23 October 1923
RASPUTIN DOCUMENT CHALLENGED
SPECIAL TO 'EMPIRE NEWS'
In his book, 'Things I Know', published this week - see page eight - Mr. William Le Queux claims to have revealed the actual identity of Jack the Ripper. He cites a Rasputin manuscript to the effect that the amazing criminal who terrorized London was a mad Russian doctor sent here by the Secret Police to annoy and baffle Scotland Yard.
He gives the name of this doctor as Alexander Pedachenko, who, when in London, lived in Westmorland-road, Walworth. The 'reve- lation' has opened up controversy, and it can be said that the evidence in favour of the Russian doctor theory is not convincingly strong. The theory is directly challenged by an Empire News student of crim- inology, who writes:
'Every head of police knows that Jack the Ripper died in Morris Plains Lunatic Asylum in 1902.
'He was sent there from Jersey City in 1899, and was, for a time, employed in the infirmary of the institution. He was not a "perma- nent"; he had fits of insanity, and I, who knew him as a patient, gave information to the Mulberry-street authorities concerning the patient's identity.
'He was not "wanted" in the United States, so the Detective Depart- ment of New York took no steps in the matter. A letter, giving the facts of the case, was sent to Scotland Yard, and as nothing further was heard of the matter it was allowed to lapse.
'The man was not a Russian. He was a native of Norway and had no knowledge of surgery. He was just a simple sailor suffering from an incurable and terrible disease.
'During the three months before his death two women called to see him. One was known to the patient as Olga Storsjan, and the other - who said she was his sister - gave her name as Helen Fogelma.
As Fogelma the patient was entered in our books. He was subject to fits of terrible depression, and before his death became a fearful coward.
'He had all the weird superstition of his race, and on one occa- sion I heard him scream out in the night, calling upon God to have mercy upon his soul.
'But during the intervals when his brain worked he muttered of scenes and incidents that connected him clearly with the atrocious crimes of 1888.
'His sister, to whom I mentioned these muttered facts, became fearful for his life, but when I assured her that, being now certified as a lunatic, he was immune from the death penalty, she told me that he had done some terrible things in London.
'She showed me cutting(s) from the Press of New York and from the London papers. These she had found in the trunk of her brother, who alter he landed in New York lived with her at 324, East 39th-street.
'Many of the passages were underscored, and marginal notes, in sarcastic vein, gave an insight into the working of the madrnan's brain.
'His sister told me that in his native town of Arendal he was known as a good-living youngster. His passion was for the sea, and he came to London with no idea of staying there.
'Then, for a year or so, she lost sight of her brother, and heard no more of him until in 1898 he came to her and the other girl, both of whom had come to New York to seek a living.
'When he appeared in their flat at the above address, the girls did not know him. He was worn to a skeleton, and in rags. They kept him for some months, and all the time he had to spare he would read over and over again the cuttings relating to the Ripper crimes.
'Olga Storsjan was the old-time sweetheart of this awful wreck of a man, and soon after his coming to their flat she decided to leave it. She went to Jersey City, but the man followed her, and it was upon her information to the police that he was arrested and committed to the asylum.
'Before he died this man sent for the Rev. J. Miosen, the pastor of a Nestorien church in New York. To him the dying man told enough to connect him with the crimes committed in London.
'Three letters found in his tin trunk were copied, and one of these is in answer to a letter to one Carol Mackonvitch. In it he makes mention of a great necessity to leave England, and the money appears to have been supplied by the man Carol.
'Against this theory, Sir Melville Macnaghten, Chief of the CID at the time, says in his memoirs:-
"'I incline to the belief that the individual who held up London in terror resided with his own people; that he absented himself at certain times, and that he committed suicide on or about November 10, 1888."
And in favour of the Russian doctor theory Sir Robert Anderson, who was Commissioner of the Police at the time, always maintained the view that the murders were the work of a medical man.