jueves, 28 de junio de 2012


It was dark in London when I decided to participate in the Jack the Ripper’s tour. As the night sets in and the long shadows fall, we delve into the crooked, cobbled alleyways of Whitechapel to follow the Ripper’s bloodstain of terror. I have to confess that I felt that spine- chilling of horror. I guess that my fascination for the murders committed at the end of the nineteenth century started when I was just a boy, and I was there with a group of tourist joining the Victorian police as they hunt the Ripper through a warren of crumbling backstreets. So you can imagine my excitement. The guide names all the suspects, the victims at that time called “Whitechapel murders”. Among the victims, my favourite one was, of course, Mary Kelly. Please read “The seduction of Mary Kelly” and you will understand it. But let’s focus on the crimes; I guess that the London metropolitan Police did not understand that the murders were being committed by individual such as themselves. So the crimes were not solved because of the incompetence of the detectives.

What sort of person was it that could move about at night without the suspicion of his own household or of other people that he might have met? Who could walk through the streets in blood stained clothing without arousing too much comment? Who would have had the elementary knowledge and skill to have committed the mutilations? At first glance, the solution would seem to be a policeman, or somebody wearing a police uniform. However, the right answer could be a woman. Unless is what a English author, John Morris, is claiming that after some research, he believes that the notorious but unsolved Whitechapel murders were committed by a woman named Lizzie Williams. Mrs Williams was a suspect buy ignored by the police. Its not the first one to claim that Jack was a woman. Actually William Stewart choice was such a woman who had been a midwife. Anyway, a woman would have had the theoretical knowledge for committing the mutilations. She could have moved about the streets at night without arousing suspicion, and she would have had the confidence of her victims.

 John Morris says the wife of royal physician Sir John Williams, who ran abortion clinics in London East End, butchered five prostitutes because she could no have children. He argues he sifted through thousands of documents to find clues that prove Elizabeth Williams, from Wales, was the murderer. The hand of a woman highlight claims females clothes were found near the bodies. There is no doubt it was a woman but because everyone believes it was a man, evidence has been ignored.

 Another surprising announcement was given by the Metropolitan Police when they denied files about the case to be made public, because they claim the files include names of long-dead Victorian super grasses. The files includes the names of four new Jack the Ripper suspects, which could help solve the 123 year old mystery.

 I was thinking about that possibility through the streets of London when the crimes were committed. I recalled the personal items were laid out at the victim Annie Chapman in a typically feminine manner. I also recalled the three small buttons from a woman’s boot were found in blood near victim Catherine Eddowes. The husky voice of our guide said we were on the spot where Mary Kelly was murdered on the morning of 9 November 1888. Kelly landlord John McCarthy sent his assistant, ex soldier Thomas Bowyer, to collect the rent. Kelly was six weeks behind her payments, owing 29 shillings. Shortly after 10:45 a.m. Bowyer knocked on her door but received no response. He reached through the crack in the window, pushed aside a coat being used as a curtain and peered inside- discovering Kelly’s horribly mutilated corpse lying on the bed. Remnants of women’s clothing including a cape, skirt and hat, were found in the ashes of Mary Kelly’s face which did not belong to the victim. Kelly was known as Fair Emma for the colour of her hair. When drunk, Kelly would be heard singing Irish songs. Unfortunately, she found a horrible death in Whitechapel. Now an actress sang a song for us, a very old Irish tune and I felt sorry for Mary Kelly.

 Maybe one day, we will find the real identity of the murderer, or maybe not. But one thing is for sure, nobody can stop the legend of Jack the Ripper. But in my case, nobody will stop the fascination I feel for Mary Kelly, the real reason of my participation in the tour.

Sergio Calle Llorens

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