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Interview With A Former London Resident

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Interview With A Former London Resident

Post by Karen on Sun 28 Feb 2010 - 22:30

What a Former London Resident Says on the Terrible Murders in Whitechapel.

By Prominent Physicians - A Leadville Example - Can His Detection Be Effected?


An American gentleman, but recently from London, and who has resided there a number of years, who tarried in this city for a short time a few days ago, inspecting the mines, before pursuing his journey to the coast, when approached by a reporter for this paper regarding the Whitechapel murders and the alleged inefficiency of the London detectives and police force, expressed the opinion that while the detectives of London might not be superior to their American relatives - in his opinion at least - they were certainly their equal, and, if they did not discover the whereabouts of the "fiend" no other person could.
"It is not a matter of surprise that he has not been captured," ventured the gentleman, "for with hundreds of police and detectives in the vicinity, he might still continue his horrible misdeeds. It must be taken into consideration that the quarter of London where these murders have taken place, is one of the most remote, dreariest, yet at the same time most populous on the face of the globe. It is comparatively all shadows - even in the bright light of day, and the innumerable by ways, recesses and alleys make it an easy thing for the murderer to escape, and should he ever be placed in narrow straits and compelled to clear out, he could easily do so. I have been looking over your city and, of course, taking in consideration the enormous difference in regard to population between London and this place, a comparison of how the murders, on the same scale exactly, might be committed in Leadville, can easily be made. In New York recently I read of an illustration of the murder, as though transferred to that metropolis, which in turn I might transfer here to show one theory of the murders. It might be set as an example that you have a miniature Whitechapel in the


although, I must say the comparison is greatly out of place. Yet, for want of some place more similar, I will name State street. That whole section, from Harrison, between Chestnut and Third, down to Spruce, is, I observed in a walk through it, full of nooks, alleys, and passageways. The majority of the class of women living there, are at least similar to those of Whitechapel, although, I must confess, they, for the most part, are not nearly so degraded as are those of London. Well, we will suppose I am the murderer - what particular motive I may have for committing the deed, we will not discuss - that it is late in the night and I wander down State street. There are few people there, unless it be Saturday, when, I understand, the resorts are crowded. Even should they be, the condition of matters I am about to relate would not be materially interfered with. On the south side of the street I meet a woman in a most happy state of intoxication. There is little or no trouble in inducing her to walk with me - assuming that I am well known in the locality, there will be no trouble. We walk for perhaps half a block, turn into one of the dark doorways, leading into the alley - "Tiger," I believe you call it. We walk up the alley toward the avenue. My reason for bringing the woman here, is, I tell her, to talk quietly to her about "something" - "anything" will do. We walk slowly toward the arch of the building which, some distance up, leads through to Harrison avenue. Unconsciously I draw her toward the shadows of one of the small buildings, When within these shadows we stand and talk for a few moments. We may sit down, and she lean her head upon me - so much the easier; provided we stand, it makes no difference. Suddenly I seize her head with my left hand, draw it with a sudden motion backward, and with the knife, which has been quickly transferred to my right hand


She falls in a heap. There is no outcry for I make sure of stifling that by my first stroke, which is clearly cut, from ear to ear. A second has not passed in doing this and I stoop down to cut out her liver, heart, or whatever organs I may wish - just as the Whitechapel "fiend" does - and stuff them in her mouth. It does not take two minutes for me to divest the parts of the body as I desire, and glide off, right into the street again - or if I think that not safe pursue my way to the lower part of town. There is little need of my getting blood on any portion of my clothes - my hands and wrists must necessarily become bloody.
"This, however a poor one it may be, is yet an example of the work as it could be done - I do not say is done - although the miniature Whitechapel which I have described could be much more easily watched than can the original Whitechapel itself. The murders, however, need not occur in the one vicinity I have described. Should the Whitechapel "fiend" work in Leadville he would abandon it after the second murder and go lower down. Under the arches of the great wooden bridge on Spruce street would be an excellent locality for the third. The fourth could be committed at some point in the alley between Elm and Chestnut - there are almost a hundred places. Unsuspected, so well known would the murderer be among the denizens of State street, that he would probably not be at all suspected, so you see there would be no trouble in getting the woman to go along with him - they would have the most explicit confidence, and as a matter of conversation he could bring up the recent murders. She would acknowledge that she was afraid to go alone through any down town street, but felt perfectly safe with an escort


The work of the London murderer is without a doubt the swiftest, most sure and most horrible of any murderer that has yet been made public. He does it in such a brief time and under such conditions that I repeat the police cannot get him until he desires them to - should he ever so desire. There are different theories advanced as to how he pursues his work from those I have given, as you well know, Many believe the victim is approached from behind.
"At any rate, the police cannot be blamed, as some American newspapers have blamed them. In a San Francisco publication I read the other day, the following: "The modus operandi in every case appears to have been the same. The murderer must approach his victim from behind and cut her throat with one swift cut of a sharp instrument, probably a razor; for if he attacked them in front his clothes would be spattered with the blood from the arteries in the throat and this would have led to his detection. He must be powerful, for there is no instance of any struggle by any of his victims; and his tread must be stealthy, for no woman comes forward to say that a stranger approached her menacingly and that she fled from him." With these facts - and many of them are doubtlessly correct - the writer of the article alleged that the police had a sufficient knowledge to turn that knowledge to intelligent account. Nothing could be more ridiculous, I have shown what the nature of the locality is wherein the murders occur, and under the circumstances which the writer himself sets forth, there is absolutely no clue. Inspector Byrnes, of the New York police department, recently said that he would dress detectives as women and use them as "decoys." Under the conditions of my illustration this might be to advantage, Should the murderer approach from behind, however, as seems the universal opinion, a detective would stand no more show than women themselves."


as to who the murderer is and why the deeds are committed, have been numerous, and a number of them plausible. Dr. Forbes, the noted war correspondent, writes to the London News that he is convinced that the Whitechapel assassin got disease from one of his victims, lost his situation and is suffering from specific madness suggesting that he is a medical student. Dr. J.G. Kiernan, of Chicago, a recognized medical authority, said recently that the "fiend" was a cannibal, pure and simple and further said: "The Whitechapel murders are clearly the work of a lunatic of the so-called "sexual pervert" type fortunately rare in Anglo-Saxon lands, but not infrequently met with in Russia, Germany, Bohemia and France. In these lunatics there is return to the animal passions of the lowest cannibalistic savage races. Cannibalism is shown in a thirst for blood and these animal passions come to the surface when the checks imposed by centuries of civilization are removed hither by disease or by the defects inherited by degenerate parents. The most noted of these cases was that of Giles De Reis, the original Blue Beard of the reign of Louis XV, who slaughtered two hundred female children in the same way as the Whitechapel butcher." Some time ago an American physician desired to purchase anatomical specimens, and it was thought the murders were committed at his instigation. Serious investigation has exploded this theory. Prof. John Ordonraux, professor of medical jurisprudence at Columbus Law college, New York, believes the man to be insane. According to a recent dispatch the authorities entertain a well-grounded fear that some of the injudicious efforts now being made to discover and capture the fiendish assassin of Whitechapel will lead to more murders than he has committed. The district is swarming with amateur detectives who want to gain a reputation by catching the murderer. As they are armed to the teeth there is a possibility of their shooting any man who may arouse their suspicions. Then the medical students in larger number are patrolling the streets nightly in the garb of women. Concealed in the folds of their dresses each one of them carries a


The students are particularly incensed against the assassin, as they entertain a fear, since the doctors testified at the inquest on Annie Chapman that in their opinion he must have some knowledge of anatomy, that he is allied to them professionally. In addition to these, the hapless women of the streets themselves are armed with knives and vitriol. Although the government has declined to offer a reward for the apprehension of the wretch, public-spirited residents have offered a sufficient sum to compensate any party who would capture him for his trouble. The 100 pounds contributed by Samuel Montague, M.P., for this purpose has been supplemented by 50 pounds subscribed by the police of one of the divisions. The Hebrew residents of the neighborhood have offered a substantial reward for the author of the atrocities, and have organized themselves into a vigilance committee.

Source: Leadville Daily And Evening Chronicle (Leadville, Lake County), October 16, 1888, Page 3

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