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Was Jack or (were Jack’s) schizophrenic?

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  • Was Jack or (were Jack’s) schizophrenic?

    In rereading some dissertations and threads I’ve come across Jacob Isenschmid, Hyam Hyams, Aaron Kozminski and others all of whom were most likely paranoid schizophrenics. It made me wonder if some sort of epidemic was underway in East London or there only seems so many because they are Ripper suspects? This could only be answered by a psychologist and super statistician.

    Anyway, keeping in mind the FBI fellow Douglass and many of us who say if the Ripper or Ripper’s wasn’t Aaron Kozminski then it was someone like him, schizophrenia is something we should come to terms with. I think many of us want Jack to be a clever psychopath a la Ted Bundy. We want him to be smart and charming and one who outwits and makes fools of the police and authorities. Some of us even want him to be a Toff; handsome, sophisticated, wealthy, well dressed and a vampire phantom – beyond normal human constraints. Few will deny the romance involved. The reality is probably much more mundane and seedy as real life tends to be.

    Rob House’s book makes an excellent case for the existence of schizophrenic serial killers; even psychopathic schizophrenic serial killers – a witches brew indeed. There is a term called ‘lust murderers’ where vile disemboweling and/or other cannibalistic acts are part of the MO. The idea of multiple schizophrenic disembowel-ers trolling Whitechapel seems hard to fathom but apparently there were lots of them(schizophrenics) around. Discounting copycats and political motives, I find it hard to believe for example that the murderer of MJK wasn’t a delusional schizophrenic. The overkill speaks of extremely disordered thinking. Even so, I think we also need to get away from the idea of the ‘drooling, masturbating vagrant eating out of the gutters’ idea. Schizophrenics have episodes, delusions come and go, behavior is rational within whatever delusion their mind is entertaining. It doesn’t mean these people can’t dress themselves or take a bath or plan an event or anything of the kind. Their healthy mind is still in there and assumes control at times. I know a few on the boards have a great deal of knowledge on this subject and have given good information on other threads and can probably speak better than I on the illness. What I’m wondering from you guys is how many of you believe the murderer or murderers (was/were) schizophrenic and if so - how might this change our thinking on the mystery itself?

    Apologize for the long post………sorry if it appears muddled………..

    Greg

  • #2
    Hi Greg -

    Well, first of all I don't know very much about schizophrenia. Certainly, I have a friend who is schizphrenic, and I have mentioned him before in a post -he is very intelligent and a gifted business man, and some women find him intelligent and charismatic. He is flamboyant. However, when he is having an 'episode' (due to stopping the drugs) he is terrifyingly violent and
    'strange' and anyone could see that he is bizarre and dangerous from one end of the road to the other, and they naturally give him a wide berth.

    I started my post with '"I don't know very much about schizophrenia" because it was pointed out to me that there are diffrent forms of the illness, and it is not always so physically apparent. Certainly, I can't see anyone like my friend Didier getting prostitutes (or anyone else) to even speak to him, let alone go to a quiet place with him, when he's in a 'crisis'.

    The Ted Bundy type killer seems far more plausible, and once again I will mention Danilo Restivo -arrested in the UK within the last month- who seems the archytypal 'Jack' type killer (no suggestion of schizophrenia though).
    http://youtu.be/GcBr3rosvNQ

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by GregBaron View Post
      What I’m wondering from you guys is how many of you believe the murderer or murderers (was/were) schizophrenic and if so - how might this change our thinking on the mystery itself?

      Greg
      I think there is as equal a chance of Jack the Ripper suffering from some kind of mental illness as not.

      I tend to dismiss schizophrenia as a possibility. Certainly it is not impossible for Schizophrenics to be serial killers. However most of these crimes require a level of organization and planning than disorganized schizophrenics are capable of. Paranoid schizophrenics tend to be much higher functioning, but also MUCH more conspicuous. Given the depth of their delusions, it would be almost impossible for them to successfully solicit a prostitute during a delusional period. And if a schizophrenic was killing during a non-delusional period, then it hardly matters that they were schizophrenic.

      Of course, Catatonics are right out.

      I think mood disorders are possible, I think obsessive compulsive disorder is possible, rage disorders, some of the more spectacular personality disorders are certainly possible (actually quite likely), it could be a paraphilia, even certain kinds of epilepsy are possible.

      Unfortunately, to go back more than 100 years to try and diagnose a killer, we need the motive. And we don't have one. We can compile a list of mental illnesses that are not contrary to what we know to be true, but that's about it.
      The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

      Comment


      • #4
        No experts on schizophrenia...

        Good answers both of you and thanks....


        And if a schizophrenic was killing during a non-delusional period, then it hardly matters that they were schizophrenic.
        I think Errata's statement above is very telling..........it would appear that the slyness evidenced in these crimes would require a schizophrenic to be in a lucid period at least and if we consider someone like Koz who was 22 or 23 at this time then maybe his illness was just beginning and he committed these crimes between bouts of 'craziness'.

        But at the same time I'm not sure we can count out Nichols for example as falling prey to a wandering schizophrenic who caught her unawares or even was in control enough to talk her into a sojourn to Buck's row...this is something I'm trying to get my head around....is this possible while in 'episode'.

        I think we must also remember that most of the women were drunk and/or hungover and their antennas of observation were probably not at their best....

        I'd love to hear further commentary or ideas about this issue........

        Greg

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by GregBaron View Post
          I think Errata's statement above is very telling..........it would appear that the slyness evidenced in these crimes would require a schizophrenic to be in a lucid period at least and if we consider someone like Koz who was 22 or 23 at this time then maybe his illness was just beginning and he committed these crimes between bouts of 'craziness'.

          Greg
          It's not even about slyness. Take Chapman for instance. He had to find her, kill her, take her uterus, possibly arrange things at her feet, and get out. That requires a sense of purpose and order that disorganized schizophrenics don't have. All things considered it was a pretty neat job, and clearly time management and a series of logical steps were involved. Disorganized schizophrenics are incredibly amotivated. They don't pursue goals, they don't don't plan, they don't take care of themselves, often they don't even speak. The idea that someone like that could one night decide to go hunt prey, and retrieve a specific organ from a victim in a place that without care could mean discovery is just not likely. A lucid schizophrenic is not an asymptomatic schizophrenic. They just aren't delusional.

          Besides, schizophrenia occurs in slightly less than 1% of the population. There simply aren't a bunch of "wandering schizophrenics", much less violent ones.
          The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by GregBaron View Post
            Some of us even want him to be a Toff; handsome, sophisticated, wealthy, well dressed and a vampire phantom – beyond normal human constraints. Few will deny the romance involved. The reality is probably much more mundane and seedy as real life tends to be.
            It's interesting that the popular image of this killer has become one of a dandified gentleman, out slumming, strolling through the fog in a dashing cape...almost as if he were a magician on an expensive stage.

            This case became much scarier to me when I read a more modern criminal profile of what the killer was probably like: A man of average appearance and mild enough outward manner that he did not attract attention. Their conclussion that he lived right in the Whitechapel area and therefor knew its layout, hiding places and schedules is also deeply disquieting...in that by extension, he could be your neighbor, my neighbor, etc (!!!)

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Merry_Olde_Mary View Post
              It's interesting that the popular image of this killer has become one of a dandified gentleman, out slumming, strolling through the fog in a dashing cape...almost as if he were a magician on an expensive stage..
              Hi Mary.
              True, and most of the silliest fiction ever written does include such a murderer. On the other hand there really was such a "well-dressed" nuisance who had been reported several times for accosting women.
              http://forum.casebook.org/showpost.p...01&postcount=1


              This case became much scarier to me when I read a more modern criminal profile of what the killer was probably like: A man of average appearance and mild enough outward manner that he did not attract attention.
              In Philip Sugden's book, John Douglas (Criminal Profiler)..
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_E._Douglas
              suggests, "... that the killer may have intentionally dressed up to persuade potential victims that he had money and thus relieve himself of the task of initiating contact with them. Whatever, the evidence is that we will not find our man amongst the labouring classes or indigent poor"
              The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, 1995, p 367.

              And so, the debate continues....

              Regards, Jon S.
              Regards, Jon S.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Wickerman View Post
                In Philip Sugden's book, John Douglas (Criminal Profiler)..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_E._Douglas
                suggests, "... that the killer may have intentionally dressed up to persuade potential victims that he had money and thus relieve himself of the task of initiating contact with them. Whatever, the evidence is that we will not find our man amongst the labouring classes or indigent poor"
                Thank you, Jon.

                I don't think a poor person working or living in that area would have tried a wealthy disguise, though...because people on the streets could simply say "Why is that guy from XXX Street suddenly dressed up like a fancy gent?" But it could have worked for a poor man from outside the area, who was visiting Whitechapel for that purpose.

                For some reason, I find the idea of the killer being a Whitechapel local scarier...and sadder.

                It means he turned on his own : (
                Last edited by Merry_Olde_Mary; 06-04-2011, 03:57 AM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Merry_Olde_Mary View Post
                  It's interesting that the popular image of this killer has become one of a dandified gentleman, out slumming, strolling through the fog in a dashing cape...almost as if he were a magician on an expensive stage.

                  This case became much scarier to me when I read a more modern criminal profile of what the killer was probably like: A man of average appearance and mild enough outward manner that he did not attract attention. Their conclussion that he lived right in the Whitechapel area and therefor knew its layout, hiding places and schedules is also deeply disquieting...in that by extension, he could be your neighbor, my neighbor, etc (!!!)
                  I've always been convinced that the police knew the killer. Not that they suspected him, but that he was buying them drinks in taverns and talking about the case with them.
                  The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Jury still out...

                    It's not even about slyness. Take Chapman for instance. He had to find her, kill her, take her uterus, possibly arrange things at her feet, and get out. That requires a sense of purpose and order that disorganized schizophrenics don't have. All things considered it was a pretty neat job, and clearly time management and a series of logical steps were involved. Disorganized schizophrenics are incredibly amotivated. They don't pursue goals, they don't don't plan, they don't take care of themselves, often they don't even speak. The idea that someone like that could one night decide to go hunt prey, and retrieve a specific organ from a victim in a place that without care could mean discovery is just not likely. A lucid schizophrenic is not an asymptomatic schizophrenic. They just aren't delusional.

                    Besides, schizophrenia occurs in slightly less than 1% of the population. There simply aren't a bunch of "wandering schizophrenics", much less violent ones.
                    My gut inclination is to agree with you here Errata. Excellent post by the way. However, and I know some give little credence to profilers, some ‘experts’ have no problem with these murders being the work of a schizophrenic. We know there are many types of the illness and many stages and a man like Koz, being very young, would be in the early stages of the affliction. I see no reason why in a lucid period he couldn’t carry out such atrocities. Again, I don’t know, no one does really but I think it’s a pertinent question. I also think sometimes too much is made of the murderer being able to engage the ladies. These women were poor desperate, often drunk and operating in near darkness. I think if a regular bloke comes up and says ‘I have a sovereign will you do _____?’ a slurred ‘yes’ would quickly follow. Even if some quiet conversation is required this isn’t out of the wheelhouse of some schizophrenics. Schizophrenics may be only 1% of the population but say Whitechapel had 400,000 people (just guessing) that would be 4000 walking around - at least until they threw them in Colney Hatch. As I said before, many of our suspects are schizophrenics and some were known to be violent. I just don’t think the door is closed on this idea yet. Please feel free to lambast, ridicule and berate.

                    Greg

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      yes, Errata, I agree with you..
                      http://youtu.be/GcBr3rosvNQ

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by GregBaron View Post
                        My gut inclination is to agree with you here Errata. Excellent post by the way. However, and I know some give little credence to profilers, some ‘experts’ have no problem with these murders being the work of a schizophrenic. We know there are many types of the illness and many stages and a man like Koz, being very young, would be in the early stages of the affliction. I see no reason why in a lucid period he couldn’t carry out such atrocities. Again, I don’t know, no one does really but I think it’s a pertinent question. I also think sometimes too much is made of the murderer being able to engage the ladies. These women were poor desperate, often drunk and operating in near darkness. I think if a regular bloke comes up and says ‘I have a sovereign will you do _____?’ a slurred ‘yes’ would quickly follow. Even if some quiet conversation is required this isn’t out of the wheelhouse of some schizophrenics. Schizophrenics may be only 1% of the population but say Whitechapel had 400,000 people (just guessing) that would be 4000 walking around - at least until they threw them in Colney Hatch. As I said before, many of our suspects are schizophrenics and some were known to be violent. I just don’t think the door is closed on this idea yet. Please feel free to lambast, ridicule and berate.

                        Greg
                        I would not lambast ridicule or berate. Merely disagree or possibly correct.

                        It's true, there are experts who don't have a problem with JtR being schizophrenic. There are schizophrenic serial killers. Not many, but it does happen. However, if you look at the crimes of these killers, they are astonishingly disturbing in both their violence, staging, and ritualistic aspects (not ritualistic in a religious sense, but in more of a compulsive sense). It is more common to find schizophrenic spree killers, possibly because of the lack of impulse control during a delusional period.

                        It is also important to note that there is a difference between schizophrenic serial killers, and serial killers whose lawyers argued that their client was schizophrenic. Certainly Son of Sam was not schizophrenic, and did not hear voices. He goes back and forth between claiming he did, and laughing about how everyone fell for that stupid dog story.

                        One can certainly look at the murder of Mary Kelly and see the level of overkill and ritualism schizophrenics serial killers have shown in recent years. And many experts look at that one crime and diagnose from that. But there were four other murders (at least) that show no sign of such a frenzy.

                        One of the problems I have encountered with profilers and their assessments of mental illnesses is a glaring lack of consideration for the daily experience of the average sufferer. Schizophrenia is absolutely a disease that ramps up. Some more quickly than others. Early symptoms are much less severe than later on in life. This does not mean however, that early stage schizophrenics are perfectly functional and capable.

                        There are certainly cases in which the delusions persist in the non psychotic periods. Jared Loughner for example developed theories and hatreds in a delusional state that persisted. In his non delusional periods, he accepted his delusional fantasies as truth. He couldn't distinguish between the delusions and reality, because he didn't know he was having delusions. Therefore there was never a period when Jared Loughner was well. Just periods where he was more acceptable than others. John Nash was the same.

                        The reality of every schizophrenic I have ever known has been one of dread, delusion, and depression. In the increasingly rarer periods when they are not delusional, they are extremely depressed, completely amotivated, often suicidal. All they seem to be able to is mourn the loss of time, of function, the loss of their mind, and sit around waiting for it to start all over again. Even if there was someone who they really thought just needed to die, they couldn't dredge up the energy to get up and go do it.

                        The biggest and most significant truth of schizophrenia is that non delusional does not mean asymptomatic. Schizophrenia is primarily a disease affecting cognition. How you think, how you process sensory information, how you react and respond to stimuli, how you socialize, how you process emotion. The delusions are almost secondary. And we know schizophrenia is structural (affecting the actual structure and function of the brain) and chemical (affecting the control of and reaction to neurotransmitters). The cognitive symptoms do not disappear with the delusions. They fade, but they don't disappear. A schizophrenic who is asocial during a delusional phase does not suddenly hop up and go party when the episode passes. They still are not that motivated to see out company, they are however more tolerant of it.

                        And the only thing that improves cognitive function is treatment and medication, and these were not available in Victorian England.

                        The case for JtR being schizophrenic has to be a case of exceptions. He would have to be a schizophrenic who simply didn't have certain symptoms that are diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia. Which is possible, any profiler or doctor could say "sure.. he COULD have been schizophrenic" but it is vanishingly unlikely. The statistics just don't back it up.

                        The argument against Kosminski being schizophrenic is pretty simple really. Disorganized schizophrenics have what is known as a "blunted affect". They show little to know emotional response to anything. In Kosminski's hospital records, they describe significant mood swings, even throwing a chair at an orderly. That is a series of emotional responses that the disorganized schizophrenic is incapable of. He had to have some mood disorder component, which makes me think Schizoaffective Disorder. But that's just my opinion.
                        The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Here is a partial list of known serial killers who were actually schizophrenic:

                          Richard Chase - Disorganized Lust Murderer (DLM), schizophrenic, 6 victims in 1 month, mutilation (disembowelment), cannibalism and drinking blood, organ removal

                          Tsutomu Miyazaki - 4 victims in 1 year, severe schizophrenia, listened to “impulses,” necrophilia, cannibalism, mutilation

                          Hadden Clark - 2-15 victims, paranoid schizophrenic, masturbated in front of nephews, cannibalism, attempted necrophilia, mutilation

                          Marc Sappington - 3-4 victims, schizophrenia and drug use (PCP), drank blood of victims, cannibalism. Auditory command hallucinations to commit murder

                          Herbert Mullin - disorganized lust murderer, paranoid schizophrenic, 13 victims, mutilation and disembowelment of one victim, auditory commands to kill.

                          Ed Gein (not technically a serial killer, because he only had 2 victims), schizophrenic, necrophiliac, dismemberment, possession of a body

                          Robert Napper -paranoid schizophrenic, post mortem mutilation (severe), took organ as trophy, disembowelment, planned murders (organized), mutilation of one victim said to be similar to JTR's mutilation of Mary Kelly

                          Otis Toole - diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic (I think), necrophilia, mutilation, very low IQ, cannibalism

                          Raman Raghev - chronic paranoid schizophrenia, killed homeless people in their sleep

                          Juan Corona - diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, 25 victims in 6 weeks, All of the victims were stabbed and mutilated viciously about their heads with a machete. All bore a deep puncture to the chest followed by two slashes across the back of the head in the shape of a cross.

                          Kenneth Erksine - Apparently a schizophrenic. Killed 7-11 elderly people over a span of 4 months. Held in Broadmoor. No mutilation. Strangled and raped victims. Unknown is rape was before or after death.



                          Others who were probably (or possibly) schizophrenic

                          James Clayton Lawson - Disorganized lust murderer. Cannibalism, horribly mutilated at least one victim, then tried to eat the sex organs.

                          "Warren" - (pseudonym used for a serial killer discussed in "Sexual Homicide: Patterns and Motives") - paranoid schizophrenic, auditory hallucinations (?), mutilation, cut off breasts of victim

                          John Wayne Gacy - possibly borderline schizophrenic

                          Albert Fish - unknown if schizophrenic, cannibalism

                          Gary Heidnik - apparently schizophrenic, poor hygiene, kept body parts in kitchen

                          Andrei Chikatilo - I have been unable to find out if he was schizophrenic, although I have seen one source claim he was. Claimed 53 victims, cannibalism, mutilation of victims, evisceration, targeting sexual organs.

                          Edmund Kemper - diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic at age 15, although later psychiatrist claimed he was not schizophrenic. Kept body parts.

                          Several traits seem to be common: namely, frequent disembowelment and mutilattion of their victims, often targeting the sexual organs. Several also took organs away from the bodies, and many engaged in cannibalism.

                          As noted, both Peter Sutcliffe and David Berkowitz apparently faked insanity.

                          Rob H
                          Last edited by robhouse; 06-04-2011, 09:34 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I would describe Jack the Ripper as follows:

                            disorganized lust murderer, 5-6 victims in 4 months, severe mutilation, evisceration of 3 victims, took organs from 3 victims, probable cannibalism away from crime scene, some characteristics of organized killer are possible (?)

                            It is unknown if Jack the Ripper was insane (schizophrenic), but he clearly shares many of the traits of the above listed schizophrenic serial killers. This is why the FBI concluded the Ripper was probably schizophrenic when they did their profile in 1988.

                            RH

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Interesting discussion...

                              Good posts Rob and Errata. This is the kind of discussion and/or debate I was hoping for. I think the mental condition of the killer is important in how we analyze the crime scenes. I think if we think him organized we may impart more than is really there. And of course as Rob pointed out, some schizophrenic serial killers show evidence of organization. Of course his mental condition is speculative but what isn’t in this case? Anyway, whether schizophrenic or not or organized or disorganized I think most agree the killer was awfully lucky on more than one occasion……….


                              Greg

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