25 April 1895
A Weird Story of the Perpetrator of the Murders at Whitechapel
He Was an Eminent Physician Who Had Short Fits of Insanity
The Murderer Now in An Asylum a Raving and Dangerous Maniac.
San Francisco, April 24.
Dr. Howard, a London physician of considerable prominence, was the guest of Wm. Greer Harrison at the Bohemian Club recently. The Englishman told a singular story to his host and vouched for its correctness in every particular. It related to the mystery of Jack the Ripper, which the physician declared was no longer a mystery among the scientific men of London, not the detectives of Scotland Yard.
He said that the assassin was a medical man of high standing and extensive practice. He was married to a beautiful and amiable wife, and had a family. Shortly before the beginning of the Whitechapel murders, he developed a peculiar, and to his wife, and inexplicable mania, an unnatural pleasure in causing pain. She grew so alarmed that she became afraid of him and locked herself and children up when she saw the mood coming on him. When he recovered from the paroxysms and spoke to him about it, he laughed at her fears. Then the Whitechapel murders filled London with horror. The suspicions of the wife were aroused, and as one assassination succeeded another, she noted, with heart breaking dread, that at the periods when these murders were supposed to have been committed, her husband was invariably absent from home.
At last the suspense and fear of the wretched wife became unbearable, and she went to some of her husband's medical friends, stated the case and asked their advice and assistance. They called the Scotland Yard force to assist them, and by adding one fact to another, a chain of evidence pointing to the doctor as the author of the murders became complete.
The physicians visited the murderer and told him they wished to consult him about the remarkable case. They stated his own case in detail and asked him what should be done under the circumstances. He replied that while the unmistakeable insanity of the person who could commit these crimes would save him from the halter, he should certainly be confined in a lunatic asylum. Then they told him that he himself was the maniac who had committed these fearful acts. He declared the impossibility of the accusation, but confessed that of late years there were gaps in the twenty four hours of which he positively had no recollection. He said he had awakened in his room as if from a stupor and he found blood upon his boots and stains of blood upon his hands. He also had scratches upon his face and his amputation knives had shown signs of use, though he could not recall having assisted at any operation.
These doctors then assured him there could be no doubt of his identity with the White Chapel assassinations. They made an exhaustive search of the house, led by the accused, and found ample proofs of murder, and the unhappy man whose mind at that moment was in its nominally clear condition, begged to be removed from the world as a guilty and dangerous monster. The necessary papers were made out and the irresponsible murderer was committed to an insane asylum. In a month or two he lost all semblance to sanity and is now the most intractable and dangerous confined in the institution.
San Francisco, April 24.
William Greer, manager of the Thames and Mersey Marine Insurance company, playwright and club man, was seen today by a representative of the Associated Press in regard to the dispatch telegraphed from San Francisco, connecting a prominent London physician, whose name was not given, with the Jack the Ripper murders several years ago. Mr. Harrison stated that the dispatch was entirely correct in every particular so far as the matter reaching him through Dr. Howard is concerned. He stated that Dr. Howard is a well known London physician who passed through San Francisco several months ago and that while he was here he (Harrison) met Howard at the Bohemian club and the latter told him the remarkable story and vouched for its authenticity.