After a period of some nine months, the Whitechapel murderer had, so it appeared, returned to the streets of the East End of London to carry out the murder of Alice McKenzie on the 17th of July, 1889.
By August 1889, the newspapers all over the country were, once more, on the lookout for any mention of Jack the Ripper in relation to crimes, letters, or, for that matter, anything that would enable them to remind their readers that the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders was still at large.
A “JACK THE RIPPER” IN CARMELITE STREET
The Aberdeen Evening Express, on Thursday, 1st August 1889, carried the following story of a court case that had taken place that day:-
“At Aberdeen Police Court today – before Baillie Crombie – Elizabeth Waugh Longacre, was charged with having committed a breach of the peace in Carmelite Street last night.
She pleaded not guilty, but it was found that she had quarrelled with a man about some money.
Her request not being granted, she began to curse and swear.
She contended that a man came up to her and threatened cut her throat.
The Baille to Waugh: “Was he a “Jack the Ripper?”
She said she that she went to a policeman and another man for protection, and was not the least intoxicated.
The Baille: “Seeing that you have been here this week already, and that there are seven previous convictions recorded against you, you will have to pay a fine of 20s, or ten days prison.”
THE DEJECTED TRAMP
The Portobello Advertiser, on Friday, 2nd August, 1889, headed to Penicuik, in Scotland, to report on an event that had disturbed the residents of that area:-
“Last Friday morning the people in the vicinity were startled by the shouts of “Murder!” “Police!” “Jack the Ripper,” proceeding from an outhouse, where a couple of tramps had received permission to have a night’s rest on the previous night.
Whether the man had been attempting to try a “Jack the Ripper” or not is not certain, but the woman had her revenge on the man by pouring a couple of buckets of water about him, and people going to their work at six o’clock saw the dejected-looking fellow sitting by the roadside guarding a bundle.”
PERSONATING “JACK THE RIPPER”
The Cardiff Times, on Saturday, 3rd August 1889, carried a report on a particularly nasty attack on a woman that had taken place the previous week:-
“On Friday last, at the Town-hall, Pembroke – before Dr. Morison and Mr. Barker – Charles Thomas, of Pembroke Dock, was charged with assaulting Mary Ann Jones, a servant at Bush Lodge.
The complainant went to a field to milk the cows on a preceding evening when the prisoner met her, threw her down, and attempted to assault her.
He stuffed a handkerchief in her mouth, and told her he was “Jack the Ripper,” that he had done for five, and would “do for her.”
She managed to scream, and some boys came up.
Prisoner then ran away.
The bench sent the prisoner to gaol for two months, and ordered him to pay 23s, or serve an additional month.”
THE APPREHENSION OF DANGER IS NO MORE
The Lanarkshire Upper Ward Examiner, on Saturday, 3rd August, 1889, carried a story in which it commented on how calm the district of Whitechapel was now was, given the fact that the Ripper was still out there:-
“A London correspondent writes:-
It is wonderful how soon even the most atrocious deeds are forgotten and public confidence is restored.
It is only but yesterday since all Whitechapel was in a fever of excitement. People scarce dared sleep lest the fiend stalking in their midst might renew among them his ghoulish work.
Today one might search the district in vain for indications that anything unusual had happened.
Even the police seem to be reconciled to this latest evidence of their incapacity, and eager hopefulness no longer inspires excessive vigilance.
The apprehension of danger has been buried with the remains of the victim two days ago, and vice, undeterred by the terrible risk it incurs, flaunts itself on the public streets as openly and shamelessly as ever.
Where is Mr Munro’s proud boast now?”
ANOTHER LETTER FROM “JACK THE RIPPER”
The York Herald, on Saturday, 3rd August, 1889, meanwhile, commented on a letter that had been found on an underground train:-
“Late on Thursday week, some excitement was caused at Aldgate Station, on the Metropolitan Railway, by the discovery of a piece of paper in a second-class carriage, on which were written the following words:-
“Shall do two more next time at Whitechapel. – Yours to the letter, Jack the Ripper.”
The paper was at once handed to the police, and immediately the contents were circulated throughout the metropolitan and city districts.
Some importance is attached to the find owing to murders having followed close on the receipt of some of the other letters, and extra precautions will, therefore, be taken in the murder district.”
TERRIBLE EFFECT ON A LONDON PHYSICIAN
The Leicester Chronicle, on Saturday, 3rd August 1889, chose to highlight the effect that the murders appeared to have had on the mental state of a “leading physician” who had lost his reason out of guilt at having let the murderer escape:-
“Apropos of the new murder scare, a London contemporary says that when the terror was at its height last year one of the then leading physicians of one of the great lunatic asylums, who had been greatly affected by the newspaper reports of the murders, was gradually seized with the delusion that “Jack the Ripper” had been a patient under his care, that he had allowed him to escape from the asylum, and that he was, therefore, in a great measure directly responsible for the crimes.
So completely, at length, did this singular delusion take possession of the poor doctor – an able man and greatly esteemed – that he lost his reason entirely, and, of course, had to be removed from his post.
He is at present travelling under the care of his friends, and it is to be hoped that no untoward chance has brought him to know of the murderer’s last outrage.”
“JACK THE RIPPER” A MESMERIST
The Whitstable Times and Herne Bay Herald, on Saturday, 3rd August, 1889, chose to go with a story about the well-known mind reader, Stuart Cumberland:-
“In his curious weekly, The Mirror, Mr. Stuart Cumberland gives a picture of “Jack the Ripper” as revealed to him in a dream.
He says:- “The face was thinnish and oval in shape. The eyes were dark and prominent, shewing plenty of white. The brow was narrow, and the chin somewhat pointed. The complexion was sallow – somewhere, between that of a Maltese and a Parsee. The nose was somewhat Semitic in shape, and formed a prominent feature of the face. The formation of the mouth I could not very well see, it was shaded by a black moustache. Beyond the hair on the upper lip, the face was bare.
It was not a particularly disagreeable face, but there was a wild intensity about the dark, full eyes that fascinated me as I gazed into them.”
They were the eyes of a mesmerist!
From which Mr. Cumberland concludes that the murderer first mesmerises his victims before despatching them.”
“JACK THE RIPPER” IN EDINBURGH
The Guernsey Star, on Tuesday, August 6th, 1889, reported on an attack that had taken place in Edinburgh on the previous Friday:-
“The authorities in Edinburgh were on Friday engaged in making investigations into an assault which took place early the previous morning in the western part of the city, which is densely populated.
William Brown, 2, Tay-street, reported that, when he was going home early the previous morning, he was accosted by a man in a lane near Dairy Cemetery.
He paused for a moment, and the man thrust at him with a large sheath-dagger, remarking at the same time, “I am Jack the Ripper.”
Brown closed with his assailant and knocked him down.
The man pleaded “for God’s sake” to be liberated; but Brown still retained possession of the dagger, which was curved, and then allowed him to go.
Brown describes his assailant as a bearded man about 5ft 8in. in height.”
A SENSELESS SCARE
The Derby Daily Telegraph, on Wednesday, 7th August, 1889, published a story which highlighted the dangers faced by anyone who was perceived to look anything like people’s idea of what Jack the Ripper looked like:-
“At the London Sessions on Tuesday, Antonio Brisigh Bali, 44, hat maker, surrendered to his bail on the charge of maliciously wounding William McKillick.
It would appear that the prosecutor and some companions were drinking in a public-house off Blackfriars-road on the night of the 12th of June, when the prisoner came in and called for some whiskey, but they refused to serve him as he was not sober.
Thereupon, he went out quietly, and shortly afterwards a woman came in and said that a man was running about the Blackfriars-road brandishing a revolver, and he looked like “Jack the Ripper.”
The Prosecutor at once went out and saw him walking down the middle of the road with something bright in his hand, and, approaching him cautiously from behind, he pinned his arms close to his sides.
The Prisoner resented this treatment, struggled, and they fell to the ground, and prosecutor felt something go into his thigh, and on the prisoner being pulled off him something like an oyster knife was taken from him.
Dr. Evans stated that the thigh wound was only superficial, and Mr. Elliot, who defended, elicited from the prosecutor that the prisoner had in no way interfered with him, and he only seized him because he thought he was “Jack the Ripper” or a madman, and likely to do some serious mischief.
Mr. Elliot said his client instructed him that he never struck the prosecutor, who had brought the accidental injury on himself by his unwarrantable interference with the prisoner.
The jury at once acquitted the prisoner.”