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Where did the Ripper likely live?

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  • Where did the Ripper likely live?

    As my account name implies, I'm rather new to the case. I know of course all the basics--The canonical five, the possibilities of there being more victims, or possibly less than five, the possibility of there even being more than one Ripper etc--But I've never really studied the case intensely, but I want to begin to as it is fascinating.

    Now, something I've read often is that the Ripper was likely local to Whitechapel, that his being able to escape from the crime scenes so swiftly and without being noticed or captured lends to at least a working knowledge of the streets of Whitechapel and the alleys. The fact that the crimes--the canonical five anyway, along with Tabram--happened in a rather close proximity suggests that Whitechapel was where the killer lived.

    Do any of you agree that he was probably a local to Whitechapel? If so, have any of you ever proposed where he might've lived, what street?

  • #2
    Hi RipperNoob,

    First of all, welcome to the boards.

    To answer your question, I think you've summed up the reasons for why many believe he was a local of Whitechapel very well yourself.

    Personally I believe that he lived in the vicinity of the crime scenes, but perhaps not the immediate vicinity - a nearby suburb where no actual murders were committed, perhaps. The police hunt became quite intense in the areas surrounding the murder scenes, especially as they went on, and it might have become a little too hot in the kitchen if JTR lived on the doorstep of one or more of the murder scenes.

    There's also the point that if he was a local, he might well have been recognised by name or face (or both) by another local witness who had seen him or been associated with him in the past. Yet despite the fact that many saw him, nobody could put a name to the face.

    So yes, definitely an East End resident, just perhaps not Whitechapel/Spitalfields.

    Best of luck,
    Cheers
    Adam.

    Comment


    • #3
      Welcome RipperNoob - this is indeed a perennially fascinatuing subject and you'll find the discussion on Casebook informative and intellectually stimulating - though occassionally frustrating and often infuriating!

      Enjoy.

      Over the 40 off years I have been interested in the case (I started to read about "Jack" in the 60s and then got "stuck in" around 1972, I have been influenced by most of the then current theories - I was a Druittist for some years, briefly thought Knight might have had something, but since Fido's book and the marginalia, I have become an at least partial believer in Kosminski as "Jack". (I must clarify that in saying that, I believe that the killer of Nichols, Chapman and Eddowes was someone like Araon Kosminski - there is not enough evidence for me to say it was him.)

      But for that reason I believe that "Jack" lived in the Whitechapel/Spitalfields area, close to the area of his attacks, and that his home was EAST of Goulston St.

      What convinces me of that is that I believe he KNEW his "patch" - in particular, he had been down the passage and into the yard of 29 Hanbury St BEFORE the night he killed Annie there. I do not think that anyone, however prone to taking risks, however "mad" would go somewhere which he could not see and without knowing what lay there, without prior knowledge. Just my view though.

      (I am tempted by Mei Trow's idea, in his recent book on the Torso Murders, that the latter may have been connected with the cat's meat trade. The "shop" at the front of 29 Hanbury St sold cat's meat. So could there be a link between the two cases - did "Jack" know No 29 because he had been there with a barrow?)

      Finally, I should add that I think the killers of Stride and MJK if not "Jack" also lived locally.

      Once again, welcome

      Phil

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by RipperNoob View Post
        As my account name implies, I'm rather new to the case. I know of course all the basics--The canonical five, the possibilities of there being more victims, or possibly less than five, the possibility of there even being more than one Ripper etc--But I've never really studied the case intensely, but I want to begin to as it is fascinating.

        Now, something I've read often is that the Ripper was likely local to Whitechapel, that his being able to escape from the crime scenes so swiftly and without being noticed or captured lends to at least a working knowledge of the streets of Whitechapel and the alleys. The fact that the crimes--the canonical five anyway, along with Tabram--happened in a rather close proximity suggests that Whitechapel was where the killer lived.

        Do any of you agree that he was probably a local to Whitechapel? If so, have any of you ever proposed where he might've lived, what street?
        Hi RipperNoob
        Welcome.

        I agree. I think he lived in Whitechapel or very close by. The proximity of the murders, the GSG/bloody apron and the fact that he was still able to gain the trust of his later victims at the height of the scare convinces me that he was probably a local man.

        He knew those streets like the back of his hand.
        "Is all that we see or seem
        but a dream within a dream?"

        -Edgar Allan Poe


        "...the man and the peaked cap he is said to have worn
        quite tallies with the descriptions I got of him."

        -Frederick G. Abberline

        Comment


        • #5
          He certainly knew his way around the streets which suggests a man familiar with the area, had probably lived in the region for some considerable time and had reason to become accustomed to the streets during that time. However the victims themselves may have unwittingly made this easier for him by leading him to secluded, back-street spots, which they as at least casual prostitutes would have had to be aware of for their own benefit.

          Cheers,
          Adam.

          Comment


          • #6
            One wonders however: If he was indeed, let's say, a local to Whitechapel, then it is some wonder that no one recognized him through the descriptions of him.

            What I mean is, it seems the description of "Jack"--molded together from the witnesses' testimony--is that he appeared to be a ruddy to 'foreign' colored man, of average height and build, with a light moustache, dressing shabbily and wearing a hat of some kind.

            Whilst I'm sure many men of the period wore moustaches, and most men in general wore hats, I can't imagine that if he lived locally, no one would recognize his face--that none of the witnesses would ever happen to bump into him again (after or between the murders), for example.

            It makes me wonder if Jack was someone who LIVED in Whitechapel--perhaps grew up there, spent many years there, worked there extensively--any combination of those--but didn't LIVE there in 1888. That something in his psyche drove him BACK to Whitechapel, to murder there specifically. Perhaps this was a man who was familiar with Whitechapel through past experience but not necessarily daily experience. Maybe a man who had once lived in Whitechapel, perhaps had some sort of bad relationship with a woman there--Maybe he was raised there by a cruel mother, who was a street worker herself, or maybe he was with one and she hurt him, or maybe he used their services earlier in his life and contracted some sort of disease--which only enhanced a pre-existing mental condition and drove him back to Whitechapel, to seek "revenge." A demented sort of revenge...Not on the woman who wrong him in whatever fashion, but on the kind of woman.

            Of course...I could be totally off base here. Perhaps he was simply a man who hated women and felt prostitutes--being perhaps the most uncared for people in Victorian British society--were the easiest targets, the easiest prey which sated his blood lust.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Adam Went View Post

              He certainly knew his way around the streets
              I would dispute this statement.

              Went with a prostitute, who took him down a back alley/square, he killed fairly quickly, at night between 12-5; and exited the crime scene and walked down the street.

              To me, there is nothing in that to conclude 'he certainly knew his way around the streets'.

              I think a better argument for him being local is that the risks he was taking by killing local, aren't anywhere near as great as one may assume or as those that exist in the today. But then, that certainly doesn't tip the balance in favour of a local man.

              Also, modern day profiling doesn't necessarily apply to JTR as the context/circumstances (e.g. lack of cars, densely populated area, dna not invented etc) aren't one and the same.

              From what is known, I would say 50-50 local or otherwise.

              Comment


              • #8
                [QUOTE=RipperNoob;188396]

                One wonders however: If he was indeed, let's say, a local to Whitechapel, then it is some wonder that no one recognized him through the descriptions of him.

                QUOTE]

                Because:

                a) He killed between 12-5, so the streets wouldn't have been so busy.

                b) He wasn't caught red handed, so been seen walking down the street wouldn't have necessarily aroused suspicion. For example, the fella sat on the steps cutting his boot wasn't identified by a witness - he came forward. In all likelihood, whoever it was was seen walking down the street by more than one person.

                c) I feel the one recorded sighting that was probably the ripper was Lawende's man. Is it pure good luck for JTR that the one decent sighting was further afield, and therefore the 'local man' couldn't be placed? Dressed like a sailor? You could argue that other professions wore similar attire - but the fact is that there was something about the man sighted that suggested to Lawende sailor and not labourer. Personally, I think this propels the like of Sadler and Grainger to the fore.

                In sum, there's a decent chance that a local man would have been recognised. The question is more one of would he have aroused suspicion? Regardless, I'll go with sailor due to simple logic that does not require mental acrobatics to arrive at a conclusion:

                1) A man was seen talking with the victim 10 minutes before the murder at the crime scene.
                2) The man was dressed like a sailor.
                3) Therefore, Eddowes' killer was a sailor (probably).

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Phil H View Post

                  What convinces me of that is that I believe he KNEW his "patch" - in particular, he had been down the passage and into the yard of 29 Hanbury St BEFORE the night he killed Annie there. I do not think that anyone, however prone to taking risks, however "mad" would go somewhere which he could not see and without knowing what lay there, without prior knowledge. Just my view though.
                  But, Phil:

                  If you deal in the objective facts, there is nothing to suggest this man must have been, or probably was, local. Nothing at all.

                  You're applying reason to his thought process. Does JTR seem like a reasonable man to you?

                  To me, I would go with him being controlled by his instincts and emotions, and therefore his actions were largely instinctive.

                  I can quite easily see him being led by prostitutes and taking his chances in the places where they led them. That's the nature of people who are not in control of their emotions - plenty of people today will visit prostitutes in the car down some back alley (they have no idea whether or not a police car is about to turn the corner into the alley) and are putting themselves at serious risk of losing their wives, jobs etc, but do it regardless.

                  I feel far too much emphasis is placed on a cunning killer. It was a mixture of luck and the nature of the East End of London that saved him, as opposed to any precautions to negate risk.

                  I mean, if we're to believe that Hutchinson was at the crime scene. He was a local man; he's stood around for 45 minutes and more not far from her home. Yet, no one identifies him! Now, either Hutchinson wasn't there, or the people of the East End don't make for good witnesses.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi,
                    My take has to be, the likely-hood that some roughneck was responsible for the murder of Martha T, Nichols, Chapman, and Stride, but not for Kate E, or Mary Kelly, who were committed by another hand.
                    To explain.
                    I would suggest that after Strides killer was disturbed, he quickly ran from the scene, and did not encounter Eddowes, she was accosted by someone, who inquired the whereabouts of one Mary with added description.
                    ''That sounds like Mary Jane Millers court, she lives with a man called Joe, she is well known in the area''[ my words].
                    For fear that she may tell of the meeting , he despatches poor Kate in such a fashion , that she is assumed to be another victim of the recent murders.
                    I speculate that this man was the same person who went to Millers court looking for Mary, the man that McCarthy sent packing, who claimed she had stolen a valuable watch of his.
                    I also speculate that the same man was on the streets again before 2am on the 9th [ seen by Hutchinson] flaunting his watch and chain, as Kelly approached, and it was he that killed her in a frenzy ..
                    Although Ms Kendall has never disclosed who her family believed killed Kelly, the very fact that she on Casebook, mentioned that visit, and stated also that the family knew the motive also, would indicate to me, that the man with a grudge was their suspect.
                    Could be wrong[ of course] but the gap in time, between Eddowes and Kelly, and the fact that she took in sleepovers even after Barnett left might indicate that she feared someone, and we don't know exactly when this man called at Millers court, the killer could have been waiting his chance.
                    Regards Richard,

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Fleetwood:

                      Perhaps you didn't read my earlier post before commenting - I said that while I believe Jack lived in the vicinity, he need not necessarily have been a local of Whitechapel/Spitalfields, because the women he killed would have been the ones to lead him to the quiet, out of the way spots.

                      What I mean is that he must have had a fairly good knowledge of the layout of the areas he operated in, not only in order to find his way into them but to find his way out of them again in poorly lit streets and mazes of back alleys and what not.

                      I, like many others i'm sure, have found out the hard way what it's like to become hopelessly lost and walking around in circles in cities which are much smaller and bette lit than London in 1888 was. For Jack, that would have been dangerous indeed, if he became lost in the area of his crimes with the police hot on his tail and a bloody knife and probably even human organs upon his person.

                      No, he must have known his way around the streets well enough to be confident about making an escape - which he did. If anything, his movements on the night of the Double Event illustrate this, I think.

                      Again, that's not to say that he might have had a second career as a local tourist guide, though.....

                      Cheers,
                      Adam.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Adam,

                        So, we're talking degrees here.

                        Well, I don't think he was too far from main thoroughfares/roads, so could have simply headed for one of these roads and found his way from there. I take your point about big cities and getting lost - maybe you have something there. So, I'd say that a non local man would have needed to have known how to get back to where he lived using a main road, but, still, I maintain he would not have needed knowledge of back alleys and squares.

                        I think a better argument for the man being local is that it wasn't as risky killing in his own environs as what it is today; really, there was no real reason to go further afield.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fleetwood Mac View Post
                          Adam,

                          So, we're talking degrees here.

                          Well, I don't think he was too far from main thoroughfares/roads, so could have simply headed for one of these roads and found his way from there. I take your point about big cities and getting lost - maybe you have something there. So, I'd say that a non local man would have needed to have known how to get back to where he lived using a main road, but, still, I maintain he would not have needed knowledge of back alleys and squares.

                          I think a better argument for the man being local is that it wasn't as risky killing in his own environs as what it is today; really, there was no real reason to go further afield.
                          How would he know where the main roads were to head towards if he didn't know the area so well? Today there would be clues such as traffic sounds and brighter lights but that would not have been the case in those days. And if those roads were better lit and busier with carts and cabs he'd have been taking an enormous risk of being seen heavily bloodied.

                          I agree with your last point though - the vicitms were right htere for the taking.

                          Personally I think the killer knew the area well - either because he lived there or worked there or had so done in the past. It is even possible he was slightly known to his victims.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Limehouse View Post
                            Personally I think the killer knew the area well - either because he lived there or worked there or had so done in the past. It is even possible he was slightly known to his victims.
                            Well considering that these women still got lured to their death despite the general "scare", it is possible that they knew him a little, even if only by sight. Which also points to the murdered being well acquainted to his "turf".

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi RipperNoob, all,

                              of course it is possible for a non-local to become familiar with a certain neighbourhood but knowing how to get from A to B using the normal roads and alleys alone is not going to cut it for someone who not only does not want to be seen but also needs to escape as quickly as possible

                              When I was a kid, I lived in an area with lots of old houses, dark backyards, narrow byways and windings streets. It was not quite as labyrinthic as Whitechapel but still confusing enough for non-locals. Not only did I know all the streets and alleys like the back of my hand, I also was aware of other less obvious escape options, like private backyards, doors and backdoors of houses that were never locked, interconnected cellars of appartment blocks that could be entered and exited by unlocked windows, underground carparks, schoolyards, etc. Almost every point of the area was reachable via these unofficial routes and we often made use of them to escape from enraged adults, the police or any other trouble we had caused, or just for fun. We always were a step ahead of every non-local or even locals not in-the-know.

                              That is why I tend to agree to the notion of the killer as a local man who had lived in the East End for most of his life. Yes, a non-local killer could have chosen the larger thoroughfares such as Whitechapel Road or Commercial Street as reference points but since it is very likely that he did not actively seek out secluded places but was led to them by his victims, he most probably was unable to predict where he would end up at the nights of the murders. The fact alone he was able to get away from the Chapman crime scene without the slightest trace tells me that he had other options at hand than just a rushed escape to a well-lit thoroughfare.

                              Or maybe he was just a particularly lucky bastard...

                              Regards,

                              Boris
                              ~ All perils, specially malignant, are recurrent - Thomas De Quincey ~

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