By George R. Sims, 1906
George Robert Sims was a journalist intimately involved in the investigation of the Whitechapel murders. He was in contact with a number of top-ranking officials, and was once even suspected by one individual to have been Jack the Ripper himself!
Mysteries of Modern London was published in 1906, and concerns itself with a number of criminal activities which took place in the late 19th and early 20thh centuries. The opening of Chapter IX, entitled "Lunatics at Large," relates the author's own deductions concerning the Whitechapel murderer's activities.
LUNATICS AT LARGE
The Insanity of Crime-Lunatics without restraint-What happens at the end-A dangerous monster-A erase for killing-Why the crime was committed-Amiable lunatics-Children who are insane
IF to-morrow we were to read that the whole of the inmates of some great metropolitan lunatic asylum had escaped, and were still at large, the inhabitants of London would be seriously alarmed. There would be a general feeling of insecurity, for among the inmates of all great asylums there are many whose form of insanity is dangerous to the community, even when it is not the most serious form of all-homicidal mania.
And yet there are every day in London a sufficient number of lunatics in full possession of their liberty to fill one of its greatest asylums twice over, and many of them are homicidal maniacs.
Hardly a week passes that we do not read of some terribly act committed by a man or woman who has either been in an asylum or has a family history of insanity. But just before the tragedy these unfortunate people were moving about freer among their fellow-creatures, and all the time they were meditating murder, waiting for the opportunity to take a human life.
The series of diabolical crimes in the East End which appalled the world were committed by a homicidal maniac who led the ordinary life of a free citizen. He rode in tramcars and omnibuses. He travelled to Whitechapel by the underground railway, often late at night. Probably on several occasions he had but one fellow-passenger in the compartment with him, and that may have been a woman. Imagine what the feelings of those travellers would have been had they known that they were alone in the dark tunnels of the Underground with Jack the Ripper !
Some of us must have passed him in the street, sat with him perhaps at a cafes or a restaurant. He was a man of birth and education, and had sufficient means to keep himself without work. For a whole year at least he was a free man, exercising all the privileges of freedom. And yet he was a homicidal maniac of the most diabolical kind.
This horrible phase of insanity is not, fortunately, a common one. But there are maniacs of the Ripper type still at large. There have been several crimes of the Ripper character committed in low lodging-houses during recent years, and the perpetrator has always succeeded in making his escape and in retaining his liberty.