The Great Mystery of Jack the Ripper, Part IV

Mega Genius® Intelligence Briefing [33]:


Warning: The subject of this Intelligence Briefing may not be suitable for minors or the mentally impaired.


Part IV:  Where the Responsibility Lies


The Ripper’s sixth and final victim was 25-year-old Mary Jane Kelly, known as “Black Mary,” an attractive prostitute with what was described as “blue eyes and a very fine head of hair, which reached nearly to her waist,” who often plied her trade near The Ten Bells.

Mary was born in Limerick, Ireland.  She grew up in Wales.  At 16, she married a coal miner, who died in a mine explosion a couple of years later.  In 1884, at age 21, she moved to London, where she worked in a brothel.  In 1887, she began living with Joe Barnett, a market porter, in Spitalfields.

Mary and Joe were frequently behind in their rent.  To get back on their feet, Mary would sometimes prostitute, which was the subject of arguments between them.  Joe freely gave her what money he could, but insisted that he would not live with her if she prostituted.

They lived at No. 13 Miller’s Court, a diminutive, meagerly furnished, grungy dwelling off Dorset Street, just one block from The Ten Bells.  The lodging had two windows, one of which an intoxicated Mary had broken two panes from during an argument with Joe.

In late October 1888, Joe was unemployed.  Mary invited a friend, who was also a prostitute, to stay with them.  The friend moved in, Mary began prostituting again and, on 30 October, Joe and Mary argued and Joe moved out.  On the night of 8 November, he visited her at about 7:45 p.m. and apologized for still being unemployed and having no money to give her.  When he left at 8:00 p.m., he would never see her alive again.

Later that evening, another Spitalfields prostitute, Mary Ann Cox, who lived at No. 5 Miller’s Court and whom the Star newspaper referred to later as “a wretched looking specimen of East End womanhood,” was having difficulty finding a client.  (I have an idea why).  At about 11:45 p.m., Mrs. Cox saw an intoxicated Mary talking with a man near The Ten Bells.  Then the couple crossed the street and Mrs. Cox saw Mary take the man to her room.  As Mrs. Cox went into her own room to warm up from the autumn chill, she could hear Mary singing.

About 12:05 a.m., Mrs. Cox headed out to try her luck on the streets again.  Then, about 1:00 a.m., she returned to her room to warm up again.  The temperature was barely above freezing and Easterly winds were blowing with force.  There was light in Mary’s room and she was still singing.  About 1:05 a.m., Mrs. Cox was warm and set out once again to stir up some business.  By 3:00 a.m., she was freezing, had given up and returned home.  A gas lamp about eight feet in front of Mary’s door illuminated it in the courtyard.  Mary’s room was dark and silent.

At 10:45 a.m., John McCarthy, Mary’s landlord, sent his assistant to see Mary to collect the rent that was in arrears.  When no one answered the door at No. 13, Thomas Bowyer peeked through her broken window.  All he saw was “a lot of blood.”  Then he ran to get his employer, who rushed to the dwelling.

“The sight we saw,” Mr. McCarthy complained later, “I can not [sic] drive away from my mind.  It looked more like the work of a devil than of a man.”  He proclaimed, “I had heard a great deal about the Whitechapel murders, but I declare to God I had never expected to see such a sight as this.  The body was, of course, covered with blood, and so was the bed.  The whole scene is more than I can describe.  I hope I may never see such a sight again.”

Detective Walter Dew recalled that when Inspector Walter Beck looked through the broken window, “… he staggered back with his face as white as a sheet.  ‘For God’s sake, Dew,’ he cried, ‘Don’t look.’  I ignored the order, and took my place at the window.  When my eyes had become accustomed to the dim light, I saw a sight which I shall never forget to my dying day.”

Then Elizabeth Prater, another prostitute who lived in Miller’s Court, was tempted to look through the broken window for herself, and remembered,  “I could bear to look at it for only a second, but I can never forget the sight of it if I live to be a hundred.”

Three days later at the inquest, Dr. George Phillips, the divisional police surgeon, withheld the ghastly details from the jury.  Nevertheless, they would be revealed 99 years later, in recently discovered notes taken by Dr. Thomas Bond during the post-mortem.

Mary was lying in bed, on her back, almost completely naked.  The cause of death was loss of blood from her right carotid artery, which had spurted several times against her bedroom wall when the Ripper had slashed through her whole throat, right down to her spinal column.  Then he had gashed her entire face numerous times, in all directions, until he had obliterated all her features by slicing off her nose and parts of her cheeks, eyebrows and ears in the process, and slashed her arms extensively.


After Mary Jane Kelly  met Jack the Ripper

Then he had cut out her entire abdominal wall in three large sections, which he piled onto a table near her bed.  He had completely excavated her abdominal and pelvic cavities and discarded her intestines on the bed near her right side.  They were scattered with the remains of Mary’s last meal.

The Ripper had then stripped the flesh from both thighs clear to the bones, stacking those muscles and other tissues on the table, too.  Then he cut off both of her breasts completely down to her rib bones.  Her ribs he then separated by cutting between each of them.  Next, he dissected Mary’s thorax, organ by organ, and tore out part of her left lung.  One breast was found near her right foot, her spleen near her left side, and her other breast and kidneys and uterus under her head.

Dr. Bond determined that she had been murdered at about 1:00 a.m. or 2:00 a.m. and that the Ripper’s hands and arms must have been covered with blood.  Later, after he and Dr. Phillips had reassembled all the scattered pieces of Mary’s body, they realized that only one organ was missing: Mary’s heart.


After 9 November 1888, Jack the Ripper vanished as suddenly as he had appeared.  His legacy, however, lives on, and well over a century later, the mystery deepens.

Some 20 years later, in 1910, Major Henry Smith, the former Acting Commissioner of the City of London Police, lamented, “There is no man living who knows as much of those murders as I do; and before going further I must admit that, though within five minutes of the perpetrator one night, and with a very fair description of him besides, he completely beat me and every police officer in London; and I have no more idea now where he lived than I had twenty years ago.”

The case of Jack the Ripper remains open and unsolved in the files of Scotland Yard.

During a business trip to London this summer, in 2005, I left the peaceful private grounds of Buckingham Palace one afternoon to explore chaotic Whitechapel, to investigate each of the Ripper’s murder sites.  Once there, I easily walked to them all in one hour.  In 117 years, there had been considerable changes, yet much was eerily the same.

Martha Tabram, the Ripper’s first victim, was murdered on the landing of George Yard Buildings.  They have been demolished and replaced with a red brick building; the crime occurred near its northern end.  Although the name of the street was changed from George Yard to Gunthorpe Street, much of it is similar to the way it looked in 1888.  In the darkness, it does not look inviting.

Polly Nichols, his second victim, was slain on Buck’s Row at the entrance to a stable yard, near the large Board School building.  The location is easy to find, although, after Polly’s murder, Buck’s Row was renamed Durward Street, because Buck’s Row was then too closely associated with Jack the Ripper.  The building that was the Board School is still there.  Even though it was entirely renovated into an apartment building, its outward appearance has changed little.  The overgrown area that was the entrance to the stable yard is obvious.  It is one of the two crime scenes least changed.

Annie Chapman, the Ripper’s third casualty, was butchered in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street.  The ramshackle dwelling has been replaced with a relatively modern structure, the Truman Brewery building, which I understand is used today by performing artists.

Elisabeth Stride, his fourth victim, was killed just inside the entrance to Dutfield’s Yard, just before he was interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Diemschutz, his pony and cart.  It is not difficult to determine the location of the murder, although Berner Street was changed to Henriques Street and a schoolyard now occupies the crime scene.

Catharine Eddowes, victim number five, was murdered in Mitre Square.  Some of its character remains, despite renovations of the buildings.  In fact, the cobblestones upon which Jack the Ripper slaughtered his prey are still there.  The place where Catharine’s body was found is now appropriately alongside a walled flower garden.  This is the other of the two crime scenes that are the least changed.

Incidentally, the doorway where the Ripper tossed the bloody section of Catharine Eddowes’ apron after he left Mitre Square still exists on Goulston Street.  Today it is an access to a fish-and-chips restaurant.



Miller’s Court was to the left of where the man in the
pink shirt is standing — where the curb is now



Mary Jane Kelly, his sixth victim, was killed in her room, in Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street.  The location is now a warehouse, with sliding bay doors, in a private alley, now called White’s Row.






Then I crossed the street and entered The Ten Bells.  Although the interior has changed extensively, there are reminders to facilitate imagining what it was like back then.  In particular, the charming, Victorian tile mural Spitalfields in ye Olden Time: Visiting a Weaver’s shop still graces the back wall.



Spitalfields in ye Olden Time: Visiting a Weaver’s shop


Millions still wonder who Jack the Ripper was.  The fact that there have been innumerable theories based upon scant and usually false evidence was made pointedly some years ago by Bill Tidy, Britain’s beloved cartoonist.  His drawing showed Sherlock Holmes, backed up by two constables, kneeling before a perturbed Queen Victoria.  The caption read, “I have reason to believe that you are Jack the Ripper.”

The Ripper was not a man.  He was the lowest form of animal, which prowled Victorian London’s East End in the darkness, like some otherworldly nightmare.  Although during the day, he passed for a human being.

What makes people’s flesh crawl to this day is not that they have never discovered his name, or even the fact that this monster really existed.  Rather, it is that every person knows that Jack the Ripper is not actually gone, that other creatures of his type have preyed upon society and exist throughout the world today, and that one of them just might target us, or one of our loved ones, at any moment.

The dichotomy of a civilization forced to cope with the incivility of a “Jack the Ripper” is maddening.  We should be able to cure such an insane life form, so that you would subsequently feel comfortable allowing him to watch over your children.  That statement may seem shocking, or even ridiculous, but only if you have been falsely convinced that a human mind is dangerous and complex and, therefore, impossible to fully understand and, when necessary, cure.  The truth is that it is not.  The human mind appears complex only to the degree that it is not understood, which reflects very poorly upon psychiatry

My intention has been threefold: First, to provide you with the most accurate and concise synopsis of Jack the Ripper that has ever been available.

Second, to point out that “Jack the Ripper” will live as long as brutal serial killers and other maniacs are permitted to plague society.

Third, to submit that the only expert in any field is the one who can produce the desired results, and that such creatures as serial killers, repetitive child molesters, and the like continue to infect society because those who have been in charge of the field of mental health are woefully ignorant of the subject.

Just as I resolved the mysterious murders of Marilyn Monroe, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and President John F. Kennedy, in The Mega Genius® Lectures, so can you use “The Genius Formula™” to identify Jack the Ripper by name, if you choose.  However, be careful what you wish for.  Nothing is as intriguing as a great mystery being investigated … or as sad as one completely solved.

I will release “The Great Mystery of Jack the Ripper, Part V,” titled “Who Was the Man in Astrakhan?” and “The Great Mystery of Jack the Ripper, Part VI,” titled “When All the Puzzle Pieces Fit,”  shortly after 2008 (120 years after the serial killer’s reign).  At that time, I will solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper.


Mega Genius®

16 September 2005


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