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American Physician

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American Physician

Post by Karen on Thu 23 Sep 2010 - 12:28

The Whitechapel Fiend Not Yet in the Hands of the Police.

The Mysterious American Physician Identified - A Theory That the Murderer Is Looking for the "Elixir of Life" - No One Now in Custody.

LONDON, Oct. 7. - The horrors of Whitechapel are no blacker than they were a week ago, but the terror in the district and public excitement are not a whit decreased. The maniac murderer is still in the district, and no one knows when he will select another victim for his merciless mutilation. It is learned from a Scotland Yard man engaged in working on the case that the mysterious American who was here a few months ago offering money for specimens of the parts taken from the bodies of the victims has been discovered. He is a reputable physician of Philadelphia with a large practice, who was over here preparing a medical work on specific diseases. He went to the King's college and Middlesex hospitals, asked for specimens and merely said that he was willing to pay well, if he could not get them otherwise. The statement that he offered $100 each, or named any other large sum, seems to have been a delusion of the coroner. These facts have been given to the police by an eminent London physician, who saw a great deal of the Philadelphia doctor when he was here, but he would not divulge the information on a written guarantee from Gen. Sir Charles Warren that neither his name nor the name of the physician in question should be given to the public. He said that the doctor had gone back to America, and that his mission here was purely of a legitimate nature.
An American who used to live in New York, and who now keeps an herb shop in the Whitechapel district, was visited by a detective who asked if he had sold any unusual compound of herbs to a customer since August. Similar inquiries have been made at other shops in the neighborhood. The basis of this investigation has a startling Shakespearian flavor. An eminent engineer in London suggested to the police the theory that the murderer was a medical maniac trying to find the elixir of life, and was looking for the essential ingredient in the parts taken from the murdered bodies - that like the witches in "Macbeth" he spent his time over the bubbling caldron of hellbroth made of gory ingredients in looking for the charm. The fact that the police are wasting time in looking up wild theories like this only shows the utter absence of anything like a clew. The wildest rumors are credited to the exclusion of sound ideas. The Whitechapel district is swarming with detectives, some disguised as laborers, talking with loose women and endeavoring to find out from them something to give the police a tangible basis to work on.
Some of the private detective agencies, tempted by the $8,000 reward obtained from private sources, have got decoy women on the streets, but all is of no avail. Innumerable arrests have been made, but no one is now in custody. Meanwhile Sir Charles Warren pays no attention to the public clamor for his resignation. The very qualities of his character which make him ready to resign if thwarted by his superior turn him into a leech in holding on when he believes that he has done his duty, even though his purpose is not attained. But in the police department itself Sir Charles Warren has started an inquisition. He suspects - and probably with good reason - members of his own force of writing letters to the newspapers about him, and has been making a big row about it. He made it a rule this week that every newspaper man calling at Scotland Yard must register his name and business in a book.
Every now and then some of the secret agents of Scotland Yard in America send over information which puts the Americans in England and those who happen to be on the way across in lots of trouble. The passengers arriving this week have been surprised at the vigilance with which their baggage has been examined. Probably Richard Kilkenny, on the Gallia, who had a revolver and ammunition taken from him at Queenstown and was arrested, would have got through all right two weeks ago. Three sharp men are told off in London to do nothing but watch Americans here. Three days ago a gentleman from Trenton was followed all over London by one of them, who called at the hotel in the evening and asked him for his card. A Tennessee lady called twice at Consul General Waller's office on business, and then a detective dropped around to find out who she was. He said that he had seen her talking to a man on the street who was suspected of being a dynamiter.

Source: Bridgeport Morning News, October 8, 1888, Page 4

Karen Trenouth
Author of: "Epiphany of the Whitechapel Murders"
Author of: "Jack the Ripper: The Satanic Team"

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