By December, 1888, the unknown miscreant who was responsible for having perpetrated the Whitechapel murders had become universally known as Jack the Ripper, thanks to the publicity afforded to the Dear Boss letter.
It is somewhat surprising just how much the name had permeated the national consciousness, with the consequence that “Jack the Ripper” was turning up in the most unlikely of places.
The Eastern Daily Press, on Friday the 7th of December 1888, reported on one place where he had been seen:-
THE EAST END OUTRAGES
A MAGISTRATE RECEIVES A MESSAGE
“Mr. Saunders, presiding magistrate at the Thames Police Court, has received another letter purporting to come from Jack the Ripper.
In it the writer warns the magistrate to look out for the 7th inst, and informs him that he will “send him a finger from his next victim.”
ALICE ROBINSON CHARGED
At the same court, on Wednesday, Alice Robinson (30), was charged with being drunk and disorderly.
Constable Dutch said that at two o’clock that morning he heard cries of “Murder” and “Police.”
HE’S IN A BALLOON
On going to the spot from whence the screams proceeded – Heath Street, Stepney – he found the prisoner jumping about, and shouting out “Jack the Ripper. He’s in a balloon there,” and pointing to the sky.
She still continued screaming, and as he could make nothing of her the witness took her into custody.
At the Station she persisted that she saw “Jack the Ripper” in a balloon, and that he came down from the balloon in a sheet.
She was drunk.
ASCERTAINING THE STATE OF HER MIND
The prisoner said that she saw a balloon, and that she saw a gentleman get out of it.
Mr. Saunders remanded the prisoner for the purpose of the prison doctor ascertaining the state of her mind.”
JACK THE RIPPER IN A FISH SHOP
The Woolwich Gazette, in its edition of Friday the 7th of December 1888, published the following article on yet another appearance:-
“John Weldon, 23, living at 15, Francis Street, Woolwich, was charged with with breaking a number of plates and bottles at the shop of Alfred Segain, located at 6, New-road, Woolwich.
HE WANTED CREDIT
Mrs. Segain said that they kept a fish shop, and that the prisoner came there and told them that he wanted credit.
She refused it, whereupon the prisoner became very abusive, and said, “I am Jack the Ripper, and will do for you.”
At the same time, he commenced smashing everything in the shop, and swept a number of vinegar bottles, ginger beer bottles and plates off the counter.
The prisoner was fined ten shillings with two shillings damages, or seven days imprisonment.”