On April 22 we were visited by Michael Hawley who did a very enlightening program on Jack the Ripper. He has spent a goodly portion of his adult life tracking Jack the Ripper like a relentless bloodhound with a scent in its nostrils. Hawley's strong background in paleontology gives him a leg up on the other researchers and investigators.
It appears probable that the real Jack the Ripper was an American who is buried in Rochester, New York. It is also clear that the murders were not limited to the locale of London. Hawley cuts through many misconceptions brought about by the many previous amateurish investigations and speculations.
He began with a brief review and comparison of the London murders, the victims and the nature of their wounds and mutilations. One particularly interesting aspect of these new and skilled comparisons is that the Ripper had sufficient medical knowledge and knew how to stop a heart from beating before getting into his more gruesome work. This accounts for the lack of any major blood spurts. The victims were dead before the eviscerations began — an indicator that the Ripper's primary motivation was not some merely sadistic bloodlust. These eviscerations were generally accompanied by the removal and carrying off of at least one organ.
Hawley also reviews a number of letters not yet generally known which throw additional light on some murky areas.
Hawley makes a strong and cogent argument that the famous "Dear Boss" letter was a fake perpetrated by two central news agency reporters. However, an October 16th letter taunting police is given more credence. This letter was sent to a citizen's group member rather than directly to the press or Scotland Yard.
After reviewing several of the major suspects that have been fingered over the years, Hawley moves on to his case in chief. He makes a very strong case that the actual Jack the Ripper was one Francis Tumblety, an Irishman who came to America during the Potato Famine as a teenager. He became a largely self-educated herb doctor. Within three years he had made himself a millionaire.
Tumblety was possessed of a number of rare traits. He was a hyper sexual homosexual who also happened to be a hermaphrodite with both male and female sexual apparatus. He identified himself as a male and sought to have sex with younger handsome males. It is likely the murders were a form of anger at females. He saw them as competitors who could lure handsome males away from him.
also turned up information from Scotland Yard files showing that Tumblety
had been a prime
suspect early on. It also showed that Scotland Yard had been making a number of inquiries to American Chiefs of Police for information on Tumblety. Most interestingly Tumblety had a collection of uteruses—surgically removed. Perhaps most interesting of all is a connection to Bram Stoker and a search for an elixir of life.
You will most definitely want to read Hawley's books. We have signed copies of his non-fiction book The Ripper's Haunts and his novels The Ripper's Hellbroth.