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Jack The Creeper

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  • #16
    There is a fine old quote by Raymond Chandler, author of the hard-boiled detective novels, about unnecessary complications in the world of murder mystery fiction. It goes something like this:

    The boys with their feet on the desks know that the easiest murder case in the world to break is the one somebody tried to get very cute with; the one that really bothers them is the murder somebody only thought of two minutes before he pulled it off. But if the writers of this fiction wrote about the kind of murders that happen, they would also have to write about the authentic flavor of life as it is lived. And since they cannot do that, they pretend that what they do is what should be done. Which is begging the question–and the best of them know it.
    And his words apply doubly, I think, to the investigation of ancient murders like those in Whitechapel, as those in the present day who examine them are more storytellers than policemen.

    The more intricate a conspiracy to commit murder becomes, the less likely it is to succeed and the greater the risk of leaving behind damning evidence becomes. The killer who stops to chat with his victims - even though, on a literary, storytelling level it may be very appealing indeed, speaking to us as it does the old serial killer cliché of "the monster next door" - is signing his own warrant. Ted Bundy was seen by many witnesses one day that he decided to kidnap two victims at the same time from a well-populated lakefront beach and failed to change up his old leg-in-a-cast-trick accordingly. It took too much time; it was too convoluted. The only thing that saved him was the fact he was at too great a distance from the lake to be seen clearly, or to have his license number recorded, by the vacationers there.

    Should we assume it is any different with Saucy Jacky? Aside from Catherine Eddowes, who was slaughtered in a nearly abandoned Mitre Square, Jack's victims were all taken in relatively well-populated environs. Even Mary Kelly, killed as she was in her own home, had neighbors who were quite awake when the event occurred. If Jack were a logical being - which I admit fully to the possibility that he was not - he would not have wanted to dally with any of them. He would have offed them as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

    Which is part of the reason I find almost all of the witness statements dubious at best, particularly those, such as Albert Cadosch, who suggest by implication that the Ripper had loudly quarreled with his victims before murdering them. Would Jack have been so indiscreet as to draw attention to himself in occupied quarters before doing the deed? If so, then he was an idiot and lends greater credence to the theory that the killer was an uneducated ruffian. Which isn't to suggest that murderers don't often loudly argue with their victims, enough even to attract attention. They do. But these killers are typically jilted lovers, aggrieved family members, or quarrelsome frienemies. They are not serial killers.

    No, I think that, if we operate under the assumption that Jack the Ripper was a sane psychopath, as opposed to a drooling lunatic, we must also accept that he operated as logically as the circumstances of his urges permitted him. He would have wanted to keep the possibility that he would be seen to a minimum - this is the first requirement of a 'premeditated murder' charge, as his killings would surely fall under if he were apprehended for them today. He would have behaved accordingly.
    Last edited by Defective Detective; 11-02-2010, 11:31 PM.


    • #17
      I wonder if perhaps he let his victims lead the way? They, if we accept that all were local, and at least sporadic prostitutes; would have been able to lead him to a suitably secluded spot for sex.

      With the promise of money behind them, they may have been quite willing to lead the way for him.

      I expect that he did let them lead the way, but I bet he knew just where they would lead him (I imagine that prostitutes used habitual secluded places..).
      Since this is a 'what if...?' thread, well 'what if..' Jack had sometimes worked for Kearley and Tonge and drank in the Roebuck pub, where he had sometimes crossed Polly, who often worked Buck's Row as a prostitute ?
      What if he met Polly in the street (freshly out of the Frying Pan and drunk) -and she was totally off her guard recognising a local man whom she recognised, and was happy to lead him dociley to where he knew she would..and he knew the frequentation of the street and the policeman's beat..?..and he knew that if he was seen in the area immediately afterwards, then he could just mingle with the crowd chatting to unsuspecting mates and nobody would ever suspect him ?

      I can see that sort of scenario better than Jack being a 'creeper'.


      • #18

        I agree, yes. I think a scenario of the type you outline above is very likely, Ruby. I personally presume the killer to have been either natively local, or to have had local knowledge - so probably to have resided locally - in which case he could be expected to have some familiarity with the sort of places where prostitution was conducted.

        I think it's at least possible that he had already had social, and perhaps sexual intercourse with his victims. Just because he apparently didn't have sex with them when he killed them, doesn't mean to say he never had sex at all.


        • #19
          Originally posted by Rubyretro View Post
          I would be surprised if he had to sneak about to avoid the 'drag net'.

          It takes about 15 -20 minutes to get to Mitre Square from Berner Street, and he could just stroll there, looking like everyone else on the street. If he went back to his lodgings via Goulston Street (and we all know that I think that he lodged in the Victoria Home), as soon as he got within the immediate vicinity of his lodgings, then he might become a well known face in the area and just stop and chat to people he knew. If he often worked away from the area, he
          could just leave the area, as he would normally do, and not even be there when the Police checked the Lodging Houses.

          Why would he need to be a 'ninja' to avoid capture ? He could just carry on as normal. As I've said before, without CCT cameras to capture someone at at a specific point of time and place, and given that you can move between places in a very short timespan, it can't have been that difficult to fade into the background.
          Sorry- a lot can go by when you're away for 24 hours.
          I see the Ripper as having been very stealthy in the time immediately after the Double Event without considering that he might have lived in the immediate area. If he did not, with scores of cops questioning anyone they found walking the streets, a killer with even a small amount of blood anywhere on him and especially with a knife and a couple of human organs stuffed in his pants obviously would have to avoid the police, and yet PC Long's account of how he found the piece of apron in the doorway when it wasn't there the first time he passed by would indicate that the killer was hanging around the area in the midst of the dragnet. But of course, if he did live in the immediate area as you suggest it would have been simple enough to stash the incriminating items at home and even change clothes before going back outside to leave the apron without being quite so ninja-like.

          And by the way, for what it's worth I briskly walked from Henriques (Berner) Street to Mitre Square in 14 minutes.


          • #20
            I wonder if perhaps he let his victims lead the way? They, if we accept that all were local, and at least sporadic prostitutes; would have been able to lead him to a suitably secluded spot for sex.
            I posted a thread a long time ago on the old board about tunnels and open spaces, because it occurred to me that all of these women with the exception of Nicholls were killed in a broader space that was reached by going through a narrow passage, and the Freudian implications of that struck me forcibly. I wondered if that was how the Ripper's victims self-selected. So, yes, I imagine the women took their clients to places where they habitually took their tricks for some expectation of privacy. However, again this is 'what-if', it's just as possible that they were attacked by someone who followed them. Other sks have operated in this manner and we cannot rule out the possibility here.