Kosminski Census Records
You can download a PDF displaying Kosminksi family census records by clicking the link above. Courtesy of Scott Nelson. (Adobe Acrobat required)
by Robert House
This essay looks at some new angles regarding the plausibility of Aaron Kosminski as a Jack the Ripper suspect. In general, I do not discuss the controversies which argue that Aaron is not actually the "Kosminski" suspect. In general, I agree with Stewart Evans dissertation on the subject of the Seaside Home identification. I have read and studied all Scott Nelson's articles on this subject and I have to admit that I do not agree with his hypothesis, although I do commend him for his intelligently written and well researched essays.
Aaron Kosminski - Basic Background
Aaron Kosminski was born in 1864 or 1865, probably in Russia. Records suggest that it is likely that Aaron emigrated west with his sisters and their families from Russia/Poland in about 1880-1881. In all likelihood they lived briefly in Germany in 1881, and had settled in London by later in 1881 or in 1882. It appears that Aaron's mother did not come with them at this time. By 1901 she is living at 63 New Street with Morris and Matilda Lubnowski, Aaron's brother-in-law and sister respectively, and their 4 children. Listed as "Cohen L." in the census, they later changed their last name to "Lubnowski-Cohen".
The emigration of Aaron's sisters and their families is indicated by the birth records of the Lubnowski children: Joseph, the oldest, was born in Poland in 1880; Bertha was born in Germany in 1881; Annie (b. 1884) and Jane (b. 1888) were both born in London. Likewise, the children of Woolf and Betsy Abrahams were both born in London: Rebecca in 1882, and Matilda in 1890.
It seems likely that Aaron emigrated in the company of his sisters' families, although this is not certain.
To put this in context, it is important to understand the history of Poland in the 19th century, and the political and social environment that existed in Russia at the time.
Poland, The Pale of Settlement, and the Pogroms of 1881
Poland had been in decline for nearly a century by the late 18th century. Taking advantage of a weakened Poland, Russia, Prussia, and Austria agreed to annex parts of the country beginning in 1772. By 1795, a third partition of what remained of Poland had wiped the country off the map. Russia took the largest area, but also the least important economically.
When several hundred thousand Jews became incorporated into the Russian Empire, the Russian government immediately perceived them as "the Jewish Problem," either to be solved by enforced assimilation or expulsion. In Russia, there had been a distrust and lack of tolerance for the Jews since the Middle Ages. This problem was largely unaddressed until 1835, when Tsar Nicholas I created the Pale of Settlement, a limited geographic area in which the Jews were forced to live. The government also imposed severe restrictions on the Jews in the Pale.
"Within the Pale, Jews were banned from most rural areas and some cities (Ritter); they were prohibited from building synagogues near churches and using Hebrew in official documents; barred from agriculture, they earned a living as petty traders, middlemen, shopkeepers, peddlers, and artisans, often working with women and children (Kniesmeyer and Brecher). After 1861, "the Pale became choked by a huge, pauperized mass of unskilled or semiskilled Jewish laborers, whose economic condition steadily worsened," said Klier (6). "Often repeated," said historian Shlomo Lambroza, "the official view was that Jews were a parasitic element in the Russian Empire who lived off the hard earned wages of the narod [people]" (219)."
"In the provinces of the Pale of Settlement, Jews form approximately one-ninth of the population. As their number increases due to the high birth rate and better medical care, the confinement to the Pale causes growing poverty."
In the 1860s, there was a brief period of improvement of the condition for the Jews in Russia. Some of the oppressive restrictions were relaxed, and the Tsar emancipated the Russian serfs. "Bit by bit, small groups of Jews considered "useful" are allowed to settle outside the Pale: merchants, medical doctors and artisans. The Jewish communities of St. Petersburg, Moscow and Odessa grow rapidly, and Jews start to participate in the intellectual and cultural life."
But "the sudden appearance of Jewish lawyers, journalists and entrepreneurs" caused a sharp backlash. By the 1870s, Anti-Semitism was on the rise in Russia. "Anti-Semitic agitation, expressed in newspapers like Novoye Vremya, increases after a wave of Slavophile nationalism in the 1870s." The Russian peasants viewed the Jews as aliens, with a strange and mysterious culture. "During the decade before the pogroms of 1881, a growing atmosphere of crisis surrounded the Jewish Question in Russia."
"The assassination of Tsar Alexander II in March 1881 threw the Russian government into chaos and directly preceded the first major outbreak of pogroms." There were rumors that Tsar Alexander III had issued a decree instructing the people to beat and plunder the Jews for having murdered his father. Beginning in Elizabetgrad, a wave of pogroms (organized and often officially encouraged attacks) spread throughout the southwestern regions, totaling 200 in 1881 alone. Approximately 40 Jews were killed, many times that number wounded, and hundreds of women were raped. The violence consisted of assault, looting, arson, rape and murder. Peasants who plundered and destroyed the Jews possessions "may have felt justified that... they were merely appropriating property which did not rightly belong to the Jews." "The authorities condoned these attacks through their inaction and indifference, sometimes even showing sympathy for the pogromists"; for example, a government investigation concluded that "Jewish exploitation" was to blame for the pogroms.
The pogroms generated a wave of Jewish migration that continued for decades. Many Ashkenazi Jews (from Central and Eastern Europe) settled in the United Kingdom. An estimated 120,000 Ashkenazi Jews, mainly from Russia and Poland, arrived in England between 1880 and 1914. Many Jews emigrate via Hamburg, Germany, which serves as a safe temporary haven for refugees on their way to England and America and other western nations.
This gives a rather clear picture of the environment in which Aaron Kosminski lived until the age of about 17 or 18. Poland has been annexed by Russia: this explains the records which state that Betsy was born in Russia, and that Joseph was born in Poland. Both would have been true. It is almost certain that Aaron and his family lived in the Pale.
Thus as a boy, Aaron would have lived in a crowded environment, characterized by extreme poverty and oppression, most likely an urban ghetto, or perhaps outside the city in a "shtetl" or small town. As both women and children were expected to work, it is likely that Aaron would have worked, perhaps as McNaughten informed G. Sims, he had been at one time employed in a hospital, as a hairdersser or an orderly.
By the time Aaron is an adolescent, there is widespread anti-semitism in Russia. It is important to consider the effect that this would have had on a young boy. It is likely that at this time Aaron would have began to develop a sense of resentment towards the world at large.
Living conditions in the Pale were extremely crowded, and it is almost certain that Aaron would have shared a bed with either his parents or his sisters when he was young. This will be addressed later in the essay.
In 1878, when Aaron was 13 or 14 years old, the myth of the "Blood Libel" was revived in anti-Semetic newspapers like Novoye Vremya. This myth held that the Jews participated in the ritual murder of Christians, to use the blood of Christian children to appease the wrath of God. Specifically the myth held that "Jews had kidnapped a Christian child, tied him to a cross, stabbed his head to simulate Jesus' crown of thorns, killed him, drained his body completely of blood, and mixed the blood into matzos (unleavened bread) at time of Passover." As this myth was revived amidst a culture of increasing racism, social unrest and chaos, it is perhaps relevant to contemplate the effect these sorts of ideas would have had on an impressionable 13 year old boy.
It is not clear exactly when Aaron and his extended family left the Pale. It was certainly after 1880, and before 1882. I would argue that the pogroms in March 1881 caused the Kosminskis to decide to emigrate west. This was the case for hundreds of thousands of Jews who decided to emigrate west after the pogroms.
So assuming Aaron was still in the Pale in March 1881, he would have witnessed these violent attacks in person. This would have had a severly damaging effect on Aaron, both psychologically and emotionally. It is likely that he witnessed violent acts, destruction of property, and possibly even murder and rape. Although we have no evidence for this, we must consider the possibility that Aaron even witnessed the rape of his mother or his sisters. Remember, hundreds of women were raped in the Pogroms, and we must recall that Betsy and Matilda would have been young women in their 20's at the time.
In conclusion, Aaron was raised in an environment of poverty, rising anti-semitism, and crowded living conditions. As a teen he would have witnessed attacks and quite possibly sexually violent assaults and rape on his neighbors and maybe even his own family.
As I mentioned before, it is unclear whether Aaron emigrated to London with his sisters (around 1881-2), or whether he stayed behind and joined them there later. It is possible that he stayed behind with his mother in either Russia/Poland or Germany. There is no record known to exist that refers to Aaron's father, but by 1891, it is clear that he is no longer in the picture. Thus we may only speculate. But it is possible that he either died or left the family much earlier, while they were still in Poland. Thus we must consider the possibility that Aaron was raised without a strong father figure in a family environment dominated by females.
The Psychological Profile of a Sexual Killer
In the United States, John Douglas and Robert Resseler are considered to be two of the leading experts on criminal profiling, especially as it relates to sexual homicide. Between 1979 and 1983, the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit (BSU) undertook a large study in which they entered into correctional facilities and interviewed a study sample of 36 convicted sexual killers about their backgrounds, crimes, crime scenes, and victims. The data they collected in this period served as the basis for the profiling method they developed and is still in use in many jurisdictions today. The FBI's primary model for profiling offenders is based on distinguishing between the organized offender, and the disorganized offender.
In England, the leading expert on profiling is David Canter, and his approach is different from the American model, relying more on an evergrowing database for statistical analysis.
Some will argue that profiling is not an effective tool for apprehending criminals, and indeed, profiling has been shown in many cases to be inaccurate and fallible. That being said however, it is generally acknowledged that sexually motivated serial killers have many common characteristics, and often share similar backgrounds, etc. Thus we may look at what is known or suspected about Aaron Kosminski, and see if he fits into the profile of a sexual killer.
NOTE: Much of what follows is from the book Sexual Homicide, Patterns and Motives, by Robert K. Resseler, Ann W. Burgess, and John E. Douglas.
Instability of ResidenceData shows that the majority of interviewed sexual killers grew up without a stable residence. Half reported "occasional instability", while another 17% reported "chronic instability or frequent moving". Only 1/3 reported growing up in one location.
"The histories of frequent moving... reduced the child's opportunities to develop positive, stable relationships outside the family".1
Evidence seems to indicate that Aaron Kosminski was born in Russia in the Jewish Pale of Settlement; that he later emigrated and probably lived for some time in Germany; and that he finally settled in London around 1881 or soon after. Once there, the family possibly lived temporarily at a residence in Whitechapel, brfore settling at Sion Square and Greenfield Street. It is likely that Aaron lived at either 3 Sion Square or at 16 Greenfield Street, with one of his sisters and her family. Actually, it is quite possible that he was living at both of these addresses at different times. For example, in July 1890 Aaron is admitted to Mile End Old Town Workhouse from 3 Sion Square, which is presumably his residence at the time. In February 1891, he is admitted "from" 16 Greenfield Street. In all likelihood, his sisters felt a responsibility to take care of Aaron, and he may have been difficult to live with. It is possible that they shared in the responsibility of taking care of him.
It may, incidentally, be fair to guess that Aaron lived at the 3 Sion Square address in autumn of 1888, as this was his residence when he was admitted to Mile End Old Town Workhouse less than a year after the series of murders ended.
It should also be noted that in the 1860s, when residential restrictions were relaxed by the Tsar, Aaron and his family may have lived for a brief time outside of the Pale. It is also to be noted that in the extreme poverty and competitive atmosphere that existed in the Pale, it is not likely that the Kosminskis would have had a stable and consistent residence.
It is clear that Aaron's youth and adolesence was characterized by frequent moving.
Absence of Biological Father
In 17 of 34 cases, the offenders interviewed reported that the biological father left home before they reached the age of 12. "The absence was due to a variety of reasons, such as death or incarceration, but most often the reason given was separation or divorce".
Given the departure of the father, it is not surprising that the dominant parent during childhood and adolescence is the mother (this is 21 out of 34 cases). "The psychological and emotional disengagement" resulting from an absent father figure perhaps enhanced a sense of "negative human attachment or the disregarding of potentially positive ones that might have been expected".
As stated before, it is not known when Aaron's father either died or left the family. However it is clear that he did not emigrate to London with "the family unit". The mother had shown up by 1891, but there is never any indication that Aaron had a father figure, with the exception of his brothers-in-law, after age 17 or 18. It is quite possible that the father left the family much earlier, when they were still in the Pale.
20 out of 34 interviewed offenders had no older brothers, and 17 had no older sisters. One offender reported feeling jealous of his sister as a kid. Others reported a change in "sibling order" as a result of reconstituted families, with new step-brothers and sisters.
This is perhaps relevant in the case of Aaron Kosminski. As his mother did not apparently arrive in London until later, it is possible that Aaron regarded his older sisters as sort of substitute mother figures, ie. people who would take care of him. As Jacob Cohen reported in 1891, he had not worked for years, so we must assume that the sisters' families supported Aaron financially.
Perceived Unfair Treatment By Adults in Formative Years
As has been discussed, Aaron was raised in an environment characterized by harsh and officially endorsed anti-semitism, where Jews were hated and mistrusted, regarded as aliens, and as "a parasitic element". Also, Aaron likely witnessed first hand the pogroms on Jews in 1881, when he was 16 or 17 years old. It is not a stretch to imagine that Aaron would have begun to develop a general resentment of adults and authority figures as a result of this.
"Many of the murderers felt they were not dealt with fairly by adults throughout their formative years". One killer said "I wanted the whole world to kick off when I was 9 or 10." Also, I will note in passing this same killer said " I've got an older sister thaqt beat up on me a lot.... I had the instinct to feel like I'm getting a rotten deal."
It has been noted that an ineffective and hateful social environment leads to developing cognitive distortions, and negative attitudes which later become the justification for violent acts towards others.
Witnessing Sexual Activity/ Violence
"The individual development characteristics of the thirty-six murderers showed the presence of sexual problems and violent experiences in childhood, and a dominant sexual fantasy life." Many of the murderes interviewed had witnessed sexual violence or "disturbing" sex as a child or adolescent
In the pogroms of 1881, "hundreds of women were raped". It is not overstating the case to imagine that witnessing sexual violence, combined with assault, looting, destruction of property, and possibly murder, would have had a potentially devastating effect on a 16 year old.... especially combined as this was with a (possibly) absent father figure, and an overall environment of harsh anti-semitism and poverty.
Often in the case of sexual murderers, there is an identification with the aggressor, and these memories later fuel the development of an isolated fantasy realm. Aaron may also have identified the social system as being weak and ineffectual, unable to protect his family from the violence that was going on in the Pale. This may have further reenforced his fantasy-realm identification with the aggressor, and made him think that the social system was ineffectual in stopping crime and violence.
"Over 80% of sexual killers interviewed in the FBI study reported "compulsive masturbation" in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Of these, 19 offenders also reported "sexually stressful situations" including, and this is important, "negative parental reaction to masturbation". It has been surmised from Aaron's file that the cause of his attack of insanity was "public display of masturbation". Scott Nelson has argued that this does not fit the profile of a serial killer, whose masturbation is "controlled or secretive". But the facts do not apparently support this claim.
In speaking of the role of aggression in the development of sexual fantasies, the book notes:
"One offender as an adolescet openly masturbated in his home, especially in front of his sisters, using their underwear in his masturbation rituals. This behavior represented the hyperarousal state derived from his memory of his childhood victimization by an adult. He describes the punitive response from his mother to masturbatory behavior, and his rejection by family members. Even upon recall, his pain and hurt at their ridicule was clear."
It is also noted that the subject was apparently "oblivious to the inappropriate nature of his acts".
This particular case may be especially relevant to an understanding of Aaron Kosminski. Especially important to note is that these acts were perceived to be derived from a memory of victimization by an adult. Also important is that he was rejected and ridiculed by family members. It is possible that in Aaron's reconstituted family situation, he may have viewed his sisters and their husbands in more of an authority role, as surragate parents, people who take care of him.
It is also important to consider that Aaron probably shared a bed with his sisters or even perhaps his mother when he was a child. It is possible that Aaron had developed sexualized and perhaps violent fantasies involving the female members of his family. In this sense, the Jack the ripper murders would be seen as acting out violent sexual murder fantasies against prostitutes, who perhaps represented, in his mind, his sisters.
In this context, let us examine another case from the FBI study:
"One offender's early childhood fantasies indicated a fixation on his internal organs. At age 5 (a critical age for gender identification), he described the following event. He was sleeping between his mother and his aunt, when the aunt had a severe hemorrhage, losing blood in the bed... where she miscarried. We can speculate on how the experience of sleeping with two adult females could stimulate feelings of intimacy and closeness, which were then disrupted by a puzzling and violent scene. The visualization of the blood and the miscarriage seems to have triggered a morbid curiosity about female sexual organs..."
"When he reaches adulthood, rage and aggression is noted where there is a link to sexual frustration. He describes impulsively picking up a large kitchen knife in his girlfriend's apartment just after she had been "sexually teasing", thinking of stabbing her.... This type of penetration fantasy is noted in his offences, in which he mutilates his victims by disembowelment".
This extraordinary case sample could almost be describing Aaron Kosminski, if we are to regard him as a suspect in the Jack the Ripper case.
Consider the following scenario: a young Aaron witnesses violence and a generally hateful environment in the Pale; as a result of poverty he is forced to share a bed with some female members of his family, most likely his sisters. He possibly witnesses his sisters menstrual bleeding, for example when his sister Betsy would have been 12 years old in 1869, and Aaron was only 4 or 5. As a result of this he becomes obsessed with the internal organs, and associates blood or violence with sexuality. Later, he begins to have sexual fantasies involving his sisters. When he is about 16 he witnesses violence, murders, and rape during the pogroms in 1881, possible including the rape of members of his family. From then on, he has a confused sexual fantasy realm involving sexual violence and his older sisters. Later, when he is masterbating compulsively, in front of his sisters, they reject him and ridicule him. Out of this miasma of sexual frustration and a sense of rejection, Aaron enacts his violent fantasies involving his sisters towards women in general.
When Aaron was admitted to Colney Hatch Asylum in February 1891, Jacob Cohen reported that Aaron had "not attempted any kind of work for years". It is not clear how many years Cohen meant: this could be interpreted as meaning 2 or 3 years, or more. However, the implication of this statement is that he had worked at some time. He is listed in the asylum record as a hairdresser, so we are led to believe that he worked sporadically at best.
This also fits the general profile as determined by data from the BSU interviews. Only 20% of offenders reported "steady employment"; the vast majority (69%) reported "unsteady employment", and the remainder (11%) reported "unemployment".
Now we shall look at this suspect from the angle of Geographic Profiling, which is one component of the methodology employed by David Canter.
Geographic Profiling techniques include: distance to crime research, demographical analysis, environmental psychology, landscape analysis, point pattern analysis, crime site residual analysis, and psychological criminal profiling.
Canter has developed a model of offender behaviour known as the circle theory, which developed directly from environmental psychology. The theory held that, if all the crime scenes of an offender were placed within a circle, the offender would be found to be living within that circle, possibly close to the centre. This theory was subsequently validated by a study of burglaries.
As noted by D. Kim Rossmo, a serial offender's residence would simply lie at the center of a distribution of crime sites if given ideal conditions.
Thus, we might start by drawing the smallest circle which contains the 6 most probable Jack the Ripper victims: Tabram, Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes, and Kelly. (see figure 1) Using this simple method, the center of the circle is only about 1/8 mile from the Abrahams residence at Sion Square. (NOTE For this case study we will assume Aaron's residence during the murders to be 3 Sion Square, although in all fairness, it could be either or both residences.)
In reality, Geographic Profiling is more complex than this, and crime scenes are often found to be distributed in complex spatial patterns. Contributing to the difficulties are the psychological and physical boundaries that, among other impedence factors, conspire to distort an already complex analytical investigation. It should for example be noted that all the murders, with the exception of Stride, occurred north of Whitechapel High Street/ Whitechapel Road/ Aldgate High Street. This major thoroughfare may have been a sort of psychological boundary in the mind of the Ripper.
Canter describes two models of offender behaviour known as the "marauder" and "commuter" hypothesis, which were developed from the circle theory. The marauder model assumes that an offender will "strike out" from their home base in the commission of their crimes, whereas the commuter model assumes that an offender will travel a distance from their home base before engaging in criminal activity. A basic graphical model of this hypothesis is shown in the diagram below. (see figure 2)
Journey to crime concept
Crime occurs at a "spatial and time intersection between both the offender and the victim". In the case of Jack the Ripper, a sexual predator who targeted prostitutes, this means he had to go where the prostitutes were: in other words Spitalfields.
By contrast, the Jewish areas south of Whitechapel Road, are comparitively respectable. In speaking of the largely Jewish neighborhoods, Sugden says "the streets they overran became, by and large, quiet, law-abiding, and clean..." but that "notwithstanding these changes, crime and prostitution lingered amidst the poverty and squalor, especially in parts of Spitalfields."
In "Whitechapel", an article published in "The Palace Journal"in 1889, Arthur G. Morrison describes walking around in the vicinity of Mansell St, Great Ailie Street, Leman Street, etc: "the houses are old, large, of the very shabbiest-genteel aspect, and with a great appearance of being snobbishly ashamed of the odd trades to which many of their rooms are devoted." "Jewish names - Isaacs, Levy, Israel, Jacobs, Rubinsky, Moses, Aaron - wherever names appear, and frequent inscriptions in the homologous letters of Hebrew." "We are tired, perhaps, of all this respectability. Petticoat Lane is before us..."
He later mentions "White's Row, or Dorset Street, with its hideous associations", and goes on to speak of "dark, silent, uneasy shadows passing and crossing - human vermin in this reeking sink", this being at Fashion Street, Flower and Dean Street, Thrawl Street, and Wentworth Street. Clearly, Spitalfields was the high crime area, the area with the highest incidence of prostitutes, and we assume, as the police did in 1888, that this was the Ripper's hunting ground.
By comparison, P.C. Smith noted when speaking of Berner St. "very few prostitutes were to be seen there". With the exception of Stride, all other murder sites are North of the Whitechapel Road. This seems to suggest that the Ripper's preferred hunting area did not include the more respectable areas in the general vicinity of Sion Square and thereabouts.
In conclusion, we can guess that the Ripper would not have hunted in the "comparitively respectable" Jewish areas south of Whitechapel High Street. He would most likely have preferred Spitalfields.
In certain cases, Canter notes, crimes will be more opportunistic in nature. These are referred to in what he calls "Routine Activity Theory". In other words, if the opportunity arises, and the killer feels comfortable enough to kill with minimum risk, we may find murder sites outside of a killers normal activity space. Stride's murder may be just such a case, and this fact could also explain other anomalies in that particular murder. If we are considering Aaron as the killer, then we must remember that he was within about 1/4 mile of his residence, in a somewhat respectable area, lived in mostly by Poles and Germans. "Offenses occuring outside of the offender's activity space were considered opportunistic, often the result of little or no planning." Thus perhaps, the botched nature of the Stride murder.
Now let us examine the map again, assuming that we are considering Aaron as the killer, and his residence as 3 Sion Square. (see figure 3)
First, it is interesting to note that 3 of the murder sites are almost precisely equidistant from Sion Square: Buck's Row, Hanbury Street, and Dorset Street. Eddowes murder occurred about 1/4 mile further out. Also note that the Berner Street site and George Yard are also almost equidistant from the center of the circle. The Tabram site, however is closest. This is also significant as the FBI reports in Warren et al 1995 "that the first attack in a serial homicide was likely to occur closest to the offender's home".
Likely Getaway Routes
The next image (figure 4) addresses 3 other separate issues. It is noted that Polly Nichols was last seen walking east along Whitechapel High Street at the intersection of Osborn Street. Given Kosminski's probable residence at that time, this might be see as "walking into the lion's den", so to speak. We might imagine Kosminski met Nichols near Sion Square on the Whitechapel Road, then accompanied her to Buck's row.
Next we shall consider the probable getaway routes from Buck's Row and from Mitre Square, as indicated on the map. The piece of apron found in Goulston street indicates the most likely getaway route from the Eddowes murder.
It has been suggested that the Buck's Row getaway route was to the south. On the Whitechapel Photos page of the Casebook website, "Johnno" suggests that the Woods Buildings alley is "very likely escape route through which Jack the Ripper fled after murdering Mary Ann Nichols a few yards away in Buck's Row".
As shown on the map, both of these proposed routes lead directly to Sion Square.
The Police House to House Inquiries of October 1888
It has been proposed that "Kosminski" was initially discovered after the Police house to house search of Spitalfields in October 1888. Sugden describes the search area as extending to Whitechapel road on the south, and Great Garden Street on the east. Thus it is important to note that the northern Sion Square buildings are apparently on the southern side of Whitechapel Road, and thus would probably have been included in the search.
On a final note in this section, I would like to add that although the maps and techniques I have used above are not scientific, yet in a general way, by looking at the maps, many incidental circumstancial bits of evidence "make sense" using the model of Jack the Ripper residing at 3 Sion Square.
In closing, I would summarize my general opinion regarding Aaron Kosminski as a suspect. First it should be noted that McNaughton refers to the suspect as having "a great hatred of women, with strong homicidal tendencies". It can be inferred from this that McNaughton had evidence or a statement to that effect which has become lost. There is no real reason to suspect that McNaughton was lying when he said this. McNaughten also says there "were many circs. connected" with him that "made him a strong suspect."
Many aspects of Aaron Kosminski's background and his "psychoses" seem to fit the profile of a sexual murder. We have a statement that he attacked his sister with a knife, and also we can infer from his background that in his childhood he witnessed horrific acts af aggression, sexual violence, and murder against his neighbors and/or his family. He was presumably identified by Lawende, although this identification was probably not as rock-solid as Anderson seemed to believe.
Aaron's medical certificate declares that "he is guided and his movements altogether controlled by an instinct that informs his mind". In other words he experienced aural hallucinations. This assessment brings to mind many noted serial killers, such as David Berkowitz for example, who claimed to be receiving instructions from a neighbor's dog. Or Ted Bundy who spoke of a presence, or a voice that told him to attack certain people. In Bundy's case this seems to be a sort of "inner dialogue"; in any case, these would be described as auditory hallucination, much like Aaron had.
Notably, Aaron also believed that he was "ill, and his cure consists in refusing food". "He refuses food because he is told to do so, and eats out of the gutter for the same reason." This piece of evidence has been used to characterize Aaron Kosminski as an imbecile, a pathetic and harmless creature. However, in some respects, it is reminiscent of the bizzarre case of Richard Chase, who "believed in 1976 that his blood was turning to powder and that he thus needed blood from other creatures to replenish it." Chase also believed he had soap-dish poisining, which was also in his mind, a justification or rationale for his killings. He believed that if your soap was "gooey, you have the poisoning, which turns your blood to powder." He also seemed to believe that people were poisining his food. Despite this, "one psychiatrist found him to be an antisocial personality, not schizophrenic. His thought processes were not disrupted, and he was aware of what he had done and that it was wrong."
Both of these symptoms, aural hallucinations and "distorted perceptions" are symptoms of schizophrenia. Numerous serial killers have been diagnosed as schizophrenics.
"Schizophrenic disorders generally begin in the late teenage years or early adulthood and tend to occur in withdrawn, seclusive individuals. Symptoms include disturbances of thought, both in form and content (see delusion), and disturbances of perception, most commonly appearing as visual or aural hallucinations." - http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/sci/A0843952.html
As Erin Seigler has pointed out on the message boards:
"Not every schizophrenic talks to himself and foams at the mouth. Some appear quite normal and manage to function well in society. The thing to remember about paranoid schizophrenics (and from what I've read, Kosminski more or less fits into this category) is that their IQs are typically above average and they become quite adept over the years at hiding their delusional system from others."
A final interesting parallel can be found in the case study of "Warren" from Resseler et al. After his incarceration for "assault with intent to commit murder", he underwent a series of psychological evaluations. He was found to be "uncooperative, withdrawn, irratble, resentful and hostile". Although he had a tested IQ of 115, he was described as "withdrawn, and pre-occupied, and at times he seemed to be listening to some inner voice (as though he were experiencing auditory hallucinations, which he denied".
Compare this to Aaron's psychiatric evaluation: "Incoherent, at times excited & violent." "apathetic as a rule". As far as I know, there is no rule as to how a killer will behave after he is "caged".
"Jews in The Russian Empire", at http://www.friends-partners.org/partners/beyond-the-pale/english/29.html
"The History of Poland: Decline and Partition", at http://www.kasprzyk.demon.co.uk/www/Decline.html
"The Pale of Settlement and the Pogroms of 1881 in Russia." The Zionist Exposition: Homeward Bound. (1997): n. pag. Online. Internet. 29 Jan. 1999. Available http://village.co.il/leumi/archives/politic/pale.htm
"Kosminski's Relatives", by Scott Nelson. http://www.casebook.org/dissertations/dst-kosrelatives.html
"Criminal Profiling", By Wayne Petherick. http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminology/criminalprofiling2/
The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, By Phillip Sugden, Carrol & Graf, publishers, 2002.
"Using Functional distance Measures When Calibrating Journey-to-Crime Distance Decay Algorithms", Joshua David Kent, BS., Louisiana State University, 1994. http://etd02.lnx390.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-1103103-095701/unrestricted/THESIS.pdf
"People of the Abyss", Jack London 1903 http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/London/Writings/PeopleOfTheAbyss/
"Whitechapel", From "The Palace Journal" (April 24, 1889), http://www.casebook.org/victorian_london/whitechapel3.html