Who Is The Murderer

On 10th September, 1889, the finding of a female torso beneath a railway arch in Pinchin Street, Whitechapel, led to speculation that the murderer, who was now universally known as “Jack the Ripper” had returned to the East End of London.

Once more, it was apparent that the police, to put it mildly, hadn’t a clue as to who the perpetrator of the crime was, and consequently, the newspapers were full of speculation as to who had carried out this latest foul deed, as well as the previous Whitechapel murders.

Policemen standing under the arch where the body was found.
From The Penny Illustrated Paper, 21st September 1889. Copyright, The British Library Board.

THE FACE OF THE KILLER

On Wednesday, 11th September, 1889, The Pall Mall Gazette published an article which suggested the type of person that the police were looking for.

The article began with a claim that a “correspondent” had seen the face of the killer in a “vivid dream” just a few days before the discovery of the Pinchin Street atrocity.

It then went on to claim that the police were on the lookout for a particular suspect who, if the article is to be believed, appears to have been a cross between Aaron Kosminki and Dr. Francis Tumbeltey.

The article read:-

WHO IS THE MURDERER? A CURIOUS DREAM

“There is little or nothing new to report this morning in connection with the horrible discovery in Whitechapel yesterday.

A correspondent sends us the following curious statement about his theory of the murder:- “I dreamed on Sunday night that I saw a man whom I know well, and have suspected for some time, killing a woman.

The dream was so vivid that I mentioned it next morning to my friend.

Hence I was not surprised when today the body of the latest victim was discovered.”

THEY ARE TRACKING THIS VERY MAN

The detectives are devoting their efforts and the skill they possess mainly to the tracking of this very man with reference to whom information was communicated to them shortly after the murder of Mary Kelly in Miller’s-court, Dorset-street, on the 9th November last year.

That information included an array of facts and circumstances relating to the individual suspected, which pointed more strongly to his being ‘Jack the Ripper’ than any of the many persons who have been arrested or ‘shadowed’ by the police.

Since the end of November the detectives have tried in every conceivable way to trace the whereabouts of this ‘suspect,’ but without success.

SEEN ALL OVER THE EAST END

He was seen in the East-end immediately after the Berner-street and Mitre-square murders not long before the Miller’s-court tragedy, and also, it is stated on reliable authority, the Saturday evening preceding the Castle-alley deed, and then within a stone’s throw of that place.

The murderer is supposed by the most experienced detectives to be a man calculated not to attract special notice, and who is so cautious and artful that he can guard himself against suspicion.

A DESCRIPTION OF THE SUSPECT

Though not a muscular specimen of humanity, he is not of slim build. He is between twenty-eight and thirty years of age, about five feet six in height, and is somewhat round-shouldered. His forehead is low, but extremely broad and smooth, his hair is black; his complexion sallow.

His eyes, perhaps, form the most distinctive feature about him. They are of a deep brown colour, and large for the size of the face in which they are set. Though they usually betoken determination and firmness, they sometimes soften to even a girl’s tenderness of expression.

He wears no beard.

Like his hair, his moustache is black, and though heavy and full-grown, it fails to hide a mouth garnished by rows of pearly white teeth, because they are revealed by his thick lower lip, which hangs somewhat loosely.

HE KNOWS THE EAST END WELL

This suspect knows the East-end intimately, and stayed for some considerable time in Spitalfields, in close proximity to the Columbia Meat Market.

He was born in England, but is of Jewish parentage.

A MAN OF CULTURE WITH ECCENTRIC HABITS

The peculiar features, however, which commonly characterize the Hebrew race are not so clearly stamped in his face as in the case of the average Jew.

He is a man of culture, and one of his favourite pursuits is said to be the study of anatomy, of which, theoretically speaking, he has as extensive a knowledge as the average surgeon.

He is of somewhat eccentric habits. He has a great dislike of the opposite sex, avoiding the company of females. He has also made low life in London a special study.

HE WORE DISGUISES

It used to be a hobby of his to get himself up in all sorts of disguises – and in this he was an adept – and explore the most notorious parts of the East-end, particularly Spitalfields and Whitechapel, visiting the low public-houses,¬† and mixing with all and sundry, and frequently spending the night in common lodging houses, in order to see for himself the routine of the ‘dosser’s’ life.

It is not at all likely that he would appear in Whitechapel in the ordinary dress he used to wear, which consisted of a black diagonal coat, with vest to match, dark tweed trousers, and either a hard or soft felt hat.”