Could A Monkey Catch Him

As the year 1888 drew to its close, the newspapers were still attempting to fathom the mystery of exactly who the Whitechapel murderer was and what had become of him.

They we also still making suggestions about ways in which the perpetrator of the East End atrocities might be brought to justice.

The Sportsman, in its edition of Monday the 31st of December, 1888, looked back on the police attempts to use bloodhounds in the hunt for the killer, and wondered if monkeys from London Zoo might be able to succeed where the bloodhounds had failed.

The two bloodhounds are released.
The Bloodhounds Are Released. From The Illustrated London News, 20th October 1888. Copyright, The British Library Board.


The article read:-

“Someone is now training bloodhounds to hunt hares, because, perhaps, they proved useless in Whitechapel, where it was thought that they would ferret out the crafty “Jack the Ripper,” who reminds one of a certain Vanderdecken who commanded the phantom ship. [This is referring to the captain of the Flying Dutchman phantom ship.]

Probably, when the next crime is committed the police will send for a couple of monkeys from the Zoo, for these quadruped have, we are told, been successful in detecting the author of a murder which recently made some stir in Lucknow.


The monkey took its station on a tree after it had witnessed the murder, watched everything, and, when a constable passed by, the animal made after him, laid hold of the man’s leg, and dragged him to the place where the corpses were buried.

The bodies were exhumed, after which the monkey showed the way to a hut which the murderers had entered.


Not finding them, the animal took the constable in another direction, and suddenly ran at full speed and seized a man, who was going to bathe near a tank, by the neck, and waited till the constable arrived.

Here is corn in Egypt for some modern dramatist inclined to write “Jocko the Avenger,’ and show how the counterfeit presentment of the wan enabled his descendant to lay hands on the assassin.”