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Unmasking Jack the Ripper
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A Theory on Francis Tumblety
Scott Hannaford

Before putting forward my opinion of who committed the Whitechapel murders, and detailing the evidence to support this, I feel it is important to decide which of the murders were committed by Jack The Ripper, and which were committed by other felons.

Who were the victims

I do not believe that 'Fairy Fay' ever existed, and should really be discounted by any serious researcher. Of subsequent victims, I feel that Emma Smith was probably murdered by a gang from the Old Nichol, and that Mylett, McKenzie, Coles and the Pinchin Street Torso can be ruled out of our investigations.

Of the remaining victims I believe that Tabram, Nichols, Chapman, Eddowes and Kelly were victims of Jack The Ripper, and that Stride was killed by another well known Ripper suspect. I therefore have two suspects, one who killed ONLY Stride, and another who killed the other five.

The Anderson Witness and Suspect

If we first consider the Witness, we know that he was "the only person who ever had a good view of the murderer". Three names are generally suggested as the Witness- Lawende, Levy and Schwartz. The first two undoubtedly saw Eddowes assailant talking to her, whilst the third actually saw the start of the assault on Stride.

Lawende did furnish a good description of the mans clothing, but "did not think that he would recognise the man if he saw him again"(A to Z page 250), whilst Levy "could furnish no description of either of them"(First American Serial Killer page 78). Therefore, the only person to have a clear view, and to be accepted by the police was Israel Schwartz, who saw the end of Liz Stride. Therefore, Schwartz is probably Andersons Witness, and therefore Andersons Suspect was only responsible for ONE murder, and not for the other five. I say only one, as most researchers now agree that the MO in Strides killing is different enough to agree that Stride's killer did not kill the others.

Swanson identified the suspect as one Aaron Kosminski, and although the names of Kaminsky and Cohen have been added over the years by modern researchers, Kosminski is the more probable. Swanson claimed that the witness identified Kosminski, but did not want to be responsible for his execution, because he was also a Jew.

The police were said to have been impressed by Schwartz's straight-forwardness and truthfulness, and he is almost certainly Anderson's Witness, and Kosminski was the Suspect and responsible for killing Stride only.

Stride as a seperate victim

Stride should be discounted as a "canonical victim" because the MO is so different in her murder compared to the other killings. It does seem that Stride is only considered to have been a victim because the police and press assumed that her attacker was interrupted by the approach of Diemschutz, and went on to find and murder Eddowes. Apart from the 'Saucy Jack' letter (which is clearly a fake), there is really nothing to suggest that Stride was a victim of Jack The Ripper.

Tabram

Martha Tabram is an entirely different prospect. Many people have dismissed her case, feeling that she was killed by her soldier client, however most researchers concur with the weighty opinions of Abberline and Anderson who later believed that she was the first true victim.

Tabram was last seen with her soldier client at 1145pm, and her body was seen at approximately 330am, obviously leaving her enough time to find a new client after leaving the soldier. The soldier who went with Pearly Poll was seen by a policeman at 130am, saying that he was waiting for his friend, obviously having agreed a set time to meet up. It is unlikely that the soldiers, two friends, would agree a set time, and then be two hours late.

As John Ogan points out, it was not suspected for long that a bayonet was the murder weapon, and that doctors of the time accepted that even a pen knife could have been used. Although her throat was not cut, the fact that the private parts were the prime target suggests that she was the first victim of Jack the Ripper.

Furthermore, if we take the victims as being:

Tabram-->Nichols-->Chapman-->Eddowes-->Kelly

we can see an undoubted increase in mutliations, backing up the belief that the killer suffered from a failing mind.

Later victims

Of the remaining victims, Nichols, Chapman and Eddowes are universally accepted as victims, and really need no further discussion.

There has been some debate as to whether or not Kelly was a true Ripper victim, or victim of a copycat killing. Bruce Paley has suggested that she may have been killed by Joseph Barnett, as the MO is so different (i.e. killed in doors). However the police interviewed Barnett for four hours, and were entirely satisfied with his story. We can therefore assume that he had a solid alibi. Also, Julia Van Turney had stated that Barnett was kind to Kelly and kept her well, and he simply does not fit the pattern of a psychopath.

Although the MO is different, surely it was inevitable that Jack the Ripper would eventually move off the police-infested streets and kill in a prostitutes dwelling, where he could not be seen or interrupted. The drawing of Millers Court is well known to have been incorrect, and the killer would have bolted Kelly's door by reaching through the broken window pane- i.e the killer did not need a door key.

The style of mutliations are more severe, but not really that different to Eddowes. They are still in the style of Masonic ritualism (circular removal of breasts, heart torn out), and the missing heart falls into line with the missing kidneys, uterii etc from the other victims.

There has been a suggestion that the Millers Court Victim was not actually Kelly, but another prostitute, and that the extensive face mutliation made it impossible to confirm the identity. This 'theory' suggested that Kelly had been in some sort of trouble, and that another prostitute was killed, made to look like a Ripper victim, and that Kelly then fled the country to America, everyone believing that she was dead! This is apparently supported by the fact that there were some clothes in the fireplace, supposedly the remnants of the prostitutes clothing. This theory is absolute rubbish. I believe that Kelly was the victim, and was killed by Jack The Ripper.

The Suspect

Francis J Tumblety was a well known suspect in 1888, but somehow his existence was missed by researchers until the surfacing of the Littlechild Letter.

As with all of the suspects, there is no concrete evidence pointing to Tumblety, but the plethora of circumstancial evidence, as well as the Letter and opinion of such a high-ranking Officer make Tumblety the most plausable new suspect since the discovery of the Macnaughten memorandum. Many people have dismissed Tumblety becuase there are a number of glaring problems in the Evans/Gainey book (otherwise a very good read), although I feel that I have a good argument for him being the killer.

Incarcerated at the time of Kelly's death?? NO!!

Tumblety is often rejected because many researchers have the impression that he was in jail at the time of Kelly's death. This is NOT true. He was arrested on 7th November on a gross indecency charge, a misdemeanour which means he would have been granted police bail until the time of the next magistsrates sitting (16th). He was therefore on the streets from 7th until he was re-arrested on 14th, and re-bailed on the 16th. He was therefore around at the time of the Millers Court glut.

He then fled to the USA via France, under an alias. "Why did the police only send one man to catch the Ripper?"I hear you cry, immediately writing him off. In fact, Inspector Walters had the assistance of "half a dozen English Detectives and two clerks"(A to Z page 30). If Tumblety was only on an indecency charge, the police would not have pursued him. They obviously suspected him of far worse.

Tumblety was also an Irish-American Fenian, and possibly part of a plan to assassinate Balfour. It is also believed that he had a role in the murder of two members of the Irish Office (whose names I forget), who were stabbed to death in a park by a man matching the description of a certain American doctor.

There are numerous things pointing to Tumblety, apart from his possibly being the Batty Street Lodger. The most enticing point is that an inventory of personal belongings was taking on his death, and as well as some extremely expensive jewellry , $1000 in bonds and over $430 in cash, he also had TWO CHEAP IMITATION RINGS value $2-3, exactly the same as those missing from Annie Chapman! A serial killer's trophy?

The evidence is as follows:

  • Known for his hatred of women
  • wife had worked as a prostitute whilst married to him
  • anatomical knowledge
  • muders ceased when he flew
  • uses of aliases
  • known to police at time as a bad character
  • Scotland Yard contacted New York Police for a copy of his handwriting just after the Eddowes death, obviously suspecting him.
  • Pursued to New York after jumping bail following a misdemeanour
  • Unusually high bail for a misdemeanour
  • rich enough to finance his time in the East End
  • prior form in the USA/Canada (procuring an illegal abortion, manslaughter of a patient)
  • The rings in his inventory
  • collected body parts in jars to show to guests
  • peddled porn as a child
  • matches most descriptions (and looked younger than his years)
  • gross indecency charge shows his deviancy
  • letters to Henry Hall Caine shows his changeable temper
  • Littlechild letter
  • on the streets at the time of Kelly's death
  • had lodings in Liverpool (cf Liverpool letters, probably the only real letters. Arguable)

Tumblety was known to the police, was probably the infamous Batty Street lodger and was pursued to America. There was also a "large dossier on him at Scotland Yard" according to Littlechild, which has unfortunately been lost.

His character points to him being Jack The Ripper.

I have mentioned that I believe that the Liverpool Letters were the only real letters, as I think that where it says "I shall be at work in the Minories on 1st and 2nd inst", it does not mean on the first and 2nd of this month, but within the next 1 and 2 days. As we know, the letters were sent from Liverpool on 29th and Eddowes was killed on the 30th, therefore matching the date on the letter.

I believe that the victims/killers were as follows:

Fairy Fay                     did not exist
Emma Smith                 an Old Nichols Gang
Martha Tabram             Francis J Tumblety
Polly Nichols                Francis J Tumblety
Annie Chapman             Francis J Tumblety
Lizzie Stride                  Aaron Kosminski
Catherine Eddowes         Francis J Tumblety
Mary Jane Kelly             Francis J Tumblety

I would welcome any comments
Scott Hannaford


Related pages:
  Francis Tumblety
       Dissertations: A Slouch Hatted Yank: A Few Thoughts on the Newly Found I... 
       Dissertations: The Canterbury Encore: The Further Adventures of Dr. Tumb... 
       Dissertations: Tumblety Talks 
       Message Boards: Francis Tumblety 
       Official Documents: The Littlechild Letter 
       Press Reports: Arkansas Gazette - 16 April 1891 
       Press Reports: Arkansas Gazette - 19 April 1891 
       Press Reports: Atchison Daily Globe - 15 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 21 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 
       Press Reports: Brandon Mail - 22 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 10 May 1864 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 10 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 18 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 19 June 1865 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 2 February 1889 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 27 April 1890 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 28 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 4 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 6 May 1864 
       Press Reports: Brooklyn Daily Eagle - 8 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Bucks County Gazette - 13 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Bucks County Gazette - 20 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Burlington Weekly Hawkeye - 6 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Chicago Tribune - 22 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Chicago Tribune - 22 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Chicago Tribune - 6 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Courier du Canada - 4 November 1857 
       Press Reports: Courier du Canada - 6 November 1857 
       Press Reports: Daily Alta California - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Examiner - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Examiner - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Sun - 22 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Decatur Daily Herald - 26 June 1889 
       Press Reports: Decatur Review - 19 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 11 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 17 April 1862 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 2 June 1865 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 21 April 1862 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 21 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 27 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 3 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 30 June 1862 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 4 December 1861 
       Press Reports: Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel - 18 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Fort Wayne Weekly Sentinel - 19 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 5 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Galveston Daily News - 7 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Hamilton Evening Times - 29 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Hamilton Evening Times - 8 May 1865 
       Press Reports: Hornesville Weekly Tribune - 21 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Canadian - 12 October 1875 
       Press Reports: Manitoba Daily Free Press - 29 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Manitoba Daily Free Press - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 14 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 16 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 23 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 24 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 25 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 26 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 28 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Montreal Pilot - 30 September 1857 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 10 July 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 11 August 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 13 September 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 14 August 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 16 October 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 27 September 1860 
       Press Reports: Morning Freeman - 39 September 1860 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 21 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 26 June 1903 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 10 June 1865 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 26 June 1903 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 5 May 1865 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 7 May 1865 
       Press Reports: New York Tribune - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 2 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 5 December 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 6 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Newark Daily Advocate - 30 May 1903 
       Press Reports: Oakland Daily Evening Tribune - 8 December 1890 
       Press Reports: Olean Democrat - 3 January 1889 
       Press Reports: Olean Democrat - 7 February 1889 
       Press Reports: Olean Democrat - 8 August 1889 
       Press Reports: Perth Courier - 26 November 1858 
       Press Reports: Pittsburgh Daily Chronicle and Telegraph - 27 November 18... 
       Press Reports: Reno Evening Gazette - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Rochester Daily Union and Advertiser - 4 April 1881 
       Press Reports: Rochester Daily Union and Advertiser - 5 April 1881 
       Press Reports: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - 23 June 1905 
       Press Reports: Rochester Democrat and Republican - 3 December 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Chronicle - 18 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Chronicle - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Chronicle - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Daily Morning Call - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Daily Report - 21 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Daily Report - 23 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Examiner - 25 November 1888 
       Press Reports: San Francisco Examiner - 27 November 1888 
       Press Reports: St. Thomas Weekly Dispatch - 20 March 1862 
       Press Reports: St. Thomas Weekly Dispatch - 28 March 1861 
       Press Reports: Syracuse Herald - 30 November 1888 
       Press Reports: The Headquarters - 12 February 1862 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 1 December 1873 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 17 July 1886 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 19 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 4 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 6 December 1888 
       Press Reports: Vallejo Chronicle - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Vanity Fair - 3 August 1861 
       Press Reports: Washington Post - 18 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Washington Post - 19 November 1890 
       Press Reports: Washington Post - 21 March 1905 
       Press Reports: Washington Post - 22 April 1891 
       Press Reports: Williamsport Sunday Grit - 9 December 1888 
       Ripper Media: A Few Passages in the Life of Dr. Francis Tumblety 
       Ripper Media: Dr. Francis Tumblety: A Sketch of the Life of the Gifted,... 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide - Francis Tumblety 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: First American Serial Killer 
       Ripper Media: Narrative of Dr. Tumbletyy 
       Ripper Media: The Writings of Francis Tumblety 
       Suspects: Francis Tumblety 
       Suspects: Francis Tumblety's Grave 
       Victorian London: Batty Street 
  Scott Hannaford
       Dissertations: Anderson and the Swanson Marginalia 
       Dissertations: Problems with the Macnaghten Memoranda