Who was Jack the Ripper?

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Episode 12 was a battle from the Villains bracket between the mobster, Albert Anastasia and the unknown murderer, Jack the Ripper. The question that has haunted us since his (or her) heinous crimes is, who was Jack the Ripper? The original murders, the canonical five, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly, occurred in 1888. They were followed by six more in the Whitechapel section of the East End of London through 1891. Whether they were connected has been debated, with some thinking a number of the killings were done by a copy cat.

Some 2,000 people were interviewed, 300 were looked at as suspects and 80 were detained as the possible killer. So who were the leading suspects?

At the time of the murders, seven men were the main suspects by the police. They were: Montague John Druitt, Seweryn Klosowski, Aaron Kosminski, Michael Ostrog, John Pizer, James Thomas Sadler and, Francis Tumblety. Some had alibis like Pizer, Sadler and Ostrog, some had committed murders but were very different (Klosowski had killed three wives with poison) and Druitt who was accused but had no evidence against him show up. Kosminski was admitted to the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in 1891 and there is some, although questionable evidence, that he killed Catherine Eddowes. Francis Tumblety is the other man whom some have believed to be the Ripper. He was arrested for committing homosexual acts in 1888 but he fled to the United States and was not extradited.

Others who were suspected by the media of the time included: William Henry Bury, Thomas Neill Cream, Thomas Hayne Cutbush, Frederick Bailey Deeming, Carl Feigenbaum, Robert Donston Stephenson. Bury had violently killed his wife who was a prostitute, but while confessing to her murder, denied his involvement as the Ripper. Cream was a physician who was an abortionist who also a number of people but he was in jail at the time of the Whitechapel killings. Cutbush has been brought up as a possibility as he did stab a number of women but he was never seriously though of as the killer by the police.

As for Deeming, had murdered both of his wives and four children but he was out of the country during the time of the killings. Feigenbaum slit the throat of a woman in New York City in 1894 and did admit to hating women and had the ability to travel between England and the US. It is possible that he was one of the killers, if you believe in the multi-person theory. As for Stephenson, he had alibis for the days that the murders occurred.

Now for some of the others who were accused of being Jack the Ripper over the past hundred plus years. We have Joseph Barnett, Lewis Carrol the author of Alice in Wonderland, David Cohen, William Withey Gull, George Hutchinson, James Kelly, Charles Allen Lechmere, Jacob Levy, James Maybrick, Alexander Pedachencko, Walter Sickert, Joseph Silver, James Kenneth Stephen, Francis Thompson, the Duke of Clarence and Avondale, and Sir John Williams.

So, who was Jack the Ripper? No one really knows although people are still fascinated by the murders and who could have been the culprit. The answer will always be a mystery.

 

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Mark Schauss has been podcasting for over 8 years. His Russian Rulers History was a top history podcast for 7 1/2 years. Discover his new entry into the podcast world.

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