In the spirit of the horror and true crime genres, over the next several weeks in its blog, The Chamber is remembering the horrific murder spree of the infamous Jack the Ripper during the late summer and early fall of 1888. At 10:00 a.m. (US Central Time) on the anniversary of each of the five “canonical” murders (August 31, September 8, September 30, and November 9) , The Chamber will run a documentary on Jack the Ripper from YouTube along with a few other esoteric tidbits of information. So grab the tea or coffee of you choice and a light breakfast and join us for should be four intense yet fascinating mornings.
Tonight is the anniversary of the murder of Annie Chapman (born Eliza Ann Smith in 1840–God rest her soul). Annie’s story is a tragedy typical of the times. She was born into an average family, but always had a weakness for drink (particularly rum) from a young age. She married John Chapman, a servant to a wealthy family, when she was 29. They had three children, Emily, Annie, and John, who was born crippled and had to be institutionalized eventually. Emily died of meningitis at age 12. Although Annie had quit drinking by 1880, after Emily’s death she and John both began drinking heavily.
In 1886, Annie and John separated by mutual consent with John retaining custody of the children. However, after this John sent Annie 10 shillings/week to live on. There were very few job opportunities for women in the 1880’s. In 1886, John died of alcoholism on Christmas day. Annie then had to struggle to make money any way she could to survive. By that time she was staying with a man who made wire sieves. Sometime after that, she was staying in a lodging house with a man named Edward Stanley and he often paid for the room. Annie made money any way she could, whether by crochet work, selling flowers, or prostitution.
On the night of September 8, Annie lacked the money to pay for her nightly lodging at Crossingham’s Lodging House. Therefore, she told a fellow lodger to tell the landlord she would be back with the money soon and left, possibly to prostitute herself. Sometime later she encountered Jack the Ripper.
For more information on the tragic lives of the Ripper’s victims, this video provides a good summary.
Just today (August 25), I ran across this video on one possible solution to the Jack the Ripper mystery. This is a video by Pat Brown, a former criminal profiler. She believes the Ripper to have been Jacob Levy, a local butcher. Her reasoning is very interesting. For one example: Jacob Levy is known to have been a local butcher with a shop in Whitechapel. Ms. Brown believes that this explains one reason that the Ripper could disappear so quickly after a murder: he ran to his shop.
One word about the video: the first fifteen minutes are boring as Pat Brown explains why she was the first to come up with this theory instead of several others who developed after she did. However, what she reveals is worth suffering the boredom.
For more information on Jack the Ripper, this Wikipedia article provides a summary of Jack the Ripper’s murder spree. For more excellent Jack the Ripper YouTube videos, follow this link to “Missing Evidence: Jack the Ripper” and “Unmasking Jack the Ripper”, whose producers limited them to be played only on YouTube
More superb videos on Jack the Ripper are available to you on The Chamber’s Jack the Ripper Playlist on YouTube.