The crimes of Jack the Ripper have been well documented over the years, but the actual identity of Jack the Ripper remains a mystery. Evidence that has been re-examined however now indicates that the identity of the real Jack the Ripper may well have been someone that was dismissed as a suspect over and over again. If found true, the real Jack the Ripper certainly will not make for as sexy a Hollywood story as hanging the identity of a surgeon or mentally disturbed member of the royal family on him. The most compelling evidence as to the identity of the real Jack the Ripper points toward a cook – a Malay man that called himself Maurice.
Some Ripperologists continue to cling tightly to the more popular theory that the real Jack the Ripper had to be a surgeon based on the way he used a blade, and others continue to romanticize the “mad royal” theory, but both theories may be laid to rest very shortly. While it is true that there are no living eyewitnesses or victims of Jack the Ripper, there are copious notes, and even evidence that the cook known as Maurice said he was going to kill prostitutes working Whitechapel. As with all mysteries there are twists, turns, and a full array of “what if?” questions.
Bear in mind, Maurice has not been 100% certified as the real Jack the Ripper as at this point in history it is impossible to be that sure of any suspect, but he is now the strongest candidate that has ever been examined.
The story of Maurice starts in the United States, Texas to be exact, in 1884. Over two years at least seven young women were viciously murdered by a man that became known as “The Servant Girl Annihilator.” The murders were brutal, graphic, and are often accepted to be the works of the first true serial murderer on record. The victims of the Servant Girl Annihilator were usually bludgeoned and then slashed – the victims were always slashed which is a key point. The victims were also raped, and in some cases a spike was driven into the ears or face of his victims. In 1885, the murders stopped and no suspect was ever convicted of a single one of those crimes.
Maurice was employed at the Pearl House in Austin, Texas, which was a small hotel, as the cook. Nearly every victim of the Servant Girl Annihilator lived within a tiny radius of that hotel. It has been confirmed numerous times that Maurice began working there shortly before the murders began, and as importantly left his position as the cook at the Pearl approximately three weeks after the final Servant Girl Annihilator victim was found in 1886. He allegedly told the few people he loosely socialized with before leaving that he was headed to London for a fresh start as his reason for leaving.
Fast forward to Whitechapel, London, 1888. After working aboard ships to earn his passage to London, Maurice had made threats that he would kill prostitutes in Whitechapel, but he never supplied any reason as to why he felt motivated to do so. This information was relayed by a person that had heard the threats directly from the mouth of the Maurice after the Ripper murders began, as well as information about Maurice and the murders that took place while he was in Austin. The information of the Austin murders was verified, but before the editor of the Statesman could contact Maurice, he boarded another ship and the Ripper murders were oddly enough over.
At the time of the Ripper murders, many detectives both amateur and professional felt that at the least there was some connection between the Annihilator and Ripper, and quite possibly that they were one and the same man. As Maurice left the continent before the pieces of the puzzle began falling in place however, there was never an opportunity to hold him for questioning, and as time moved on other men became suspects.
While it was never formally put on paper by any law enforcement officials in London at the time, it was also no secret that even after the Ripper murders had stopped the public was demanding justice. They wanted a name to go with the Ripper, and they wanted his blood for the murders. This was a sentiment held by the Royals and police officials as well, and something had to be done to quell the fear that remained with the public that at any time the murders would begin again – maybe in Whitechapel, maybe somewhere else in London.
Although Maurice was still considered a prime suspect, there was the innate knowledge he would almost certainly never return. The idea of admitting their prime suspect had fled would not only be an embarrassment, it would not quell the public fear because they may cling to the notion he would come back for more – or that saying he left the country was just a ruse to end the public panic. They needed a suspect they could deliver to the public, and that meant burying the Maurice connection and giving the public their pound of flesh.
For a time, suspects were paraded in and then released for lack of evidence. Although forensic science at the time was crude at best, that combined with many having airtight alibis meant no arrests. As time moved on and no more Ripper murders occurred the public panic and fear subsided and life began returning to normal. Although the investigation was still open, it was not officially being actively pursued. It seemed that someone with the authority to do so gave the mandate to stop spending resources on a crime spree they knew would not be repeated because the prime suspect was gone.
As time moved forward, amateur investigators kept the case alive. Although few had the actual resources or knowledge to provide anything fresh or of substance, they kept the story alive with claims of uncovering the Ripper’s true identity. None ever held any water leading to a suspect being tried much less convicted. It was during this time that the theories of the Ripper being a surgeon or a member of the royal family whose crimes had been covered up began gaining traction with the public. The papers loved the notions because it was good for sales. None of those theories had any real traction, but they were just what the public loved to read about so they got it in copious doses. Eventually, through sheer repetition, portions of those theories became accepted as actual fact by some.
Better than a century later, the Ripper and Annihilator cases remain unsolved, but with the easily refuted portions of the story that took on a life of their own erased by a new generation of Ripperologists and just the facts being examined, it has become not only highly likely, but nearly certain, that both the Servant Girl Annihilator and jack the Ripper are one and the same man – the Malay cook named Maurice.
Professionals that track and study serial killers now have far more knowledge to draw on than previous generations point out the glaring similarities which point to them being the same person.
– The timeline is nearly perfect
– The crime sprees both occurred within a small radius of where the Annihilator or Ripper resided at the time.
– The primary victims were always women, males that were murdered were incidental being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
– The method of attack always began the same way in what is characterized as “blitz style.”
– The primary weapon was always a bladed instrument. Although the Annihilator began his spree using an axe, the escalation to a refined blade is seen as logical as his body count piled up.
– The constant in all murders is brutality. In the annihilator murders the use of the axe was the brutal form of disfigurement, however by the time the last Annihilator murder occurred the disfigurement was more precise. In the Ripper murders, the escalation was toward removing feminine features and symbols of womanhood, ie; the uterus, etc… This is seen as his need to express whatever his disgust with women was in what he viewed as “clearer terms.”
– Each time the murders began, Maurice had been in the area only a short time. Each time they ended, he had just recently left.
– Bladed instruments are seen as the logical choice of a weapon for a cook – a person that would be very comfortable and skilled with most forms of blades. Furthermore, it is believed the use of an axe was discontinued, particularly in the Ripper murder spree, only because it was difficult to conceal and would be out of place in the city, whereas in 1880’s Austin, Texas, it would not be an unusual implement for a man to be seen with.
Similar murders began being documented in Nicaragua, Tunis, Jamaica, and a host of other spots that were oddly enough the exact spots that many cargo ships would go. Given that Maurice was known to be a ship cook on at least two documented occasions, it is not believed to be out of the realm of possibility he continued his murder spree after leaving London. At some point coincidence ceases to be coincidence.
Whether or not the theories and evidence compiled pointing to Maurice as both the Annihilator and Jack the Ripper are ever accepted as truly valid is unknown, and in all honesty unlikely. Too much time has passed for anything ironclad, no witnesses remain, too much evidence is alleged to have been destroyed or is known to be lost, and people love the romanticism of the unknown monsters. Still, it is hard to not believe that Maurice is in fact the true name of one of the most famous authors of unsolved serial killings in the world.