imagesEveryone has heard of Jack the Ripper, the notorious Victorian serial killer who attacked prostitutes in 1888 in the slums of Whitechapel.

But who was he?

He was suspected of as many as 11 murders, but five are definitely accepted as his victims, with each body  in a  worse state of mutilation as he grew bolder.images-3

The five accepted victims are

Mary Ann Nichols, found August 31st.

Annie Chapman, found September 8th.

Elizabeth Stride, found September 30th.

Catherine Eddowes, also found September 30th.

Mary Jane Kelly, found November 9th.

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All of these were Suspects at the time and arrested for questioning.

Montague John Druitt (August 15, 1857 – December 1888)

Seweryn Klosowski aka George Chapman (December 14, 1865 – April 7, 1903)

Aaron Kosminski (September 11, 1865 – March 24, 1919)

Michael Ostrog (1833 – 1904)

John Pizer (1850 – 1897)

James Thomas Sadler

Francis Tumblety (1833 – 1903)images-4

These were later suggestions.

William Henry Bury (May 25, 1859 – April 24, 1889)

Dr. Thomas Neill Cream (May 27, 1850 – November 15, 1892)

Thomas Hayne Cutbush (1864 – 1903)

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These are all suspects put forward by journalists and criminal experts at a much later date.

H.H. Holmes (1861-1896)

Joseph Barnett (1858-1926)

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864-1892)

James Maybrick (24 October 1838 – 11 May 1889)

Charles Allen Lechmere aka Charles Cross (1849 – 1920)

James Kelly (1860-1929)

Frederick Bailey Deeming (1853-1892)

Sir William Gull (1816-1890)

Sir John Williams (1840-1926)images-1-1

I was convinced that he was James Maybrick after a book about him was released. It apparently published his diary, which had been discovered by a builder under some floorboards during renovation work.

At the time it was pronounced as probably genuine after tests had been done on the paper, ink, style of writing, etc.

Then years later, it was declared a fake.

Now I’m convinced that it was H H Holmes. You can read all about him online.

He was, and remains, America’s biggest serial killer. He murdered hundreds of people; men, women and children.

His hotel, known as the Murder Castle in Chicago, since demolished, was a maze of tiny rooms, corridors, etc.

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Apparently he kept changing the builders so that nobody except him knew the layout.

He had gas jets in his own room that he could turn on to murder his guests in their sleep, and chutes to drop them down into the basement where he could mutilate them in peace and secrecy.

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HH Holmes

Holmes was executed on May 7, 1896, nine days before his 35th birthday.

It has been proved that he travelled on a ship to the UK and was in London when Jack the Ripper was at work. And he travelled back to the USA soon after the murders suddenly stopped.

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Plan of the Holmes Hotel.

One of the mysteries of Jack the Ripper is how he abruptly stopped his gruesome killing.

He was really getting into the swing of it and obviously enjoying himself. There’s no way he’d have stopped.

Serial killers carry on until they’re caught.download-2

Another small mystery is the Dear Boss letters in New Scotland Yard. Apparently the originals were stolen a long time ago, which had fingerprints and blood stains on them, so no DNA tests can be done on them. But they have perfect photocopies!

A handwriting expert said the letters were written in an American style.

Our local link to Jack the Ripper in Sussex is via the Lewes solicitors, Wynne Baxter.

Wynne Edwin Baxter was the coroner who carried out the inquests of three of the Jack the Ripper murders, and also of the Elephant Man.

More about that another day.

Some time ago Wynne Baxter were responsible for the sale of my parents’ house and they were so slow that I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jack the Ripper paperwork was still sitting in their Pending file!

Personally, I think it’s quite possible that it’s known who Jack the Ripper was, and has been known for a long time. But he’s a celebrity and he’s always in the limelight.

Books, articles, documentaries and films are made about him all the time, with more and more new information and theories being investigated.

Criminal experts get together and discuss the known facts, seen from an up-to-date angle.

There are Jack the Ripper Tours in London.

Can you imagine if his identity was finally released? The bubble would burst.

No, it’s important that his real name is kept a secret so that the legend can live on!