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Explore Welcome to The Ripperologist's - Suspects of the Whitechapel Murders Explore

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The Victims:
those who fell victim to the Whitechapel Murderer/s
The Witnesses:

those who witnessed key aspects of the Whitechapel Murders
The Trophies & Clues:

a list of that which was taken & that which was left behind
The Letters:

an assessment of the many letters claiming responsibility
The Places:

the scenes of crime and related places of interest
The Links:

websites concerning Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel Murders
The Documentaries:

factual films & TV-shows investigating the Whitechapel Murders
The Movies:

fictional films & TV-shows inspired by the crimes of Jack the Ripper
The Songs & Soundscapes:

music inspired by the crimes of the Ripper

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- The “Jack the Ripper” Suspects -

- those who have been suspected of the Whitechapel Murders -

Is that Jack the Ripper?
Is that jack the Ripper?

The Whitechapel Murders were a spate of unsolved brutal attacks and increasingly gruesome murders of women that befell the London East End District of Whitechapel and its environs in 1888. These crimes would make the area world famous as the stalking ground of the mysterious, and as yet unidentified, killer now widely known as “Jack the Ripper”.
      The killer or killers responsible for these heinous crimes remained elusive throughout the resulting investigations - though many prospective suspects were looked into, both at the time and (probably many more) in the years since, the investigation officially ended in 1892 and remains unsolved.
      On this page we will be looking in detail at the more plausible suspects (and other suspicious individuals) who may have been responsible for (or involved in) one or more of the murders and related crimes. We'll also be looking at some of the more notable and (in)famous suspects that have been posited as candidates for the true identity of “Jack the Ripper” over the years - many of these are pretty unlikely though so will be given fairly short-shrift and, where possible, will be thoroughly debunked.

This page is under construction... and will be subject to regular updates as our investigation continues.

- The so-called “High-Rip” Gangs -

Street-gangs of Thugs, Robbers and Extortionists!

There are definite grounds for suspecting that the attacks on Emily Horsnell, Margaret Hayes and Emma Smith were the actions of a gang of (three or more) men, there's reasons to believe the attack on Martha Tabram involved two (or more) and the attacks on Elizabeth Stride and Rose Mylett may have involved two men - one of which perhaps acting only as a look-out. The use of a look-out or look-outs could explain how the killer, later known as Jack the Ripper, managed to evade being caught - or even being seen - in the act, and could then flee before witnesses or constables arrived at the scenes of crime.
      There were criminal street gangs - so-called “High-Rip” gangs - operating in the Whitechapel area (extorting, robbing and generally violently harassing the populace - especially prostitutes - at night) and there were numerous other street gangs operating in the surrounding environs. The murderous Liverpool 'High-Rip-Gang' were notorious in Victorian Britain and many East End gangs adopted the name in imitation... perhaps the most infamous of which was the 'Hoxton-High-Rips' (or Hoxton Mob). It is debatable whether the 'High-Rip-Gang' was ever a single entity, even in Liverpool, and was more a name that was adopted by many ad-hoc gangs hoping to capitalise on the notoriety.
      Known to operate in the Whitechapel area during 1888 was a gang calling itself the Monkey-Parade Gang (named in The Pall Mall Gazette, Saturday 13 October 1888) and there was also a gang apparently operating around Old Nichol Street, at the top of Brick Lane, close to where Smith and Tabram were murdered (later usually referred to as the Old Nichol Gang though this is probably not what they called themselves). There was also the White's-Row Gang of Bethnal Green, the Green Gate Gang (who operated on City Road) and then the immigrant gangs - the Bessarabians and the Odessians. By their very nature such gangs were very amorphous and of course clandestine so that naming them with confidence can be very problematic... let alone trying to identify individuals among their ranks - which would be next to impossible.
      On the day after Mary Ann Nichols' murder, and regarding that attack, The Evening Post (1 September, 1888) stated: “Detective-Inspector Abberline, of Scotland-yard, ... says the police have no theory with respect to the matter, except that a sort of ‘High Rip’ gang infests the neighbourhood, and blackmails woman [sic] frequenting the streets, taking vengeance on those who do not give them money. They [the police] base that surmise on the fact that within 12 months two other women have been murdered in the district by almost similar means – one as recently as August 6 last – and left in the gutter of the street in the early hours of the morning.” The two previous murders referred to here are clearly Emma Smith and Martha Tabram.
      On the 3rd of September the Evening Post then reported: “After much cogitation upon the matter, the police have discarded the idea of a ‘high rip’ gang being responsible for this and the previous murders of a similar character, and have returned to the first idea, that they are the work of one man.” That was certainly the case for the murder of Nichols, and possibly Tabram... but that of Smith? These two reports were typical of those given by other news-papers regarding the subject of High Rip gangs at the time and this clearly shows that the police pursued the theory seriously, especially during the early Whitechapel Murders, but it was the murder of Mary Ann Nichols particularly that persuaded them that some lone killer was at work.
      Interestingly, one of the many letters received by Central Press (and others) purporting to be from the Whitechapel Murderer was signed by a George of the High Rip Gang, it was dated 2 October, postmarked E.C. (London Eastern Central) and was one of the earliest imitations of the much more famous "Dear Boss" Letter - other than its unique signatory though there is, on the face of it, little else of interest in its red ink (with a drop of the real stuff) ramblings. But could it be a rebuff to the name “Jack the Ripper” from the killer himself?

- A Lone Killer -

There's a killer on the road - His mind is squirming like a toad!

As early as 10 August, 1888, it seems that some Scotland Yard Detectives (despite not being officially involved in the Whitechapel Murder investigations yet) were linking the murders of Emma Smith and Martha Tabram as the work of one killer. The Echo newspaper of the 10th reports, “For ferocity, the two cases are somewhat analogous, and some of the Scotland-yard experts in tracing criminals and fathoming crime incline to the opinion that one man is responsible for the two crimes”. Did Scotland Yard have reason to doubt Emma Smith's own account of her attack? Or, did they have reason to believe that one of her three reported attackers was branching out on his own? Perhaps his particularly vicious treatment of Smith was beyond the pale even for common street thugs and he was drummed out of the gang?
      Two earlier attacks in 1888, that on Annie Millwood and that on Ada Wilson, both bare (perhaps formative) hallmarks that could suggest a link with the later Whitechapel Murders, and both could be seen as the early attacks of a lone serial killer in the making. The attacker of Annie Millwood stabbed her numerous times in the legs and lower part of the body, not unlike the attack on Tabram. The attacker of Ada Wilson cut her throat, not unlike the attacks on the Canonical Five.

The Stabbing Stranger: is our nickname for the unidentified man who attacked Annie Millwood in the afternoon of Saturday, 25 February 1888. She was stabbed numerous times in the legs and lower part of the body with a clasp-knife. Annie offered no description of her attacker other than to say she did not know him - he was a stranger to her.

Mac the Knife: is our nickname for the unidentified man who attacked Ada Wilson at about 12.30am on Wednesday, 28 March 1888. She was stabbed twice in the neck with a clasp-knife. Ada described her assailant as aged about 30, height 5ft 6in, sunburnt face, with fair moustache; dressed in a dark coat, with light trousers and a wide-awake hat (a hat made of soft felt with a low crown and wide brim). The witness Rose Bierman also believed the attacker to be a young fair man, but with a light coat on.

The Stick Man: is our nickname for the unidentified man who attacked (with two or three others) Emma Smith at about 1.30am on Tuesday, 3 April 1888. She was punched, kicked, raped then viciously sexually assaulted (by The Stick Man) with a long blunt instrument - possibly a walking stick. Emma described all her attackers as young men with one of them (presumably the youngest) looking as young as 19 years old - perhaps suggesting the others looked to be in their twenties, certainly no older than 30?

- A Soldier or a Sailor -

The Military angle, a Merchant Seaman or a Ship's Cook?

Corporal john
Private john
The Waiting Soldier
Private John Leary
Richard (Dick) Austin,
The Sailor
The Seaman
Alaska (the Malay Cook)
James Sadler
Carl Feigenbaum (AKA Anton (or Carl or Karl) Zahn (or Zahm))
Emil Totterman (AKA Carl Nielsen)
John Anderson (or Sanderson)

- The “Leather Apron” Scare -

Will the real “Leather Apron” please stand up!

In the days following the murder of Mary Ann Nichols, the Whitechapel Murders investigation shifted quite firmly from the notion of "High Rip" gangs to the idea that a lone maniac was responsible and, in particular, that a mysterious and very threatening individual known as “Leather Apron” (AKA: the “”Mad Snob”) may in fact be the killer... perhaps with the aid of his even more mysterious associate - 'Mickeldy' Joe.
Charles Cross (AKA Charles Allen Lechmere)
John Pizer
Jacob Isenschmid
Julius Lipman
The Shabby-Genteel Deer Stalker
The Hawk Eyed Shabby-Genteel
William Henry Piggott?
The Lodger
Nikaner Benelius

- Anatomical Knowledge? -

A mad Doctor or Surgeon... or perhaps a Slaughterman?

Dr. Lyttleton Stewart Forbes Winslow
John Davidson
Frederick Richard Chapman
Oswald Puckeridge
Dr. Morgan Davis (or Davies)
Dr. John William Sanders
Robert Mann (mortuary attendant)
Dr. John Williams

- The “Jack the Ripper” Scare -

The Leather Apron is eclipsed by a Ripper... called Jack?

A letter claiming to be from the killer was sent to the Central News Agency on the 25th of September 1888. This "Dear Boss" letter was received on the 27th and - probably written by a journalist - was undoubtedly a hoax... but it did provide another name for the public and press to fixate on... "Jack the Ripper"!
The American (?)
Michael Kidney
The Respectable Deer Stalker
The Anti-Semite
The Pipe Man
Joseph Barnett
Joe Fleming
The Astrakhan Gent
The Black Bag Man
The Man in Plaid
Francis Tumblety (AKA J.H. Blackburn, Frank Townsend, The American?)
Robert D’Onston Stephenson
James Kelly
The Torso Killer(s)
John Arnold (AKA John Cleary)
The Commissionaire
William Henry Burry
Arbie La Bruckman
Frank Castellano
Thomas Haynes Cutbush
Timothy Donovan

- Jill the Ripper? -

Was the Ripper a woman - maybe a Midwife or an Abortionist?

Detective-Inspector Abberline himself considered, all-be-it briefly, the possibility of a Jill the Ripper when confronted with Caroline Maxwell's testimony that she (apparently) saw Mary Jane Kelly alive and well hours after she was supposedly killed... did the killer steal Kelly's clothes to make good her escape?
The Midwife/Abortionist
The Slaughterwoman
Mary Ann Connelly (?) - Was Pearly Poll the killer? Was she an accomplice? Or did she know the killer?
Mary Jane Kelly (?) - Was she really the last Canonical Victim? - Was Mary Jane Kelly really Jill the Ripper and she faked her own Ripper murder to escape detection? - Or, did she just discover a Ripper murder in her own room and take advantage of the situation to change her name (again), leave behind her not-inconsiderable debt and start anew?
Mary Pearcey

- Memoirs, Memoranda & Marginalia -

Including Anderson's Memoirs, Macnaughten's Memoranda & Swanson's Marginalia

The already wound down police investigation into the Whitechapel Murders officially ended in 1892, but that didn't stop various law enforcement officials from voicing their opinion regarding the identity of the one that got away.
Montague John Druitt
Michael Ostrog
Aaron Kosminski
Isaac Kosminski
Nathan Kaminsky
Aaron Davis Cohen (AKA David Cohen)
Jacob Levy
Hyam Hyams
... or another "low-class Jew" (Polish or otherwise)... and were any of them Leather Apron?

- The Unusual Suspects -

The eternal Mystery & the birth of speculative Ripperology

The Known Killer - Frederick Bailey Deeming, Dr Thomas Neil Cream, H. H. Holmes, Severin Klosowski (AKA George Chapman)
The Enterprising Journalist - Thomas J. Bulling, Charles Moore, George Sims, Harry Dam, Frederick Best, Francis Craig (Mary Jane Kelly's vengeful Ex?)
The Merchant (and Murder Victim?) - James Maybrick
The Song Writer - Michael Maybrick (AKA Stephen Adams), the brother of James Maybrick
The Cat's Meat Man - James Hardiman
The Tortured Poet - Francis Thompson
The Tortured Writer - Lewis Carroll
The Tortured Artist - Walter Sickert, Vincent Van Gogh
The Philanthropist - Dr. Thomas Barnardo
The Religious Radical - Rev Samuel A. Barnett
The Private Detective - Le Grand (AKA Christian Briscony/Neilson, Nelson, Grand, Charles Grant, “French Colonel” and Captain Anderson)

- A Conspiracy of Agent Provocateurs? -

Spies, Anarchists, Radicals, Vigilantes

The Russian Anarchists - Vassily Konovalov
The Russian Spy Ring - Dr. Alexander Pedachenko (AKA Vassily Konovalov, Count Andrey Luiskovo) with Levitski and a Miss Winberg,
The Finians - William O’Brien, William Magrath(?)
Vigilantes and Vigilance Committees - The Mile End (Whitechapel) Vigilance Committee (George Lusk, Albert Bachert) - East London Trade and Labourers' Society's Vigilance Committee (John Chandler) - The St Jude’s District Committee (AKA The Toynbee Hall Patrol); Rev Samuel A. Barnett
Anarchist Artists Les XX - William Magrath, Walter Sickert, Vincent Van Gogh
Other Anarchists and Radicals at the International Working Men's (Educational) Club - William West (club secretary and printer - witness in the Elizabeth Stride Murder), Louis Diemschutz (steward - witness in the Elizabeth Stride Murder) - Israel Schwartz (patron - witness in the Elizabeth Stride Murder) - Benjamin Feigenbaum (A Jewish Russian anarchist, radical and writer operating out of the Berner Street club - after a strict religious upbringing as a chassidic Jew he decided to propagate socialism through anti-religious satire - went to New York in 1891).
“Rogue” Special Branch Officers/Informers - Was Mary Jane Kelly a Special Branch Finian agent/informer? - Did she (and Special Branch?) use the situation to fake her death, switch her identity and start anew?
“Rogue” Police Officers/Informers - Detective Inspector Abberline (???) - He knew police procedure and its limitations - He knew the streets of Whitechapel - He knew its underworld - Did he have a network of snitches and informers? - Was he Jack the Ripper? Extremely unlikely ... but, it'd make a good story.
“Rogue” Military Intelligence Agents/Informers - Colonel Claude Reignier Conder (?)

- Other Grand Conspiracies -

Royalty, the Masonic connection and other Occult Nonsense!

The Royal Conspiracy - Prince Albert Victor (AKA Prince Eddy), Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, Sir Charles Warren, Sir James Anderson, Sir William Withey Gull, Lord Randolph Churchill and the Freemasons
The Freemasons - Prince Albert Victor (AKA Prince Eddy), Lord Randolph Churchill(?), Sir Charles Warren, Dr. William Wynn Westcott, Samuel Liddel Mathers (AKA Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers), George Lusk, James and Michael Maybrick (?)
The Black Magicians - the “English Luciferians” - Dr. William Wynn Westcott(?), Robert D’Onston Stephenson(?)
The Esoterics - The Order of the Golden Dawn - Dr. William Wynn Westcott, Samuel Liddel Mathers (AKA Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers), Dr William Robert Woodman
A Supernatural Entity - a demon, a vampire, Spring-Healed Jack?

Detective Inspector Frederick Abberline - The Illustrated Police News, 1888!

- The Ripperologist -

The Ripperologist: purveyor of all the latest news, updates, chatter and trends from the field of Ripperology - investigating and exploring the mystery of the 1888 Whitechapel murders and the origins and legacy of Jack the Ripper - the archetypal serial killer!

Stay up-to-date by following The Ripperologist on Twitter @Ripperology101!

Also: Check out The Ripperology Gazette, a free online 'newspaper' concerning all things Ripper-related. Published daily - please subscribe to stay updated.

Other great resources for the study of Ripperology can be found here:

Casebook: Jack the Ripper, the world's largest public repository of Ripper-related information online!

Ripperologist Magazine, the world's leading journal of Jack the Ripper, East End and Victorian studies!


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Ripperology 101:
exploring the Whitechapel Murders and Jack the Ripper
The Investigators:

those who investigated the Whitechapel Murders
The Weapons & M.O.:

types of weapon used and the Modus Operandi
A Time-line:

a basic time-line of the crimes and related events
The ABYSS eBook:

A Chronicle of the Whitechapel Murders & the Origins of Jack the Ripper (soon)
The Reference Books:

factual accounts and reference works regarding the crimes
The Fiction:

fictional accounts of the crimes of Jack the Ripper
The Games:

games inspired by the crimes of Jack the Ripper
The Gallery:

artwork inspired by the crimes of the Ripper

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