I started the "Anniversary" thread in order to acknowledge the death of Carrie Brown. I don't think it is an appropriate thread to discuss the manner of her death or any possible connection to the Whitechapel murderer and so have started this new thread for that purpose.
Carrie Brown was a desperately poor, white, 55 year old alcoholic part-time prostitute. This would fit with the victimology of the Whitechapel murders. She was last seen alive at 11:00 p.m., Thursday, 23 April, when she and her killer went up to room 31 on the top floor of the East River Hotel. Her body was found at around 9:30 a.m. the next morning lying on the bed of her room (although open to question, there is evidence that she was killed between midnight and 2:00 a.m. on the Friday).
The autopsy revealed that Brown had been struck on the side of the head, manually strangled and then had some of her undergarments wrapped around her neck and head (covering her face) so tightly that the Coroner had to cut them off. It seems that strangulation was the probable cause of death and the mutilations to the body followed shortly after (as stated at both the inquest and the trial of Ameer Ben Ali) although there were opinions that she had died from a combination of strangulation and haemorrhage (death certificate).
Her body was mutilated with cuts to the lower abdomen, a deep one on the left side allowing her intestines to protrude, a series of cuts that ran from the lower abdomen back between her legs and ending just above and to the right of the coccyx. The majority of wounds consisted of a series of light scratches and abrasions to her legs and buttocks. On the bed were found two pieces of intestine and the left ovary (it seems unlikely that the ovary was purposefully removed and was probably detached from the body when the deep cut to the left side of the abdomen was made). Her throat was not cut. The weapon used was a dull, broken 4 in. table-knife which was left at the scene.
Many elements of the Ripper’s MO can be seen mirrored in the murder of Carrie Brown however there are several key differences to keep in mind. She was not murdered in the East End of London but on the Lower East Side of New York. She was not murdered during the “Autumn of Terror” but almost 30 months later. The knife used was dissimilar to the one used in London. Her throat was not cut (this fact alone caused the London police to reject her as a possible Ripper victim) . The murderer of Carrie Brown allowed himself to be seen.
There are also elements of the Ripper’s signature evident in the New York murder. There was the same sexual focus to the violence committed against Brown. There seems to be the same blitz method of attack used to quickly subdue and control the victim through blows to the head and strangulation. Evidence of picquerism.
However, there are also dissimilarities as well. “Overkill” is not evident in the Brown murder. Brown’s body was not displayed in the typical fashion of the London victims – lying on their backs, legs splayed, clothing hiked up to expose the genitals. The Brown murder was not an escalation in violence as seen in the Whitechapel murders and, although the murder took place in relative privacy, the majority of the cuts to the body were shallow with some being described as mere scratches. The Brown murder shows signs of disorganization with a valuable clue, the murder weapon, left at the scene.
It is hard to see why the Whitechapel murderer would lay low for almost 30 months after the murder of Mary Kelly then travel to New York in order to kill one woman and then disappear for good.
Hi Wolf! It's good you to see. Your Feigenbaum essay in RN #28 was awesome. Regarding Brown, I agree with you that it seems highly unlikely that she was killed by the Ripper. From what I can tell in the field, those who do put her forth as a Ripper victim seem to be caught up in the romantic notion of the Ripper traveling to America.
Thanks for the info regarding Carrie Brown. I'm assuming that Carrie Brown was observed going up to the room with her killer? If so then I would suggest that had the Ripper been responsible for Carrie Browns death then he would not have made the mistake of parading himself with Brown in front of a witness.
My thoughts are that if Kelly was a Ripper victim, then Brown's body would have been found in more or less the same state because in both murders the killer had ample time and privacy to carry out the extensive mutilations. However, if Kelly's mutilations were more like the rest of the C5 then I might consider Brown a more likely candidate for a Ripper victim.
I see that we all seem to more or less agree on the point.
Jon, thank you. The lack of the throat cut resolutely down to the spine is pretty damning for what would have to be a later (last?) victim of the Whitechapel Murderer. Also, as jdrake has pointed out, there is a big difference between the death of Kelly and Brown even though the circumstances were similar. I get your point about the two port cities and, in fact, this was pointed out at the time of the Brown murder and the NYPD specifically searched ships and arrested sailors.
Tom. Always good to hear from you. Thanks for the compliment on the Feigenbaum article. Feigenbaum obviously has a tenuous connection to the Carrie Brown murder which, as you know, I first explored in The New York Affair Part 3 back in Ripper Notes #19. I have to agree with you about a romantic idea some people have of the Ripper escaping and traveling to America and this theory was rampant in New York during the time of the Whitechapel murders. The first mention of this possibility that I have found so far dates from the 10th of November, 1888, and it carried on into the next century. New Yorkers, or at least men with some connection to New York, such as Ameer Ben Ali, Henry Dowd, Feigenbaum, Frank Castellano, Emil Totterman, not to mention Tumblety or Arbie LaBruckman, were considered, at one time or another, by the New York press to be Jack the Ripper. This all seems to stem from a fear, or uneasiness of immigration (notice all of the men I listed were foreign born). And, as New York was the great gateway to the US, it is logical that New Yorkers would be afraid that the Ripper, should he want to cross the Atlantic, would end up stalking the dark alleys of their city. After all, a lot of ships brought a lot of faceless, nameless people and dumped them in New York.
Stan. You don’t know the half of it. A truly fascinating slice of forgotten American history. Sex, death, corruption, the rail-roading of an innocent man, crusading journalists and ultimate redemption all set in New York, a city of great wealth and great poverty, during the “Gilded Age.”
Observer. Yes, Brown entered the East River Hotel with a man who was seen by the “Assistant Housekeeper,” actually a prostitute named Mary Miniter who worked part time at the hotel, and she was able to furnish a fairly good description of him. It is also interesting to note that a blood stained man who fit the description, right down to the observation that he appeared to be German, entered the Glenmore Hotel, only blocks from the East River Hotel, on the night of the murder and tried to get a room but was turned away because he had no money. Hard to see the Ripper allowing himself to be seen covered in blood by hotel staff.