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Mad Cow

Jack the Ripper: Decoded

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My grandmother is an avid reader, and a huge fan of Patricia Cornwell. In 2002, Cornwell penned Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed which presents an intriguing theory into the "identity" of who Jack the Ripper was.

I won't give too much away, but here's the first half of the Wikipedia page:

Portrait of a Killer - Jack the Ripper: Case Closed is a 2002 non-fiction book by crime novelist Patricia Cornwell which presents the theory that British painter Walter Sickert was the 19th-century serial killer known as Jack the Ripper.

Sickert had previously been suggested as being the Ripper in a book by Jean Overton-Fuller and as an accomplice to the murders by author Stephen Knight, facts which are not included in her book. See Jack the Ripper royal conspiracy theories for more information.

Cornwell's book was released to much controversy, especially within the British art world, where Sickert's work is admired, and also among Ripperologists, who strongly dispute her research methods and conclusions. Cornwell has lashed back at critics, claiming that if she were a man or British that her theory would have been accepted. She has also made remarks indicating that those who study the Ripper case would rather the mystery not be solved.

Cornwell contends Sickert had the psychological profile of a killer. She asserts that many of his paintings and sketches follow a violently misogynistic theme. Cornwell's belief is that Sickert was unable to have intercourse because of botched surgery to correct a fistula on his penis. However Cornwell provides no evidence for either the fistula or the surgery. The killings coincide with the marriage of Sickert's close friend and mentor, the famous painter James Abbott McNeill Whistler, who later distanced himself from Sickert, even suing Sickert later in life. Cornwell claims this marriage and the end of the friendship provided the spark which exacerbated his awareness of his disabilities and ignited a latent anger against the opposite sex.

Departing from common belief among experts that most of the Ripper's letters were hoaxes, Cornwell believes that the letters contain specific information related to crimes, and as such are unlikely to be from anyone other than the Ripper. Cornwell cites Sickert's artistic genius as useful for crafting the Ripper's letters by disguising handwriting and varying sketching styles. She also points to Sickert's paintings and sketches, some of which show women in prostrate poses that Cornwell claims are similar to victims at their crime scenes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portrait_of_a_Killer

And my personal theory is that Jack the Ripper is the same being as Springheel Jack.

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Posted (edited)

I thought it was pretty concrete that the killer was Aaron Kosminski? I had to do a documentary on Jack the Ripper for a journalism class and I found out quite a bit from it--most people that worked on this case, even recently, believe it was probably Aaron Kosminski. I doubt it was anything but a clever man. How many other crimes back then went unsolved? I don't necessarily remember if it was Kosminski or not, but it was noted that one of the key suspects in the case left for America, and once that had happened the killings resumed in New York--until that person was put away. I strongly think it was Kosminski, but I can't say for sure...

Edited by Ebonykrow

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It's one of the things we will never know for sure.

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What you really need to do is invent a time machine and get a signed confession. :yes: Which is really easy to do except for the part where you actually do it.

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Posted (edited)

If you watched Shanghai Knights you would know that Chon Wang's(Jackie Chan)sister killed him on the bridge and he washed downstream. That is why the mystery remains unsolved. :lol:

Edited by oldie
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I personally subscribe to the theory that there was more than one killer, and it was all a high society jaunt.

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I don't get it. Was he a creature with wings that breathed fire or something?

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Wanna give a Ripperologist apoplexy? Just mention the name "Patricia Cornwell"! :D

My personal opinion (at the moment, always subject to change!) is that the killer was a violent psychotic named (or at least "known as") David Cohen. He died in an insane asylum not long after the last of the Ripper murders (that of Mary Jane Kelly in November 1888).

Cohen or not, I think Jack was a local who would not have "stood out" in any way...after all, the local "unfortunates" (prostitutes) all knew about the killings and were terrified, they would have avoided anyone who seemed "out of place". This guy didn't frighten them, unfortunately.

I don't think he was any sort of aristocrat, famous painter, actor, etc. Just an anonymous person who finally "lost it" and went on a killing rampage, and ended up dying in a local madhouse.

Fascinating case, anyway. Altho his victims were pitiful creatures who never deserved what happened to them. :(

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I have to agree with LaPucelle in regard to Patricia Cornwall. I remember seeing her special on (I believe) The discovery Channel when she presented her "evidence" about Sikart. After the opening sequence of her leaving her mansion, driving her VERY expensive sports car to the private airport to board her Learjet, and speaking about the HUGE monetary settlement she received from a sexual harrassment suit she finally got on the subject of the Ripper and Sikart. Funny thing is, nothing was new or brought any pertinent information to the table. It was about selling her book. Sikart may have been "unbalanced" but I personally do not believe he was the Ripper. I believe, like many others, that the fact that the crimes stopped so abruptly could mean that the Ripper was aware that police knew who he was, he was arrested, committed or died. I am no profiler but that theory makes sense to me. This is my first post in a loooong times so I would appreciate it if the "experts" would be kind.

Thanks!

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I've just got through watching "From Hell" starring that guy from the pirate movies...

Anyways, it was good, but seemed to leave out SO many details into the real case.

On the night of the final killing. A man had talked to Mary, and once they we're done chatting, she wondered in the opposite direction as him. He turned to see if she was alright and on her way, but noticed another man talking with her. They walked down a strange ally, and so he followed. Mary and the strange man went into the room *With the broken window* so he waited outside, just incase anything were to go on. He waited for hours, but heard nothing. So he left. About a week later, he reported what he saw to the police.

I believe this man was the killer, due to the fact, he couldn't give a discription of the man Mary was with. It took him a week to report it, and his excuse for the lateness was that he had not heard of the final murder. I can't recall his name, but when I do find it, I will post it here.

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Patricia Cornwell's own life is a tru-crime novel, and she wasn't the first person to accuse the artist. Her DNA bit just doesn't hold up on further study. The paper evidence is interesting but all that does is prove he may have written a Ripper letter or two and he could have done that after the fact, and been very detailed as news was already circulating early in the mornings after the crimes. The newspapers at the time had quite a few gory details they were not supposed to have.

I think the artist wrote a few letters for kicks, to mess with the police.

Probably he wasn't the only one either.

That's a logical conclusion based on his work and on the paper evidence.

Branding him the Ripper is not.

His time table for the periods in question doesn't match up.

Cornwell tends to ignore that, and the serious lack of evidence otherwise in her book.

It makes a good yarn, but there's nothing in that book that makes him the Ripper.

Abberline supposedly told someone after his retirement that his bet was on Kominsky, but that they couldn't prove it with what they had.

I tend to think he was onto something there, but truth be told we'll never likely know.

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Sickert had previously been suggested as being the Ripper in a book by Jean Overton-Fuller and as an accomplice to the murders by author Stephen Knight, facts which are not included in her book. See Jack the Ripper royal conspiracy theories for more information.

Yes I still have a copy of Stephen Knights book on my bookshelf. I couldn't believe when Cornwells book was published that she hadn't mentioned these other books. Lol even though Knights work has been discredited - it was still a great read when I was younger.

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I've just got through watching "From Hell" starring that guy from the pirate movies...

Anyways, it was good, but seemed to leave out SO many details into the real case.

On the night of the final killing. A man had talked to Mary, and once they we're done chatting, she wondered in the opposite direction as him. He turned to see if she was alright and on her way, but noticed another man talking with her. They walked down a strange ally, and so he followed. Mary and the strange man went into the room *With the broken window* so he waited outside, just incase anything were to go on. He waited for hours, but heard nothing. So he left. About a week later, he reported what he saw to the police.

I believe this man was the killer, due to the fact, he couldn't give a discription of the man Mary was with. It took him a week to report it, and his excuse for the lateness was that he had not heard of the final murder. I can't recall his name, but when I do find it, I will post it here.

Ah, Johnny Depp--be still my heart! :lol: Okay, I admit I like Depp. He's esp. great as Captain Jack Sparrow--he even prances when he runs, lol!

I liked the movie From Hell, I just don't agree with its premise! It's all that stuff about the Freemasons and the Prince of Wales's son having an illegitimate child by a Catholic girl, and she told her friends, who all had to be silenced and thus became "Ripper victims"--and the "head" of the gang was Sir William Gull, personal physician to Queen Victoria (!!)--never mind that he was pretty much disabled by then by a stroke some time earlier *gasping for breath*--I just don't buy that torturous theory at all!! Still, I liked the movie!

Now the part about the man who stood for a long time watching Mary Jane Kelly with a (presumed) client is true. Quite a few people share your suspicions, Legendary. Why was he so interested in what Mary was doing? After all, he knew very well she was a prostitute, she must have had men marching in and out of her room all the time! Also, when he finally did come forward and give a statement to police, the description he gave of the man with Mary was just incredibly detailed, even tho he only saw him briefly and in very dim light! A lot of us do find that very, very suspicious!

BTW, the incredibly observant informer's name was George Hutchinson. Yet another Ripper suspect! :wacko:

WickedWitch, I agree with you that it's entirely possible that Sickert wrote some of the alleged Ripper letters. Why not? I think a lot of people with nothing better to do with their time amused themselves with sending bogus "Ripper" letters to the police and newspapers--one person arrested for doing so was a young woman who lived nowhere near London!!! I also agree that sending letters signed "Jack the Ripper" no more makes a person the real Ripper than I am! :rolleyes:

Oh--and a warm welcome to our newbies, good to see new faces around! :)

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I have to agree with LaPucelle in regard to Patricia Cornwall. I remember seeing her special on (I believe) The discovery Channel when she presented her "evidence" about Sikart. After the opening sequence of her leaving her mansion, driving her VERY expensive sports car to the private airport to board her Learjet, and speaking about the HUGE monetary settlement she received from a sexual harrassment suit she finally got on the subject of the Ripper and Sikart. Funny thing is, nothing was new or brought any pertinent information to the table. It was about selling her book. Sikart may have been "unbalanced" but I personally do not believe he was the Ripper. I believe, like many others, that the fact that the crimes stopped so abruptly could mean that the Ripper was aware that police knew who he was, he was arrested, committed or died. I am no profiler but that theory makes sense to me. This is my first post in a loooong times so I would appreciate it if the "experts" would be kind.

Thanks!

I totally agree, naslrogues. I think Cornwell is a pretty self-involved person, and that all this had more to do with selling her book than anything else! (As if she needs any more money--not that I care, I own more Learjets than I can count! :lol: Yeah, okay, I'm also a shameless liar, lol!) Oh, and thank you for agreeing with me! :)

I'm neither a profiler (altho I find their work fascinating) nor an expert--but I do promise to be gentle! :P

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Thanks for the posts. I knew.. some what of what I was talking about, but Im glad to know someone atleast understood what I ment. Also, thank you for the name. I have strong belief that George Hutchinson.. but then again, could not prove it.

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And my personal theory is that Jack the Ripper is the same being as Springheel Jack.

But the few eyewitnesses to the Ripper claimed that he was between 25 and 30 years old. The 1837 SHJ would have been at least 70 in 1888.

Besides, all SHJ did was to jump up and down and throw fire (available at any conjurer's shop). That's a far cry from disemboweling them!

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What Cornwell either failed to notice or else ignored was that the murder of Mary Jane Kelly was so outrageously bloody, so terminally outside the bounds of sanity, that its perpetrator was almost certainly never again able to function normally in polite society.

Yet in 1888 Walter Sickert had not yet even reached his full artistic maturity nor the heights of his considerable fame. He continued to participate fully in England's artistic and literary circles for the next FIFTY-FOUR YEARS!

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Plus, you can't top that kill. I mean, It's like riding the best ride at an amusment park first, ruins the rest of the rides.

He started low and got more aggressive. The final kill was the top of his murderus career.

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Jack the Ripper is actually one of my key interests (well, obsession, some would call it). My problem with Patricia Cornwall's book is she's too certain she's right and doesn't consider any other suspects. Just because the guy painted a few paintings that corresponded to the murders - if that were the case, everybody who did illustrations for the various newspapers of the murders would be considered a suspect. I also thought she was very vain using DNA technology on such an old case and criticising the police investigation at the time as if they did have today's technology and just weren't using it properly.

And in the end, isn't she a crime writer? Her theory is a good yarn, as she's become famous for, but that doesn't make it true.

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I have to agree with LaPucelle in regard to Patricia Cornwall. I remember seeing her special on (I believe) The discovery Channel when she presented her "evidence" about Sikart. After the opening sequence of her leaving her mansion, driving her VERY expensive sports car to the private airport to board her Learjet, and speaking about the HUGE monetary settlement she received from a sexual harrassment suit she finally got on the subject of the Ripper and Sikart. Funny thing is, nothing was new or brought any pertinent information to the table. It was about selling her book. Sikart may have been "unbalanced" but I personally do not believe he was the Ripper. I believe, like many others, that the fact that the crimes stopped so abruptly could mean that the Ripper was aware that police knew who he was, he was arrested, committed or died. I am no profiler but that theory makes sense to me. This is my first post in a loooong times so I would appreciate it if the "experts" would be kind.

Thanks!

Yeah, I borrowed the book from my local library. I'm a little wary about buying a book that might be pure hogwash, and I'm glad I didn't buy it. I really don't agree with her on many points, and she didn't provide any evidence for some of what she claims is fact. To be honest, I find Sickert a sick individual, and I'm not too choked up about his "art," but I don't really think he was the Ripper. Of course, I could be wrong. I just think there are far better suspects. One idea I find interesting is that George Lusk, the one to whom one of the letters was addressed... might have been the Ripper. Does anyone know if he was ever seriously considered or even checked?

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QUOTE (Legendary d00d @ Jul 26 2008, 01:48 AM)

I've just got through watching "From Hell" starring that guy from the pirate movies...

Anyways, it was good, but seemed to leave out SO many details into the real case.

On the night of the final killing. A man had talked to Mary, and once they we're done chatting, she wondered in the opposite direction as him. He turned to see if she was alright and on her way, but noticed another man talking with her. They walked down a strange ally, and so he followed. Mary and the strange man went into the room *With the broken window* so he waited outside, just incase anything were to go on. He waited for hours, but heard nothing. So he left. About a week later, he reported what he saw to the police.

I believe this man was the killer, due to the fact, he couldn't give a discription of the man Mary was with. It took him a week to report it, and his excuse for the lateness was that he had not heard of the final murder. I can't recall his name, but when I do find it, I will post it here.

Ah, Johnny Depp--be still my heart! laugh.gif Okay, I admit I like Depp. He's esp. great as Captain Jack Sparrow--he even prances when he runs, lol!

I liked the movie From Hell, I just don't agree with its premise! It's all that stuff about the Freemasons and the Prince of Wales's son having an illegitimate child by a Catholic girl, and she told her friends, who all had to be silenced and thus became "Ripper victims"--and the "head" of the gang was Sir William Gull, personal physician to Queen Victoria (!!)--never mind that he was pretty much disabled by then by a stroke some time earlier *gasping for breath*--I just don't buy that torturous theory at all!! Still, I liked the movie!

Now the part about the man who stood for a long time watching Mary Jane Kelly with a (presumed) client is true. Quite a few people share your suspicions, Legendary. Why was he so interested in what Mary was doing? After all, he knew very well she was a prostitute, she must have had men marching in and out of her room all the time! Also, when he finally did come forward and give a statement to police, the description he gave of the man with Mary was just incredibly detailed, even tho he only saw him briefly and in very dim light! A lot of us do find that very, very suspicious!

BTW, the incredibly observant informer's name was George Hutchinson. Yet another Ripper suspect! wacko.gif

WickedWitch, I agree with you that it's entirely possible that Sickert wrote some of the alleged Ripper letters. Why not? I think a lot of people with nothing better to do with their time amused themselves with sending bogus "Ripper" letters to the police and newspapers--one person arrested for doing so was a young woman who lived nowhere near London!!! I also agree that sending letters signed "Jack the Ripper" no more makes a person the real Ripper than I am! rolleyes.gif

Oh--and a warm welcome to our newbies, good to see new faces around! original.gif

OH NO!!!! She just admitted to being the real Ripper!!! I knew I was right!!! It WAS Jill the Ripper... :w00t: :w00t: :w00t:

Just Kidding........... please don't hit me, I'm just an old man, half senile even....

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Uh...not sure if you noticed but this thread is 6 years old. The people you're responding to might not be around any longer.

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Posted (edited)

Goblin, I think you're getting a subtle hint not to post on old threads.

Then why don't mods or admin get rid of such old threads? Why leave them active then lock them when someone posts?

Anyway, Goblin, if you want to start a thread on Jack, I'll be happy to post.

Edited by Antilles

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Posted (edited)

I don't see it as subtle hint not to post on old threads, it's just common sense that quoting a post from 6 years ago may not garner a response. Some sites/mods prefer old threads to be re-used to stop multiple threads of the same topic appearing.

What would be more suitable if bumping an old thread is posting new information or just adding your opinion.

Anyway, welcome to UM Goblin :)

Edited by Junior Chubb

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My theory is that one person commited the first murder and copy cats used his method to kill people they didnt like. Thinking that if they copy his way of killing, maybe they would get away with it. The truth remains that no one will ever trully know. :alien:

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