London, United Kingdom
Sunday, 21 October 1888
The Mysterious Parcel.
Not a Practical Joke.
The horrible incident of the box containing a portion of a kidney sent to Mr. Lusk, of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, is not generally regarded as a practical joke in view of the opinion given by two medical gentlemen, Dr. Openshaw and Mr. Reed. The box and its contents were taken from Leman street to the City Police Office in Old Jewry, and Dr. Gordon Brown, police surgeon, will examine and make a report in due course. A reporter had an interview with the curator of the Pathological Museum of the London Hospital. In the course of the conversation the gentleman stated with regard to the small parcel received by Mr. Lusk that his microscopical examination of the contents proved it to be the anterior of the left human kidney. It had been preserved, in his opinion, in spirit for about ten days. Until the portion of the kidney had undergone a more minute examination it is almost impossible to say whether it has been extracted from the body of a male or female.
A statement which may possibly give a clue to the sender of the strange package received by Mr. Lusk was made on Friday night be Miss Emily Marsh, whose father carries on business in the leather trade at 218 Jubilee street, Mile End road. In Mr. Marsh's absence Miss Marsh was in the front shop, shortly after one o'clock on Monday last, when a strangers, dressed in clerical costume, entered, and, referring to the reward bill in the window, asked for the address of Mr. Lusk, described therein as the president of the Vigilance Committee. Miss marsh at once referred the man to Mr. J Aarons, the treasurer of the committee, who resides at the corner of Jubilee street and Mile End road, a distance of about thirty yards. The man, however, said he did not wish to go there, and Miss Marsh thereupon produced a newspaper in which Mr. Lusk's address was given as Alderney road, Globe road, no number being mentioned. She requested the stranger to read the address, but he declined, saying, "Read it out," and proceeded to write something in his pocket book, keeping his head down meanwhile. He subsequently left the shop after thanking the young lady for the information, but not before Miss Marsh, alarmed by the man's appearance, had sent the shopboy, James Cormack, to see that all was right. This lad, as well as Miss Marsh, gave a full description of the man, while Mr. Marsh, who happened to come along at the time, also encountered him on the pavement outside. The stranger is described as a man of some 45 years of age, fully six feet in height, and slimly built. He wore a soft felt black hat, drawn over his forehead, a stand up collar, and a very long single breasted overcoat, with a Prussian or clerical collar partly turned up. His face was of sallow type, and he had a dark beard and moustache. The man spoke with what was taken to be an Irish accent. No importance was attached to the incident until Miss Marsh read of the receipt by Mr. Lusk of a strange parcel, and then it occurred to her that the stranger might be the person who had despatched it. His inquiry was made at one o'clock on Monday after noon, and Mr. Lusk received the package at 8 p.m. the next day. The address on the package curiously enough gives no number in Alderney road, a piece of information which Miss Marsh could not supply. It appears that on leaving the shop the man went right by Mr. Aaron's house, but did not call. Mr. Lusk has been informed of the circumstances, and states that no person answering the description has called on him, nor does he know anyone at all like the man in question.
The City police state that there is no truth whatever in the story that a man, supposed to be an American, had been arrested or was being followed in Bermondsey, and that no such statement as reported had been made at the City detective office.
At Belfast, on Friday, John Foster was charged on remand with being connected with the Whitechapel murders. Evidence was given that the chain and locket in his possession had been stolen from a house in the vicinity of Bootle. Prisoner, who is wanted for housebreaking, was remanded for another week for further inquiries.
The police at Commercial street report that on Friday afternoon a strange man was observed in Islington to write upon a wall, "I am Jack the Ripper." He was pursued but was lost sight of.
It transpired on Saturday that on Thursday evening a boy, named Alfred Tomlinson, living at 102 Cator street, Peckham, was walking along the Sumner road when he noticed a parcel lying in the gutter. His curiosity led him to examine it, and he was alarmed to find it contained bones. He took the parcel to his employer - Mr. Brown, a hairdresser, of the Sumner road - who called in a police constable, and all three went to the police station in High street, Peckham. The divisional surgeon, Dr. Phelps, was fetched, and it is understood that as the result of his examination the conclusion as arrived at that the bones were those of a woman's arm. Mr. Woodman, the coroner's officer, was communicated with, and the bones were removed to the Camberwell mortuary. Mr. Wyatt, the coroner, has been informed of the discovery, but as yet no further action has been taken in the matter. A belief largely prevails that the discovery is the outcome of a stupid practical joke indulged in by a medical student.
"Jack the Ripper," having entirely failed to carry out his murderous undertakings, let him be known for the future as "Jack the Liar." The only thing he ever rips is the truth; he certainly mutilates that awfully.
Model lodging houses for the very poor; will not some Peabody arise to bring them into existence? I mean places where necessitous people could find decent lodging for a single night as they do at present at the common lodging houses, with the decency omitted. It would be necessary, however, for obvious reasons, to make it an inflexible rule that the sexes should be separated, whether married or not. There would be little hardship in that; at the common lodging houses the charge for two occupying the same bed is always twice that for a single lodger. Apart from this, the code of regulations should be as elastic as possible. Otherwise, the model houses would stand a good chance of remaining untenanted.
An exciting scene occurred on Saturday in Leman street, Whitechapel. A young man named McCarthy was in the Star Coffee House, and a dispute arising, it is alleged that he struck and wounded another man present; though it is not stated that the injury was inflicted with a knife. The offender was seized by two police officers and a desperate struggle was maintained all the way to the police station, the officers and their prisoner going down several times. A large crowd assembled. The man was ultimately placed in the dock and charged.
Some sensation was caused in Bermondsey on Thursday morning by a rumour to the effect that another horrible tragedy had been committed in that district, a woman having been found with her throat cut. The story, which proved to be unfounded, had its origin in the fact that at an early hour a drunken women fell upon the kerbstone of the pavement in one of the thoroughfares of Bermondsey, and injured her chin. She was discovered lying in the gutter in a semi conscious state, blood flowing from her chin. It was found, on examination, that she was not seriously injured.
A man giving the name of William Russell, and stating that he was discharged a week ago from an American ship, the National Eagle, at the Victoria Docks, Liverpool, had given himself up to the police at Maidenhead, accusing himself of having committed a murder in London on the night of the 12th inst. He says that on the night in question he had been drinking with a woman, whom he calls "Annie." They subsequently quarrelled, and he threw the woman over the parapet of Westminster Bridge into the Thames. He then ran way, and has since been hiding at Kew and Windsor. Haunted, however, by the belief that he was being hunted down, he became so uneasy that he could get no rest, and consequently surrendered himself to the police. He described the woman as rather good looking, of dark complexion, and rather stout - "the type," he says, "of a London girl." Russell was detained by the police, and late on Sunday night the attention of Sergeant Mead was attracted by a strange gurgling sound, as of some one suffocating. The officer went to the room where the prisoner was confined, and found him black in the face from an attempt to strangle itself. He had tied a silk handkerchief tightly round his throat, the sergeant arriving just in time to remove it and save the man's life. He was charged before the magistrates on Monday with attempting to commit suicide, and remanded for a week for inquiries to be made.
A HORRIBLE STORY.
Portion of a Missing Organ Restored.
It is stated that on Tuesday evening a box was delivered by the Parcels Post at the residence of Mr. Lusk, chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, containing what appeared to be half a kidney belonging to some animal. Enclosed in the box was a letter. At first he regarded the affair as a practical joke, in the nature of a hoax, but afterwards he decided to bring the matter before the committee, and a meeting was accordingly held on Wednesday evening, when Mr. F.S. Reed, assistant to Dr. W.W. Wiles, of 56 Mile End road, stated that he examined the contents of the box. It appeared to him that the article was half of a human kidney which had been divided longitudinally; but in order to make sure he at once conveyed it to Dr. Openshaw, pathological curator at the London Hospital Museum. Dr. Openshaw examined it, and pronounced it to be the half of a left kidney of a full grown human being. Remembering the fact that it was the left kidney which was missing from the body of the woman Eddowes, who was murdered and mutilated in Mitre square, Mr. Reed thinks it probable that the ghastly relic is genuine. The handwriting of the letter and postcard are the same. They bear no resemblance to the letters received by the Central News, signed "Jack the Ripper."
The following are copies of the documents.
The postcard, which was received a day or two before the box, was as follows:-
"Say Boss, You seem rare frightened, guess I'd like to give you fits, but can't stop time enough to let you box of toys play copper games with me, but hope to see you when I don't hurry to much. Bye bye, Boss. Mr. Lusk, Head Vigilance Committee, Aldeney street, Mile End."
The letter, which was enclosed in the box, was as follows:-
Mr. Lusk, Sir, I send you half the kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you other piece I fried and ate it was very nice I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate while longer. Signed Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk."
Another man was on Thursday morning arrested in Whitechapel by the police on information received, on suspicion of being concerned in the East end murders. He is about 35 years of age, and has recently been living in Whitechapel. He is somewhat confused as to his whereabouts lately, and will be detained pending inquiries.
The force of police in private clothes especially selected to make the house to house search in the neighbourhoods of Hanbury street, Commercial street, Dorset street, Goulston street, Buck's row, Brick lane, Osborn street, &c., completed their labours on Thursday. They have distributed many thousands of handbills, leaving them in every room in the lodging houses. The greatest good feeling prevails towards the police, and noticeably in the most squalid dwellings the police had no difficulty in getting information, but not the slightest clue to the murderer has been obtained.
The following memorial, signed by upwards of 200 traders of Whitechapel, has been sent to the Home Secretary through Mr. S. Montagu, M.P.:
"We, the undersigned traders in Whitechapel, respectfully submit for your consideration the position in which we are placed in consequence of the recent murders in our district and its vicinity. For some past years we have been painfully aware that the protection afforded by the police has not kept pace with the increase of population in Whitechapel. Acts of violence and of robbery have been committed in this neighbourhood almost with impunity, owing to the existing police regulations and the insufficiency of the number of officers. The universal feeling prevalent in our midst is that the Government no longer ensures the security of life and property in the East of London, and that in consequence respectable people fear to go out shopping, thus depriving us of our means of livelihood. We confidently appeal to your sense of justice, and ask that the police in this district may be largely increased, in order to remove the feelings of insecurity which is destroying the trade in Whitechapel."
A very mysterious incident, in connection with the arrest of the man at King street Police Station, Westminster, whose apprehension is reported elsewhere, transpired on Thursday. It appears that on Monday the man went into the shop of Messrs. Bellamy Bros., Railway Approach, Charing Cross, and after a brief but somewhat incoherent chat with Mr. Batchelor, the manager, he suddenly placed a black bag on the counter, and left the shop. The incident has come to the knowledge of the police authorities, but up to the present they thought it prudent to regard the affair as a secret. The bag contained a razor, a dagger (which bore more or less recent marks of blood stains), several miscellaneous but almost valueless odds and ends, together with a broken piece of looking glass and a small piece of soap. It is regarded as somewhat suspicious that these latter articles are similar to those found on one of the Whitechapel victims.
Mr. R. Batchelor has made the following statement:-
"He was such a mysterious looking person that I could not make him out at all, but it was not until after he left the shop that it somehow occurred to me that his mind was unhinged from some cause or other, and then the Whitechapel murders and the affair at Whitehall came across my mind. It was from reading the special edition of last night's Echo that I felt convinced the black bag was an incident worth mentioning. Well, as soon as the man came into the shop he took out a pencil and commenced to write some words which no one could read. Then he straightened himself up, remarked, "You must not be surprised to hear I'm Jack the Ripper - I'm a most mysterious man," and darted out of the shop. He made use of the expression, "I'm used to cutting people up, and can put them together again. The police are all disguised, and wherever I go I meet them." He looked to me like a doctor or a doctor's assistant, but was rather shabby." The razor and dagger found in the bag have been examined by Dr. Bond.
There are said to be indications in official circles that at no period during the search for the miscreant has there been so much chance of an arrest as at the present moment. From more than one source the police authorities have received information tending to show that the criminal is a foreigner, who was known as having lived within a radius of a few hundred yards from the scene of the Berner street tragedy. The very place where he lodges is asserted to be within official cognisance. If the man be the real culprit he lived some time ago with a woman by whom he has been accused. Her statements are, it is stated, now being inquired into. In the meantime the suspected assassin is "shadowed." Incriminating evidence of a certain character has already been obtained, and, should implicit credence be placed in the woman already referred to, whose name will not transpire under any circumstances until after his guilt is prima facie established, a confession of the crimes may be looked for at any moment. The accused is himself aware, it is believed, of the suspicions entertained against him.
A large number of conflicting rumours in connection with the murders in the East end have been spread abroad from day to day with reference to the movements of suspicious characters, who are stated to be under the close supervision of the police. There is little, however, to all these stories which indicates that the police have succeeded to any appreciable extent in tracking the author of the crimes. The net result, indeed, seems to be that a really important clue has yet to be obtained. Some importance has been attached by the police to the arrest made at King street Police Station on Tuesday morning. the man arrested entered the police station about nine o'clock and complained of having lost a black bag. While the officials were taking note of the case he began to talk about the women murdered in Whitechapel, and offered to cut off the sergeant's head, and spoke in a rambling, nonsensical manner. In answer to a question as to what his business was, he said he had studied some years for the medical profession, but gave it up for engineering, and that he had been staying for some nights in coffee houses. His talk became of such a rambling character that Dr. Bond, the divisional surgeon, was sent for, who examined him, and pronounced him to be a very dangerous lunatic, with a homicidal tendency. the person is described as resembling the description of the person last seen with the women at the East end on different occasions. He was dressed in a serge suit, with a hard felt hat, and is of a very strong build. Although he gave his age as 67, he looks much younger. Before his removal to Bow street, photographs were taken of him. He was also asked to write his name, and it is stated the writing is somewhat similar to that of letters received by the police and others. The detectives have been tracing the man's antecedents and his recent movements. The latest inquiries seem to show that there is no evidence forthcoming likely to connect him with these crimes. In July last the man was brought up at Lambeth Police Court on a charge of being abroad as a person of unsound mind, and the magistrate ordered his removal to Lambeth Infirmary. He subsequently left that institution and since August 15th he has lodged at a coffee house in the Westminster Bridge road. The keeper of the house states that the man has slept there every night without exception up to Monday of the present week.
It has now transpired that from the very morning of the Berner street and Mitre square murders the police have had in their possession a shirt saturated with blood. It is said to have been left in a house in Batty street after the murders. Having regard to the position of this house, its close proximity to the yard in Berner street, where the crime was committed, and to the many passages and alleys adjacent, there seems to be at least ground for the suspicion entertained by the police. At the inquest on Mrs. Stride, one of the witnesses deposed to having seen a man and woman standing at the junction of Fairclough and Berners streets early on the morning of the murder. Assuming that the man now sought was the murderer, he could have gained instant access to the house in Batty street by crossing over from the yard and traversing a passage, the entrance of which is almost immediately opposite the spot where the victim was subsequently discovered. The statement has been made that the landlady of the lodging house, 22 Batty street, the house in which the shirt was left, was, at an early hour, disturbed by the movements of her lodger, who changed some of his apparel and went away; first, however, instructing her to wash the cast off shirt by the time he returned. Although, for reasons known to themselves, the police during Saturday, Sunday, and Monday answered negatively all questions as to whether any person had been arrested, or was then in their charge, there is no doubt that a man was taken into custody on suspicion of being the missing lodger from 22 Batty street, and that he was afterwards set at liberty. The German lodging house keeper could clear up the point as to the existence of any other lodger supposed to be absent from her house under the suspicious circumstances referred to, but she is not accessible, and it is easy to understand that the police should endeavour to prevent her making any statement.
A reporter has had an interview with the landlady of the house, 22 Batty street, Whitechapel, which place was alleged to be the resort of the owner of the blood stained shirt. The house is kept by a German woman, the wife of a seaman. She denied that the man for whom the police are searching was one of her lodgers, and asserted that he simply had his washing done at the house. He was a ladies' tailor, working for a West End house, and did not reside in the Leman street district. She explained the presence of blood on the shirt by saying that it was owing to an accident that occurred to a man (other than the one taken into custody) who was living on the premises, and that the police would have known nothing of it but for her having indiscreetly shown it to a neighbour. The woman denies that the detectives are still in possession of her house.
Sir Charles Warren wishes to say that the marked desire evinces by the inhabitants of the Whitechapel district to aid the police in the pursuit of the author of the recent crimes has enabled him to direct that, subject to the consent of occupiers, a thorough house to house search should be made within a defined area. With few exceptions, the inhabitants of all classes and creeds have freely fallen in with the proposal, and have materially assisted the officers engaged in carrying it out. Sir Charles Warren feels that some acknowledgement is due on all sides for the cordial co-operation of the inhabitants, and he is much gratified that the police officers have carried out so delicate duty with the marked goodwill of all those with whom they have come in contact. Sir Charles Warren takes this opportunity of acknowledging the receipt of an immense volume of correspondence of a semi private character on the subject of the Whitechapel murders, which he has been quite unable to respond to in a great number of instances; and he trusts that the writers will accept this acknowledgement in lieu of individual replies. They may be assured that their letters have received every consideration.
The man Conway, who formerly lived with the murdered woman Catherine Eddowes, on Monday visited the Old Jewry Police station with his two sons. He is living in York street, Walworth, and follows the occupation of a hawker. The police describe him as evidently a man of very exemplary character, and he alluded to his wife's misconduct before their separation with evident pain. Since then he stated that he had frequently seen her in the company of the man Kelly. The police have nothing of importance to communicate with reference for the incident.
Mr. Crawford, the City solicitor, writes:-
"In your report of the evidence given at the resumed inquest held last week I find it stated that Detective Halse, of the City Police, deposed that Detective inspector McWilliam gave orders to have the writing on the wall in Goulston street, Whitechapel, washed off. In justice to the City Police and Mr. McWilliam, the chief inspector of the City detectives, permit to say that the evidence given by the witness Halse was to the effect that he protested against the words being rubbed out until the orders of Mr. McWilliam to have the writing photographed had been obeyed, and that the City police were in no way responsible for the rubbing out."
Benjamin Graham was charged on his own confession, at the Guildhall Police Court, on Thursday, with having committed the Whitechapel murders. The prisoner was brought to the Snow Hill Police Station by a man to whom he had made the alleged confession. In answer to the police officer who took the charge, the prisoner said, "I killed the woman, and I shall have to suffer for it with the rope." He was remanded.
The man who was arrested at Limavady, County Derry, on suspicion of being concerned on the London murders, has been discharged, the inquires of the police into his movements having proved satisfactory.
The investigations made by Superintendent Farmer, of the River Tyne police, respecting a man who sailed for a French port, and whose description is stated to have corresponded with that of the Whitechapel murderer, have not resulted in any satisfactory communication to them. The matter may accordingly be dismissed as of no importance.
A man named John Williams has been remanded at Chorley on a charge of disorderly behaviour. It was stated that prisoner whilst in a public house drew a long knife from a sheath, and brandishing it said he was "Jack the Ripper," and that he intended to commit further outrages.
Important Discovery - A Leg Found.
A further important discovery was made at Whitehall on Wednesday, on the ground where the trunk of an unknown woman was found a fortnight ago. It had been decided to employ the services of a Spitzbergen dog, which were placed at the disposal of the police by Mr. Jasper T.C. Waring. The animal was taken to the site of the new police buildings and placed in the vault where the former discovery was made. Only a short time elapsed before the dog commenced sniffing suspiciously at a mound of earth, and at the suggestion of our representative, who was present watching the operations, some tools were obtained and the earth was thrown over. As the work proceeded the dog became more excitable, and at length, after a considerable quantity of earth had been dug up, the animal seized upon a strange looking object, to which adhered a quantity of damp soil. An examination of this was made by the light of a candle, and the object was found to be a portion of a human leg that had been severed at the knee joint. Dr. Bond, the divisional surgeon, was immediately summoned, and pronounced the remains to be those of a finely developed woman. It was the left leg found, and had been severed at the knee, and what was at first supposed to be a stocking, or part of some covering, was in reality the skin, which was found to be peeling off the flesh. The leg was much decomposed, and, in Dr. Bond's opinion, had been deposited at least six weeks ago. The workmen who stated when the trunk was found that it was not there on the Friday previous to its discovery are probably in error, as the bloodstains on the wall had been thoroughly soaked in, and gave evidence of its having been there for some time. The leg was found about four inches beneath the loose earth, on the top of which was a quantity of bricks and stones. Dr. Bond having concluded his inspection, orders were given for the removal of the remains to the mortuary. Sergeant Rose, in the presence of Inspector Peters, who had several constables with him guarding the premises, carefully wrapped the remains up in a brown paper parcel, which was sealed and taken by him in a cab to the mortuary. The search was resumed late at night. A bloodhound, one of those which had been used in the Hyde Park experiment, was brought from King Street police station, and a staff of constables, with Inspectors Peters and Marshall, were engaged for an hour and a half in turning over earth, but on the work being suspended no new discovery had been made. The search was not continued on Thursday, except so far as concerned the pumping out of the well on the premises, which has not been attended with any important results.
Dr. Bond, divisional surgeon of the A Division, made a careful examination at Millbank street on Thursday of the portion of the leg found the previous day, and on comparing it with the trunk already in the mortuary, he is of opinion that it belongs to the same body. It is, however, in a better state of preservation, and this is accounted for by the fact that it had been sufficiently covered with earth to exclude the air, whereas the trunk was only wrapped up in a skirt. Dr. Bond is also of opinion that both portions of the body had been lying where found for over six weeks, notwithstanding the statements made by people at the works that they were not there on the Friday or Saturday previous to their discovery, and the fact of the leg being in such good preservation is one point in his argument for holding this opinion.
The police were on Friday engaged in excavating the ground in the basement of the new buildings at Whitehall, where the recent discoveries of human remains have been made, and to assist them in finding any of the missing parts of the body, have employed a bloodhound. Their search was, however, fruitless. Sir Charles Warren inspected the premises on Friday.