Originally Posted by Ausgirl
I've always thought that if a drug/substance was used, it'd have been chloroform. A possible argument for it found here: http://www.casebook.org/dissertation...oo-chloro.html
I've also often thought if JtR was not using any substances, relying instead on the blitz-attack method alone (sudden strangulation/head injury) there'd very likely be early attacks where a victim had either survived, or the death was messy and noisy, with a struggle involved. His MO as we see it in the set of JtR murders is pretty darned polished. I highly doubt he started out that way.
The anesthetic use of chloroform is a bit more detailed, as it requires at least five minutes of continuous inhalation (or more, depending on body weight) to render an adult patient fully unconscious, and a steady chloroform drip on the application mask (or "soaked rag", if you will) the patient's inhaling from, to keep them unconscious.
As such, it's nearly impossible to subdue an adult with a chloroform soaked rag alone, and would definitely require other impairments/implements like alcohol, drugs, a bludgeon to the head, etc..
Now as a plot device for a hypothetical murder circa 1880's, it would be excellent, as the body eliminates most of the chloroform quickly via the lungs during exhalation. It's also processed by the liver, and small traces may be secreted in urine, but analytical detection of it's metabolites in tissue samples was basically non-existent prior to mass spectrometry.
As for JtR, he may have used what we across the pond refer to as a "choke hold", much the same as Gary Ridgeway did to his victims.
Ridgeway would come behind his victims after "services rendered", and gently embrace them from behind as if hugging them to maneuver into a choke hold, and I suspect JtR did it much the same way.
Most manual strangulation victims will have injuries like finger bruises/marks, crushed windpipes or fractured hyoid bones, all of which usually occur from a position of the murderer facing the victim during the choking attack.
In a choke hold, the murderer is behind the victim during the attack, using the crook of their arm to choke instead of their hands (which crush), and thus leave little bruising, and an undamaged hyoid bone.
In addition to cutting off airways, this type of hold also cuts off the blood flow at the carotids and/or jugulars, and can cause unconsciousness within several seconds
, and subsequently death.
This could also explain the clenched fingers of Kelly and Stride, the protruding tongue of Chapman, the tongue laceration of Nichols, and the seeming lack of arterial blood spray/spatter at most of the murder scenes.
He may have done a quick blitz hit to stun them first, or the choke hold itself
was the blitz, but however he subdued them, it most probably caught them completely off guard.
I doubt that Whitechapel street prostitutes serviced their clients while lying on the filthy ground, but rather while standing, and by hiking their skirts up from behind to allow the client easier access, and quicker completion of said services. This would have made a choke hold easy and fast to perform, catching the victim unawares and unable to cry out, while rendering them unconscious in well under a minute, and near-death or dead in a couple of minutes. The quicker the victim lost consciousness, the quicker JtR could start (and possibly have more time for) the cutting.