20 November 1897
Monumental Crimes of the Frenchman Who Killed For the Sake of Killing
NOT JACK THE RIPPER
There is nothing in modern history with which to compare the sanguinary career of the French slaughterer Vacher, the story of whose crimes has recently been told by cable. The Jack the Ripper murders in London ten years ago are completely eclipsed by it, and the revelation is still incomplete. More than a score of assassinations have been brought home to this bloodthirsty wretch, and scarcely a day passes that another is not added to the list. It is doubtful if the murderer himself knows the number of his victims. He nonchalantly tells the story of some fresh tragedy to the examining magistrate from time to time as the details recur to his diseased mind. Investigation in each case so far has produced full corroboration of the murderer's narrative.
The story of this man, who killed merely for the sake of killing, should be made known throughout Christendom, for it constitutes the most startling warning of modern times against the criminal folly of turning loose upon society an individual subject to fits of homicidal mania. Vacher, who is only about 26 years old, was at one time confined to an insane asylum as a "dangerous monomaniac" but was discharged as fully cured. Dr. Gilbert, the well known expert in mental diseases, says that the physicians at the asylum released Vacher, although they knew he was not fit to be at large, because they were afraid of an outcry in the press against the arbitrary confinement of a citizen under the pretext that he was insane.
That was three years ago. Since that time Vacher has wandered through the country districts of France, leaving everywhere a trail of blood, but undetected, even unsuspected, until by mere chance he was caught almost red handed near Lyons about three weeks ago. Most of his victims were shepherd boys and girls whom he found tending their flocks in lonely fields or on hillsides, but sometimes he killed men and women.