What Type Of Man Is He

On Tuesday the 20th of November, 1888, the big question being asked by newspapers across the country – and, for that matter, by almost everybody who lived in the country – was who is Jack the Ripper?

That day, The Shields Daily Gazette published the following article which – having dealt with the recent resignation of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Charles Warren – then  tried to answer this very question, as well as contemplating the type of person that the perpetrator of the Whitechapel murders might be:-


“The resignation of Sir Charles Warren has given rise to a good deal of discussion which is about as wide of the mark as it could well be.

The incident is in no way connected with the question of Sir Charles’s fitness or unfitness for his post.

It has been brought about not by a difference of opinion between Sir Charles and the public, but by a difference of opinion between Sir Charles and Mr Matthews on a question of professional etiquette.

Sir Charles has resigned from the office of Chief Commissioner because Mr Matthews wrote him a rude letter, and Mr Matthews wrote a rude letter because he disapproved of Sir Charles writing an article in a monthly magazine.

That is Murray’s guide to the situation, and you have it in a nutshell.

Sir Charles at last throws up the sponge
He yields to Matthews’ latest lunge;
The latter says, with angry spite,
Sir Charles did wrong when he did write.


The evidence in the latest Whitechapel atrocity is worth more than passing study, especially to the few innocent people still inhabiting the earth who read history and believe it, or who accept as strongly impregnated with fact the foreign intelligence ‘as served up by the Press.

Mary Jane Kelly was well known to her neighbours.

Some of them who knew her, and were in the habit of talking to her, were called at the inquest to certify as to her movements on the night of the crime.

It is beyond doubt that the woman was murdered during the night, but witnesses who knew her were found to come forward and swear that hey spoke to her and had conversations with her several hours after she had been murdered and mutilated.

At least half-a-dozen stories, all diametrically opposed to each other, were told of her movements on the preceding evening, and the man who was seen to accompany her home was, according to the evidence collected by the police, tall, a sandy-whiskered man of rough appearance; a short man of German appearance; a gentleman with a black bag and moustache; a foreign-looking man with a brown paper parcel under his arm; a swell, with spats on his boots, an old watch chain, and an astrakhan collar to his overcoat; a blotchy-faced fellow, who looked like a labourer; and an elderly, respectable-looking man with the appearance of a clergyman.

An image of Mary Kelly letting a skeletal-like ghoul into her room.
A Depiction Of Mary Kelly Allowing Her Murderer Into Her Room.


With every fresh outburst of horror caused by the murder, the theorists rush to the front to air their remarkable theories.

Some of the most remarkable go to the police and never reach the columns of the ever-enterprising Press.

If the letters which the police have received come to be published, they would at once lead to an earnest public discussion as to the advisability of building a few hundred extra lunatic asylums, and of insisting upon the contractors working on at night by the aid of the electric light in order to have them completed as soon as possible.


Many well-known persons have been named to the police by gratuitous informers as the real original Jack the Ripper.

One earnest citizen is convinced that a nobleman, whose name he mentions, is committing these crimes because his wife ran away with a paramour; another gives the name of a well-known Social Purity advocate in confidence, and declares that there are bloodstains still on his doorstep.


But perhaps the most remarkable piece of evidence is that of a laundress, who forwards a pair of cuffs, and says:-

“Sir Charles Warren. Sir, – These cuffs come in the washin’ from Mr. (name and address given). There is a stain on them which looks like blood. He is a queer-looking man, my dorter says, as she as seem him when calling for the bill, and is wife an inverlid. If he is not the Whitechapel murderer, please return, as I do not want to be mix up in the affair. P.S.— If the reward is paid, I hope I shall have my rites.”


But who is Jack the Ripper?

My own opinion is that when – if ever – the culprit is arrested, he will be found to be a man who resides in the locality, or whose business brings him there, that his calling is one which has familiarised him with the sight of blood, and that most probably he has had frequent opportunity of witnessing the dissection of human bodies.


He is a man who lives either in lodgings or in one of the numerous flats in the neighbourhood himself, and is enabled to let himself in at any hour without attracting attention.

The neighbourhood of his crimes has not been selected hap-hazard, but because he has been familiar with it for some years, and he is thoroughly acquainted with the habits and haunts of his victims.

The probabilities are that the monster is at the present moment living in the calm and peaceable enjoyment of his quiet lodging or flat, within one mile of the scene of his exploits.

He is not a man who uses common lodging-houses; he is not a sailor who has to go on board his ship to sleep; he does not apply for a bed at coffee-houses, and he does not have to take a long walk to disappear after his work is done.


In either of these cases the chances are a million to one that he would have been spotted by someone and connected with the crimes in consequence of the peculiarity of his conduct or of his appearance.

He is probably a man of the type of the Alton murderer, who, after butchering a little girl in the most awful manner, entered in his diary against the date, “Killed a little girl – nice and warm.”

An illustration showing Fanny Adams being abducted in Alton.
The Abduction Of Sweet Fanny Adams In Alton.


This form of mania takes a fierce delight in the sight of blood, and is a form that is well known to experts in criminal cases.

Such a man, for example, was Dr Tardieu, of Paris.

The man’s face would betray him to an expert.

The features in most of these bloodthirsty maniacs are peculiar – especially the mouth, the chin, and the eyes.

If you look at a collection the photographs of criminals of the Alton type (I had such a collection myself for years, and it only got scattered by friends borrowing one or two and forgetting to return them), you will see at once what I mean.


If a thorough and searching inquiry were made among the unfortunate women of the neighbourhood of the murders, it would be found that many of them know a man of this type (let the police show them a photograph or two of the Alton kind), and it will be found that many of them have seen him lately, and probably been spoken to by him.

It was a man of exactly this type, I gather from the slight description (peculiar looking), who spoke to the Kennedys on the night of the last murder.

Once fix this point and the police can narrow their search, for they will know the description and type of man for whom they must look.”