S. Buntman: So who was Jack the Ripper really?
A. Kuznetsov: Since the police could not find and punish the Whitechapel killer, more and more new versions began to appear in the society. There was even a whole direction - “ripperology” (from the English Jack the Ripper).
There are many options. Consider the most popular.
Quite late, in the 60s of the 20th century, the version that Whitechapel murders were related to the grandson of Queen Victoria and potential heir to the throne Albert Victor, Duke Clarence, who allegedly had extremely vicious inclinations, literally flashed across the night sky. According to the popular version, he was implicated in the very famous homosexual scandal of 1889, when a den was opened in London for representatives of the high society. And he seemed to have had a connection with a woman of easy virtue who infected him with syphilis. That is, the Whitechapel killings are his revenge on the representatives of the oldest profession.
In fact, Albert Victor had nothing to do with Whitechapel murders. In 1892, he died peacefully during a flu epidemic.
S. Buntman: And no material evidence confirms this version.
A. Kuznetsov: Yes. For all five canonical murders, he has an absolute alibi.
Prince Albert Victor a year before his death. A source: wikipedia.org
But there was another version that allegedly Albert Victor had some connections with the very bottom of London society. And in order to prevent certain details that compromise the royal family from emerging, the operation of the London police, special services and so on was organized in order to eliminate undesirable witnesses.
S. BuntmanA: Yes, this version is very popular, especially among filmmakers.
A. Kuznetsov: But again there is no evidence. Not only representatives of high society, but also creative people came under suspicion. Lewis Carroll, for example. Of course, the author of "Alice in Wonderland" was eccentric, but the fact that he could commit such brutal murders was hardly believed.
Another creative person who came under suspicion was the German-born artist Walter Sickert, who showed genuine interest in this business.
S. Buntman: He even has a few pictures on this topic.
A. Kuznetsov: Yes. That is why the American writer, the author of a series of detective novels, Patricia Cornwell, suggested that Walter Sickert was also Jack the Ripper.
Cornwell argues that, having received the originals of the letters attributed to the Ripper, and after conducting a DNA analysis, she established, with 1% accuracy, Sickert’s involvement in the Whitechapel murders.
S. Buntman: Well, 1% is nothing at all. Coincidence.
A. KuznetsovA: Yes, although Sickert could well participate in the story with letters. He was a great hoaxer.
Walter Richard Sickert. Bedroom Jack the Ripper, 1908 Source: wikipedia.org
Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminsky, who moved to Britain in 1881, is also among the suspects. Kosminsky was certainly a mentally ill person: he heard voices, he was afraid to take food from strangers. As a result, this led to the fact that he began to eat at the dumpsters, believing that only there you can find a clean, poisonous product. By this he brought himself to complete exhaustion. He was placed in a hospital where he lived for over 20 years. He died there.
Yes, at the time of the killings, Cosminsky lived in Whitechapel. It seems that even he had some skills with cold weapons. Yet for this kind of killer, he was a physically very weak man.
S. Buntman: Again does not fit.
A. Kuznetsov: Another candidate for the Jack the Ripper was Severin Klosovski, another native of the Russian Empire. According to some information, he had an elementary medical education, he even worked at the hospital as an assistant surgeon. Somewhere between 1887 and 1888, shortly before the killings began, he settled in London.
What speaks in favor of this candidacy? Klosovski was convicted and executed for killing his mistresses. At least three women he sent to the next world ... with the help of poison.
S. Buntman: But it’s almost impossible for a maniac to change his methods of killing.
A. Kuznetsov: Absolutely. This fact speaks in favor of Klosovski’s innocence.
In the early days of the Whitechapel murders, another émigré, the Jew John Payzer, came under suspicion. His main income was leather processing. Many knew that Payzer quite often molested prostitutes and tried to hurt them. In the early days of the killings, the street crowd, having decided that he was the Jack the Ripper, handed him over to the police, and smashed him pretty much. But pretty quickly everything cleared up. At the time of the killings, Payzer had an alibi.
The cover of the magazine Puck from September 21, 1889. Artist Tom Merry. Source: wikipedia.org
Another "Ripper", a certain James Kelly, was arrested for killing his wife with a knife in the throat.
S. Buntman: But I didn’t cut it, as the real Ripper did.
A. Kuznetsov: Yes. He was declared insane, was sent to a psychiatric hospital, from where he ran away in early 1888.
S. Buntman: It seems to be all the stuff in the thread.
A. Kuznetsov: Yes. They were looking for him for a long time, but they did not find him. And suddenly a completely stunning plot twist: 39 years after his escape, in 1927 he returned to the asylum himself. Two years he lived quietly and died.
Serial poisoner Thomas Cream, going up to the scaffold, said: "I am Jack the ...". But did not finish. This is another candidate.
In fact, there are about a hundred of them ... Well, and another option is a certain Francis Tumblty, an American fraudster and woman-hater who lived in Whitechapel in 1888. However, on November 7, that is, two days before the last of the canonical murders, he was arrested on charges of indecent behavior. And again a question mark ...