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Atchison Daily Globe
Kansas, USA
11 October 1888

THE LONDON HORROR
WHITECHAPEL, THE DISTRICT OF THE RECENT AWFUL MURDERS

It Is Part of the World's Metropolis Reeking in Vice and Steeped in Poverty and Misery - Some Terrible Murders of History

London now has a horror that interests the police and public of the civilized world, and has called out a bewildering variety of opinions from experts in the morbid anatomy of crime and insanity. The plainest statement of the facts excites anger, pity and disgust. Ina few weeks seven women of the lowest class of unfortunates to be found in the notorious slums of Whitechapel have been found dead in the streets: in each case the corpse was shockingly mutilated, and in all but one the whole internal organ of reproduction was removed, the line of section indicating that the act was done by a person versed in the anatomy of the parts, and skillful with the surgeon's knife. In the one case where this was not done, the body was still warm and bleeding, indicating that the perpetrator had been frightened away before completing his hideous task.

During the same period the corpse of a woman similarly mutilated was found in a town in the north of England; and if, as is likely, the murderer was the same, this makes his eighth victim. The first two cases excited no great interest, as quarrels and murders are no new thing in the Whitechapel district; but the horrible monotony of the crimes has since made this a case of world wide note. It recalls the cases of the noted French marquis of two centuries ago, who is said to have killed 200 females of all ages, of the French medical student who confessed to killing seventeen women, of Jesse Pomeroy, the boy murderer, and many others.

Alienists are unanimous in the opinion that the murderer is a monomaniac with a homicidal turn; and many add that he is what medical science calls a "sexual pervert" - that is, a man in whom the natural instincts have been changed by disease or excess into a blind hatred and desire to kill and mangle. Such cases are not so uncommon as the unlearned would suppose. In the notorious Bender murders in Labette county, Kan., in1878, all the victims were men except that the little daughter of one man, traveling with her father, was killed with him; and in each case the mutilations were unmentionable. As none of the portions of the bodies removed were found, the people concluded that Kate Bender, the directing genius of the gang, who claimed wonderful healing powers and converse with extra-human agencies, had used them in the vile incantations she practiced. It is not easy for the healthy mind to conceive of such degraded creatures; yet medical history records many similar cases, nearly all men. Women murderers nearly always resort to poison, as even the most depraved retain their natural horror of blood; but with men the exact opposite is true. The homicidal man maniac takes a wild joy in seeing the flow of blood, in looking on the ghastly wounds and the writhings of his victim.

The London police have been completely at sea, and some of the theories put forth by their chiefs are too absurd for one's patience. One, for instance, was that an American medical student did the deeds because he wanted to collect a number of anatomical specimens! The most reasonable theory is that the monomaniac has been injured, or thinks he has, by one of these women, and is wreaking his vengeance on the class. His cunning is wonderful - not an uncommon thing in monomaniacs. Dr. William Hammond, the eminent alienist, very sensible says the police have gone wrong from the start, because they have looked only for a self evident villain, a man "whose face would go far to hang him", while the probabilities are many to one that the perpetrator is a decorous and soft spoken gentleman, living an apparently virtuous life, a man whose closest acquaintances do not suspect of crime. Such was the appearance of the noted De Retz, the French "Bluebeard" above referred to, and of the young man who confessed to seventeen murders. Incidentally, it may be noted that Kate Bender was not at all unattractive, and that Jesse Pomeroy was what many people would call a "fine looking boy." He was sent to the Massachusetts state's prison for life, and though the papers stated that Kate escaped, there are men in Kansas who could show you the very spot where she, her half witted brother and her parents were laid beneath the prairie sod. Chief Inspector Byrnes, of New York city, accepts the opinion of Dr. Hammond and insists that the New York police could have caught the man by using the women as decoys. He added:

"We caught the fellow who had a mania for throwing vitriol upon womens' dresses red handed immediately after it was reported. His crime was localized. He frequented Fourteenth street. I made victims for him, and my men were thickly scattered through that district. We have no such autocratic powers as the London police, but if a crime is so plainly localized in one particular district, as in the case of these London murders, we would most assuredly arrest the perpetrator in short order."


Related pages:
  Female Decoys
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Brandon Mail - 16 October 1890 
       Press Reports: Chicago Tribune - 7 October 1888