Tuesday, 16th October 1888
In reference to the mutilation of the bodies of the women murdered recently in London, Dr. Block, a member of the Austrian Riechsrach, directs attention, says the current number of the Hospital Gazette, to the fact that in various German criminal codes of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as also in statutes of a more recent date punishments are prescribed for the mutilating of female corpses, with the object of making from the uterus and other organs "thieves candles" or "soporific candles." According to an old superstition, still rife in various parts of Germany, the light from such candles will throw those upon whom it falls into the deepest slumbers, and they may, consequently, become a valuable instrument to the thieving profession. At the trial of the notorious German robber, Theodor Unger, surnamed "the handsome Charley," who was executed at Magdeburg in 1810, it transpired that a regular manufactory had been established by gangs of thieves for the production of such candles. That this superstition has survived amongst German theives to the present day was proved by a case tried at Biala, in Galieta, as recently as 1875.
The Press Association learn that the Metropolitan police were last night watching anxiously a house in the East End of London, which is strongly suspected of having been the actual lodging or house made use of by some one connected with the East End murders. A statement made by the landlady and neighbours shows that a lodger at this house returned home early on the Sunday morning that the murders were committed. The landlady on getting up noticed he had changed some of his clothes. He told her he was going away for a little time and asked her to wash a shirt for him. After he had gone she found that the wristbands and part of the sleeves were completely saturated with wet blood. When she heard of the murders she gave information to the police, who took possession of the shirt. The man did not return again to the house, which is now occupied by a couple of policemen and two detectives. It is believed that the information received of his former movements may ultimately lead to the man's arrest.
Superintendent Farmer, of the River Tyne police, has received information which it is thought may be a clue to the Whitechapel murderer. An Austrian seaman signed articles on board the Faversham vessel in Tyne on Saturday and sailed for a French port. It was found the signature corresponded with the facsimile letters signed "Jack the Ripper," and that the man's description corresponded with that circulated by the metropolitan police, who have been informed of the result of Superintendent Farmer's inquiries.
The Central News learns that two persons are at present in custody in connection with the Whitechapel murders. The report that an important clue had been obtained through the discovery of a blood-stained shirt left by a suspected character in an East End lodging house had no better foundation than an incident which was satisfactorily explained over a week ago. A petition to the Home Secretary asking for additional constables for Whitechapel, signed by about 200 shopkeepers, will be presented shortly by Mr Montagu, M P.
A Central News telegram of last night says - A man wearing a slouched hat, carrying a black leather bag, speaking with a slightly American accent, and presenting a travel-stained appearance, was arrested at Limavaddy, near Londonderry, this morning by Constable Walsh, on suspicion of being the man who committed the recent murders in the East End of London. The arrest was made as a result of the police description of the man wanted. The prisoner refused to give his name or any information whatever about himself. A woman and child who were with him were also taken into custody.