Thursday, April 14, 2011
thelocal - Jack the Ripper was probably a German merchant seaman named Carl Feigenbaum. That’s the theory proposed by English former murder squad detective Trevor Marriott.
They are history’s most notorious serial murders and among the world's most famous unsolved crimes.
Between August and November 1888, five prostitutes were killed and horribly mutilated in and around London’s crowded, impoverished Whitechapel area.
Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly had their throats slashed and – with the exception of Stride – their abdomens mutilated. Then the killings stopped abruptly. The murderer was never identified. And the Jack the Ripper phenomenon began.
In the 123 years since, countless suspects have been proposed – and rejected – from various poor Polish immigrants to Queen Victoria’s physician William Withey Gull and even Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale.
But according to English former homicide detective Trevor Marriott, Jack the Ripper was most likely a German merchant sailor from Karlsruhe named Carl Feigenbaum.
Marriott, author of "Jack the Ripper: The 21st Century Investigation" and "The Evil Within: The World’s Worst Serial Killers," aired his theory in Germany this week in a ZDF documentary co-produced by National Geographic.
Marriott says he has used modern policing methods to overturn many of the old assumptions about the Ripper murders and gathered evidence that points to Feigenbaum, who was eventually convicted and executed for murdering Juliana Hoffmann in New York in 1894.
“There is a case for suggesting he might have been the first trans-continental serial killer,” Marriott says.
In 2002, the retired Bedfordshire policeman – who’d had a long-running interest in the Ripper case – decided to sift through the evidence, see what could be discounted, and determine what facts remained.
"When I looked through it, I thought, 'There are lots of things here that are not right, that are not factually correct'," he says. "The Ripper mystery is based on many wild, speculative, uncorroborated theories.'"
The police at the time believed the Ripper was a local man – and subsequent theories have generally assumed that he was at least a Londoner. But Marriot takes a novel approach, alleging that the murderer might have been a sailor.
“There were two merchant docks close to Whitechapel, and Whitechapel had hundreds of prostitutes and we all know that where seamen are, there are prostitutes as well,” he says. “It’s an area that hadn’t been explored by the police at the time back in Victorian times, so it was a totally new lead really.”
Hundreds of vessels came in and out of London every day. It was a “mammoth task,” he says, but he went through thousands of shipping records and found that there was a vessel, the Reiher, that was docked on all the dates of the murders save one. On that date, another vessel from the same line was docked.
The plot thickens
Around the same time, Marriott learned that what he calls a “Ripper-like murder” – of a woman named Juliana Hoffmann – had taken place in New York in 1894, six years after the five women in Whitechapel. The man convicted for that murder was German Carl Feigenbaum, who was also using aliases including Anton Zahn and Carl Zahn.
“He was bang to rights on that murder. He was arrested leaving the scene of the crime and the police found a long-bladed knife outside which was obviously attributed to him. When they searched his property, they found a kind of sheath and sharpening stone which indicates he’d been carrying it around for some time.”
Marriott’s research revealed Feigenbaum had been a merchant seaman and had worked for the Norddeutsche Line, which owned the Reiher.
“There was a strong connection there ... Once I started to widen the net, I found there was a number of unsolved, Ripper-like murders in Germany between 1889 and 1894 in addition to others in and around Whitechapel - outside of the original five women who everybody believed were the only victims, and other Ripper-like murders in and around the New York area,” he says.
He went to the Bremen archives to check crew lists for the Norddeutsche vessels – and was frustrated to discover that the key records had gone missing.
“All the other records were there, but the crew lists for this vessel that relate to the three months of the Ripper murders in the UK were all missing.”
However, he did find records showing that Feigenbaum had been working for the Norddeutsche Line for “many, many years,” he says.
William Sanford Lawton, the New York lawyer who defended Feigenbaum in the Hoffmann murder, later said that while on death row, Feigenbaum admitted being a pathological killer and mutilator of women. Lawton made the connection with the Ripper, conducted some inquiries and was quoted in newspapers in 1896 saying he could put Feigenbaum in Whitechapel at the times of the five murders.
The unasked question
“Sadly, the press never asked the $64,000 question, ‘What were those inquiries?’” Marriott says.
One possibility is that Lawton found the Bremen maritime records for the Reiher and removed them, he says.
Marriott had an advantage over other Ripper sleuths in that he started with a genuinely open mind and approached the case like any modern murder inquiry. He eliminated suspects considered “prime” and broadened the inquiry to consider others who fit the facts, he says.
This even included eliminating at least one of the five murders assumed to be the Ripper, based on the characteristics of the crimes.
“One, the murder of Elizabeth Stride, was definitely not the work of the Ripper and there are major question marks surrounding the murder of Mary Kelly as well,” he said.
Of course the debate will go on. Marriott admits that no theory is watertight, but had the police considered the merchant seaman theory, they would have come to the same conclusion as Marriott and would have been in a better position to solve the crime. Modern police would, for instance, have established a similarity with the New York murders and sent somebody over to interview Feigenbaum before he was executed.
He also says he has found new documentary evidence that he is still examining, and hopes that publicity in Germany may encourage descendants of Feigenbaum’s to come forward with information.
“This has always had a worldwide following and it will continue to do so,” he says.
“There’s quite a lot to suggest Feigenbaum was involved in these murders. We can’t say 100 percent. But Feigenbaum is the prime suspect for these murders because there is more evidence that points to him than to any other suspect.”
NOTE: here's a good source on this suspect - Casebook: Jack the Ripper...Lon
The Ripper Casebook: Open to the Public - 3/10/2008
'PC.97J. NEIL reports at 3.45.a[m] 31st inst, he found the dead body of a woman lying on her back with her clothes a little above her knees...' So begins a vivid account on lined notepaper, by a Superintendent J Keating, under the heading 'Metropolitan Police'. The ink seems as fresh as a morning newspaper. Yet it is dated 31 August, 1888.
This is one of the police reports filed just hours after Jack the Ripper claimed another victim in London's East End. It is one of numerous documents relating to the Victorian killer which, after more than a century in the archives, are to go on public display for the first time.
Handwritten accounts from the scenes of the crimes, detectives' case reports, coroners' inquiry records, witness statements, photographs and letters will form the centrepiece of a major exhibition, 'Jack the Ripper and the East End', at the Museum in Docklands, London. Visitors will not be spared graphic descriptions, such as 'her throat cut from ear to ear', in the retelling of the bloody and gruesome crimes.
'They are absolutely amazing,' said Julia Hoffbrand, curator of the exhibition. 'They were written on the day each woman was found, so as a step by step account you get a real sense of what happened. The documents bring home the fact that these are real people and real events. They are very moving.'
The files were first kept at Scotland Yard, then transferred to the National Archives in Kew, west London. But due to their fragile condition they could only be viewed on microfiche. 'It's a rare opportunity to see the actual documents in the original ink,' Hoffbrand said.
The police report of 31 August 1888 continues: Dr. Llewellyn, No.152 Whitechapel Ro[ad]... arrived quickly and pronounced life to be extinct, apparently but [a] few minutes, he directed her removed to the mortuary, stating he would make a further examination there, which was done on the ambulance. It has since been ascertained that the dress bears the marks of Lambeth Workhouse and deceased is supposed to have been an inmate of that house.'
Jack the Ripper is believed to have killed five prostitutes in or near Whitechapel in 10 weeks between August and November 1888. More than 170 names have been put forward as suspects including the Duke of Clarence, the artist Walter Sickert, who had a morbid obsession with the killings, Montague John Druitt, a barrister who took his own life just after the last murder, and Michael Ostrog, a Russian thief. Books, plays, films and musicals have mythologised the killer and every night tourists walk the same streets on a guided Jack the Ripper walk.
A letter purportedly from the Ripper to the police will also be on display. Dated 7 November 1888, the handwritten scrawl states: 'Dear Boss, I am writing you this while I am in bed with a sore throat but as soon as it is better I will set to work again on the 13th of this month and I think that my next Job will be to polish you off and as I am a member of the force I can soon settle accounts with you I will tear your liver out before you are dead and show it to you.' The letter, signed Jack the Ripper, has a crude drawing of a man, but remains one of many tantalising clues.
Among the documents are witness statements to coroners as well as contemporary press reports. At the inquest into the death of Catherine Eddowes, whose mutilated body was found in Mitre Square in Aldgate, her daughter Annie Phillips tells of her father's separation from her mother: 'He had no ill will to my knowledge against Deceased [Catherine Eddowes]. He left Deceased between 7 & 8 years ago entirely on account of her Drinking Habits.'
Like Eddowes, Mary Ann Nichols was found with her throat cut, in Buck's Row, Whitechapel. On her last evening alive, she is reported as having said: 'I'll soon get my "doss" money; see what a jolly bonnet I've got now.'
The exhibition, which opens on 15 May, will also feature maps and recordings from people who grew up in the slums of Whitechapel. Donald Rumbelow, a leading expert on the Ripper and co-author of Jack the Ripper: Scotland Yard Investigates, welcomed the exhibition. 'To see the documents out of the mounts will be quite something.' - Guardian
Jack the Ripper May Have Killed Earlier - 8/7/2008
Jack the Ripper may have killed his first victim 25 years earlier than previously thought, a retired murder detective has claimed in a new book.
It is thought that Jack the Ripper killed and mutilated at least five prostitutes in the East End between August and November 1888.
But Trevor Marriott says he may have struck in 1863 and 1872.
Mr Marriott will be presenting his findings at the Docklands Museum which is hosting an exhibition on the killer.
The body of 28-year-old prostitute Emma Jackson was found in a brothel in St Giles, central London, in April 1863.
Mr Marriott also uncovered a second case he believes may have been committed by the Ripper.
Nine years after the Jackson murder, on Christmas Day 1872, Harriet Buswell was found with her throat slit at her lodgings in nearby Great Coram Street, after returning home the previous evening with a male guest.
Both cases remain unsolved.
In his book, The Evil Within, Mr Marriott claims that Jack the Ripper did not remove internal organs from two of his victims.
Traditionally, the serial killer is alleged to have removed organs from the bodies of his victims, including his second "official" victim Annie Chapman and Catherine Eddowes, his fourth, with a degree of medical precision.
But Mr Marriott said: "The organs were not removed by the killer at the crime scenes but by person or persons unknown for medical research at some point between the bodies being removed from the crime scenes and the post mortems taking place some 12 hours later.
"In both these cases the bodies had been left alone and unattended outside makeshift mortuaries." - BBC
'Jack the Ripper' Indentified by Relative of Police Chief in Charge - 9/9/2008
The Jack the Ripper ‘industry’ got a boost on the 120th anniversary of his first acknowledged murder.
The great-grandson of the police chief in charge of the 1888 Whitechapel Murders arrived at the Ripper exhibition at the Museum in Docklands in East London—just before the 120th anniversary of the murder Mary Ann Nichols, a prostitute known as ‘Polly,’ believed by many to be his first victim.
He arrived with evidence from his Victorian ancestor revealing the Ripper’s true identity.
Jack the Ripper was never caught and his identity has remained a mystery for 120 years, feeding a whole ‘industry’ that has evolved worldwide with ‘Ripperologists’ keen to tell us who he really was.
One of the strong theories re-emerged this week was when Nevill Swanson, great-grandson of Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, turned up at the museum in Canary Wharf to see the exhibition before it closes in November.
“My great-grandfather knew who Jack the Ripper was,” Nevill told the East London Advertiser.
“He solved the case—but police couldn’t prosecute because the only witness who could identify the killer in a court of law wouldn’t testify.”
Donald Swanson scribbled who he knew to be Jack the Ripper in the margin of a copy of the memoirs of Sir Robert Anderson, Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner at the time of the Whitechapel Murders, in a chapter that just referred to the main suspect, but not by name.
“The suspect was Kosminsky,” Swanson pencilled in.
Aaron Kosminsky was a Polish immigrant living in Whitechapel who had been ‘identified’ by another Polish emigre, who then refused to take the witness stand.
“The police knew the case would collapse in court,” Swanson’s great-grandson added.
“He knew Kosminsky would get away with it—so he had him committed to an asylum instead.
“There were no more murders after that.”
It was Nevill’s father who uncovered the margin notes from the family possessions when Nevill’s great aunt—daughter of Chief Inspector Swanson—died in 1978. The book with the margin notes was left to Nevill’s father.
But the story got buried for several years after he sold the rights to the News of the World in a deal worth £1,000, Nevill remembers. For some reason, the notes were never published.
It wasn’t until 2001—some 113 years after the Whitechapel Murders—that the Kosminsky theory finally emerged.
“My father died in 2001 and the book with the margin notes came down to me,” Nevill added. “I knew the significance of the notes and have since loaned the book to Scotland Yard’s Black Museum.”
It is a strong and compelling theory—but would spoil the ‘Ripper Industry’ if even this was not challenged by rival theories over the Ripper’s identity.
The marginalia was probably added some time after 1910, and Anderson wouldn’t have known anything that Swanson hadn’t told him, a reader has informed us.
Martin Fido was the person who identified Kosminsky by going through asylum records.
This week, the Australians bowled their own theory to stump the Ripperology world with a claim that it wasn’t Kosminsky at all—but an immigrant named Walter Thomas Porriott who is now buried in a cemetery in Brisbane.
The Brisbane Times claims that Porriott, another suspect on Scotland Yard’s list, was the real Jack the Ripper.
Porriott was living at Limehouse in East London at the time, just two miles from Whitechapel. He was a convicted killer, a conman, bigamist and quack doctor known to hate prostitutes, the paper insists.
The murders ended as soon as Porriott emigrated in 1888. He died in Brisbane in 1952, some 62 years later.
But there’s more... Members of the renowned Whitechapel Society—dedicated to research into East London’s Victorian and Edwardian society and the 1888 Whitechapel Murders—hold a ‘21st century public investigation’ at the Museum in Docklands this Saturday (September 6), where the most comprehensive Ripper exhibition ever has been staged all summer.
They are promising “fresh photographic evidence” when the ‘investigation’ begins at 3pm.
Three authors are putting their theories to the public, Trevor Marriott, Bill Beadle (the society’s chairman) and Frogg Moody.
Ripperologists, of course, are a determined breed, determined to keep the fires of the ‘industry’ burning with different theories—and doubtless will continue to keep them burning for the next 120 years. - eastlondonadvertisor
Jack the Ripper: Hoax Invented to 'Win Newspaper War'? - 5/1/2009
Jack the Ripper was a forgery invented by journalists to link a series of unrelated murders and sell newspapers, according to a new book.
The unsolved murders of five prostitutes in London's East End in 1888 have spawned innumerable theories over the identity of the 'real' Jack the Ripper - with candidates including artist Walter Sickert, Alice In Wonderland author Lewis Carroll and even Queen Victoria's grandson the Duke of Clarence.
But now historian Dr Andrew Cook claims to have blown all these theories out of the water by dismissing the notion of a brutal, murderous spree by one 'serial killer' altogether.
In his book Jack The Ripper: Case Closed, he argues that the famous letter bragging about the killings - signed 'Jack the Ripper' in the first-ever use of that name - was actually forged by journalists desperate to sell their newspaper.
Dr Cook says streetwalkers Mary Nichols, Catherine Eddowes, Mary Kelly, Elizabeth Stride and Annie Chapman were killed by different men, as were the six other Whitechapel victims often added to the Ripper's toll.
He takes his evidence from police and medical experts at the time who expressed doubts about the single killer theory even as it began to take hold on the public imagination.
The senior Whitechapel policeman at the time of the killings admitted in his retirement speech that he did not believe Mary Kelly was killed by 'Jack the Ripper', Dr Cook points out.
The assistant police surgeon who examined all five victims, Percy Clark, told the East London Observer in 1910: 'I think perhaps one man was responsible for three of them. I would not like to say he did the others.'
However, comments like this were a drop in an ocean as the myth of the lone rogue killer took hold of the Victorian imagination.
Dr Cook shows that the newly-launched Star newspaper was the first to claim that one man was behind three of the 1888 killings.
Even though most experts today agree that two of these - Emma Smith and Martha Tabram - were not carried out by the same man, the Star's prurient accounts of the on-going murders massively boosted its circulation.
The Star only unveiled the notorious letter from 'Jack the Ripper' in the midst of a drastic fall in sales after the exoneration of a bootmaker it had identified as a key suspect.
Handwriting expert Elaine Quigley, recruited by Dr Cook to examine the letter, has identified it as the work of Star journalist Frederick Best.
But the public was convinced, Dr Cook says - and the concept of a lone rogue killer on the loose in the East End backstreets may have helped the real culprits literally get away with murder. - dailymail
Has 'Jack the Ripper' Finally Been Identified? - 10/7/2009
telegraph.co.uk - Mei Trow used modern police forensic techniques, including psychological and geographical profiling, to identify Robert Mann, a morgue attendant, as the killer.
His theory, the result of two years intensive research, is explored in a Discovery Channel documentary, Jack the Ripper: Killer Revealed.
Trow's research is rooted in information from a 1988 FBI examination of the Ripper case, which had worked up a comprehensive criminal personality profile.
The portrait drawn up of Jack was as a white male from the lower social classes, most likely the product of a broken home.
It was also thought he would have had a menial job but with some anatomical knowledge, something like a butcher, mortuary or medical examiner's assistant or hospital attendant.
Because of prolonged periods without human interaction, Jack would also have been socially inept
It is known that Mann was from an extremely deprived background. His father was absent for much of his upbringing and he had spent some time as a child in a workhouse.
Trow said: "I wanted to go beyond the myth of a caped man with a top hat and knife, and get to the reality, and the reality is simply that Jack was an ordinary man."
Trow makes another startling conjecture, that the Ripper killed another two women.
He believes Martha Tabram, found with 39 stab wounds to her body in Gunthorpe Street, was the first of Jack's victims, and Alice Mackenzie, brutally murdered eight months after the confirmed five killings, was his last.
The two women, along with Polly Nichols and Annie Chapman, would have been delivered to the Whitechapel mortuary in which Robert Mann worked.
After the killing of Polly Nichols, Jack's first recognised victim, Mann unlocked the mortuary for the police so they could examine the body and as such, was called as a witness in her inquest to help establish the cause of death.
Most damningly, he undressed Polly's body with his assistant, despite being under strict instructions from Inspector Spratling to not touch the body, and Trow suspects that this was an opportunity to admire his handiwork.
The Coroner, in his summation of Robert Mann's testimony, concluded that, "It appears the mortuary-keeper is subject to fits, and neither his memory nor statements are reliable."
Professor Laurence Alison, Forensic Psychologist at Liverpool University, who features in the documentary, said: "In terms of psychological profiling, Robert Mann is the one of the most credible suspects from recent years and the closest we may ever get to a plausible psychological explanation for these most infamous of Victorian murders."
Trow's is the latest in a long line of theories about who Jack the Ripper was. More than 100 suspects have been proposed over the years, including a member of the royal family, a doctor and even the artist Walter Sickert.