 and sponsored by the Denver-based Mutual UFO Network, Inc., or MUFON for short.
As a yearly affair, the symposium provides a platform for specialists and investigators that delve into UFOs, purported military cover-ups and denials, physical evidence surrounding UFOs, as well as those “high strangeness” encounters with alien visitors.
The MUFON summit brought together more than 500 people – a true gabfest for the flying saucer devotee.
Passion for the truth
James Carrion, MUFON’s International Director, said the organization is fervent about resolving the scientific enigma known as unidentified flying objects.
“To me, it’s all about the truth. I have a passion for the truth,” Carrion told SPACE.com.
Still, after decades of pursuing “the truth” behind UFOs, Carrion admitted that the quest is befuddling. “Why is it always within out of reach…kind of there, but it’s not there?”
A new MUFON initiative being implemented this year is outreach to engage mainstream scientists, Carrion said, to assist in taking a more detailed look at the data. An open letter to the professional scientific community is now being drafted, to be issued before year’s end, he said.
“We have to gain respectability here … so we’re trying to kick-start intellectual curiosity out there,” Carrion added. “We know that there are folks in academia who have an interest, but they don’t know what to do with it.”
The MUFON strategy initially centers on the hypothesis that UFOs are human-manufactured and then evaluate the data amassed to date against that premise, Carrion advised. “If this triggers your intellectual curiosity … help us out,” he said.
Carrion said that MUFON is also forming two research teams: One to dive into the history of “UFOlogy” and government archives, the other to probe into the abduction encounters.
“I’m a skeptical believer,” Carrion pointed out. “I’ve never seen a UFO. But I’ve read enough of our own evidence. There’s something real to this. To me, it’s an issue of what is it?”
Tell it like it is
For nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, there is no doubt that some UFOs are alien spacecraft. Moreover, the subject of flying saucers, in his view, represents a “Cosmic Watergate” - a colossal government cover-up.
Friedman is a globe-trotting lecturer on UFOs and is the original civilian investigator of the celebrated UFO crash case in Roswell, New Mexico. That out-of-the-blue happening supposedly occurred some 60 years ago, in 1947, involving no less than two crashed saucers, strewn debris and recovered alien bodies, he reported at the MUFON meeting.
“I come on very, very strong. I’m not an apologist UFOlogist…I tell it like it is,” Friedman told SPACE.com. He senses that a “big sea change” is taking place on several fronts.
“My overall impression is that people are more ready to accept [UFO visitation] because the world has changed…space travel being an important part of that,” Friedman noted. “What I’m saying is that the notion that most people don’t believe in UFOs isn’t true.”
Also, the media is giving UFO sightings a much fairer shake than in the past, Friedman suggested, citing not only Roswell coverage, but the reporting of UFO sightings made at O’Hare Airport late last year and more revelation concerning the Phoenix lights saga of March 1997.
“I don’t look for advocacy…I want fairness,” Friedman added. “I feel the world is ready. I’m outspoken, yes. But I try to make it a rule: Fact in hand before mouth in gear.”
UFOs as visitors from afar would be a simple, easy-to-grasp explanation, suggested George Knapp, an investigative reporter for KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, Nevada. But he wonders if there isn’t a mind-bending finding waiting at the bottom of the UFO barrel.
“It seems to stay one or two steps ahead of what we can do…from airships to the saucers, to giant flying triangles…almost teasing, taunting, or inspiring,” Knapp told SPACE.com. Given cutting-edge physics, talk of the multi-verse and parallel universes, along with threshold biological and computer work, there are fundamental paradigm shifts ahead, he said.
“Although we can’t figure out a way to get there…doesn’t mean they can’t figure out a way to get here,” Knapp said. Involved in UFO reporting for some two decades, Knapp said he’s committed to the journalistic credo that the public has a right to know.
“But you know what? Maybe not! It goes against everything in my professional life that I believe. What if it’s not something we should know? That the truth is so unsettling that our social institutions would, in fact, crumble,” Knapp confided.
Knapp underscored the prospect that perhaps we Earthlings live in the middle of some other kind of intelligence. Perhaps our planet is nothing more than a cosmic drive-in theater, he added, and UFOs skim in and out of our skies just to watch goofy movies.
“And if it’s something else - like they live here among us and everything we do is like being in a glass shower - people are going to go crazy. So maybe there is a reason for keeping this secret…and a need for government cover-up which I believe there is,” Knapp said.
Knapp’s on-air investigative work focuses primarily on government corruption and organized crime. But asked about the angle that his next investigative piece on the UFO phenomenon will take, he quickly responded. “Nothing I’m going to tell you about.”
Albert Bender and International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB)
In 1953 a man by the name of Albert K. Bender was running an organization called the International Flying Saucer Bureau (IFSB) and editing a little publication called Space Review that was dedicated to news of flying saucers. The IFSB had a small membership despite its rather grandiose title, and Space Review reached at best, no more than a few hundred readers. But they were all deeply devoted to the idea that flying saucers were craft from outer space.
In common with other true believers, these saucer buffs were convinced that they were in possession of a great truth, while most of the rest of the world remained in darkness and ignorance. They felt very important, and thus it was with a sense of surprise, even shock, that they opened up the October 1953 issue of Space Review and found two unexpected announcements: “LATE BULLETIN”.
A source which the IFSB considers very reliable has informed us that the investigation of the flying saucer mystery and the solution is approaching its final stages. This same source to whom we had referred data, which had come into our possession, suggested that it was not the proper method and time to publish the data in Space Review.
The second and more shocking item read: STATEMENT OF IMPORTANCE: The mystery of the flying saucers is no longer a mystery. The source is already known, but any information about this is being withheld by order from a higher source. We would like to print the full story in Space Review, but because of the nature of the information we are very sorry that we have been advised in the negative.
The statement ended with the ominous sentence, “We advise those engaged in saucer work to please be very cautious.” Bender then suspended the publication of Space Review, and dissolved the IFSB. The tone of the announcements would have been familiar to anyone who had much experience with occult organizations. Occultists often claim they are in the possession of some great secret which, for equally secret reasons, they cannot reveal. Even the appeal, “please be very cautious” was not unique.
It made those engaged in “saucer work” feel more important. After all, who is going to bother to persecute you if you are just wasting your time? Shortly after Bender closed down his magazine and organization he gave an interview to a local paper [in] which he asserted that he had been visited by “three men wearing dark suits” who had ordered him “emphatically” to stop publishing material about flying saucers. Bender said that he had been “scared to death” and that he “actually couldn’t eat for a couple of days”.
Some of Bender’s former associates tried to press for a more satisfactory explanation, but to all questions he replied either cryptically or not at all. This state of affairs created considerable confusions among the flying saucer buffs. What were they to think about such a strange story? Some were openly skeptical of Bender’s tale. They said that his publication and organization were losing money and the tale of the three visitors who ordered him to stop publishing was just a face-saving gesture.
Yet, as the years went by the “Three Men In Black” began to sound more respectable and they took on a life of their own. Some of Bender’s friends first thought that the Men In Black were from the Air Force or the CIA, and indeed Bender’s original statements do seem to sound like [the men could have been] government agents. But after a while the Men In Black began to assume a more extraterrestrial, even supernatural air. Finally in 1963, a full decade after he first told of his mysterious visitors, Albert Bender elaborated further in a book called “Flying Saucers and the Three Men In Black”. It was a strange, confused and virtually unreadable book that revealed very little in the way of hard facts, but did significantly enhance the reputation of the Men In Black as extraterrestrials.
The book also introduced into the lore “three beautiful women, dressed in tight white uniforms.” Like their male counterparts in black, the women in white had “glowing eyes”. But even before the publication of Bender’s book in 1963, the Men In Black (or MIBs as they were known to insiders) had already been reported to be visiting others besides Albert Bender. By now they have been reported so often that they have become an established part of the UFO history.
The Men In Black, naturally enough,wear black suits. They also usually wear sunglasses, presumably to disguise their “glowing eyes”. Most of them are reported to be short and delicately built with olive complexions and dark, straight hair. They are often described as “Gypsies” or “Orientals”. Most MIBs are reported to travel in groups of three and usually ride around in shiny, new, black cars, often Cadillac’s. These cars are even supposed to “smell new”. Sometimes the MIBs pose as investigators from the CIA or some other government agency. They may flash official- looking credentials, but these can never be checked out. Occasionally the MIBs display badges withstrange emblems on them, or have unrecognizable symbols painted on their cars.
The purpose of the visits seems to be to get people who have seen UFOs to stop talking about them, of somehow to confuse and frighten the witnesses. People who worry about MIBs tend to lump all sorts of mysterious visitors into the category, even if they don’t wear black, have no glowing eyes nor show any of the familiar MIB characteristics.
The primary qualification for the Men In Black is that they be of unknown origin, and that they appear to act oddly and vaguely menacing. Some of those who write about UFOs and other strange phenomena rather casually mention “countless” cases where people have been visited by Men In Black.
In reality these “countless cases” are difficult to pin down. In fact, there really seems to be a rather small number of MIB cases where there are any details available at all. The impression given by the writers is that the publicized cases represent only “the tip of the iceberg”.
Beyond these, say the writers, are many “more sensational” cases, the details of which cannot be revealed for a variety of reasons. In any event solid evidence for a vast number MIB cases is lacking. But we are, after all, dealing with beliefs as much as with reality, and ‘impression’ is an important one.
Jack the Ripper
The Jack the Ripper murders occurred in London more than one hundred years ago. The methods used in the investigations were years before their time but the killer was never found. Since then, evidence has been lost and facts have been muddled. The true story of Jack the Ripper takes a careful, conscious effort to sort through the specifics to determine what happened, and why.
Jack the Ripper was a serial killer who murdered a number of prostitutes in the East End of London in 1888. The name originates from a letter written by a person who proclaimed their title as the killer. All of the murders took place within a mile area and involved the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Adgate, and the City of London proper.
The Jack the Ripper case was unique in several aspects. The severity of the mutilations was shocking to a culture who considered themselves “refined”. In addition, newfound media outlets, including newspapers and photography, provided a unique documentation of the events.
Note: a complete Jack the Ripper timeline may be viewed here.
It is unclear just how many women the Ripper killed. It is generally accepted that he killed at least five, though the number of victims may include seven or more. The five that are generally accepted as the work of the Ripper are:
Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols, murdered Friday, August 31, 1888.
Annie Chapman, murdered Saturday, September 8, 1888.
Elizabeth Stride, murdered Sunday, September 30, 1888.
Catharine Eddowes, also murdered that same date.
Mary Jane (Marie Jeanette) Kelly, murdered Friday, November 9, 1888.
In addition to the above mentioned five “canonical” victims, there is much evidence pointing to the first victim being Martha Tabram who was murdered Tuesday, August 7, 1888. All victims were prostitutes and were thought to be drunk at the time that they were killed. All but Tabram and Kelly were killed outdoors. They vary in age and appearance and there is no evidence to suggest that they knew each other.
Method of Operation
Surprisingly, a full understanding of the Ripper’s modus operandi was not established until the late 1990’s. What we know now is that the Ripper and his victim stood facing each other. He waited until he victim began to lift her skirt. With both hands occupied, Jack the Ripper would then grab the woman around the throat and strangle her until she lost consciousness. Once unconscious, Jack, would then lower his victim with their heads tilted to the left. This was determined by modern forensic investigators who noted that in many cases, there were walls and fences that demonstrated the Ripper had virtually o room to attack the body from the left side. The lack of bruising on the back of the victim’s head indicated they had been gently lowered rather than throwing or letting them fall to the ground. In addition, given weather conditions (rain) at the time of some of the murders, it is presumed that they would not have attempted intercourse on the ground. Once the victim was laid to the ground, Jack the Ripper would commence his dastardly work, cutting and slicing the women’s throats while they lay unconscious. Splatter stains show the blood pooled under the head of the victim rather than in front (which is where it would have flowed if they had been standing up). In addition, in once case blood was found on a nearby fence and about 14 inches above the ground indicating the blood spurted from the neck wound while the body was in a prone position on the ground.
Forensic scientists also note that this method of operation would prevent the killer from being unduly blood stained. By reaching over the victim’s right side to cut the left side of her neck, the blood spurt would be directed away from the Ripper. In addition, if the strangulation resulted in death, the blood flow itself would be reduced. The additional mutilations performed were most likely conducted from the same position or possibly by straddling the victim. It is noted than in some cases, the victim’s legs were pushed up which would provide Jack room to work from the area of the victims’ feet.
Jack the Ripper did not have sexual intercourse with the victims – no sperm residue was found in any of the cases. As is common with serial killers, he did take trophies with him – reminders of the crime. In most cases it was the victim’s viscera. It is the opinion of many that Jack the Ripper had anatomical knowledge and was experienced with a knife. In one case, the Ripper took a kidney from the front rather than the side and did not damage any of the surrounding organs while cutting it out. In another case, the removed the sexual organs with one clean stroke of the knife. In many of the cases, he conducted these anatomical removals in near or total darkness and with very tight time constraints.
The following letters provoked great interest from the police and later investigators (complete text of more Jack the Rippers letters is located towards the end of this article).
The “Dear Boss” letter, dated September 25, 1888, postmarked and received September 27, 1888, by the Central News Agency, was forwarded to Scotland Yard on September 29. Initially it was considered a hoax, but when Eddowes was found with one ear partially cut off three days after the letter was sent, the letter’s promise to “clip the ladys (sic) ears off” garnered suspicion. The name “Jack the Ripper” was first used in this letter by the signatory and gained worldwide notoriety after its publication. Most of the letters that followed copied this letter’s tone, and “Jack the Ripper” supplanted “Leather Apron” as the name adopted by the press and public to describe the killer.
The “Saucy Jacky” postcard, postmarked and received October 1, 1888, by the Central News Agency, had handwriting similar to the “Dear Boss” letter. It mentions that two victims were killed very close to one another: “double event this time”, which was supposed to refer to the murders of Stride and Eddowes. It has been argued that the letter was mailed before the murders were publicized; making it unlikely that a crank would have such knowledge of the crime, but it was postmarked more than 24 hours after the killings took place, long after details were known by journalists and residents of the area.
The “From Hell” letter, also known as the “Lusk letter”, postmarked October 15, 1888 and received by George Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee on October 16, 1888. The letter came with a small box in which Lusk discovered half a human kidney, later said by a doctor to have been preserved in “spirits of wine” (ethanol). One of Eddowes’ kidneys had been removed by the killer. The writer claimed that he “fried and ate” the missing kidney half. The handwriting and style is unlike that of the “Dear Boss” letter and postcard.
In a time before forensic science and even finger printing, the only way to prove someone committed a murder was to catch either him or her in the act, or get the suspect to confess. No new evidence has been found which would assist modern day investigators with this case. One interesting feature of this case is that not one, but two police forces carried out investigations. The Metropolitan Police, known as Scotland Yard, was responsible for crimes committed in all the boroughs of London except the City of London proper. The single square mile in the heart of London known as the City of London had their own police force. When Eddowes was killed, it was in their territory and this brought them into the Ripper case. It is believed that the rank and file of the two forces got along and worked well together, but there is evidence that the seniors in each force did not. To what degree, if any, their failure to cooperate fully had on solving the case is not known.
Most sources do not fault either police force for failing to solve the Jack the Ripper mystery, rightly pointing out that catching serial killers is still a hard task even by today’s science and technology. Other than autopsies and taking statements from everybody who might know something, there was little else that the Metropolitan police force could do. The attitude of the people at the time was that the police were incompetent and that the Commissioner, Sir Charles Warren, was a poor leader. He was especially criticized for not offering a reward in the hope that a confederate or accomplice would come forth and inform against the Ripper. In fact, Warren had no objections for a reward being offered and it was his superior, Henry Matthews, the Home Secretary who refused the sanction of a reward.
The City of London Police seems to have done a better job although they did not apprehend the killer either. City police officers made crime scene drawings, took many photographs of the victim Eddowes, and even though she was not in their jurisdiction, they took photographs of the Kelly victim. She is the only victim who was photographed at the crime scene. One of the splits between the leadership of the two forces was over graffito found in Goulston Street on the night of the “double event”. A piece of Eddowes’ apron, which the Ripper used to wipe off his knife, was found by a constable near a doorway that had a chalked message over the door. This message, “The Juwes are the men That Will not be blamed for nothing”, may have been written by the Ripper and the City police officers wanted to photograph it. Warren felt that leaving it until it was light enough to be photographed might cause riots against the Jews living in Whitechapel whom the bigoted English residents already believed were responsible for the murders. Warren did not even compromise by willing to erase or cover up the word “Juwes” only. In the end the police never charged any suspect with the murders committed by the Ripper which shows they did not have a sufficient amount of evidence that would gain a verdict of guilty in criminal court.
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. Macnaghten’s suspect was M.J. Druitt, an attorney turned teacher who committed suicide in December 1888. Most ripperologists believe Druitt is an unlikely suspect.
In 1903, Frederick Abberline, a retired detective who had been in charge of the Ripper investigation, 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.
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. Anderson had written in his memoirs that appeared for the first time in 1910 that the police knew who the Ripper was. According to Anderson, the Jack the Ripper was a Polish Jew who was put away in an insane asylum after the crimes, and then died soon after. No other officer supports’ Anderson’s allegation, and Swanson’s notes seem to question his superior’s claims rather than support them. 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.
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. 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), 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. 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.
The Murders – Step by Step
Martha Tabram (August 6, 1888)
On the Bank Holiday Monday of August 6, 1888, Martha Tabram (also known as Turner, a local prostitute in her late thirties, went soliciting on Whitechapel Road with Mary Ann Connolly, a very manly looking prostitute who was better known in the area as “Pearly Poll.” They met with two guardsmen, a corporal and a private, and went drinking with them in several pubs along the Whitechapel Road.
At some stage between 11.30 pm and 11.45 pm the group split into couples, a quick round of bargaining took place, prices were agreed and Martha disappeared with her client through the sinister arch that led into George Yard (today known as Gunthorpe Street), whilst Pearly Poll led her client into the next dark thoroughfare along, Angel Alley. According to the East London Advertiser George Yard was “…one of the most dangerous streets in the locality…” But for a seasoned street walker like Martha Tabram it offered a reasonable amount of privacy for quick sex acts which were known as four-penny knee tremblers.
Towards the top of George Yard, on the left, there stood a block of cheap apartments, known as George Yard Buildings. It was occupied by tenants whom the East London Observer described somewhat unflatteringly as ‘people of the poorest description.’ When its staircase lights had been extinguished at 11 pm, the landings were cast into an impenetrable darkness that made them ideal for use by prostitutes and their clients. Martha would no doubt have been well aware of this tucked away spot, and it was for one of the building’s dark and secluded landings that she headed with either the soldier.
In the early hours of the morning, Mrs Hewitt, wife of Francis Hewitt the building Superintendant, returned to George Yard buildings having been out with some friends to celebrate the Bank Holiday. She afterwards went out again to buy some supper at a chandler’s shop in nearby Thrawl Street. She was back within ten minutes and, noticed nothing untoward or suspicious, as she ascended the staircase, although she later admitted that the stairs were unlit, so she probably wouldn’t have noticed a body if one had been lying there. Once in bed she and her husband slept soundly and heard no noise in the night.
At half past three in the morning Alfred George Crow, a cab-driver, of 35, George Yard Buildings, returned home from work and, on his way upstairs, saw somebody lying on the first floor landing. It was, however, quite common for people to sleep on the building’s landings, and so he thought nothing of it and continued home to bed.
A little after 5am, John Saunders Reeves, a waterside-labourer, left his home in George Yard Buildings and came down the stairs. He too noticed the prone form, but as it was now getting light, he was able to see that it was a woman who was lying on her back in a pool of blood. He hurried off to find a policeman and returned with Constable T. Barrett, whom he had encountered patrolling in the vicinity of George-Yard.
Barrett sent Reeves for local medic Dr Killeen, who having carried out an examination of the woman, pronounced life extinct and gave it as his opinion that she had been brutally murdered.
The attack on Martha Tabram had been a frenzied one. Thirty-nine stab wounds pepper-potted her body from her throat to her lower abdomen. Dr Killeen later told the inquest that the killer had used two different blades, the majority of the wounds having been inflicted with an ordinary pocket knife, whilst a deep wound to her breast had been dealt by “some long, strong instrument…[which could have been]… a sword bayonet or dagger.” Significantly he was also of the belief that sexual intercourse had not recently occurred, thus ruling out rape as a motive for the murder.
The viciousness of the killing, coupled with that fact that it had been carried out without anyone hearing a sound, was the subject of considerable puzzlement and disquiet around the area in the days and weeks that followed. The East London Advertiser commented:
The circumstances of this awful tragedy are not only surrounded with the deepest mystery, but there is also a feeling of insecurity to think that in a great city like London, the streets of which are continually patrolled by police, a woman could be foully and horribly killed almost next to the citizens peacefully sleeping in their beds, without a trace or clue being left of the villain who did the deed. There appears to be not the slightest trace of the murderer, and no clue has at present been found.
George Collier, the deputy coroner for the district, would later express the feelings of many who lived in the area when he called the crime “…one of the most dreadful murders any one could imagine,” and said of the perpetrator, “The man must have been a perfect savage to inflict such a number of wounds on a defenseless woman in such a way.”
Today there is considerable debate as to whether or not Martha Tabram was a victim of Jack the Ripper. The investigating officers at the time certainly seem to have believed that she was. Inspector Walter Dew, who had been transferred to the Metropolitan Police’s H Division in 1887, and was one of the detectives who worked on the case, later stated in his autobiography:
Significantly, her killer had targeted Martha’s throat and lower abdomen, just as the Ripper would do with his victims. It is therefore possible that Martha Tabram, murdered in the early hours of August 7th 1888 on the dark, first floor landing of George Yard Buildings, was the first victim to die at the hands of Jack the Ripper.
Mary Ann Nichols (August 31, 1888)
Thus, when three weeks later, the mutilated body of Mary Nichols was discovered, again lying on her back with her skirts pulled up around her waist and in an almost identical pose to that of Martha Tabram’s body, the realization began to dawn – prematurely as it now transpires – that a repeat killer was loose in the streets of Whitechapel. For the people of London their autumn of terror was about to begin.
Mary Ann Nichols was killed on Friday August 31, 1888. Her body was discovered at about 3:40 a.m. in Buck’s Row (now Durward Street), Whitechapel. Her throat was severed deeply by two cuts; the lower part of the abdomen was partly ripped open by a deep, jagged wound. There also were several incisions running across the abdomen, and three or four similar cuts on the right side caused by the same knife used violently and downwards.
At around 3.40am on August 31st 1888, a carter named Charles Cross was making his way to work along Bucks Row - a narrow, cobbled Whitechapel street that was lined on one side by dark imposing warehouse buildings, and on the other by a row of two-storey houses. As Cross approached the looming bulk of the 1876 Board School that dominated (and still dominates) the western end of Bucks Row, he noticed a dark bundle lying in a gateway on the left side of the street. Like so many of the district’s alleyways and passageways, street lighting in Bucks Row was minimal, so at first Cross could not be sure what exactly the bundle was. It looked something like a discarded tarpaulin, and thinking that it might prove useful for his job, Cross went to inspect it. But as he drew closer he realized it was in fact the prone form of a woman, who was either dead or drunk.
As Cross stood rooted to the spot, unsure of what to do next, he heard footsteps behind him. Turning, he saw another carter, Robert Paul, walking towards him. “Come and look over here” Cross called, “there is a woman lying on the pavement.” The two men stepped gingerly over the road and stooped down over her.
She was lying on her back, her legs straight out, and her skirts were raised almost over her waist. Charles Cross reached out and touched her face, which was warm, and her hands, which were cold and limp. “I believe she is dead,” he observed. Robert Paul, meanwhile, placed his hand on the woman’s chest, and thought he felt a slight movement. “I think she’s breathing,” he said, “but very little if she is.” Paul suggested that they sit the woman up, but Cross refused to touch her again.
So, deciding, perhaps somewhat callously, that they were late for work and had done as much as they could, they pulled her skirts back down to her knees to cover her decency, and set off for their respective places of employment, agreeing to tell the first police man they encountered of their find.
But what neither man had noticed in the pitch darkness of Bucks Row was that the woman’s throat had been slashed so savagely that her head had almost been cut from her body.
That discovery was made by beat officer Police Constable John Neil, who turned into Bucks Row and proceeded to walk past the Board School shortly after Cross and Paul had left the scene. “There was not a soul about,” he later told the inquest into the woman’s death. “I had been round there half an hour previously, and saw no one then.
I was on the right side…when I noticed a figure lying in the street. It was dark at the time…I examined the body by the aid of my lamp, and noticed blood oozing from a wound in the throat. She was lying on her back, with her clothes disarranged. I felt her arm, which was quite warm from the joints upwards. Her eyes were wide open. Her bonnet was off and lying at her side.”
As Neil stooped down over the body, he noticed PC John Thain passing the end of the street and flashed his lantern to attract his attention. “Here’s a woman with her throat cut”, he called to his approaching colleague, “run at once for Dr Llewellyn.” As Thain hurried off to fetch the medic, PC Mizen, who had been alerted by Cross and Paul, arrived at the scene. Neil sent him to bring reinforcements and asked him to fetch the police ambulance.
When Dr Llewellyn arrived at around 4am, he carried out a cursory examination of the body and, noting the severity of the wounds to the throat, pronounced life extinct. On closer examination he also observed that the deceased’s body and legs were still warm, although her hands and wrists were quite cold. This led him to surmise that she could not have been dead for more than half an hour.
As Llewellyn went about his grim business, news of the murder was beginning to filter through the immediate neighborhood. In adjacent Winthrop Street there stood a horse slaughterers yard where three slaughter-men, Harry Tomkins, James Mumford and Charles Britten had been working throughout the night. They had heard nothing, and knew nothing of the murder until informed of it by PC Thain as he passed their premises en route to fetch Dr Llewellyn. They had gone round to view the body and remained at the scene until the woman was removed to the mortuary.
The three men would later find themselves under suspicion and were interrogated separately by the police before being eliminated as suspects.
They were joined at the murder site by Patrick Mulshaw, a night watchman, who was working at the nearby sewer works. Although he did confess that he sometimes dozed on duty, he was emphatic that he had been awake between 3am and 4am, and that he had not seen or heard anything suspicious. But around twenty minutes to five O’clock a passing stranger had told him, “Watchman, old man, I believe somebody is murdered down the street,” and he immediately went round to Buck’s Row. The police appear to have made attempts to trace Mulshaw’s mystery informant but their enquiries proved unsuccessful.
Annie Chapman (September 8, 1888)
Annie Chapman was killed on Saturday September 8, 1888, a little over a week after the Nichols murder. Her body was discovered about 6 a.m. near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. Like Mary Ann Nichols’s, her throat was severed by two cuts. Her abdomen was slashed entirely open, and it was later discovered that the uterus had been removed.
Like Mary Nichols, Martha Tabram and Emma Smith; Annie Chapman, led a somewhat nomadic existence around Spitalfields.
She was 45 years old, a short plump, ashen-faced consumptive who for four or so months prior to her death had been living at Crossingham’s lodging house at number 35 Dorset Street where she paid eight pence a night for a double bed.
She appears to have enjoyed a cordial relationship with the other tenants and the deputy keeper, Timothy Donovan, remembered her as being an inoffensive soul whose main weakness was a fondness for drink. Like many of the women in the area Annie supplemented the meager income she obtained from crochet work and making and selling artificial flowers with prostitution.
She appears to have had two regular clients, one known as Harry the Hawker, and the other a man named Ted Stanley, a supposed retired soldier who was known to her fellow lodgers as “the Pensioner.” As it later transpired, Stanley was neither a retired soldier nor a pensioner, but was in fact a bricklayer’s laborer who lived at number 1 Osborn Place, Whitechapel. According to Timothy Donovan, Stanley would frequently spend Saturdays to Mondays with Annie at Crossingham’s. He also claimed that Stanley had told him to turn Annie away should she ever arrive at the lodging house with other men. Stanley vehemently denied this and claimed to have visited Annie only once or twice.
Whatever Annie’s relationship with the “Pensioner” he seems to have been the cause of the only trouble that Timothy Donovan could remember her being involved in during all her time at Crossingham’s. At some stage in the month before her death, (different witnesses remembered different dates) there had been a fracas between Annie and fellow lodger Eliza Cooper.
The full details of the argument told by the different witnesses are confusing and contradictory, with some even claiming that Harry the Hawker was the cause. According to Eliza Cooper in her inquest testimony she had loaned Annie Chapman a bar of soap, which Annie had given to Ted Stanley who then went to wash with it. Over the next few days Eliza asked several times for the return of the soap, only to be dismissed by Annie who on one occasion contemptuously tossed a ha’penny onto the lodging house kitchen table and told her to “Go and get a halfpenny of soap.”
The animosity was still evident when the two women met a few days later in the Britannia pub on the eastern corner of Dorset Street. However, on this occasion, Annie slapped Eliza across the face screaming as she did so, “think yourself lucky I don’t do more.” Eliza retaliated by punching Annie in the eye and then hard across the chest. Annie appears to have come off worse from the exchange of blows and the bruises she sustained were still evident when Dr Phillips carried out her post mortem. Of course it should be remembered that this is the account given by Eliza Cooper at Annie Chapman’s inquest and she was no doubt anxious to portray herself as the injured party.
Whatever the cause of the argument, Annie Chapman’s last days were spent bruised and in pain, her health rapidly failing. On Monday 3rd September, when she met her friend Amelia Palmer on Dorset Street, the bruising to her right temple was more than evident. “How did you get that?” Amelia Palmer asked. Annie’s response was to open her dress and show her the bruising on her chest.
Amelia bumped into Annie again the next day close to Spitalfields church and commented on how pale she looked. Annie told her that she felt no better and that she might admit herself to the casual ward for a few days. When Amelia asked if she had had anything to eat that day Annie replied “No, I haven’t had a cup of tea today.” Amelia handed her two pence to buy some food and warned her not to spend it on rum.
Three days later at around 5pm on 7th September Amelia again saw Annie in Dorset Street. She looked even worse and complained of feeling “too ill to do anything.” She was still standing in the same place when Amelia passed her again ten minutes later, although she was now trying desperately to rally her spirits. “It’s no use giving way, I must pull myself together and get some money or I shall have no lodgings” were the last words Amelia Palmer heard Annie Chapman speak.
Elizabeth Stride (September 30, 1888)
Elizabeth Stride was killed nearly a month later, on Sunday 30 September 1888. Her body was discovered about 1 a.m., in Dutfield’s Yard, off Berner Street (now Henriques Street) in Whitechapel. There was one clear-cut incision on the neck; the cause of death was massive blood loss from the nearly severed main artery on the left side. Some uncertainty about the identity of Stride’s murderer, along with the suggestion her killer was interrupted during the attack, stem from the absence of mutilations to the abdomen.
Elizabeth or “Long Liz” Stride spent the last afternoon of her life cleaning rooms in the lodging house at number 32 Flower and Dean Street, where she had lived on and off for the previous six years. The deputy keeper, Elizabeth Tanner, paid her sixpence for the chores and by 6.30pm Elizabeth was slaking her thirst in the nearby Queen’s Head pub at the junction of Fashion and Commercial Streets.
By 7pm she had returned to the lodging house, and was, according fellow resident Charles Preston - from whom she borrowed a clothes brush - dressed “ready to go out” Having chatted briefly with another lodger, Catherine Lane, Liz Stride left the lodging house at around 7.30pm
It rained heavily that night and the next sighting of her was at eleven o’clock when J. Best and John Gardner were certain that they saw her sheltering in the doorway of the Bricklayer’s Arms on Settles Street. She was in the company of a man who was about 5’ 5 inches tall. He had a black moustache, sandy eyelashes and was wearing a black morning suit together with a billycock hat.
According to Best “… they did not appear willing to go out. He was hugging and kissing her, and as he seemed a respectably dressed man, we were rather astonished at the way he was going on with the woman.” The two men couldn’t resist a little light-hearted banter at the couple’s expense and remarked to the woman “Watch out, that’s Leather Apron getting round you” Embarrassed by the chaffing the couple “went off like a shot” and best and Gardner watched them hurry off through the rain towards Commercial Road.
At around 11.45pm, William Marshall, a laborer who lived at number 64 Berner Street, was standing outside his lodgings, when he noticed a man and woman outside number 63.
They both seemed quite sober, and as he watched them began to kiss. Marshall heard the man remark to the woman, “You would say anything but your prayers.”
The couple then moved off heading in the direction of Dutfield’s Yard. Marshall described the man as being middle aged and stout, and had the appearance of a clerk. He was around 5 feet 6 inches tall clean shaven, and respectably dressed. He wore a Small, black, cutaway coat, dark trousers, and a round cap with a small sailor-like peak.
At 12.30am PC William Smith proceeded along Berner Street on his beat and noticed a man and a woman on the opposite side of the road to Dutfield’s Yard, where Elizabeth Stride’s body was later discovered. The man was approximately 28 years old, with a dark complexion and a small dark moustache. He was about five foot seven inches tall, had on a dark overcoat, a hard, felt, deerstalker, dark hat, and ark clothing. The woman, whom Smith later identified as Elizabeth Stride, had a flower pinned to her jacket. However, the couple were doing nothing that aroused Smith’s suspicions, so he continued on his beat keeping ahead onto Commercial Road.
At number 40 Berner Street was the International Working Men’s Educational Club, which had been founded in 1884 by a group of Jewish Socialists. Member Morris Eagle had left the club at around 12.15am to walk his “young lady” home.
Returning to the club at 25 minutes to one, he found the front door locked, so went through the gates into Dutfield’s Yard, and entered the club via its back door. He noticed nothing on the ground by the gates as he passed through them and was sure he would have noticed if a man and woman had been in the yard at the time. However, since the yard itself was pitch-black, he was not able to say for certain if the body of Elizabeth Stride could have been there at that time.
The most important witness to have seen Elizabeth Stride, in the 30 minutes before her body was discovered in Dutfield’s Yard, was a Hungarian Jew by the name of Israel Swcharz. He turned into Berner Street at around 12.45am and noticed a man walking ahead of him. The man stopped to talk to a woman who was standing in the gateway of Dutfield’s Yard.
Schwartz was later emphatic that the woman had seen was Elizabeth Stride. Since it is likely that Israel Schwartz witnessed the early stages of Elizabeth Stride’s murder, and is therefore possibly the only person ever to have seen one of Jack the Ripper’s victims in the act of being murdered, his statement is worth close scrutiny, albeit he spoke no English, and therefore gave his evidence through an interpreter.
It is also worth noting that his statement to the police, and interviews he subsequently gave to journalists, do differ in certain details. However, the police do seem to have taken him very seriously as a witness. According to Scwharz, the man was about 5 feet, 5 inches tall, aged around 30 with dark hair, a fair complexion, a small brown moustache. He had a full face, broad shoulders and appeared to be slightly intoxicated.
As Schwartz watched, the man tried to pull the woman into the street, but then spun her around, and threw her onto the footway, whereupon the woman screamed three times, but not very loudly. Israel Schwartz appears to have believed that he was witnessing a domestic attack, and so crossed the road to avoid getting involved.
As he did so, he saw a second man standing, lighting his pipe. As Schwartz passed him, the man who was attacking the woman called out, apparently to this second man, the word ‘Lipski,’ at which point the second man began to follow him. Schwartz panicked and began to run, and had managed to lose his apparent pursuer by the time he reached the nearby railway arch. This second man, Schwartz said, was aged about 35, around 5feet, 11 inches tall, had a fresh complexion, light brown hair, a brown moustache, and wore a dark overcoat with an old, black, hard felt hat.
The presence of the second man is something of a mystery. It has suggested to some that the killer had an accomplice. However, the evidence seems to suggest that the police traced the second man, and eliminated him as a suspect. Indeed in a report, dated the 19th of October 1888, Chief Inspector Swanson wrote that ‘the police apparently do not suspect the second man,’ although we do not know why this should be.
Since her body was discovered at 1am Elizabeth Stride was murdered between 12.245am and 1am. For two violent attacks to have taken place on the same woman in the same gateway in the space of those 15 minutes is too much of a coincidence, so there is a high probability that the man that Israel Schwartz saw was the murderer of Elizabeth Stride.
At 1 a.m. Louise Diemshutz, the steward of the International Working Men’s Educational Club, returned to Dutfield’s Yard from Westow Hill Market, near Crystal Palace, where he had spent the day hawking the cheap jewellery.
As he turned his pony and cart into the yard his pony shied to the left and refused to go any further. Looking into the yard, Diemshutz saw a dark or lying on the ground close to the wall of the club. Leaning forward he prodded it with his whip and tried to lift it.
When this proved unsuccessful he jumped down to investigate and struck a match to get a better view.
It was windy that night and the match was extinguished almost immediately. But in the brief seconds flickering light, he saw that it was a woman lying on the ground. Thinking it might be his wife he went into the club by the side entrance and finding his wife safe, told several club members, “There’s a woman lying in the yard, but I cannot say whether she is drunk or dead.”
Taking a candle, Diemshutz returned to the yard with several other club members. Now he noticed blood by the body, and those present winced in horror, when they saw that the woman’s throat had been cut.
The various club members rushed from the yard and hurried off into the surrounding streets to find a police constable. Deimschutz and a companion headed along Fairclough Street shouting “Muder” and “Police.” At its junction with Christian Street, they met Edward Spooner. He asked what all the fuss was about and when they told him he returned with them to Dutfield’s Yard where around fifteen people were gathered. Spooner stooped down, lifted the woman’s chin and found it to be slightly warm. As Spooner tilted the head back Diemschutz got his first glimpse of just how terrible the wound to her throat was. “I could see that her throat was fearfully cut,” he told a journalist later that day. “There was a great gash in it over two inches wide.” A stream of blood ran from the woman’s throat and up the yard towards the door of the club. There was also a doubled up piece of paper in the woman’s right hand, which it later transpired was a packet of cachous, or breath fresheners.
Morris Eagle and another club member had headed out of Berner Street and gone right along Commercial Road. Here they met PC Henry Lamb and told him “Come on! There has been another murder.” Lamb alerted PC Edward Collins and together they followed the two men back to Dutfield’s Yard where the crowd had now swelled to some 20 or 30 people. Lamb ordered the bystanders to keep back lest they get blood on their clothing and “find themselves in trouble,” and told Collins to go at once for Dr Frederick William Blackwell who lived at 100 Commercial Street.
He then sent Morris Eagle to Leman Street Police Station to summon further assistance. As the two men headed off, Lamb stooped down and felt the woman’s face, it was still slightly warm. However, when he felt her wrist he could detect no sign of a pulse. When asked by the Coroner at the subsequent inquest whether the woman’s clothing had been disturbed, Lamb replied “No. I could scarcely see her boots,” and added, “she looked like she had been quietly laid down.”
Dr Blackwell arrived in the Yard at 1.16am and having pronounced the woman dead, gave it has his opinion that she had been dead for between 20 – 30 minutes. He noted that the woman was wearing a check silk scarf, the bow of which was turned to the left and pulled tightly. At the inquest he stated that he had formed the opinion that the killer had first taken hold of the back of the silk scarf, and pulled his victim backwards onto the ground. He, however, couldn’t be certain whether the woman’s throat was cut whilst she was standing or after she had been pulled backwards. Once the killer had cut her throat, slicing through the windpipe, she would not have been able to cry out, and would have bled to death within about a minute and a half.
Shortly after Dr Blackwell’s arrival PC Lamb gave orders to close the gates into Dutfield’s Yard and told everybody to remain where they were. He then carried out a search of the club premises, examining people’s hands and clothing for bloodstains in the process. Having found nothing suspicious, he went round to the cottages at the rear of number 42 Berner Street, and woke the residents who had apparently remained asleep throughout the excitement of the previous 30 or so minutes. The residents appeared very frightened, and when they asked Lamb what had happened he told them “nothing much,” as he didn’t want to alarm them further.
Lamb then returned to the body to find that Inspector West, Inspector Pinhorn and Dr Phillips had arrived at the scene. Inspector Reid was alerted by telegram at 1.25am and headed directly to Berner Street from Commercial Street Police Station. When he arrived Phillips and Blackwell were examining the woman’s throat. All the people in the yard were then interrogated and their names and addresses taken. Once they had given a satisfactory account of themselves and their movements, and their hands and pockets had been inspected and searched, they were allowed to leave.
A more thorough search was then made of the cottages and the names of the residents ascertained. Hopes of apprehending the killer in his hiding place were briefly raised when the door of a loft was found to be locked from the inside. But on forcing it open the police found it empty. Reid then minutely inspected the wall near to where the body was lying and found no traces of blood on it.
At 4.30am the body was removed to St George’s Mortuary in Cable Street and at 5am PC Albert Collins washed the blood away from the yard.
Catherine Eddowes (September 30, 1888)
Catherine Eddowes was, like Elizabeth Stride, killed on Sunday 30 September 1888. Her body was found in Mitre Square, in the City of London, three-quarters of an hour after Stride’s. The throat was, as in the former two cases, severed by two cuts; the abdomen was ripped open by a long, deep, jagged wound. The left kidney and the major part of the uterus had been removed. Her and Stride’s murders were later called the “double event”.
At more or less the exact moment that the body of Elizabeth Stride was being discovered in Dutfield’s Yard, another prostitute named Catherine or “Kate” Eddowes, was being released from Bishopsgate Police Station in the City of London. At around 8.30pm the previous evening she had been entertaining a delighted a crowd of onlookers outside number 29 Aldgate High Street with a spontaneous, though drunken, imitation of a fire engine.
Having taken a bow, she lay down on the pavement and went to sleep! PC Robinson of the City Police arrived on the scene and asked if any of the onlookers knew who she was or where she lived. None of them did. So Robinson hauled her to her feet and lent her against the wall. She promptly slid back down onto the pavement, no doubt to the further amusement of the crowd.
Robinson summoned a colleague, PC George Simmons to his assistance and together they manhandled her round to Bishopsgate Police Station. Here, when asked her name Kate replied, “Nothing.” The officers placed her in a cell and left her to sober up. She had soon fallen into a comatose sleep.
PC George Hutt, came on duty at 10pm and took over the responsibility for the Prisoners in the cells. He checked on her several times over the next few hours, and found her still fast asleep each time he did so.
But by 12.15am she had woken and Hutt heard her singing softly. Fifteen minutes later she called to him and asked when she would be allowed to leave. “When you can take care of yourself,” Hutt called back. “I can do that now,” came her reply. At 12.55am he brought her from the cell and told her she could go. When he asked her name and address for the release papers, she told him it was ‘Mary Ann Kelly of 6 Fashion Street.’
Discharging her from custody Hutt pushed open the swing door to the passage and said ‘This way Misses.’ As she walked along the passage to the outer door, she asked him what time it was. “Too late for you to get anymore drink,” observed Hutt. “I shall get a Damned fine hiding when I get home,” she sighed as she opened the door. Hutt was not in the least bit sympathetic “And serve you right,” he replied, “you have no right to get drunk.” As Kate left the station, Hutt asked her to shut the door behind her. “All right” she chirped “Good Night Old Cock.” So saying she turned left and headed off towards Houndsditch. According to Hutt’s later estimation it would have taken her around eight minutes “ordinary walking” to reach Mitre Square, during which time the murderer of Elizabeth Stride was also heading towards the square from the opposite direction.
Mitre Square, situated about half a mile to the west of Berner Street, lay just inside the City of London boundary. It was then an enclosed square over which towered three imposing warehouse buildings. Three uninhabited houses and a shop backed onto its south west corner, whilst two further houses, one of which was occupied by a City Police man, Richard Pearse, nestled between the warehouses. The square was bordered by Mitre Street to the west, Aldgate High Street to the south and Dukes Place to the east. Nearby stood the Great Synagogue on Bevis Marks, whilst a stones throw away was the church of St Botolph, beyond which the south side of Aldgate High Street was lined with butchers shops and slaughterhouses and was consequently known as Butchers Row.
There were three entrances into the square - a fairly wide one that came in from Mitre Street; the narrower St James Place (known locally as the Orange Market) in the square’s north east corner; and the long, narrow Church Passage in the south east corner that came in from Duke’s Place.
At 1.30am PC Watkins of the City Police passed this south-east corner on a beat that brought him through Mitre Square every twelve to fourteen minutes. He had his lantern on and fixed to his belt. He was later emphatic that the square had been quite deserted and that no-one could have been hiding in the square without him seeing them. He left the square and turned right towards Aldgate.
Five minutes later three Jewish gentlemen, Harry Harris, Joseph Hyam Levy and Joseph Lawende left the Imperial Club on Duke Street and, as they passed its junction with Church Passage, noticed a man and woman talking quietly together. The woman had her back to them, but they could see that her hand was resting on the man’s chest. Levy was immediately convinced that the couple were up to no good, and announced brusquely “I don’t like going home by myself when I see these sorts of character’s about” In his hurry to get away he paid the couple scant attention and was unable to furnish a description of either of them, although he did say that the man may have been three or so inches taller than the woman.
Jospeh Lawende, however, was a little less disgusted and a little more observant. Although he hadn’t seen the woman’s face, he was almost certain that her clothing was that worn by Catharine Eddowes, when he was later shown it at the police station. Although the street lighting wasn’t particularly good, he caught a brief glimpse of the man’s face and was able to provide police with a description. He had the appearance of a sailor and was aged about 30. He was around 5 feet 9 inches tall, of medium build. He had a fair complexion, and a small fair moustache. He sported a reddish neckerchief, tied in a knot; wore a pepper-and-salt colored, loose fitting jacket, and had on a grey, peaked, cloth cap. However, it should be noted that Lawende obtained only a quick glimpse of the man as he passed by, and since the couple were doing nothing particularly suspicious, he later maintained that he would not be able to recognize or identify the man were he to see him again.
Mary Jane Kelly (November 9, 1888)
Mary Jane Kelly was killed on Friday 9 November 1888. Her gruesomely mutilated body was discovered shortly after 10:45 a.m., lying on the bed in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street, Spitalfields. Her throat had been severed down to the spine, and her abdomen virtually emptied of its organs. Her heart was missing.
Kelly is generally considered to be the Ripper’s final victim, and it is assumed that the crimes ended because of the culprit’s death, imprisonment, institutionalization, or emigration. The Whitechapel murders file does, however, detail four murders that happened after the canonical five:
On the morning of 9 November 1888, the day of the annual Lord Mayor’s Day celebrations, Kelly’s landlord John McCarthy sent his assistant, Thomas Bowyer, to collect the rent. Kelly was several weeks behind on her payments. Bowyer knocked on her door but received no response. He reached through a crack in a window and pushed aside a coat being used as a curtain and peered inside. What he discovered was a horribly mutilated corpse.
Kelly’s body was discovered shortly after 10:45 am. Her body was found lying on the bed in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street in Spitalfields, London. Neighbours’ reports of hearing a solitary scream in the night suggested she may have been killed sometime around 4:00 am. Reports have it that a woman was heard to shout simply: ‘Murder!’
The Manchester Guardian of 10 November 1888 reported that Sgt Edward Badham accompanied Inspector Walter Beck to the site of 13 Miller’s Court after they were both notified of the murder of Mary Kelly by a frantic Thomas Bowyer. It is generally accepted that Beck was the first police official to arrive at the Kelly crime scene and Badham is believed to have accompanied him, but there are no official records to confirm Badham being with him.
A woman named Caroline Maxwell claimed to have seen Kelly alive at about 08:30 on the morning after the murder, though she admitted to only meeting her once or twice before; moreover, her description did not match that of those who knew Kelly more closely. Maurice Lewis, a tailor, reported seeing Kelly at about 10:00 that same morning in a pub. Both statements were dismissed by the police since they did not fit the accepted time of death; moreover, they could find no one else to confirm the reports. This contradiction was used as a plot device in the graphic novel From Hell (and subsequent movie adaptation) in which someone else is mistaken for Kelly and murdered in her place.
Edward Badham was also on duty at Commercial Street police station on the evening of 12 November 1888. The inquest into the death of Mary Kelly had been completed earlier that day, when around 6 pm, a man named George Hutchinson arrived at the station claiming he had seen Kelly with a man of ‘respectable appearance’ on the night of her death. Badham took Hutchinson’s initial statement that evening.
Dr. Thomas Bond and Dr. George Bagster Phillips examined the body. Her death certificate was registered on 17 November, naming her “Marie Jeanette Kelly otherwise Davies”.
Rose Mylett (December 20, 1888)
Rose Mylett was reportedly strangled “by a cord drawn tightly round the neck” on 20 December 1888, though Sir Robert Anderson believed that she had accidentally suffocated herself on the collar of her dress while in a drunken stupor. Her body was found in Clarke’s Yard, High Street, Poplar.
Alice McKenzie (July 17, 1889)
Alice McKenzie was killed on 17 July 1889. She died from severance of the left carotid artery, and several minor bruises and cuts were found on the body, discovered in Castle Alley, Whitechapel. One of the examining pathologists, Dr. Thomas Bond, believed this to be a Ripper murder, though another pathologist, Dr Phillips, who had examined the bodies of three previous victims, disagreed. Later writers are also divided between those who think that an unknown murderer tried to make it look like a Ripper killing to deflect suspicion from himself, and those that ascribe it to the Ripper.
Pinchin Street Torso (September 10, 1889)
“The Pinchin Street Torso” was a headless and legless torso of an unidentified woman found under a railway arch in Pinchin Street, Whitechapel, on 10 September 1889. It seems probable that the murder was committed elsewhere and that parts of the dismembered body were dumped at the crime scene.
Frances Coles (February 13, 1891)
Frances Coles was killed on 13 February 1891. Minor wounds on the back of the head suggest that she was thrown violently to the ground before her throat was cut. Otherwise there were no mutilations to the body. Her body was found under a railway arch at Swallow Gardens, Whitechapel. A man named James Thomas Sadler, seen earlier with her, was arrested by the police and charged with her murder and was briefly thought to be the Ripper himself. However he was discharged from court due to lack of evidence on 3 March 1891. After this eleventh and last Whitechapel Murder the file was closed.
In addition to the eleven murders officially investigated by the Metropolitan Police as part of the Ripper investigation, various Ripper historians have at times suggested a number of other contemporary attacks as possibly being connected to the same serial killer. In some cases, the records are not clear if the murders had even occurred or if the stories were fabricated later as a part of Ripper lore.
Fairy Fay (December 26, 1887)
“Fairy Fay”, a nickname for an unknown murder victim allegedly found on 26 December 1887 with “a stake thrust through her abdomen”. It has been suggested that “Fairy Fay” was a creation of the press based upon confusion of the details of the murder of Emma Elizabeth Smith with a separate non-fatal attack the previous Christmas. The name of “Fairy Fay” was first used for this alleged victim in 1950. There were no recorded murders in Whitechapel at or around Christmas 1886 or 1887, and later newspaper reports that included a Christmas 1887 killing conspicuously did not list the Smith murder. Most authors agree that “Fairy Fay” never existed.
Annie Millwood (February 25, 1888)
Annie Millwood (born c. 1850) reportedly admitted to hospital with “numerous stabs in the legs and lower part of the body” on 25 February 1888. She was discharged but died from apparently natural causes on 31 March 1888.
Ada Wilson (March 28, 1888)
Ada Wilson was reportedly stabbed twice in the neck on 28 March 1888. She survived.
The Whitehall Mystery (October 2, 1888)
“The Whitehall Mystery”, a term coined for the headless torso of a woman found on 2 October 1888 in the basement of the new Metropolitan Police headquarters being built in Whitehall. An arm belonging to the body was previously discovered floating in the river Thames near Pimlico, and one of the legs was subsequently discovered buried near where the torso was found. The other limbs and head were never recovered and the body was never identified. The mutilations were similar to those in the Pinchin Street case, though in that case the hands were not severed. “The Whitehall Mystery” and “The Pinchin Streets Murderer” have been suggested to be part of a series of murders, called the “Thames Mysteries” or “Embankment Murders”, committed by a single serial killer, dubbed the “Torso Killer”. Whether Jack the Ripper and the “Torso Killer” were the same person or separate serial killers active in the same area has long been debated. As the modus operandi of the torso killings differs from that of the Ripper, crime writer Don Rumbelow discounted any connection between the two.
Annie Farmer (November 21, 1888)
Annie Farmer, born c. 1848, reportedly survived an attack on 21 November 1888 with only a superficial cut on her throat, apparently caused by a blunt knife. Police suspected that the wound was self-inflicted and did not investigate further.
Elizabeth Jackson (May 31, 1889)
Elizabeth Jackson, a prostitute whose various body parts were collected from the River Thames between 31 May and 25 June 1889, was reportedly identified by scars she had had prior to her disappearance and apparent murder.
Carrie Brown (April 24, 1891)
Carrie Brown (nicknamed “Shakespeare”, reportedly for quoting Shakespeare’s sonnets) was strangled with clothing and then mutilated with a knife on 24 April 1891 in Manhattan. Her body was found with a large tear through her groin area and superficial cuts on her legs and back. No organs were removed from the scene, though an ovary was found upon the bed. Whether it was purposely removed or unintentionally dislodged during the mutilation is unknown. At the time, the murder was compared to those in Whitechapel though the Metropolitan Police eventually ruled out any connection.
Table of Witness descriptions
Patrick Mulshaw (Polly Nichols) 4:00 A.M.
“Watchman, old man, I believe somebody is murdered down the street.”
Emily (Annie Chapman) 2:00 A.M.
Foreigner aged 37, dark beard and moustache. Wearing short dark jacket, dark vest and trousers, black scarf and black felt hat. Asked witness to enter the back-yard of 29 Hanbury Street.
Elizabeth Long (Annie Chapman) 5:30 A.M.
Dark complexion, brown deerstalker hat, possibly a dark overcoat. Aged over 40, somewhat taller than Chapman. A foreigner of “shabby genteel.” “Will you?”
J. Best and John Gardner (Elizabeth Stride) 11:00 P.M.
5’5” tall, English, black moustache, sandy eyelashes, weak, wearing a morning suit and a billycock hat.
William Marshall (Elizabeth Stride) 11:45 P.M.
Small, black coat, dark trousers, middle aged, round cap with a small sailor-like peak. 5’6”, stout, appearance of a clerk. No moustache, no gloves, with a cutaway coat.
“You would say anything but your prayers.” Spoken mildly, with an English accent, and in an educated manner.
Matthew Packer (Elizabeth Stride) 12:00 - 12:30 P.M.
Aged 25-30, 5’7”, long black coat buttoned up, soft felt hawker hat, broad shoulders. Maybe a young clerk, frock coat, no gloves. Quiet in speaking, with a rough voice.
P.C. William Smith (Elizabeth Stride) 12:30 A.M.
Aged 28, cleanshaven and respectable appearance, 5’7”, hard dark felt deerstalker hat, dark clothes. Carrying a newspaper parcel 18 x 7 inches.
James Brown (Elizabeth Stride) 12:45 A.M.
5’7”, stout, long black diagonal coat which reached almost to his heels.
Israel Schwartz (Elizabeth Stride) 12:45 A.M.
First man: Aged 30, 5’5”, brown haired, fair complexion, small brown moustache, full face, broad shoulders, dark jacket and trousers, black cap with peak. “Lipski!”
Second man: Aged 35, 5’11”, fresh complexion, light brown hair, dark overcoat, old black hard felt hat with a wide brim, clay pipe.
Joseph Lawende (Catharine Eddowes) 1:30 A.M.
Aged 30, 5’7”, fair complexion, brown moustache, salt-and-pepper coat, red neckerchief, grey peaked cloth cap. Sailor-like.
James Blenkinsop (Catharine Eddowes) 1:30 A.M.
Well-dressed. “Have you seen a man and a woman go through here?”
Mary Ann Cox (Mary Kelly) 11:45 P.M.
Short, stout man, shabbily dressed. Billycock hat, blotchy face, carroty moustache, holding quart can of beer
George Hutchinson (Mary Kelly) 2:00 A.M.
Aged 34-35, 5’6”, pale complexion, dark hair, slight moustached curled at each end, long dark coat, collar cuffs of astrakhan, dark jacket underneath. Light waistcoat, thick gold chain with a red stone seal, dark trousers and button boots, gaiters, white buttons. White shirt, black tie fastened with a horseshoe pin. Dark hat, turned down in middle. Red kerchief. Jewish and respectable in appearance.
During the Autumn of Terror hundreds of letters were sent to the police and local press purporting to be written by the Whitechapel fiend. Most of them were deemed to be fakes written by either newspaper men trying to start a story or fools trying to incite more terror. Other experts believe some (specifically the Dear Boss letter, Saucy Jacky postcard, and From Hell letter) are genuine. A select few have been reproduced below.
‘Dear Boss’ letter
Received on September 27th, 1888 at the Central News Agency, this letter was originally believed to be just another hoax. Three days later, the double murder of Stride and Eddowes made them reconsider, especially once they learned a portion of the latter’s earlobe was found cut off from the body, eerily reminiscent of a promise made within the letter. The police deemed the “Dear Boss” letter important enough to reproduce in newspapers and postbills of the time, hoping someone would recognize the handwriting.
A postcard received at the Central News Agency on October 1st, making direct reference to both the murders and the “Dear Boss” letter, is believed to have been written by the same hand. It is reproduced below.
Whether or not the letter is a hoax, it is the first written reference which uses the name “Jack the Ripper” in reference to the Whitechapel murderer.
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck.
Jack the Ripper
Dont mind me giving the trade name
PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it No luck yet. They say I’m a doctor now. ha ha
The “Saucy Jacky” Postcard
This letter was received on October 1st, 1888 at the Central News Agency. The handwriting is similar to that of the “Dear Boss” letter, and makes direct reference to both this letter and the murders of the previous night. Those who believe it to be genuine argue that the removal of Eddowes’s ear (it was not taken away, nor mailed to the police) and the fact that the postcard mentions the double-event before it was described by the press both testify to its authenticity. Others believe a hoaxer could have gleaned details of both the previous letter and the murders in an early morning paper of October 1st.
I was not codding dear old Boss when I gave you the tip, you’ll hear about Saucy Jacky’s work tomorrow double event this time number one squealed a bit couldn’t finish straight off. ha not the time to get ears for police. thanks for keeping last letter back till I got to work again.
Jack the Ripper
‘From Hell’ letter
On October 16th George Lusk, the president of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, received a three-inch-square cardboard box in his mail. Inside was half a human kidney preserved in wine, along with the following letter. Medical reports carried out by Dr. Openshaw found the kidney to be very similar to the one removed from Catherine Eddowes, though his findings were inconclusive either way. The letter read as follows:
I send you half the Kidne I took from one woman and 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
Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk
I know your address letter
6 October 1888 — this letter was received by a local paper and is believed to have been intended for either Israel Schwartz or Joseph Lawende, both of whom believe to have witnessed the Ripper and gave descriptions of the man they saw to the police. Few researchers believe this letter to be real.
You though your-self very clever I reckon when you informed the police. But you made a mistake if you though I dident see you. Now I known you know me and I see your little game, and I mean to finish you and send your ears to your wife if you show this to the police or help them if you do I will finish you. It no use your trying to get out of my way. Because I have you when you dont expect it and I keep my word as you soon see and rip you up. Yours truly Jack the Ripper.
PS You see I know your address
No Date Available — Catharine Eddowes was found murdered near the Minories on 30 September. ‘1st and 2nd inst.’ means the first and second of the month (October). Few researchers give this letter any credence.
Beware I shall be at work on the 1st and 2nd inst. in the Minories at 12 midnight and I give the authorities a good chance but there is never a policeman near when I am at work. Yours Jack the Ripper.
What fools letter
No Date Available — Prince William Street was only yards from the main road between Aigburth and the office of the Cotton Exchange. Few researchers give this letter much credence.
What fools the police are. I even give them the name of the street where I am living. Prince William Street.
Dr. Thomas Horrocks Openshaw, circa 1902.
29 October 1888 — this letter was sent to Dr. Openshaw, who performed the medical examination on the portion of kidney received by George Lusk in conjunction with the From Hell letter. Few researchers give this letter any credence.
Old boss you was rite it was the left kidny i was goin to hoperate agin close to you ospitle just as i was going to dror mi nife along of er bloomin throte them cusses of coppers spoilt the game but i guess i wil be on the jobn soon and will send you another bit of innerds
Jack the Ripper
O have you seen the devle with his mikerscope and scalpul a-lookin at a kidney with a slide cocked up.
Possible Hoax Letter
Dated September 17th, 1888, this letter was only recently discovered by Peter McClelland in a sealed report envelope in the British Public Record Office in 1988. Its authenticity is hotly debated, many believing it to be a recent hoax placed surreptitiously in the records. It was first published in Paul Feldman’s Jack the Ripper: The Final Chapter.
17th Sept 1888
So now they say I am a Yid when will they lern Dear old Boss! You an me know the truth dont we. Lusk can look forever hell never find me but I am rite under his nose all the time. I watch them looking for me an it gives me fits ha ha I love my work an I shant stop until I get buckled and even then watch out for your old pal Jacky.
Catch me if you Can
Jack the Ripper
Sorry about the blood still messy from the last one. What a pretty necklace I gave her.
Eight Little Whores Letter
No Date Available — one of the many verses allegedly sent to police. (It is likely, however, that this letter was a later hoax by Donald McCormick).
Eight little whores, with no hope of heaven,
Gladstone may save one, then there’ll be seven.
Seven little whores beggin for a shilling,
One stays in Henage Court, then there’s a killing.
Six little whores, glad to be alive,
One sidles up to Jack, then there are five.
Four and whore rhyme aright,
So do three and me,
I’ll set the town alight
Ere there are two.
Two little whores, shivering with fright,
Seek a cosy doorway in the middle of the night.
Jack’s knife flashes, then there’s but one,
And the last one’s the ripest for Jack’s idea of fun.
Major Suspect - Francis Tumblety
1. Common belief that JTR had surgical skills – needed to remove organs and to work in the dark. Some have said though, that the mutilations were rough and would require only minimal knowledge of human anatomy.
2. Long blade knife used, like those used in amputation surgery (long thin blade)
3. Genital mutilation common – killer had a hatred for women and prostitutes in particular and had some sort of problem with sex. Also, body positions and facial mutilations indicate he wanted to humiliate his victims.
4. FT was a “quack” doctor and claimed medical knowledge that he did not have.
5. 9/23/1913 – letter mentions Dr. T as s suspect although there is no record of him being arrested as a suspect. It was a letter penned by Chief Inspector John Littlechild in 1913 in response to some questions asked of him by journalist G.R. Sims.
6. A photo of FT does exist. Shoes him in military attire although he had no military career.
7. Grew up in Rochester, New York. Birth place is unknown although possibly Canada or Ireland. He began passing himself off as a doctor as a teenager.
8. Travelled to London in 1888. Was in London during the killings. Returned to U.S. after the killings under the pseudonym Frank Townshend
9. Batty Street Lodge – possible that he stayed there. Batty Street is right next to Berner Street – just north of it.
10. The “Batty Street Lodger” disappeared after the double murder when inn keeper found bloody material in his room. He was most likely an American. He was seen at the inn right after the double murder. Time from Mitre Square to the inn is just under 15 minute walk. There was a press release that said an American was arrested at Batty St. for “gross indecency”.
11. FT was arrested on 11/7/1888 just before the last murder for gross indecency and indecent assault with arms and force. Bailed out on 11/16/1888. Committed homosexual acts with John Doughty, Arthur Brice, Albert Fisher, and one other man.
12. FT admitted in 1/1889 in an interview for being there and being arrested as a suspect too. Was he arrested under a different charge (gross indecency) because of lack of evidence or was he just trying to make a name for himself?
13. FT kept a collection of medical specimens including a huge collection of women’s uteruses. He classified the uteruses by social class.
14. FT peddled pornography as a teen in Rochester.
15. Arrested on 9/23/1857 for attempting to abort the pregnancy of a young prostitute
16. During the Civil Was he moved to the capital and passed himself off as a Union surgeon.
17. Reports that he had been married but found that his wife was a prostitute.
18. He was arrested in St. Louis related to the Lincoln assassination. FT chose a poor alias this time and passed himself off as J.H. Blackbum. Dr. L.P. Blackbum was wanted in connection with a plot to infect Northern soldiers with blankets carrying yellow fever.
19. It is believed that Scotland Yard followed or attempted to follow FT back to the United States. U.S. officials kept an eye on him but the gross indecency crime was not an extraditable crime.
20. Died on 1903 of a heart condition. Is buried in Rochester New York.
Second major suspect - Robert Mann
- Mortuary that Mann worked in located in area profiled by FBI as the most probably area killer lived in. Robert lived a bit northeast of the mortuary.
- The area Mann lived contained a population of 95%-100% Jews which coincides with the “jews will not be blamed for nothing” message left on the wall.
- Would have had experience with autopsy
- Present and testified in at least one of the inquests
- At least three of the victim’s bodies were taken to Mann’s mortuary.
Retired British police detective, Trevor Marriott, gathered together evidence and has built a case against Carl Feigenbaum, a 54-year-old German merchant seaman, and made him the top suspect for committing the horrific and notorious murders between August and November 1888.
According to Marriott, his reason for suspecting Felgenbaum was clear.
“For example, he killed a woman in ripper like fashion with a long bladed knife which he carried. It was the same type of knife used to kill the Whotechapel victims. He had been employed as a merchant seaman for The Nordeutcher Line which had a ship in London on all the murder dates.”
The murder occurred in Manhattan, and the woman was his landlady Juliana Hoffman. For the brutal killing, Feigenbaum went to the electric chair in New York in 1896.
In addition, Felgenbaum confessed to police:
I have for years suffered from a singular disease, which induces an all-absorbing passion; this passion manifests itself in a desire to kill and mutilate the woman who falls in my way. At such times I am unable to control myself.