|A Ripperoo Article
|This article originally appeared in Ripperoo, the flagship magazine of the Australian Cloak and Dagger Club. For more information, view our Ripperoo page. Our thanks to the editor of Ripperoo for permission to reprint this article.
By Julian Rosenthal
As many people believe, the 'Autumn Of Terror' murders ended on Friday November 9th 1888, with the demise of Mary Jane Kelly....or did they?
The popular belief is that serial killers have a MO, (Modus Operandi), by which they fulfil their murderous desires, by acting out a fantasy which rarely changes but escalates over a period of time.
A lot of theorists have used this personality trait to dispel the belief that Jack may have committed more murders than the canonical five i.e.: He started with slight bodily mutilations, progressing to the outright butchery of Kelly. After Kelly’s murder, Whitechapel returned to its relatively normal existence of drunkenness, domestic violence, prostitution and daily survival against hunger and poverty.
Just because the mutilation murders ceased, does not necessarily mean Jack ceased, although the often quoted Macnaghten comment that: “….the Whitechapel murderer, in all probability put an end to himself soon after the Dorset Street affair in 1888.” and: “….the Ripper’s brain gave way altogether after his awful glut in Miller’s Court and he committed suicide….” gives the impression that a serial killer will kill himself after such a murderous spree. We now know for certain that this is not true. Neither is the assumption that a serial killer will adhere to the same ‘modus operandi’.
Years of research has revealed that some of the worlds most prolific serial killers either adjusted their homicidal fantasies to incorporate new aspects of trauma, or have totally deviated away from their original methods of murder in an either deliberate move to throw police off the track, or to entertain their current fantasy of murder.
Some prime examples are: Henry Lee Lucas – didn’t care who he killed or how he killed them; Vaughn Greenwood – either slashed the throats, stabbed or used a hatchet to kill his victims whose ages varied from 42 years to the 70 year old Mance Porter; Melvin Rees killed a family of four then went on to randomly kill four other teenagers. The most significant of these 'change of patter killers' was the 'Zodiac' killer, who between 1966 and 1981, had claimed some 49 victims. Not only did he change his methods of killing from using a knife or a pistol, he also taunted the police with letters saying that he was going to change his M.O. so that they couldn't find him. As with 'Jack the Ripper', the 'Zodiac' wanted and craved immortality in print. 'Zodiac' left whilst remaining an invisible cause of terror within the community.
In a sense reminiscent of the Goulston Street grafito, the 'Zodiac' left a message on the door of a car that belonged to one of his victims: 'Vallejo - 12-20-68. 7-4-69, Sept 27/69-6-30, by knife'. To further pique the police, on January 30, 1974, a San Francisco man received a letter which was signed off: 'Me-37; SFPDO'.
Another great mystery in the realm of serial killers is that of Peter Kurten. Not only did he murder at least twenty people using various weapons including knives, scissors, axes, hammers and ropes, but his victims varied in age from children to adults. The curious thing was Kurten gave himself up! It’s quite possible that he might have been caught after his last attempt to murder a young woman by the name of Butlies. She managed to escape and report him to the authorities. Interestingly enough, Kurten told Butlies that he had no intention of killing her, although he had savagely raped her. Could things have been the same with Jack? Had he simply had enough? After Millers Court Jack simply vanished leaving the authorities to believe he was perhaps dead, (Macnaghten believed he had drowned in the Thames, implicating M.J. Druitt), or had he, (like Joseph Barnett supporters believe), satiated himself with enough bloodlust to last him a lifetime and then proceeded to ingratiate himself back into the community and pursue an innocent lifestyle, marriage and full time employment.
What did happen to Jack? Some would believe that he continued on his murderous spree unabated. For example. On the 13th of February 1889 at 2:20 a.m., Constable Ernest Thompson found Francis Coles, (Carrotty Nell), lying in an alley beneath the railway arches of Chambers Street and Rosemary Lane, (commonly known as Swallow Gardens). Thompson noticed that her throat had been cut, but her eyes were open and in his belief she was still alive. As he was looking after Coles he claimed to have heard footsteps running away, but as was his duty, he was required to stay with the victim until help arrived. Unfortunately, Frances died on her way to hospital, giving neither Thompson a chance to chase the offender nor Coles to give a description of her attacker.
Such was the scare that the Ripper had returned after three months of abstinence, Arnold, Reid, Macnaghten and Anderson attended the murder scene. Their only clue was that Coles had been seen with a Thomas Sadler, merchant seaman and a violent drunk man who had been her companion for the past two days.
Some people may argue that the time difference rules ‘Jack’ out as the murderer, but in an equally valid argument, didn’t Jack take time out in October 1888 between the ‘Double Event’ and the murder of Kelly?
Another significant point to make is that Francis Coles’ throat had been cut three times, left to right, right to left and then left to right again. This is somewhat different to the canonical five caught out after a bit of ‘time-off’ and before the mutilations could begin?
And what about Rose Mylett? JULES!