Despite the fact that, by October, 1889, almost a year had passed since the Whitechapel fiend had held the East End of London in a grip of terror and panic, Jack the Ripper was still cropping up in newspaper stories all over the country.
STRANGE CASE OF HALLUCINATION AT BARROW
One of the earliest such stories for October 1889, was that of a servant girl in Barrow, in the north of England, who was just one of the many people whose minds were severaly unhinged by fear of the Whitechapel murderer.
Her story was covered by The Soulby’s Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer, on Thursday, 3rd October, 1889:-
“Quite a scare has been created in the neighbourhood of Abbey-road, Barrow, owing to a complaint made by a girl named Annie MacKenzie that she was being followed about by a man who resembled the description of the notorious “Jack the Ripper.”
Unfortunately, the strange hallucination, for such it has undoubtedly been proved to be, has had a somewhat sad effect on the health of the girl in question, her mind having become partially deranged owing to the terror into which she had worked herself.
SHE WAS BEING FOLLOWED
It appears that the girl, who is only about 16 years of age, in the service of Mr. E. Richards, Croslands Villa, off Abbey-road, accosted P.C. Singleton whilst he was on duty in Abbey-road about half-past six on Wednesday evening, and said that she was being followed about by a man answering the description of “Jack the Ripper.”
She further stated that she had seen him several times, and that he had a knife, and she was afraid of being murdered.
She was very much excited and agitated and was crying very much.
The constable closely questioned her as to her story, but she stoutly maintained that a man was following her about, and that he was no other than “Jack the Ripper.”
The officer told her that he would keep a sharp look out, and although not putting much faith in the girl’s story, he proceeded up the lane between the residences of Alderman Townson and Major Strongitharm to see if anyone was prowling about, as he thought that it was possible that someone might have been playing a trick on the girl in order to frighten her.
He, however, could see no one, and as the girl could hardly describe where she had seen the man, the constable saw her to the house and then proceeded on his beat.
SHE WAS FOUND RUNNING NAKED
Shortly after six o’clock the next morning, she was seen by a man running into the road shouting at the top of her voice “Jack the Ripper,” “Jack the Ripper,” and that he was running after her with a knife in his hand.
She was brought as far as the Strawberry Hotel when P.C. Singleton was met with, and who states that at that time she was in a perfectly nude condition, and that she stoutly resisted all attempts to put any clothing on her.
As soon as she saw the constable, she appeared to recognise him at once, and she vehemently declared that “Jack the Ripper” was after her.
She appeared to be greatly terrified and to have quite lost her reason. Every man they met she at once accused of being “Jack the Ripper.”
TAKEN TO THE WORKHOUSE
P.C. Singleton procured a milk cart, and had her conveyed as quickly as possible to the Central Police Station.
An order for her admittance to the Workhouse was procured, and she was removed thither in a cab, having by this time become a little quieter though still stoutly asserting that she had been chased by “Jack the Ripper.”
At the Workhouse every attention was shown her, and she was so far recovered on Thursday night as to be removed to the home of her parents, who, we understand, reside at Old Barrow.
It is stated that she had only been in service for two or three weeks.
It is said that an attack in jest had been made on the girl some time ago, but this is only rumour.”
JACK THE POACHER
The Stroud Journal, on Friday 4th October, 1889, published the following story about a poacher who, on being arrested, came up with the wizard idea of giving his name as that of the Whitechapel murderer!
The article read:-
“Joseph Gardner, alias Joseph Robbins, who gave his name as “Jack the Ripper,” was charged, under the Poaching Prevention Act, with being on the highway, in unlawful possession of nine rabbits and a net, on Sept. 20th.
He was also charged on suspicion, with having stolen on September 29th, one game net, value 20 shillings. This charge, however, was withdrawn.
Sergeant Jones (Minchinhampton) deposed that on Sunday morning last, while on duty at Hyde, in the parish of Minchinhampton, a few minutes before six o’clock in the morning, he saw the prisoner on the highway leading from Hyde to the Common.
He saw that the prisoner had some rabbits and a net in his possession, and, believing him to have been on lands poaching, he stopped the prisoner and searched him.
In his possession were nine rabbits and a net of 100 yards, and six pegs. The rabbits were quite warm, evidently having only recently been killed.
HE TRIED TO ESCAPE
He asked the prisoner to give his name, but he refused to tender any name for some time, and went to make off.
He had previously taken possession of the game and net, and he caught hold of the prisoner, remarking that he should detain him until he gave his name.
A SMART TUSSLE ENSUED
Prisoner again endeavoured to get away, and both of them had a smart tussle, after which prisoner successively gave his name as John and Joseph Kimber, of Cirencester.
HE GAVE SEVERAL NAMES
He took the prisoner to the station, and requested him to give his proper name. Prisoner then said his right name was “Jack the Ripper.”
The next day prisoner gave the name of Joseph Gardner, of anywhere.
He afterwards found out that the prisoner’s right name was Joseph Robbins, of Summerford Keynes, Wilts.
A FINE OR PRISON
The Chairman said there was only one thing they could do with the prisoner, and that was to fine him £5 and twelves shillings and sixpence costs, or, in default, two months.”
THE PINCHIN STREET VICTIM’S IDENTITY
The York Herald, on Saturday, 5th October, 1889, reported on the fact that a promising lead as to the identity of the unknown victim whose torso had been found beneath the railway arch in Pinchin Street, Whitechapel, on 10th September, 1889, had now been dashed:-
“It is stated that the father and mother of the girl named Emily Barker, of Northampton, feel convinced that she was the victim of the Pinchin-street (Whitechapel) murder.
The girl had been rescued from a wild life by a London missionary, but she escaped from him two days before the murder.
NOT EMILY BARKER
The authorities at Scotland Yard, after careful investigation, have come to the conclusion that the body recently found in Pinchin-street, Whitechapel, could not possibly be that of the girl, Emily Barker, of Northampton, who has been missing.
The father of the girl came up to London on Monday, and had an interview with the detectives who have the case in hand, but Mr. Barker’s description of his daughter by no means tallies with that of the murdered woman, and he has returned to Northampton satisfied that the deceased was a stranger to him.
A DIFFERENT PHYSIQUE
In the first place, there was an important discrepancy in the matter of height. According to Mr. Barker’s statement, his daughter was about five feet four inches, and was well nourished.
So far as can be gathered from the characteristics of the dismembered trunk, the murdered woman must have been a person of very different physique.
Her height would be at least five feet eight or nine inches, her limbs above the average size, and her frame generally that of an almost abnormally developed female.
A PECULIAR MARK
But, the most important feature in the case is the absence from the mutilated body of a peculiar mark known to exist on that of Emily Barker.
One of the first questions asked by Mr. Barker was in reference to this mark, but on bringing up the official descriptions of the trunk, it was soon found that this important item in the identification was lacking.”
MORE “JACK THE RIPPER” LETTERS
The York Herald also mentioned how letters purporting to have been written by the perpetrator of the Whitechapel crimes were continuing to be sent to the police and to the newspapers:-
“Letters alleged to have been sent from “Jack the Ripper” are delivered almost every day at Scotland Yard, and, although great care is exercised in prosecuting inquiries with respect to them, they usually prove to be the work of silly mischief-makers.
On Saturday evening a London press agency received a letter bearing the East London postmark, purporting to be from “Jack the Ripper.”
The envelope was apparently addressed by a different person to the writer of the letter, which was written on a single sheet of notepaper, and was as follows:-
“E., 28th September.
Dear Editor, – I hope to resume operations about Tuesday or Wednesday night. Don’t let the coppers know.
Jack the Ripper”
The envelope was smeared with red ink, and the signature was underlined with red ink.”
“JACK THE RIPPER” AT HAMBURG
The Northampton Mercury, on Saturday 26th October, 1889, featured a story that a ripper style murder had occurred in Hamburg:-
“What may be called the Jack the Ripper scare in the neighbourhood of Hamburg has been intensified by a murder resembling in many of its details the one committed last week at Fiensburg.
The victim in the present case is a girl, eleven years age, and the body was mutilated in the manner made familiar to those who read the accounts of the Whitechapel barbarities.
As may be imagined, a veritable panic prevails in the district, which is made all the greater by the fact that the assassin is still at large.”