Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia *warning! pictures are graphic*
“The Black Dahlia” was a nickname given to Elizabeth Short(July 29, 1924 – c. January 15, 1947), an American woman who was the victim of a gruesome and much-publicized murder. Short acquired the moniker posthumously by newspapers in the habit of nicknaming crimes they found particularly colorful. Short was found mutilated, her body sliced in half at the waist, on January 15, 1947, in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California. Short’s unsolved murder has been the source of widespread speculation, leading to many suspects.
Elizabeth Short was born in greater Boston, Massachusetts; she grew up and lived in Medford. She was the third of five daughters of Cleo Short and Phoebe Mae Sawyer. Her father built miniature golf courses until the 1929 stock market crash, in which he lost much of the family’s assets. In 1930, he parked his car on a bridge and vanished, leading some to believe he had committed suicide. Short’s mother moved the family to a small apartment in Medford and found work as a bookkeeper. It was not until later that Short would discover her father was alive and living in California.
Troubled by asthma and bronchitis, Short was sent to live for the winter in Miami, Florida, at the age of 16. She spent the next three years living there during the cold months and in Medford the remainder of the year. At age 19, Short travelled to Vallejo, California, to live with her father, who was working nearby at Mare Island Naval Shipyard on San Francisco Bay. The two moved to Los Angeles in early 1943, but an altercation resulted in her leaving there and finding work in the post exchange at Camp Cooke (now Vandenberg Air Force Base), near Lompoc, California. Short next moved to Santa Barbara, where she was arrested on September 23, 1943, for underage drinking. Following her arrest, she was sent back to Medford by the juvenile authorities in Santa Barbara. Short then returned to Florida to live, with occasional visits back to Massachusetts.
In Florida, Short met Major Matthew Michael Gordon Jr., a decorated United States Army Air Forces officer who was assigned to the 2nd Air Commando Group and in training for deployment to China Burma India Theater of Operations. Short told friends that Gordon wrote her a letter from India proposing marriage while he was recovering from injuries sustained from an airplane crash. She accepted his proposal, but Gordon died in a second airplane crash on August 10, 1945, before he could return to the United States. She later exaggerated this story, saying that they were married and had a child who died. Although Gordon’s friends in the air commandos confirmed that Gordon and Short were engaged, his family denied any connection after Short’s murder.
Elizabeth Short returned to Los Angeles in July 1946 to visit Army Air Corps Lieutenant Joseph Gordon Fickling, an old boyfriend she had met in Florida during the war. At the time Short returned to Los Angeles, Fickling was stationed at NARB, Long Beach. For the six months prior to her death, Short remained in southern California, mainly in the Los Angeles area.
It was said that while she was at Los Angeles, she pursued acting and was attending high-profile clubs in the city. Elizabeth died before her 23rd birthday.
Murder and aftermath
The body of Elizabeth Short was found in the Leimert Park district of Los Angeles on January 15, 1947. Her remains had been left on a vacant lot on the west side of South Norton Avenue midway between Coliseum Street and West 39th Street. (at ) The body was discovered by local resident Betty Bersinger, who was walking with her three-year-old daughter.Short’s severely mutilated body was nude, severed at the waist, and completely drained of blood.Her face had been slashed from the corners of her mouth toward her ears, creating an effect called the Glasgow smile. The body had been washed and cleaned and had been “posed” with her hands over her head and her elbows bent at right angles.
The autopsy stated that Short was 5 feet 5 inches (1.65 m) tall, weighed 115 pounds (52 kg), and had light blue eyes, brown hair, and badly decayed teeth. There were marks on her ankles and wrists made by rope, consistent with being either tied spreadeagled or hung upside down. Although the skull was not fractured, Short had bruising on the front and right side of her scalp with a small amount of bleeding in the subarachnoid space on the right side, consistent with blows to the head. The cause of death was blood loss from the lacerations to the face combined with shock due to a concussion of the brain.
William Randolph Hearst’s papers, the Los Angeles Herald-Express and the Los Angeles Examiner, sensationalized the case: The black tailored suit Short was last seen wearing became “a tight skirt and a sheer blouse” and Elizabeth Short became the “Black Dahlia,” an “adventuress” who “prowled Hollywood Boulevard.” As time passed, the media coverage became more outrageous, with claims that her lifestyle had “made her victim material.”
On January 23, 1947, the killer called the editor of the Los Angeles Examiner, expressing concern that news of the murder was tailing off in the newspapers and offering to mail items belonging to Short to the editor. The following day, a packet arrived at the Los Angeles newspaper containing Short’s birth certificate, business cards, photographs, names written on pieces of paper, and an address book with the name Mark Hansen embossed on the cover. Hansen, the last person known to have seen Short alive (on January 9), became the prime suspect. The killer would later write more letters to the newspaper, calling himself “the Black Dahlia Avenger,” after the name given to Short by the newspapers. On January 25, Short’s handbag and one shoe were found in a garbage bin a short distance from Norton Avenue.
Due to the notoriety of the case, more than 50 men and women have confessed to the murder, and police are swamped with tips every time a newspaper mentions the case or a book or movie about it is released. Sergeant John P. St. John, a detective who worked the case until his retirement, stated, “It is amazing how many people offer up a relative as the killer.”
Gerry Ramlow, a Los Angeles Daily News reporter, later stated,
“If the murder was never solved it was because of the reporters… They were all over, trampling evidence, withholding information.” It took several days for the police to take full control of the investigation, during which time reporters roamed freely throughout the department’s offices, sat at officers’ desks, and answered their phones. Many tips from the public were not passed on to police, as the reporters who received them rushed out to get “scoops.”
Short was buried at the Mountain View Cemetery in Oakland, California. After Short’s sisters had grown up and married, Short’s mother moved to Oakland to be near her daughter’s grave. Phoebe Short finally returned to the east coast in the 1970s and lived into her nineties.
Some crime authors have speculated on a link between the Short murder and the Cleveland Torso Murders, which took place in Cleveland between 1934 and 1938.As with a large number of killings that took place before and after the Short murder, the original LAPD investigators looked into the Cleveland murders in 1947 and later discounted any relationship between the two cases. Nevertheless, new evidence implicating a former Cleveland torso murder suspect, Jack Anderson Wilson, with Short’s death was investigated by Detective John P. St. John in 1980. St. John claimed he was close to arresting Wilson for the death of Short when Wilson unexpectedly died in a fire on February 4, 1982.
Crime authors such as Steve Hodel and William Rasmussen have suggested a link between the Short murder and the 1946 murder and dismemberment of six-year-old Suzanne Degnan in Chicago.Captain Donahoe of the Los Angeles police also stated publicly that he believed the Black Dahlia and Lipstick murders were “likely connected.”Among the evidence cited is the fact that Elizabeth Short’s body was found on Norton Avenue three blocks west of Degnan Boulevard, Degnan being the last name of the girl from Chicago, and there were striking similarities between the writing of the Degnan ransom note and that of “the Black Dahlia Avenger.” For example, both used a combination of capitals and small letters (the Degnan note read in part “BuRN This FoR heR SAfTY”), and both notes contain a similar misshapen letter P and have one word matching exactly.Convicted serial killer William Heirens served life in prison for Degnan’s murder. Initially arrested at age 17 for breaking into a residence close to that of Suzanne Degnan, Heirens claimed he was tortured by police, forced to confess, and made a scapegoat in the Degnan murder.
Black Dahlia suspects:
Many suspects (aka persons of interest) have been proposed as the unidentified killer of Elizabeth Short, nicknamed the “Black Dahlia,” who was murdered in 1947. Many theories have been advanced, but none has been found to be completely persuasive by experts, and some are not taken seriously at all.
The murder investigation by the LAPD was the largest since the murder of Marion Parker in 1927, and involved hundreds of officers borrowed from other law enforcement agencies. Sensational and sometimes inaccurate press coverage, as well as the nature of the crime, focused intense public attention on the case. As the case continues to command public attention, many more people have been proposed as Short’s killer, much like London’s Jack the Ripper murders.
Because of the complexity of the case, the original investigators treated every person who knew Elizabeth Short as a suspect who had to be eliminated. Hundreds of people were considered suspects and thousands were interviewed by police.
About 60 people confessed to the murder, mostly men but including a few women.However, 25 people were considered to be viable suspects by the Los Angeles District Attorney.
The 25 District attorney suspects
- Carl Balsiger
- C. Welsh
- Sergeant “Chuck” (name unknown)
- John D. Wade
- Joe Scalis
- James Nimmo
- Maurice Clement
- A Chicago police officer
- Salvador Torres Vera
- Dr George Hodel
- Marvin Margolis
- Glenn Wolf
- Michael Anthony Otero
- George Bacos
- Francis Campbell
- “Queer Woman Surgeon”
- Dr. Adam Fairall
- Strip Club Owner
- Dr. Paul DeGaston
- Dr. A. E. Brix
- Dr. M. M. Schwartz
- Dr. Artnur McGinnis Faught
- Dr Patrick S. O’Reilly
- Mark Hansen
- Jacob Fisk
While some of the original 25 suspects were discounted, new ones have arisen. At present the following suspects are discussed by various authors and experts:
Dr. Walter Alonzo Bayley was a Los Angeles surgeon who lived in a house one block south of the vacant lot in which Elizabeth Short’s body was found, until he left his wife in October 1946. At the time of the murder, Bayley’s estranged wife still lived in the home. Bayley’s daughter was a friend of Elizabeth Short’s sister Virginia and brother-in-law Adrian and had been the matron of honor at their wedding. When Bayley died in January 1948, his autopsy showed that he was suffering from degenerative brain disease. After his death, Bayley’s widow alleged that his mistress knew a “terrible secret” about Bayley and claimed this was the reason the mistress was the main beneficiary upon his death. Bayley was never a suspect in the case, but many medical doctors and others with medical training were. In secret testimony, Detective Harry Hansen, one of the original investigators, told the 1949 Los Angeles County grand jury that in his opinion the killer was a “top medical man” and “a fine surgeon.” Bayley was 67 years old at the time of the murder, had no known history of violence or criminal activity of any kind, and is not known to have met Short, even though his daughter was a friend of Short’s oldest sister.
When Larry Harnisch, a copy editor and writer for the Los Angeles Times, began studying the case in 1996, he eventually concluded that Bayley could be Elizabeth Short’s killer. Although critics of Harnisch’s theory question whether Bayley’s mental and physical condition at the time of the murder would have been consistent with the commission of this type of crime, the original investigators’ theory that the body was cut in half because the killer wasn’t strong enough to move it intact partially answers this objection. Harnisch theorizes that Bayley’s neurological deterioration contributed to his alleged violence against Short. Some have suggested that the secret that Bayley’s mistress was blackmailing him with was that he had performed abortions, then a crime. However, there is no evidence that Bayley performed abortions or associated with anyone involved in performing abortions. Author James Ellroy endorsed Harnisch’s theory in the 2001 film James Ellroy’s Feast of Death.
Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, is accused of involvement in Elizabeth Short’s murder in Donald Wolfe’s The Mob, the Mogul, and the Murder That Transfixed Los Angeles. In a complicated scenario involving multiple perpetrators, Wolfe claims that Chandler impregnated Short while she was working as a call girl for the notorious Hollywood “madam” Brenda Allen, which led to Short’s murder at the hands of gangster Bugsy Siegel. Wolfe’s claim that Short was a prostitute is at odds with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s files, which plainly state that she was not, as Wolfe asserted, pregnant.
Leslie Dillon was a 27-year-old bellhop, aspiring writer and former mortician’s assistant who became a suspect in the case when he began writing to LAPD police psychiatrist Dr. J. Paul De River in October 1948. Dillon was living in Florida at the time of his correspondence with De River, but had formerly lived in Los Angeles. Dillon read a story about the case in a “true detective” magazine in which De River was quoted and wrote to De River regarding his theories on the case, and mentioning his intense interest in sadism and sexual psychopathia in hopes of authoring a book on the subject. Contrary to public perception, Dillon, unlike so many other headline chasers involved at the time, was not a Confessing Sam. He never confessed or admitted to the crime but rather offered up another man as a likely suspect, a friend of his named Jeff Connors. Over the course of their correspondence, De River began to believe that Connors was a figment of Dillon’s imagination and that Dillon had committed the murder himself. After the correspondence, in December 1948 Dillon agreed to meet with De River and was given the choice of one of three cities, Phoenix, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas. Dillon expressed reservations about Los Angeles and chose Las Vegas instead and was sent an airline ticket. De River and a few undercover LAPD officers met Dillon in Las Vegas for a couple of days and then proceeded to drive back to California. Once there, Dillon had hopes of going to San Francisco to point out his friend Jeff Connors to De River. After reaching San Francisco, they searched for Jeff Connors but failed to locate him. Only after not being able to track down Connors in San Francisco and offering up intimate details about the crime that even investigators had difficultly explaining was Dillon then handcuffed by an undercover officer and officially taken into custody for their trip back to Los Angeles. After this happened, Dillon sailed a postcard out a hotel window with a plea for help on it; it was discovered by a passerby and turned into local authorities.
After De River and the undercover officers had Dillon in Los Angeles, police soon discovered that Jeff Connors was a real person whose real name was Artie Lane. Lane had lived in Los Angeles at the time of the murder and was employed by Columbia Studios, a favorite hangout of Elizabeth Short’s, as a maintenance man. However, contrary to popular belief, Leslie Dillon could not be conclusively placed in San Francisco at the time of the murder. Police concluded that Dillon was most likely in San Francisco at the time of the murder, but not that he conclusively was. In fact, police never could account for Dillon’s whereabouts between January 9 and January 15, 1947. Dillon later filed a $100,000 claim against the City of Los Angeles but quickly dropped the lawsuit after it came to light that he was wanted by Santa Monica police for robbing the vault of a Santa Monica hotel while employed there as a bellhop a few years earlier. This “scandal” caused by the Dillon affair partially triggered a 1949 grand jury investigation of police handling of the Black Dahlia case and some other unsolved murders.In 2004, De River’s daughter, Jacque Daniel, published a book called The Curse of the Black Dahlia in which she expressed her belief that her father had been unfairly maligned for the Dillon affair.
Joseph A. Dumais
Joseph Dumais, a 29-year-old soldier stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey, confessed to the murder a few weeks after it occurred. Although this “breakthrough” was quickly dismissed by the original investigators, the Los Angeles press covered it enthusiastically until it was revealed that Dumais had been at Fort Dix at the time of the murder. Dumais was cleared of any involvement in the crime, although he continued to claim he killed Elizabeth Short each time he was arrested for various offenses, well into the 1950s.
Mark Hansen was a Hollywood nightclub and theater owner who knew Short while she was in Los Angeles. Short lived in Hansen’s home, as a paying boarder or as a guest (accounts vary), on several occasions between May 1946 and October 1946. Hansen’s girlfriend Ann Toth shared a room with Short in this house, which was near Hansen’s nightclub, the Florentine Gardens. Short called Hansen in Los Angeles from San Diego on January 8 or 9, making him one of the last people known to have spoken to her.Los Angeles district attorney files indicate that Hansen made contradictory statements to authorities about the nature of this conversation. An address book embossed with Hansen’s name was among Short’s belongings mailed to a newspaper after Short’s murder by someone claiming to be her killer. The address book belonged to Hansen, but he had never used it. Short had been using it as her own. Los Angeles district attorney files indicate that Hansen had tried to seduce Short but she rebuffed him. Hansen was one of the first serious suspects in the case and he was still a prime suspect as late as the 1951 DA’s investigation and grand jury inquest. Hansen was linked to three other suspects in the case, each of whom was a medical doctor: Dr. Patrick S. O’Reilly, Dr. M. M. Schwartz, and Dr. Arthur McGinnis Faught.
Hansen died of natural causes in 1964. No charges were ever brought against him. He had no criminal record and no known history of violence. Popular accounts of the Black Dahlia case often portray Hansen as having connections to organized crime, but there is no evidence of this.
Dr. George Hodel came under police scrutiny in October 1949, when his 14-year-old daughter, Tamar, accused him of molesting her. Three witnesses testified at his trial that they were present in the room and saw him having sex with Tamar. Another witness, who had previously admitted that she had participated in sex acts with Tamar, recanted and refused to testify. Hodel was acquitted of the charges in December 1949.The molestation case led the LAPD to include Hodel, a physician specializing in public health and sexually transmitted diseases, among its many suspects in the Dahlia case. Authorities put Hodel under surveillance from February 18 to March 27, 1950, including the installation of two microphones in his home, monitored by over 18 detectives, to ascertain whether he could be implicated in the murder. In the surviving transcripts, Dr. Hodel is heard making highly incriminating statements.
“Supposin’ I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn’t prove it now. They can’t talk to my secretary anymore because she’s dead…. They thought there was something fishy. Anyway, now they may have figured it out. Killed her. Maybe I did kill my secretary….” - George Hodel. February 18, 1950
Ruth Spaulding died from an overdose and Hodel was investigated by the LAPD in 1945 for her suspected murder. He was present when Spaulding died and had burnt some of her papers before police were called. The case was dropped owing to lack of evidence, but documents were later found that indicated Spaulding may have been about to make public that Hodel was intentionally misdiagnosing patients and billing them for laboratory tests, medical treatment, and prescriptions not needed. Hodel’s son, former LAPD homicide detective Steve Hodel, believes Elizabeth Short may have been one of his father’s patients.
In the final report to the grand jury, dated February 20, 1951, Lt. Frank Jemison of the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office wrote:
Doctor George Hodel, M.D. 5121 Fountain [Franklin] Avenue, at the time of this murder had a clinic at East First Street near Alameda. Lillian DeNorak [Lenorak] who lived with this doctor said he spent some time around the Biltmore Hotel and identified the photo of victim Short as a photo of one of the doctor’s girl friends. Tamar Hodel, fifteen year old daughter, stated that her mother, Dorothy Hodel, has told her that her father had been out all night on a party the night of the murder and said, “They’ll never be able to prove I did that murder.” Two microphones were placed in this suspect’s home (see the log and recordings made over approximately three weeks time which tend to prove his innocence. See statement of Dorothy Hodel, former wife). Informant Lillian DeNorak [Lenorak] has been committed to the State Mental Institution at Camarillo. Joe Barrett, a roomer at the Hodel residence cooperated as an informant. A photograph of the suspect in the nude with a nude identified colored model was secured from his personal effects. Undersigned identified this model as Mattie Comfort, 3423½ South Arlington, Republic 4953. She said that she was with Doctor Hodel sometime prior to the murder and that she knew nothing about his being associated with the victim. Rudolph Walthers, known to have been acquainted with victim and also with suspect Hodel, claimed he had not seen victim in the presence of Hodel and did not believe that the doctor had ever met the victim. The following acquaintances of Hodel were questioned and none were able to connect the suspect with murder: Fred Sexton, 1020 White Knoll Drive; Nita Moladero, 1617½ North Normandy [Normandie]; Ellen Taylor 5121 Fountain Avenue; Finlay Thomas, 616½ South Normandy [Normandie]; Mildred B. Colby, 4029 Vista Del Monte Street, Sherman Oaks, this witness was a girlfriend of Charles Smith, abortionist friend of Hodel, Turin Gilkey, 1025 North Wilcox; Irene Summerset, 1236¼ North Edgemont; Norman Beckett, 1025 North Wilcox; Ethel Kane, 1033 North Wilcox; Annette Chase, 1039 North Wilcox; Dorothy Royer, 1636 North Beverly Glenn. See supplemental reports, long sheets and hear recordings, all of which tend to eliminate this suspect.
The report, from which the above excerpt was taken, was submitted at the completion of the D.A.’s investigation of George Hodel and at least 21 other suspects.
In 2003 George Hodel’s son, former LAPD homicide detective Steve Hodel, published a book claiming his father, who died in 1991, had in fact committed the Black Dahlia murder as well as a host of unsolved murders over the better part of two decades. Steve Hodel says he came up with the idea when he saw two pictures in his dead father’s photo album that he claims resemble Short, although Short’s family insists they are not of her and many other observers have failed to see the resemblance. Since beginning his investigation, Steve has located and identified one of the photographic subjects as a former friend of George Hodel. The other photograph remains unidentified.Steve Hodel claims he was unaware at the time that his father had been a suspect in the case, although his sister Tamar was friends with Janice Knowlton, author of her own book, Daddy Was The Black Dahlia Killer, and case documents make it clear that Steve’s parents and many of their associates knew the senior Hodel was a suspect. After reviewing the information presented in Steve Hodel’s book, Head Deputy D.A. Stephen Kay proclaimed the case solved, but others have noted that Kay, who has since retired, formed this conclusion by treating Steve Hodel’s many disputed assertions as established fact. Detective Brian Carr, the LAPD officer in charge of the Black Dahlia case at the time of Steve Hodel’s briefing, said in a televised interview that he was baffled by Kay’s response, adding that if he ever took a case as weak as Steve Hodel’s to a prosecutor he would be “laughed out of the office.” In a September 2006 television interview with Cold Case Files host Bill Kurtis, Carr added, “I don’t have the time to either prove or disprove Hodel’s investigation. I am too busy working on active cases.” In his most recent book, Steve Hodel has also claimed that George Hodel was responsible for numerous other high profile murders, including the Zodiac Killer.
Author James Ellroy endorsed Steve Hodel’s theory in the foreword to the paperback version of Hodel’s book. As of November 2006, however, Ellroy has since refused to discuss theories in the case and says he has no idea who the killer was and will never again talk about the Black Dahlia publicly.
Steve Hodel maintains a website wherein he continues to update the case with additional discovered information.
Little reliable information is available on George Knowlton, except that he lived in the Los Angeles area at the time of the Black Dahlia murder and died in an automobile accident in 1962. In the early 1990s, George Knowlton’s daughter Janice began claiming that she had witnessed her father murdering Elizabeth Short, a claim she based largely on “recovered memories” that surfaced during therapy. The Los Angeles Times said in 1991:
Los Angeles Police Detective John P. St. John, one of the investigators who had been assigned to the case, said he has talked to Knowlton and does not believe there is a connection between the Black Dahlia murder and her father. “We have a lot of people offering up their fathers and various relatives as the Black Dahlia killer,” said St. John, better known as Jigsaw John. “The things that she is saying are not consistent with the facts of the case.”
Nevertheless, the Westminster Police Department took her claims seriously enough to dig up the grounds around her childhood home, looking for evidence. They found nothing to tie George Knowlton to the crime. In 1995, Janice Knowlton created a sub-genre as the first person to publish a book claiming that his or her own father committed the Black Dahlia murder. The book was written with veteran crime writer Michael Newton. In the book Knowlton, a former professional singer and owner of a public relations company, alleged that her father had been having an affair with Elizabeth Short and that Short was staying in a makeshift bedroom in their garage, where she suffered a miscarriage. Knowlton said she was later forced to accompany her father when he disposed of the body. Knowlton claimed that a former member of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department told her that her father was considered a suspect in the case by that agency, but this claim is unsupported by the public documents that have been released in the case. She claimed the same source told her that future LAPD chief and California politician Ed Davis and Los Angeles County District Attorney Buron Fitts were suspects in the murder as well. Janice Knowlton died of an overdose of prescription drugs in 2004 in what was deemed a suicide by the Orange County, California, coroner’s office.
In a side note to her accusations against her father, Janice Knowlton, who was a frequent contributor as “jgk61”. to various online forums wherein the Black Dahlia case was discussed, posted an article to a Usenet group in August 1998 in which she names Dr. George Hodel (see above) as a suspect in the case. Knowlton’s sister has since stated on amazon.com’s web page for her sister’s book, Daddy Was The Black Dahlia Killer, that after publication of Knowlton’s book, Tamar Hodel, daughter of George Hodel and sister of Steve Hodel, contacted Knowlton and the two women remained “email pals for several years.”
Knowlton also made claims prefiguring those of Black Dahlia Files author Donald Wolfe. In 1999, she claimed in various public forums that Norman Chandler participated in a coverup of the murder. Knowlton claimed that on Halloween 1946 she was sold at the age of nine as a child prostitute to a Pasadena Satanic sex cult. She frequently alleged that she was sold as a child prostitute to a long list of dead movie stars and other notables, including Norman Chandler, Gene Autry (whose name she continually misspelled as Autrey), Arthur Freed, and Walt Disney. Knowlton became so abusive in her Usenet posts that Pacbell canceled her account in 1999.
Robert M. “Red” Manley
The last person seen with Elizabeth Short before her disappearance, Manley was the LAPD’s top suspect in the first few days after the killing. After two polygraph tests and a sworn alibi, Manley was set free. He also identified Short’s handbag purse and one of her shoes after they were discovered in a trashcan on January 25, 1947, several miles from the murder scene.Manley, who had been discharged from the army for mental disability, subsequently suffered a series of nervous breakdowns and claimed to be hearing voices. As a result, he was committed to Patton State Hospital by his wife in 1954. He died on January 9, 1986.
Patrick S. O’Reilly
According to Los Angeles district attorney files, Dr. Patrick S. O’Reilly was a medical doctor who knew Short through nightclub owner Mark Hansen. According to the files, at the time of the murder O’Reilly was a good friend of Hansen and frequented Hansen’s nightclub. Files also state that O’Reilly “attended sex parties at Malibu” with Hansen. O’Reilly had a history of sexually motivated violent crime. He had been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon for “taking his secretary to a motel and sadistically beating her almost to death apparently for no other reason than to satisfy his sexual desires without intercourse,” the files state. Further, the files indicate that O’Reilly’s right pectoral had been surgically removed, which investigators found similar to the mutilation of Short’s body. The files indicate that O’Reilly had once been married to the daughter of an LAPD captain.
Jack Anderson Wilson (a.k.a. Arnold Smith)
Wilson was a lifelong petty criminal and alcoholic who was interviewed by author John Gilmore while Gilmore was researching his book Severed. After Wilson’s death, Gilmore named Wilson as a suspect owing to his alleged acquaintance with Short. Prior to Wilson’s death, however, Gilmore made an entirely different claim to the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner in a story appearing January 17, 1982. While Severed says that homicide Detective John St. John was about to “close in” on Wilson based on the material Gilmore provided, St. John told the Herald-Examiner in the same article that he was busy with other killings and would review Gilmore’s claims when he got time. As reliable sources of information about the case, such as the FBI files and portions of the Los Angeles district attorney files, have become publicly available, statements about Short and the murder attributed to Wilson in Severed and supposedly tying him to the crime have not been borne out as accurate. Severed also claims Wilson was involved in the murder of Georgette Bauerdorf. Severed and many other sources based on Severed erroneously claim that Short and Bauerdorf knew each other in Los Angeles, supposedly because they were both hostesses at the same nightclub. In reality, by the time Short arrived in Los Angeles in 1946, Bauerdorf had been dead for two years and the nightclub had been closed for a year. Wilson was never a suspect until Gilmore brought him to the attention of authorities.
Wilson figures in Donald Wolfe’s book The Mob, The Mogul, And The Murder That Transfixed Los Angeles. Wolfe hypothesizes that Wilson was present at Short’s murder and claims a connection between Wilson and gangster Bugsy Siegel through some small-time gangsters Wilson supposedly associated with. He was also part of the military.
Although the vast majority of suspects in the case were male, authorities did not rule out the possibility of a female killer. One theory held that, because Short had checked her baggage, including her clothing and cosmetics, a week before she died, she must have been staying with another woman (who presumably would have loaned Short the essentials) during the intervening time. Another theory was that the assailant bisected Short’s body because he or she was not strong enough to move it in one piece. One of the first people to confess to the murder was a WAC sergeant stationed in San Diego. Authorities took the confession seriously enough to investigate and found it groundless.Another suspect is referred to simply as “Queer Woman Surgeon” in the Los Angeles district attorney’s files on the case. Newspaper stories at the time implied that Short was a lesbian or bisexual, but the district attorney files state bluntly that Short “had no use for queers.”
The folk singer was one of the many suspects in the murder, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s files and Ramblin’ Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie written by Ed Cray and published in 2004 by W.W. Norton. According to Cray, Guthrie drew police attention because of some sexually explicit letters and tabloid clippings he sent to a Northern California woman who he was stalking. The mailings disturbed their recipient so much that she showed them to her sister in Los Angeles, who contacted the police. Guthrie was quickly cleared of involvement in the murder, but various authorities attempted to prosecute him, with minor success, on charges related to sending prohibited materials through the mail.
In her 1999 book, Mary Pacios, a former neighbor of the Short family in Medford, Massachusetts, suggested filmmaker Orson Welles as a suspect.Pacios bases this theory on such factors as Welles’s volatile temperament and his creation of mannequins three months before Short’s death that supposedly featured lacerations virtually identical to those inflicted on Short. The mannequins were used in the “house of mirrors” set for The Lady From Shanghai, a film Welles was making with his ex-wife Rita Hayworth around the time of the murder. The scenes containing the set were deleted from the film by Harry Cohn. In one of Short’s last letters home, her older sister Virginia claimed she had written that a movie director was going to give her a screen test.
Pacios also cites Welles’ familiarity with the site where the body was found and the magic act he performed to entertain soldiers during World War II. She believes that the bisection of the body was part of the killer’s signature and an acting out of the perpetrator’s obsession. Welles applied for his passport on January 24, 1947, the same day the killer mailed a packet to Los Angeles newspapers. Welles left the country for an extended stay in Europe 10 months after the murder without completing the editing of Macbeth, the film he was both directing and starring in. Despite persistent attempts by Republic Pictures to get him to return to complete the film, he refused. According to Pacios, witnesses she had interviewed state that Welles and the victim both frequented Brittingham’s restaurant in Los Angeles during the same time period and waitresses believed Short was going out with someone at Columbia Pictures. Welles was never a suspect in the investigation. Pacios now maintains BlackDahlia.info, a website containing a great deal of information and official documents about the Black Dahlia case, but only a short section on Welles’ supposed involvement.
What do you think? Are UFOs real or are they something else (like made by the government.)
The Grinning Man – A Cryptoid Or Just an Urban Legend?
The Grinning Man is a name given to a mysterious creature that has been reported in various areas over the last century.
He is believed to either be an alien or some other type of unknown creature. If nothing else, he is very creepy and all the witness accounts describe him as being very strange. Everyone who has seen him will never forget him or what he looks like. Nobody knows if there is just one Grinning Man or many, or if the whole thing is just an urban legend.
One account of the Grinning Man happened in October 1966. Two boys in NJ were walking along Fourth Street, and when they reached a corner parallel to the NJ Turnpike, one of the boys, James Yanchitis, could see a strange figure standing on the other side of a fence. He nudged his friend, Marvin Munoz, who then noticed the man too. They both describe the man as being “a really big man with a big old grin”. Allegedly, another resident in the neighborhood claimed to have been “chased by a tall green man” down that very same street.
John A. Keel, a well-known paranormal investigator and author of “The Mothman Prophecies”, visited the boys a few days later to speak to them about their incident. He interviewed each boy separately and they both gave the same exact story. The man, they claimed was more than six feet tall and was dressed in a green coverall costume. The costume even appeared to be shimmering in the street lights. There was a black belt around his waist. Neither boy noticed any hair, nose, or ears on the man, just two, beady eyes and a really big grin.
There were other, similar reports of such a strange man in other parts of the country, including on in Parkersburg, WV, which is about 40 miles away from where the mothman sightings took place. In Nov. 1966, Woodrow Derenberger was driving home in his truck when he heard a crash. Out of nowhere, a vehicle came zooming up behind him and quickly passed him up. After passing him up, the vehicle slowed down and stopped, blocking the road. The witness noticed that it was the strangest vehicle he had ever seen, and described it as looking like a “kerosene lamp chimney”. It apparently was flaring at each end, and the ends were narrow. The vehicle had a large bulge in the center.
All of a sudden, a strange, tall man stepped out. He was described as being “really tall and tanned”. Derenberger claimed that the man had a “gleaming green” outfit on, similar to what the boys in NJ noted. The Grinning Man alleged communicated with Derenberger telepathically and asked him strange questions about UFO sightings in the area. The entity then, telepathically, revealed his name to be “Indrid Cold”.
There have been other reports of a strange, grinning man, including on in Point Pleasant, WV, where the mothman sightings took place. Nobody knows for sure who—-or what—-this strange man was, or why he was here. Of course, he could just be an urban legend. Or, he could’ve just been an ordinary, albeit strange man. There haven’t been any more reported sightings of him as of late. Whenever he had been around in the past, there were usually UFO sightings or crypto sightings such as Mothman. He couldn’t be associated with the Men in Black, since he supposedly wears a shimmering green outfit.
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?
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.
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.
Doctor turned serial killer in World War II Paris
FILE - This March 17, 1946 file photo shows Dr. Marcel Petiot in Paris. The doctor, a serial killer who was convicted of 26 murders and guillotined as punishment for his crimes, regularly treated refugees, businessmen and Gestapo agents, but also had a predilection for killing wealthy Jews and burning their bodies in a basement furnace. He was one of the most unusual informers used by one of America’s most secretive espionage agencies, known simply as the Pond.
Nazi-occupied Paris was a terrible place to be in the waning days of World War II, with Jews, Resistance fighters and ordinary citizens all hoping to escape. Disappearances became so common they often weren’t followed up.
And one man used the lawlessness for his own terrible purposes, killing perhaps as many as 150 people.
Yet it wasn’t until thick black smoke seeped into buildings in a fashionable part of the city that firefighters and police were called to an elegant townhouse where they found body parts scattered around — setting off a manhunt that led them, eventually, to Marcel Petiot.
The crime was very much of its time, said David King, who chronicled the hunt for Petiot in “Death in the City of Light.”
“Paris was not a good place to be. A lot of people were trying to leave Paris, a lot of people just disappearing. He had it plotted out, a very devious plan,” said King, in a telephone interview.
“Respect for the law was tarnished under the Nazis. Even if you suspected something, a lot of people were very, very reluctant to go forward, especially if they were Jewish.”
Petiot, as it turned out, was a respected physician who turned serial killer by night, preying largely on Jews desperate to leave Paris by luring them in with promises of escape. He was accused of murdering “only” some 27, but authorities suspected his real toll was far higher.
King, a former history professor, first stumbled across reference to the killings while browsing in a bookstore and picking up a World War Two memoir by a spy. At first, he couldn’t believe what he read.
But the grisly details stuck with him, and after he confirmed the story was true, he finished his other projects and came back to it.
“Here’s a guy — Marcel Petiot, who was accused of all the murders. Obviously very intelligent, charismatic, has a respected position, is into collecting antiques, interested in the arts,” he said.
“And yet, you get to the other side, when he’s accused of some of the most disturbing things you can think of: savagely dismembering bodies.”
Through years of research, including perusal of Parisian police archives closed since the crimes took place, King pieced together the story of how Petiot claimed to be a member of the resistance and lured many of his victims in by promising them safe passage to South America in return for payment.
Once in Petiot’s hands, the victims were told to write letters to their relatives, telling them that they were fine and would return once times had settled down. Then they were killed, most likely by lethal gas, and dismembered or burned.
“It’s a microcosm of the whole Nazi terror and Paris being a bad place to be. There’s got to be more than just exploiting peoples’ hopes and dreams and desperation, but that’s what he does,” King said.
Though Petiot eluded police on at least one occasion, after appearing amid the crowd that gathered after the initial grisly discovery and speaking with a patrolman before riding off on his bicycle, he was eventually captured, tried and executed.
King, the author of several other books, said this one was particularly hard to immerse himself in due to the content, however horrifically fascinating the story.
It also had an impact on him personally.
“I’m generally a pretty outgoing person, but I’m probably a little bit more reluctant about things now,” he said.
“Dr. Petiot seemed like the nicest guy — charming, intelligent, friendly. You could just strike up a conversation with somebody like this … I found myself on my guard more.”
REDRUM! Are All Serial Killers Demonically Possessed?
When someones goes over the edge and kills another living breathing human being. Why do they do it we might ask? Or how could they do it we might chime in with questions ringing through our mind of how could another human being take the life of someone else so easily usually without remorse. Most of us know that to take the life another human being is the wrong to do both morally and ethically. That the repercussions for taking someone’s life could lead to life imprisonment or worse yet punishment by death from our own state governments. We just sensibly know there are other ways to handle ourselves besides taking someone’s life from them. Some can’t see past this line of responsibility and go over the edge to a point of not knowing when to stop and continuing over and over to take human life. Say for instance someone like John Wayne Gacey or Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer. Who obviously in some unholy way goes over the edge and decides not to come back to reality on any level. Yes a lot of other factors play into the making of monsters known as Serial Killers. For instance childhood abuse or sexual abuse could lead some to go down this long hard road of hell. The question we are asking here is ,”Are Serial Killers Demonically Possessed?” As we search for this dark answer and dance between the bloody sheets of reality I will give some of my own interpretations of this possible type of affliction that some may suffer from that leads them to take another human life. Usually is a grisly morbid way to evoke attention from society through revenge for vengeance’s sake for all they have lost usually through the abuse from others.
I think the answer requires a special answer because it is so controversial to ask to begin with. Do I personally think there are negative entities that influence mankind to do evil? Yes I do think they exist and they may find someone who is easy to control through addictions and psychological dependency to do their bidding. Even though I do not like to blame everything bad that happens on the devil or some evil entity. I do believe that there are extreme cases where a Serial Killer maybe used as a tool to do the bidding of something sinister and negative and evil. I also believe that for some who take this path just weakness and ignorance play a result and that not all cases are influenced by an evil entity but could just be from pure stupidity or animal ego nature that goes uncontrolled or unchecked and that snaps. Like for instance someone that snaps and kills their spouse and who has never killed anyone before. Someone who just gets caught up in the moment and lets loose and does the death defying deed of taking the life from another human being. Then we get to the masters of the kill the sic ones who society seem to glorify on some level through film and television and true crime books. The ones who are doing it for the sake of making a horrific mark on society for the pure evil of it. The Dahmer like cannibals who eat the flesh of another human beings just for the sake of doing it because it tastes good. Are these beings infected by unholy evil that Christianity speaks of from an unholy source of all out evil? I believe so.
In a recent show last month of The Church Of Mabus Radio Show we interviewed Jeff Mudgett about H.H. Holmes in a show entitled The Church Of Mabus: Jeff Mudgett: The Devil Inside: The Evil Of H.H. Holmes: Author Of Bloodstains: Jeff inherits the diary of America’s 1st Serial Killer. Battling for his very soul. Was Holmes also Jack the Ripper? Brought to by Jeffery Pritchett & Guy Weddle we delved into the dark soul of H.H. Holmes. In this broadcast Jeff Mudgett goes through seizures and often times has communications with H.H. Holmes the serial killer. I feel this show embodies the question this article asks on many levels when it comes to serial killers in our world. Another show I could highly recommend would be our show with Adam Gorightly about Charles Manson entitled Adam Gorightly - All in the Manson Family which the show description reads as follows,”Guy Weddle & Jeffery Pritchett interview “Crackpot Historian” Adam Gorightly author of his new book “A Who’s Who of the Manson Family”. Adam discusses why he believes the CIA and other Government agencies were involved in disrupting the counter-culture of the 50’s and 60’s and that the Manson murders were actually drug deals gone bad. Delving into the childhood and life of Charlie Manson and what inspired his evil legacy to his current life now behind bars. As well as discussing many other killers who may have strange death cult ties. So sit back and carve a swastika in your head and remember Charlie loves you! We are rated R for language! “ These are certainly killers who are worth noting for possible candidates of sometime of evil soul possession no bones about it. Of course all these fine shows are brought to you by The Church Of Mabus Radio Show which can be found broadcasting on Saturday nights at 11pm Eastern or on the archives after wards anytime at your leisure at UFO Paranormal Radio Network. This is just a walk into the bizarre cases of killers who have gone over the edge which leads us to our world’s view of Serial Killers which certainly has influenced many to walk the path of murder and mayhem unfortunately in our world and society.
When it comes to Hollywood and television we have shows like Dexter about a serial killer that kills evil serial killers. Which I don’t really have a problem with but even Dexter played by Michael C. Hall speaks of his Dark Passenger which embodies his darkside personality that he carries with him. He must follow a code brought to him in his childhood by his now deceased father who was also an officer of the law. There have actually been people who have killed and emulated Dexter with plastic wrap being found around their victims. Which of course is creepy and shows how easily people are seduced by fiction. Our world feeds this flame of hatred and murder through outlets such as music be it gangster wrap or heavy metal. It is part of our culture and exists and out there in the world real monsters exists who prey on other human beings be it for the pure joy of killing them or for sexual means. Since the creation of time man has killed another man for his own means and even women are on the rise as the new breed of killers. With crimes against their own children prevailing in the news so much it is definitely disgusting and horrifying on so many levels. So I would leave you with this thought we live in a spiritual world and perhaps the only way to truly battle this disease in our world is through our Creator and remaining strong and good and steadfast in a world that seems to burning with the fires of hell and influencing madmen be they 5 star generals dropping bombs or your next door neighbor burying his wife in his backyard at 3 am in the morning. Because if evil influences humanity to do its bidding then surely good forces must influence us to do good as well in the holy scheme of things. What do you think about demonic forces and spiritual warfare?
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.
Air Force UFO rules vanish from handbook
The military deleted a passage about unidentified flying objects from a 2008 Air Force personnel manual just days after The Huffington Post asked Pentagon officials about the purpose of the UFO section.
Before the recent revisions, the document — Air Force Instruction 10-206 — advised pilots, radar operators and other Air Force personnel on what to do when they encountered any unknown airborne objects. Now in the 2011 version, the reference to UFOs — which simply means “unidentified flying objects,” not necessarily spaceships with little green men — has been eliminated.
What makes this so intriguing is that the U.S. government officially stopped investigating UFOs in 1969 with the termination of the Air Force’s Project Blue Book.But here’s the big question: Did the Air Force really stop investigating UFOs in 1969 as they have repeatedly claimed throughout the ensuing decades? “Absolutely not! They have continued to look into UFO cases,” said Salas, co-author of “Faded Giant.” “In fact, there are NORAD records from 1975 of UFO sightings — and this was not any general aviation aircraft — objects seen over missile sites and other bases.
The Salem Witch Trials and the Hauntings in Salem
The Salem witch trials occurred in colonial Massachusetts from 1692 until 1693.
The unusual actions of three young children sparked a series of inquisitions and executions unlike any ever experienced before or afterwards in America. So fantastic was the event and consequences of the trials, that they are still remembered over three hundred years later.
The whole scenario was prompted by the actions of three young girls. The girls suddenly began to display strange behavior. The unusual behavior included convulsive seizures, screaming obscenities, throwing objects, and uttering unusual and peculiar sounds. Doctors were called in to examine the girls. After careful examination, the doctors could not find any physical reasons for the actions. Europe and colonial American both had strong religious beliefs that taught that the devil gave supernatural power to his followers, and that the followers of the devil could at will control the actions of other people. With this mind set, the Puritan communities of Massachusetts came to the overwhelming conclusion that their colony had become overran with witches.
With this sentiment running amuck, officials started pressuring the young girls to reveal the names of the witches that had the girls under their control. After much questioning, the girls named a slave, a homeless beggar, and an elderly woman. The elderly woman and beggar both adamantly denied the charges, but the slave confessed. This ignited the great witch hunt. All three women were taken into custody, and other witches were sought. The girls were once again pressured to give more names. The girls accused a prominent church member. The community was stunned that witchery had infiltrated even the core of the church. The woman was brought before the officials for trial. The girls were brought in for the questioning. The girls began to imitate every movement or action that the woman did. If she bit her lip during questioning, the three girls would cry out in pain and would also be biting their lips. If the accused shuffled her feet, the girls would also make the same movements. Others in the assembly began to complain of not being in control of their movements and suffering from unexplained pains. This brought a swift verdict of witchy to the devoted church member.
The accusations and trials continued and led to over 200 people being accused of being practicing witches. Some of the accused were as young as four years old. Nineteen people were executed by being hung from the neck, and one person was executed by being crushed under rocks. Several other people died while in custody awaiting trial.
After close family members of officials began to be accused, it was decided that it would be better to allow practicing witches to run free than to unintentionally execute one innocent person. With this new direction of thinking, the colonial governor disbanded the inquiry being conducted by the local court.
Suspected paranormal events seem to permeate from the area. Buildings and other locations associated with the witch trial have an extensive history of being haunted. One location known as Gallows Hill has been the site for strange events and hauntings since the time of the executions. Observers are convinced that it is the persons condemned as witches that haunt the site. Saint Mary’s Cemetery is known for strange noises and a fast moving, glowing light that moves about the cemetery. The cemetery is also documented to have an overwhelming feeling of evilness. The feeling of evilness is contributed to the negative energy from the hauntings. Numerous homes and buildings that are associated with the events or persons of the trials are documented to be haunted by people that played major roles in the events.
The Salem witch trials occurred from a misunderstanding of the actions of children. The Puritans’’ belief of supernatural power being given to followers of the devil seemed to be the mostly likely answer to a problem that seemed to have no answer. The sad outcome of the witchery inquiry has led to countless reports and tales of hauntings, ghost sitings, and paranormal occurrences. As with any significant event, the people and happenings will live on through the retelling of the tale and the hauntings that the event invokes.