The Chisper Effect 12 : The Ripper Gang

    Continuing the weekly serialization of

chisper_effect

Damian Beeson Bullen’s

THE CHISPER EFFECT

In which a number of the world’s greatest mysteries are finally solved

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As we approach the end of my first chispological analysis of the most spectacular mysteries of mankind, we are about to enter what are for me our modern times. The difference between this age & those of the past, especially the deeper histories, is society’s ability to relay information to the masses with widespread rapidity. With this possibility comes the very real risk of media manipulation, of creating a factochisp on purpose, the veritable ‘Fake News’ of the Trump administration. Humanity is primarily a gossip-loving species, that is force-fed to a gluttonous, news-hungry people; if enough people read about, or see images of, a factoid then the widely spread belief moulds minds for whomever may benefit. ‘That never happened,‘ someone might say. ‘But I read it about,’ ‘but I saw it with my own eyes,’ will be the curt response.

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Such an illusion occurred in the case of the notorious Whitechapel prostitute killer, Jack the Ripper, said to stalk the dimly lit streets of London’s East End in the summer & autumn of 1888. Among eleven unsolved crimes contained in the dossier on the so-called Whitechapel Killer, there are five which form the unholy canon of victims. These poor unfortunate women were all found with their throats cut, with four of them being mutilated in the most abhorrent fashion. They were;

Mary Ann Nichols: 31 August, Buck’s Row
Annie Chapman: 8 September, 29 Hanbury Street
Elizabeth Stride: 30 September, 40 Berner Street
Catherine Eddowes: 30 September, Mitre Square
Mary Jane Kelly: 9 November, Millers Court

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What bother’d the police the most about the killer was the phantom-like way this sadistic slaughterer managed to avoid detection during his grisly butchering & subsequent flights to safety. The police were also perturbed by the statements of numerous witnesses who had been closest to the action, so to speak, with the vast majority offering differing descriptions of the murderer. Using chispology, these two enigmas can be reconciled into a single stream of thought; Jack the Ripper was in fact several people, a murder gang, whose members facilitated the slayings. The Ripper Gang is the bloody colour of red, but when we mix in the blue of media manipulation & their creation of the single maniacal murderer, the colour inevitably changes. As we look at this new colour, we can sense red is somewhere in the background, but our minds see only now the new colour, violet.

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The question we must ask is who turned the Ripper’s red to violet? Who in their right mind would be behind such a desperate & devious mission? Upon approaching a mystery such as this, one should apply to the problem Aristotle’s philosophies of causality; when all the dust has settled on an event, whomever benefits most from the final outcome probably had something to do with its initiation. In the case of Jack the Ripper, two very significant prosperities induced by the killings can be connected to the famous Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, who was living & working in London in 1888. His name stands out a little ridiculously, almost scandalously, in the same way that Queen Victoria’s deranged eldest son was a popular suspect in the case. Instead, where Prince Albert Edward’s ‘claim’ is based on speculation only, upon investigating Mr Shaw, a certain number of tentacles of truth seem to penetrate the dark historical swamps of the Ripper case with ease.

A young George Bernard Shaw
A young George Bernard Shaw

One of Shaw’s jobs at that time was as a music critic for the Star newspaper, where he wrote under the pseudonym, ‘Corno di Bassetto.’ The Star was also the Victorian tabloid which printed for the first time the name of Jack the Ripper, selling millions of copies in the process. In 1888, newspapers were the perfect public medium upon which to launch the creation of a crazed serial killer in order to focus a global spotlight upon the capital slums. At the time of the killings, the East End of London had crammed almost a million outcasts into its poverty-stricken streets, a community that was either ignored or condemned to eternal destitution by the wealthier classes of the capital. With a flash of his midnight knife, the Ripper would change everything in an instant. The public outcry over the killer was so intense that there soon kicked in the process of urban renewal & poverty relief that George Bernard Shaw had been campaigning for for years. Social reform is the crucial motive behind the Ripper killings, at the height of which Shaw printed the following letter in the Star. As we read the extracts, let us imagine him as the actual architect behind the entire Ripper legend.

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BLOOD MONEY TO WHITECHAPEL
TO THE EDITOR OF THE STAR

SIR,– Will you allow me to make a comment on the success of the Whitechapel murderer in calling attention for a moment to the social question? Less than a year ago the West-end press, headed by the St. James’s Gazette, the Times, and the Saturday Review, were literally clamering for the blood of the people–hounding on Sir Charles Warren to thrash and muzzle the scum who dared to complain that they were starving–heaping insult and reckless calumny on those who interceded for the victims–applauding to the skies the open class bias of those magistrates and judges who zealously did their very worst in the criminal proceedings which followed–behaving, in short as the proprietary class always does behave when the workers throw it into a frenzy of terror by venturing to show their teeth. Quite lost on these journals and their patrons were indignant remonstrances, argument, speeches, and sacrifices, appeals to history, philosophy, biology, economics, and statistics; references to the reports of inspectors, registrar generals, city missionaries, Parliamentary commissions, and newspapers; collections of evidence by the five senses at every turn; and house-to-house investigations into the condition of the unemployed, all unanswered and unanswerable, and all pointing the same way. The Saturday Review was still frankly for hanging the appellants; and the Times denounced them as “pests of society.” This was still the tone of the class Press as lately as the strike of the Bryant and May girls. Now all is changed. Private enterprise has succeeded where Socialism failed. Whilst we conventional Social Democrats were wasting our time on education, agitation, and organisation, some independent genius has taken the matter in hand, and by simply murdering and disembowelling four women, converted the proprietary press to an inept sort of communism. The moral is a pretty one, and the Insurrectionists, the Dynamitards, the Invincibles, and the extreme left of the Anarchist party will not be slow to draw it. “Humanity, political science, economics, and religion,” they will say, “are all rot; the one argument that touches your lady and gentleman is the knife.”

The riots of 1886 brought in £78,000 and a People’s Palace; it remains to be seen how much these murders may prove worth to the East-end in panem et circenses. Indeed, if the habits of duchesses only admitted of their being decoyed into Whitechapel back-yards, a single experiment in slaughterhouse anatomy on an artistocratic victim might fetch in a round half million and save the necessity of sacrificing four women of the people.

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In this letter, Shaw essentially describes how social reformers had tried multiple manners of methods to highlight the plight of the impoverishment of London’s East End, to their ignominious collapse of their efforts. Yet, where failed, ‘humanity, political science, economics, and religion,‘ it was the brutal murders of prostitutes which finally managed to open the eyes of a hoary establishment. When reading through the letter, expressions such as ‘private enterprise‘ & ‘independent genius’ seem outstandingly brazen words of self-congratulation. There is also a startlingly curious & cold-blooded sense of self-righteousness about Shaw’s, ‘necessity of sacrificing four women of the people.’

William Morris
William Morris

A similar opinion to this was vaunted by one of Shaw’s companions in social reform, William Morris, who printed in his own newspaper (the Commonweal), ‘in our age of contradictions and absurdities, a fiend-murderer may become a more effective reformer than all the honest propagandists in the world.’ Morris knew the East End well, & was always exploring its dark alleys & experiencing its gin-soaked poverty at first hand. Along with Shaw & their fellow reformers, Morris had grown steadily disenchanted with the normal means of civic protestation. Things became intolerable after November 1887, when on that month’s ‘Bloody Sunday,’ the British government brutally killed a number of protesters in Trafalgar Square. It was becoming clear to Morris & Shaw that an alternative route to reform was required. Their solution was a ‘fiend-murderer,’ whose hunting grounds were the poorest parts of London, in order to shine a focus on that area’s deprivation. That the Ripper’s unfortunate victims came from the prostitute class was an act designed, in fact, to assist these looser ladies in the long run. In 1885, William Morris had declared; ‘the first thing that is necessary, is that all women should be freed from the compulsion of living Sin this degraded way.’ There is also a vague holy grail nugget that has been hinted at by Ripperologists that Morris was arrested at one point during the murders & in relation to them. This may be a factochisp or genuine truth, but I shall pursue it no further at this moment.

The murders began with the non-canonical slaying of Emma Smith, on the 3rd April 1888. Later that year, on August 7th, Martha Tabram was stabbed 39 times in the George Yard Buildings, George Yard, Whitechapel. Also at this time, the Lyceum Theatre was playing ‘Dr Jekyl & Mr Hyde’ whose fiend-murderer was the talk of all of London.’ It is roundabout this point that the Ripper plan, I believe, was put into place. Smith & Tabram may have been ‘Ripper’ victims, or were perhaps an opportunistic catalyst for the plan to begin. Either way, by the night of the killing of the Mary Ann Nichols, on the 31st August 1888, Morris received a visit from a certain Ernest Balfort Bax, another ardent social reformer & erstwhile Star journalist. I believe on this occasion they were discussing the Star’s role in the plot that was just about to unfold, for the next day the newspaper printed a passage which neatly planted in the public’s imagination the arrival a ‘Man Monster’ in London.

HAVE we a murderous maniac loose in East London? It looks as if we had. Nothing so appalling, so devilish, so inhuman – or, rather non-human – as the three Whitechapel crimes has ever happened outside the pages of Poe or De Quincey. The unravelled mystery of “The Whitechapel Murders” would make a page of detective romance as ghastly as “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” The hellish violence and malignity of the crime which we described yesterday resemble in almost every particular the two other deeds of darkness which preceded it. Rational motive there appears to be none. The murderer must be a Man Monster

 What was needed was a group of individuals – a gang – who would carry out the deadly wishes of Shaw & Morris, to seek & slay those unlucky martyr-women to the cause. That several people were involved in the killings was much-opined at the time; The London Echo (1st September 1888) postulated, ‘one of the chief theories of the police with respect to the matter is that a sort of “High Rip” gang exists in the neighbourhood,’ while Percy Clark, a police surgeon in Whitechapel, told the East London Observer in 1910, ‘I think perhaps one man was responsible for three of them. I would not like to say he did the others.’ It has often been noted with some amazement how the Ripper managed to always elude capture, despite a modus operandi of killing in the open streets. On one occasion, a policeman patrolled a section of Whitechapel & found nothing untoward, then just ten minutes later returned to the same place to find a dead woman who had suffered a great deal of crude, organ-removing surgery. In the face of such risks, we may assume that a look-out system had been set in place to facilitate the plan.

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Witnesses at three of the murders placed a man & woman gently carousing in the immediate area of the body-finds. The clearest of these sightings is at the murder of Annie Chapman; where one witness describes hearing what sounded like a body dropping against a fence, while five minutes later another witness places a man & a woman cavorting on the street-side of that same fence. While Annie Chapman was being brutalized behind the fence, the couple must have been keeping an eye on the street. That a woman was involved, a veritable JILL THE RIPPER, has been half-proven in recent years by the pro-female DNA profiling of a stamp on a letter sent to Thomas Horrocks Openshaw on the 29th October 1888. Signed ‘Jack the Ripper,’ after the signature there appears a curious creochisp of an American folk song.

O have you seen the devle
With his mikerscope & scalpul
A-lookin at a kidney
With a slide cocked up
Openshaw

Did you ever see de devil wid his iron handled shovel
A-scrapin up de san’ in his ole tin pan
He cuts up mighty funny, he steals all yo’ money
He blinds ou with his san.’ He’s tryin’ to git you, man
American Folk Song

Bellsmith
Bellsmith

This North American connection to the Ripper Gang leads us to two of its main players; a religious-nut insurance clerk called Henry Wentworth Bellsmith & a quack doctor called Francis Tumblety. The first of these, Henry Wentworth Bellsmith, was born in London in 1849, then moved to Toronto in 1878 with his wife & children. Following a decade of obscurity, by early 1888 we see him separated from his wife & back living in London, where he was employed by the Toronto Trust Company. By the month of April he had taken up lodgings with a certain Mr and Mrs Callaghan of 27 Sun Street, Finsbury Square, on the fringes of London’s East End. As the Autumn killings got underway, Mr Callaghan began to suspect his lodger was actually the Ripper, but before he could properly raise his suspicions with the authorities, Bellsmith vacated his rooms & vanished. A year later, Callaghan finally reported his haunted thoughts to a British psychiatrist working on the Ripper case, Forbes Winslow. The salient points of the statement Callaghan gave Winslow can be summarized thus;

(i) Bellsmith told Callaghan he was visiting London from Toronto on business for a few months or maybe a year.
(ii) Callaghan said of Bellsmith, ‘we all regarded him as a lunatic, obsessed with women of the street, who he said should be drowned.’
(iii) Bellsmith kept loaded revolvers in his room.
(iv) Following the killing of Martha Tabram in early August, Bellsmith came home late & ‘washed his own shirt.’ Callaghan later noticed spots of blood on Bellsmith’s bedsheets.

When Bellsmith moved out of Finsbury Square in mid-August, he told Callaghan was returning to Toronto. Instead, he seems to turn up in another room in Whitechapel, when an un-named landlady would remember a man just like Bellsmith, who had been lodging with her during the murders. The story is best given by an Australian newspaper, the Port Philip Herald (22-11-1890), extracts of which read;

Mr Albert Backert, Chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, has written the following letter to the Chronicle:

In connection with the late Whitechapel murders, the most remarkable and sensational statement was made to me this morning at my place. At eleven o’clock this morning a very respectable middle-aged woman called at my house, and wished to see me. She was asked in, and then made the following statement to me, which she declared was all quite true:

About two years ago, she said, she was living in the model dwellings close by here and had a bedroom to let, furnished. A young man called and engaged the room. After living some time with her he stated that he had been to sea, and that at the present time he was receiving £1 a week from his father, and was also receiving an allowance from his brother, who was a doctor, and that he did not work himself. She also noticed that he had plenty of clothes, including hunting breeches, revolvers, guns, and many other articles, which an ordinary working man would not have.
“The People”, a London Conservative paper, has the following remarkable statement 

She describes him as young, of middle height, well-built, with a small, fair moustache and light brown hair, although she had frequently remarked that he had means by which he made his moustache and eyebrows much darker on some occasions than others. His movements during the time the murders were occurring were very mysterious… His brother, who she understood was a doctor, visited him on two occasions and appeared much older than he. She has no doubt the man she suspects is English, but he spoke with a nasal twang, evidently affected, and used the word “Boss” very frequently in conversation. He usually rose at two in the afternoon, and would go out about five o’clock, invariably wearing a tall hat and dressed very respectably, but as he had a large number of suits of clothes, he often dressed differently, or as she puts it: “He was a man who could so alter his appearance that if you met him in the street once you would not know him again.”

 The strange man she describes an accomplished linguist and able to speak French and German fluently as she frequently heard him in conversation with some foreigners who lived on the same floor…. one brother, the doctor who visited him, residing in the neighborhood of Oxford street. He also told her he had travelled for several years in the United States and Canada… There was little doubt, too, that he sent communications to the Press Association and Central News, for she declares that she once saw either envelopes or postcards addressed to them, although she believes that those she saw were subsequently destroyed… before his departure he had sold all his belongings – including many suits of clothes and several revolvers – to a ship’s mate, who, a few days later, called and took them away… On Wednesday evening she was walking in Commercial road, when, to her astonishment, she recognised the man, standing on the kerb in conversation with a well-known tradesman of the district, whose name she declines to divulge, but who, she has ascertained, is a friend of his… She has seen his wife, and had entered into conversation with her. The latter she describes as a rather pretty young woman of about twenty five, but whose face wears a strange look.

Tumblety
Tumblety

This description of the ‘lodger’ being seen in London with his young wife, two years year after the killings, is a composite match to Bellsmith & Caroline Taylor, who were married in 1889, when she was 23 years old. It is onto the landlady’s remembrance of the lodger’s elder brother that we can project the physicality & doctor persona of Francis Tumblety, who was 56 in 1888. Though a prominent suspect at the time, his name was lost in the muddy depths of Ripperology, only to resurface a century later in a letter discovered by an English policeman named Stewart Evans. Written in 1913 by John J. Littlechild, Chief of CID Special Branch at the time of the murders, it stores some vital information.

I never heard of a Dr D. in connection with the Whitechapel murders but amongst the suspects, and to my mind a very likely one, was a Dr. T. (which sounds much like D.) He was an American quack named Tumblety and was at one time a frequent visitor to London and on these occasions constantly brought under the notice of police, there being a large dossier concerning him at Scotland Yard. Although a ‘Sycopathia Sexualis’ subject he was not known as a ‘Sadist’ (which the murderer unquestionably was) but his feelings toward women were remarkable and bitter in the extreme, a fact on record. Tumblety was arrested at the time of the murders in connection with unnatural offences and charged at Marlborough Street, remanded on bail, jumped his bail, and got away to Boulogne. He shortly left Boulogne and was never heard of afterwards. It was believed he committed suicide but certain it is that from this time the ‘Ripper’ murders came to an end.

The ‘unnatural offences’ ascribed to Tumblety were acts of homosexuality against five men, which had been conducted across the entire period of the canonical murders. The first of these incidents took place on the 31st August, the very date of the killing of Mary Ann Nichols. Perhaps he was indulging in his secret passions in order to deflect his mind from the horrors about to unfold. Tumblety was a man with a chequered past, including suspicion of having had a hand in the assassination of President Lincoln. He also had a reputation of being quite a vicious misogynist, as best recorded in the written account of a certain Colonel Dunham, who had once been invited to a dinner by Tumblety.

Someone asked why he had not invited some women to his dinner. His face instantly became as black as a thunder-cloud. He had a pack of cards in his hand, but he laid them down and said, almost savagely, ‘No, Colonel, I don’t know any such cattle, and if I did I would, as your friend, sooner give you a dose of quick poison than take you into such danger.’ He then broke into a homily on the sin and folly of dissipation, fiercely denounced all women and especially fallen women.
He then invited us into his office where he illustrated his lecture so to speak. One side of this room was entirely occupied with cases, outwardly resembling wardrobes. When the doors were opened quite a museum was revealed — tiers of shelves with glass jars and cases, some round and others square, filled with all sorts of anatomical specimens. The ‘doctor’ placed on a table a dozen or more jars containing, as he said, the matrices (uteri) of every class of women. Nearly a half of one of these cases was occupied exclusively with these specimens.

Hall Caine
Hall Caine

Tumblety was perfect for the job, & in the context of the Ripper Gang, where Bellsmith led the actual murders, Tumblety would have been the mastermind. We can link him directly to the private company of George Bernard Shaw through a collection of writers & thespians known as the ‘Beefsteak Club,’ of which Shaw was a frequent member. Tumblety admitted attending club meetings to a publication known as the New York World on the 29th January, 1889; when he boasted of frequenting ‘some of the best London clubs, among others the Carleton Club & the Beefsteak Club.’ One of the Club’s more prominent members was Thomas Hall Caine, whom as a young man in the 1870s had been seduced and manipulated by Tumblety. Caine would go on to become a successful writer, noted for the touches of realism he poured into his works, analysis of which writings shows how he poured the real world into his fictions. His third novel, A Son of Hagar, for example, begins with a suicidal girl & her illegitimate baby being dragged alive from the Thames, which reflects the birth of his own first child before he became married to its mother. Thusly, Caine’s own complicity in the Ripper conspiracy may ve secretly interwoven into a short story of his, ‘The Last Confession,’ which was published in 1893;

Father, do not leave me. Wait! Only a little longer. You cannot absolve me? I am not penitent? How can I be penitent? I do not regret it? How can I regret it? I would do it again? How could I help but do it again? Yes, yes, I know, I know! Who knows it so well as I? It is written in the tables of god’s law: Thou shall do no murder! But was it murder? Was it crime? Blood. Yes, it was the spilling of blood. Blood will have blood, you say, But is there no difference?

My life as a physician in London had been a hard one, but it was not my practice that had wrecked me. How to perform that operation on the throat was the beginning of my trouble, you know what happened. I mastered my problem, & they called the operation by my name. It has brought me fame it has made me rich it has saved a hundred lives, & will save ten thousand more… My work possessed me like a fever. I could neither do it to my content nor leave it undone.

Later in the Confession, Caine encounters a Tumbletyesque ‘American surgeon’ who proclaims how it was, ‘good to take life in a good cause, & if it was good for the nation, it was good for the individual man. The end was all.’ That Caine’s ‘fictional’ surgeon committed murders in secluded alleyways, & that he cut throats the throats of his victims, leaves little to the imagination.

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The Ripper Gang would leave its biggest trace on the night of September 30th, when two prostitutes were killed within an hour of each other. This famous ‘Double-Event,’ would be the next bloody step in sensationalizing the Ripper, whose ‘official’ birth had been cast by the Star only a few days previously. Dated to the 25th September, the Central News Agency received the following letter written in red ink;

Dear Boss:- I keep on hearing the police have caught me, but they won’t fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on ______, and I shan’t quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now? I love my work, and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle to write with, but it went thick, and I can’t use it. Red ink is fit enough, I hope. Ha! ha! The next job I do I clip the lady’s ear and send to the police officers, just for jolly. Wouldn’t you? Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp; I want to get a chance. Good luck-
Yours truly,
Jack T. Ripper
Don’t mind me giving the trade name. Wasn’t good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands. Curse it; no luck yet! They say I am a doctor now. Ha! ha!

In a journalistic flash, the Ripper name had been emphatically placed upon the lips of the news-hungry people of London & beyond. Of the matter, the investigation’s leader, Sir Robert Anderson, declared in his memoirs, ‘I will only add here that the ‘Jack-the-Ripper’ letter which is preserved in the Police Museum at Scotland Yard is the creation of an enterprising London journalist.’ In his own autobiography published a few years later, Sir Melville Macnaghten similarly observed; ‘I have always thought I could discern the stained forefinger of the journalist – indeed, a year later, I had shrewd suspicions as to the actual author!’ These two former police officers never actually got round to naming their suspected journalist, but we can see in the entire ruse the hand of George Bernard Shaw, who lecturing in 1892 revealed that, ‘in 1888 it only cost us twenty-eight postcards written by twenty-eight members to convince the newly-born Star newspaper that London was aflame with Fabian Socialism.

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The scene was set for the double-event, a cranking up of the horror, when two separate Ripper murders would occur within an hour or so of each other. The first, of Lizzie Stride, was almost witnessed by an immigrant Hungarian Jew called Israel Schwartz. His English was terrible, but he did manage to give a report to police through a translator in which the presence of two individual gang-members is clearly shown;

12.45 a.m. 30th. Israel Schwartz of 22 Helen Street, Backchurch Lane, stated that at this hour, on turning into Berner Street from Commercial Street and having got as far as the gateway where the murder was committed, he saw a man stop and speak to a woman, who was standing in the gateway. The man tried to pull the woman into the street, but he turned her round and threw her down on the footway and the woman screamed three times, but not loudly. On crossing to the opposite side of the street, he saw a second man standing lighting his pipe. The man who threw the woman down called out, apparently to the man on the opposite side of the road, ‘Lipski’, and then Schwartz walked away, but finding that he was followed by the second man, he ran so far as the railway arch, but the man did not follow so far.

Upon being taken to the mortuary, Schwartz identified the body as that of the woman he had seen. He thus describes the first man, who threw the woman down:- age, about 30; ht, 5 ft 5 in; comp., fair; hair, dark; small brown moustache, full face, broad shouldered; dress, dark jacket and trousers, black cap with peak, and nothing in his hands. Second man: age, 35; ht., 5 ft 11in; comp., fresh; hair, light brown; dress, dark overcoat, old black hard felt hat, wide brim; had a clay pipe in his hand.

Despite the darkness of the night, Schwartz gave police a fairly detailed description of the two Rippers. Analyzing these, we may observe three tallies between Schwart’s Man 2 (given first) & the description which Callaghan made of Bellsmith;

(i) Heights of 5’11 // 5’10
(ii) Healthy complexion // Dark complexion
(iii) Respectable dress // Respectable dress
(iv) Ages of 35 / 39

We may now assume that Bellsmith had at least one accomplice during the murders; the peak-capped, short & stocky thirty year-old we shall call THE SAILOR.  It was observed during the Autumn of Terror that the murders all took place upon weekends that certain ships were berthed in London, supporting the idea. He would also have been the ‘ship’s mate’ mentioned by Bellsmith’s landlady, who stated that before his departure, ‘he had sold all his belongings – including many suits of clothes and several revolvers – to a ship’s mate, who, a few days later, called and took them away.’

A link between Bellsmith & the murder of Lizzie Stride comes from a witness called Matthew Packer, who thought he had sold grapes to the murderer & his victim on the night of the killings. On the 15th November, The Daily News quoted Packer as saying; ‘on Tuesday evening two men came to my house and bought twelve shillings’ worth of rabbits off me. They then asked me if I could give an exact description of the man to whom I sold the grapes, and who was supposed to have committed the Berner-street and Mitre-square murders, as they were convinced they knew him, and where to find him. In reply to some questions by Packer, one of the men said ‘Well, I am sorry to say that I firmly believe it is my own cousin. He is an Englishman by birth but some time ago he went to America, stayed there a few years, and then came back to London about seven or eight months ago. On his return he came to see me, and his first words were “Well, Boss, how are you?” He asked me to have some walks out with him, and I did round Commercial-street and Whitechapel. I found that he had very much altered on his return, for he was thoroughly harem scare-em. We met a lot of Whitechapel women, and when we passed them he used to say to me, “How do you think we used to serve them where I come from? Why, we used to cut their throats and rip them up. I could rip one of them up and get her inside out in no time.”’ The an described here as the Ripper’s cousin is a perfect blueprint for Bellsmith, who spent a decade in America before returning to London in March or April 1888, those 7-8 months before the above news story appeared.

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During the Double-Event, the look-out couple can be seen as being present at both killings. At the Stride slaying, a resident of 36 Berner St, Fanny Mortimer, describes; ‘a young man and his sweetheart were standing at the corner of the street, about twenty yards away, before and after the time the woman must have been murdered, but they told me they did not hear a sound {Evening News, 1st October 1888}. An hour later, at the brutal murder of Catherine Eddowes (the worst yet) a man & woman were seen quietly conversing at the entrance of Mitre Square ten minutes before the body was found. The woman was described as standing facing the man with her hand on his chest, but not in any manner suggested she was resisting him. Some reports say that the clothes of this women were only similar to those of Catherine Eddowes, reinforcing the notion that the two women were not the same person. Who this woman was remains a mystery, but the man she was flirting with seems exceedingly familiar. An amalgamation of the witness descriptions of him gives us;

30-35 years old / 5 foot 6 inches tall / Fair complexion / Brown hair / Small, fair mustache (some said descriptions said big) with a medium build / He was wearing a loose-fitting pepper and salt colored jacket / He was wearing a grey cloth cap with a peak of the same color / He wore a reddish handkerchief knotted around his neck / Overall he gives the appearance of being a sailor

Let us now find the tallies between the description of this shadowy look-out figure, & that of THE SAILOR as described by Isaac Schwartz as being involved in the slaying of Elizabeth Stride.

                                                                    Sailor          Man at Eddowes Killing

30 years old // 30-35 years old
5 ft 5 in // 5 foot 6 inches tall
Fair complexion // Fair complexion
Dark hair // Brown hair
Small brown moustache // Small fair mustache
Respectable dress: dark jacket and trousers // Pepper and salt colored jacket
Black felt cap with peak // A grey cloth cap with a peak of the same color

The tallies between the two can be seen as simple creochisps based upon the true physical appearance of the SAILOR. We may, with some certainty, place him in Whitechapel a few minutes before the murder of Eddowes. The ‘Star’ newspaper of October 1 reports; ‘from two different sources we have the story that a man, when passing through Church Lane at about half past one, saw a man sitting on a doorstep and wiping his hands. As everyone is on the look-out for the murderer the man looked at the stranger with a certain amount of suspicion, whereupon he tried to conceal his face. He is described as a man who wore a short jacket and sailor’s hat.’ It may seem incongruous that the Star newspaper would give away such a vital clue, but in the heat of the moment with so many journalists submitting Ripper stories almost by the hour, it would have been impossible to check them all to a proper satisfaction, & that is even if the editors were actually parley to the ruse of Morris & Shaw.

With the passing of the Double-Event, this series of increasingly ghastly killings had crossed the police border from the Metropolitan department into the City of London district. Now two police forces were entrenched in the investigation, amplifying the clamour to either catch the killer or reform the slums in which he worked. The rich conversaziones of West London could not ignore the East End any more. The ante had been upped… Polly & Anne had ‘only’ been savagely disemboweled & lacerated; but to those wounds were added Catherine Eddowes facial mutilations. The fever & the fervour created by this devastatingly effective media sensation were boiling into open protestation. On the 26th October, The Times printed a letter to the editor from Mary J. Kinnaird, beginning; ‘I have begun to raise a fund, to which I invite contributions from your readers, with a view of powerfully bringing the teachings of Christianity to bear on that dark corner in Whitechapel which has been disgraced by such hideous crimes. If the Gospel sufficed to change the cannibal inhabitants of the Fiji Island into a nation of Christian worshipers, it is sufficient and alone sufficient, to turn the darkest spots in London into gardens of the Lord.’

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The next day, the East London Observer printed a petition made to Queen Victoria from the women of East London, who felt, ‘horror at the dreadful sins that have been lately committed in our midst, and grief because of the shame that that has fallen on our neighborhood. By the facts which have come out at the inquests, we have learnt much of the lives of those of our sisters who have lost a firm hold on goodness, and who are living sad and degraded lives. While each woman of us will do all she can to make men feel with horror the sins of impurity which cause such wicked lives to be led, we would also beg that your Majesty will call on your servants in authority and bid them put the law which already exists in motion, to close bad houses within whose walls such wickedness is done, and men and women ruined in body and soul. – We are, Madam, your loyal and humble servants.” And here follow the 400 or 500 signatures.

The petition was presented in due form, and Her Majesty has replied in the following gracious terms to the request of Her earnest and loyal, if humble subjects:-

“MADAM, – I am directed by the Secretary of State, to inform you that he has had the honour to lay before the Queen the petition of women inhabitants of Whitechapel, praying that steps may be taken with a view to suppress the moral disorders in that neighborhood, and that Her Majesty has been graciously pleased to receive the same. I am to add that the Secretary of State looks with hope to the influence for good that the petitioners can exercise, each in her own neighborhood, and he is in communication the Commissioners of Police, with a view to taking such action as may be desirable in order to assist the efforts of the petitioners, and to mitigate the evil of which they complain. 

The work of raising public consciousness so the community would finally take pity on the East End degradations was turning out to be a resounding success. Plans were already underway for a slum clearance to begin the following year, while the city of London would plunge pell-mell into wide-spread improvement schemes, a period of municipal eminence still reverberating through the capital to this day. On observing those terrifically terrible slums evaporating into modernity, our deadly masterminds of social reform would have watched on with a sense of vulgar pride. Innocent women had been sacrificed, yes, but the greater good was very much winning.

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MJK

There was to be one more murder; less a sacrifice to social reform, but more a mopping-up operation to ensure the Ripper Gang preserved its anonymity. The background to the slaying of the last canonical victim, Mary Jane Kelly, begins with the climax of Francis Tumblety’s love of lewd activities & his arrest for, ‘Gross Indecency,’ on the 7th November. Just over a week later he was bailed for £300, about £25,000 pounds in today’s money, which was paid for by person or persons unknown. Two days after his arrest, on the 9th, the most sadistic slaying of Mary Jane Kelly had taken place in her own private rooms on Dorset Street. It could well be the case that while Tumblety was being investigated for the Ripper murders, his fellow gang members orchestrated a new murder in order to exonerate him of the Ripper crimes.

The MJK murder was a different thing altogether, for we see the shifting of the killer’s M.O. from the open streets to a secluded room. Also notable is MJK’s fire-grate, which showed signs that female clothes had been burnt. These were probably the blood-soaked attire of the Gang’s female member, who donned MJK’s clothes in order to move through the London streets without any visible bloodstains. MJK died about 4AM, but as morning broke on London a certain Maurice Lewis swore he had seen her playing ‘pitch and toss’ in McCarthy’s Court at 8AM. The man he places with her with seems an exact match to THE SAILOR, a 5’5”, stoutly-built 30-year-old. It appears that this same man was also spotted hanging around MJK’s room before she was murdered, for at 2AM that night a witness described a short, stout man wearing a black ‘wideawake hat.’ This head attire match’d the ‘soft, felt hat,’ of another witness description, that of George, Hutchinson, who depicted the same man as, ‘looking up the court as if waiting for someone to come out.’ The date is also significant, one expects, for William Morris was able to discuss the latest Ripper murder during speeches he was giving for the first anniversary of the Bloody Sunday demonstration, on the 13th November.

Among the massive mess of mysteries that is the Ripper mythomeme, there is one clue that appears to have been missed by everyone. We begin with Catherine Eddowes, who on the night before her murder was speaking to the superintendent of the Mile End Casual Ward. In casual conversation she said that after a month or so of picking hops with her boyfriend in Kent, that she had returned to London & was ready to collect the reward on offer for information leading to the capture of the Ripper.
I think I know him,’ she told the superintendent.
‘Mind he doesn’t murder you too,’ he replied, jovially.
Oh, no fear of that.’

The easy familiarity with the Ripper which we detect in Eddowes statement leads us without much resistance to the possibility that her boyfriend, John Kelly, was involved in the Ripper Gang. Evidence for such initializes on the night of her murder, when Eddowes had been arrested for drunkenness. Surprisingly, she gave her name as Mary Ann Kelly, while the previous day she had used the name ‘Jane Kelly’ when pawning her boyfriend’s boots. Why do this? What was her connection to Mary Ann Nichols & Mary Jane Kelly? The answer begins with Catherine’s boyfriend, who just happens to have shared his name with MJK’s father! We learn of him through information given to the press by MJK’s boyfriend, Joseph Barnett, in which he stated that after being born in Ireland, MJK & her family moved to Wales, where her father John Kelly was, ‘a gaffer or a foreman in an ironworks in Caernarvonshire.’ This John Kelly turns up at the age of 36 in the 1871 census as living at 85 Mumforth Street in Flint, North Wales, close to his work-place in Caernarvonshire. The same census shows ‘Mary Jane’ as a seven year old – alongside her brothers Patrick & John – which seals the deal, for she was 24 at the time of her murder

The journey of John Kelly, father of MJK, to John Kelly, boyfriend of Catherine Eddowes begins by analyzing the 1871 & the 1881 Denbighsire census. In these we can see how the Kelly family was split up, for the 1881 census sees MJK & her brother Patrick appearing in a new Kelly family, headed by the Irish-born Hubert Kelly, a probable relation of John. In that same census we also see MJK in a family consisting of a sister (Elizabeth) & six brothers (including Patrick), an identical match to the sister & the ‘six or seven brothers’ that Joseph Barnett attributed to MJK. The seventh brother would be young John, who is absent from the Denbighshire census.

A sound reason for this turn of events is that John Kelly had lost his job, out of which hardship he was forced to break-up of the family home. After losing his job in Wales, John Kelly did what many working folk did in that era & headed to the capital of the Empire. This then connects to Catherine Eddowe’s John Kelly, who turns up in London in 1876 & works as a fruit-seller for the 12 years up until the murders. If John Kelly had something to do with the Ripper Gang, then his daughter, MJK, may have been involved, & what she knew would be silenced forever by JILL THE RIPPER & the SAILOR in the mopping up operation conducted by the Ripper Gang. That MJK was killed in her own rooms can be put down to the fact that the Gang had reduced in numbers, for on the 4th November, a certain George Wentworth Bellsmith had caught a steamship (the Fulda) to America from the English port of Southampton. This may or may not have been Henry Bellsmith, but as with everything in this mystery, but it is such tantalizing vagaries which is the hallmark of the Ripper mystery.

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What we can state more confidently is that another member of the Ripper Gang was fleeing to the United States, with Tumblety jumping his rather expensive bail & taking a passage to New York. His arrival in America invoked a massive amount of interest & press coverage, & the Americans really did feel that the Ripper was one of their own who had fled to the motherland for sanctuary.

Francis Tumblety, or Twomblety, who was arrested in London for supposed complicity in the Whitechapel crimes and held under bail for other offenses, arrived in this city Sunday, and is now stopping in East Tenth street. Two of Inspector Byrnes’ men are watching him and so is an English detective who is making himself the laughing stock of the whole neighborhood.
The New York Sun, December 4th 1888

The flames of suspicion burnt only for a short while, & nothing ever came of the British interest in Tumblety, even after they had requested samples of his handwriting from San Francisco. They could sense that something was up somewhere, but the Ripper Gang had cast a cloud of enough confusion, that Tumblety’s true complicity in the murders was completely masked, allowing him to continue the rest of his life unmlested by the earlier furore

We have already seen how Bellsmith spent only a little time in the United States, before returning to the East End of London with his new young wife. In that same period, the Eastern Post & City Chronicle (21-09-1889) reports how Dr Forbes Winslow, acting on the information of Callaghan, was; ‘certain that this man is the Whitechapel murderer… “I know for a fact,” said the doctor, “that this man is suffering from a violent form of religious mania, which attacks him and passes off at intervals. I am certain that there is another man in it besides the one I am after, but my reasons for that I cannot state. The police will have nothing to do with the capture. I am making arrangements to station six men round the spot where I know my man is, and he will be trapped.”’

 

This same religious mania would resurface in the writings of Bellsmith a decade later, when he penned a curious apocalyptical & cryptical book known as Henry Cadevere, in which we may read; ‘murder, adultery, selfishness, hypocrisy, everything we call evil or sinful are equally meritorious with the most spotless purity of soul and body … sin becomes a misnomer and crime another name for virtue.’ For Bellsmith, the Ripper murders had been a pseudo-religious mission to highlight the poverty in the East End slums; in his book he writes; ‘Oh, Liberty! What crimes are done in thy name! The work of Socialists?” mused Cadavere, bitterly. “This is the work of brotherhood and humanity?” Bellsmith’s ‘work’ was the murder of the underclass, & he even finds space in his book to praise the ‘prophetic vision of William Morris.’ As for Tumblety, upon his death in 1901 he guiltily left $1000 to the Baltimore home for Fallen Women. Also in his possession were two cheap imitation rings, exactly the same as those said to have gone missing from Annie Chapman’s fingers.

As for John Kelly, the last trace of him is on the 29th November 1888, when he was admitted to Whitechapel Workhouse infirmary suffering from laryngitis. From this moment on he disappears from the history, & is never seen or heard of again. Perhaps not, for when Bellsmith’s landlady stated that she saw him; ‘standing on the kerb in conversation with a well known tradesman of the district, whose name she declines to divulge, but who, she has ascertained, is a friend of his,’ this ‘tradesman’ may have been Mr Kelly, who we know had been employed by a fruit salesman called Lander ever since his arrival in London in 1876. Or then again, it might not, but that is the beauty of the Ripper case, a catacombe of chispers which infuriates & dazzles all at once.

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Next Wednesday, 24/01/18

The serialization begins of  my new book, CHISPOLOGY

Chapter 1 : Exodus

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chisp cover

CHISPOLOGY

Chapter 1: The Exodus
Chapter 2: The Aryan Invasion
Chapter 3: The Mahabharata
Chapter 4: Agastya
Chapter 5: The Picts
Chapter 6: Brunanburh
Chapter 7: The Young Shakespeare
Chapter 8: Shakespeare’s Blossom
Chapter 9: The Badon Babel Tree
Chapter 10: The Saxon Advent

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THE CHISPER EFFECT

chisper_effectChapter 1: Chispology 
Chapter 2: Princess Scota
Chapter 3: The Ithica Frage
Chapter 4: The Jesus Jigsaw
Chapter 5: Asvaghosha
Chapter 6: Dux Bellorum
Chapter 7: Dux Pictorum
Chapter 8: The Holy Grail
Chapter 9: The Mandylion
Chapter 10: Shakespeare’s Grand Tour
Chapter 11: The Dark Lady
Chapter 12: The Ripper Gang

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