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Who Was Jack the Ripper

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 4 9

The Famous Serial Killer has Eluded the Authorities While Capturing our Imagination


The serial homicides surrounding the Ripper cases are known as some of the most gruesome in recorded history.  The Ripper is thought to have killed at least five women in the districts in England of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgage and the City of London itself.  The killer taunted police by sending letters to a news agency.  The killer was labeled as “Jack the Ripper” from information in one of those letters.

It was very difficult to prove a murder case in the late 1880’s, particularly when there was no motive or eyewitnesses to any of the murders.  Investigative techniques were very limited at the time of the Ripper murders.  However, there were people who provided police with descriptions of men seen in the vicinity of the murders. 

I have done extensive research of the evidence and applied sound reasoning to present this exposition on the Ripper cases, which concludes with the identification of the murderer.


The Ripper’s victims were older prostitutes, four of whom were in their forties.  The Ripper apparently wanted the bodies discovered because the violent killings occurred in public places.  The victims were strangled and their bodies were mutilated.  The murders were so heinous that the bodies were barely identifiable.  It was assumed that the Ripper had knowledge of surgery because some of the victims’ organs were removed from their bodies.

The official five victims were: Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine

Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly.  They were killed from August through November, 1888.

All but one of the victims was mutilated, and the attacks became progressively bloodier.  The Ripper was clearly attempting to shock the people of East London.  Mary Ann Nichols and Elizabeth Stride weren’t missing any internal organs, but Annie Chapman's uterus was removed.  Catherine Eddowes’ uterus and a kidney were removed from her body.  Her face was also mutilated.  Mary Jane Kelly's heart and other organs were removed from her body and left to be found by investigators.  The victims were usually killed at night, on or near the weekend, at a site where the bodies could be easily found.  The dates of the murders were near the beginning or end of a month.


There are more than twenty suspects in the Ripper case .  Based on my research, which uncovered the most compelling evidence, I have narrowed the list to three primary suspects.  My three suspects are John Pizer, William Henry Bury and Severin Antoniovich Klosowski (also known as George Chapman – not related to victim Annie Chapman).


John Pizer, nicknamed “Leather Apron”, was an unemployed leather worker who lived near Whitechapel.  Pizer was a Jew, which because of the anti-Semitic attitude of many people in the area, helped contribute to him being a Ripper suspect.  He was also known to carry a knife that he used for his leather work .


After the first two Ripper murders, Pizer was questioned by police officer William Thick.  Many people in the area, including Thick, thought that the murders were committed by a man called Leather Apron.  Leather Apron was under suspicion of committing assaults on prostitutes.  He became an early prime suspect in the Annie Chapman murder because a leather apron was found at the scene.


Pizer was dropped from police suspicion after it became known that he had been talking with an officer at the time of one of the murders.  Although the Metropolitan Police could have mistaken the time of the murder, it’s possible that Pizer was the murderer if he killed the victim within a few hours of the time estimated by the police.  However, since the officer was with John Pizer the night of the murder, the police stopped investigating Pizer .

I ruled out Pizer as a suspect because it was revealed that the leather apron found at the Chapman murder belonged to John Richardson, whose mother lived near where the murder was committed.  Apparently, the apron being at the scene was just a coincidence, as there was no blood found on it.

William Henry Bury was a sawdust salesman.  In 1889 he strangled his prostitute wife, Ellen Elliot.  Elliot’s body was mutilated with a knife and she was later packed into a trunk.  Bury’s deceased wife remained in the trunk for almost a week before he reported the murder to the police. The wounds on Elliot were similar to those found on Mary Ann Nichols.

Bury murdered his wife in a horribly obscene manner.  However, the use of a rope for strangulation is inconsistent with the Ripper’s methods.  He confessed to the violent killing of his wife, but it seems to me that if he was the Ripper, he would have also confessed to those murders at the time he was sentenced to death for killing his wife.  As it turned out, the Ripper simply vanished without any confession whatsoever.

Bury confessed to killing his wife and was hung for the crime in April, 1889.  He told police officials that the reason he inflicted the wounds and then packed her in the trunk was because he was afraid he would be accused of being Jack the Ripper.  This explanation of how he murdered his wife leads me to dismiss Bury as being the Ripper.

My third and final suspect was favored by Inspector Fredrick Abberline of the London Metropolitan Police.  Severin Antoniovich Klosowski was also known as George Chapman.  Klosowski was born in Poland, but moved to Britain in the late 1880's.  He was found guilty of poisoning three wives.  He was hanged for those crimes in April, 1903.  

He was a man with a violent temper who lived in London at the time of the murders.  He fit the description of men seen with the Ripper victims, and he had the medical skills needed to commit the mutilations.  The argument against Klosowski is the fact that he used poison to kill the three wives, and it is very rare that a serial killer would make such a drastic change in the methods used.  However, there is significant evidence that Klosowski was the Ripper.

Klosowski was a surgeon’s apprentice in Zvolen, Poland.  He was thought to be a diligent student, and studied the science of surgery with enthusiasm.   He entered into a career as a surgeon from December 1880 until October 1885.

The best estimate is that Klosowski moved from Poland to London in either late February or early March of 1887 and took a different career path.  Klosowski switched jobs many times and was into a career as a hairdresser's assistant in 1887 or early 1888.  He worked in several locations, verified by the post office, that were in the vicinity of the Ripper murders.  In 1890, Klosowski began working at a barber shop on Whitechapel High Street.  The significance of this barber shop location is that an unofficial victim, Martha Tabram (killed August, 1888), was murdered nearby.

Klosowski was becoming successful at his trade and took ownership of the shop.  It was during this time that he married Lucy Baderski.  As it turns out, Klosowski married Lucy while still being married to his first wife, whom he left in Poland.

The two women found out about the other.  Klosowski’s first moved to London in and attempted to break his relationship with Lucy.  After some difficult times resulting from the triad, Klosowski’s first wife left.  In late 1890, Klosowski and Lucy moved to New Jersey.

Once in the United States, Klosowski apparently cheated on his wife.  This led to violent fights between the two.  In fact, he attacked Lucy with a knife during one altercation at his New Jersey barber shop. 

In 1903, The Daily Chronicle newspaper reported that during one of the fights he held Lucy down on the bed and prevented her from making any sounds.  When the attack was interrupted by a customer at the shop, Lucy discovered a knife beneath the pillow.  Lucy testified in court that he had told her that he intended to cut her head off.

Lucy was so terrified that she went back to England in February, 1892.   Klosowski subsequently met, married, and killed three women by poisoning them.   The use of poison is consistent with the theory that the Ripper used chloroform on some of his victims.  Klosowski clearly demonstrated the violent nature of a serial killer of females and was capable of the methods used by the Ripper.

The following is a summary of the significant evidence against Klosowski:

The date of his arrival in England matches the time frame of the series of murders in Whitechapel, which is near the location where the official five victims were murdered.  The murders stopping in London coincided with Klosowski’s move to New Jersey, while similar murders began happening in United States.  The fact that he studied medicine and surgery is consistent with the theory that the Ripper must have had such training.  The wives’ poisoning cases were confirmed to have been done by a man with more knowledge of medicine than a lay person.  The Ripper and Klosowski had many similarities.  For example, Klosowski held many jobs that had regular hours.  The Ripper must have worked regular hours, as well, considering the murders took place on or near the weekends.  Finally, Klosowski fit the description given to police by the eye witnesses.

The preponderance of evidence in the Ripper cases finds Severin Antoniovich Klosowski (aka George Chapman) guilty of the murders committed by Jack the Ripper!



Jul 8, 2011 2:44am
very well researched
Jul 8, 2011 8:28am
Awesome article, as said above, really well researched.
Jul 8, 2011 10:19am
Great read!
Jul 14, 2011 8:35pm
Very interesting article!
Jul 16, 2011 3:37pm
There is an excellent book (fiction) about Jack the Ripper. "Riptide" by Michael Prescott
Jul 23, 2011 8:17pm
Fascinating. I've always been interested in the Victorian Era, and the Ripper is one of it's biggest figures.
Sep 1, 2011 11:14am
There is a very beautyful film about the Jack the Ripper story: From hell with Johhny Depp.
The article is interesting, and long.
Sep 19, 2011 3:51am
Badly researched! He did not study surgery, there was not a series of Ripper killings in New Jersey. There is not a shred of evidence that he cheated on his wife in the USA. You say, "Lucy testified in court that he had told her that he intended to cut her head off." She most certainly did NOT testify in court! The whole trial is online on the Old Bailey site, and she did not give any evidence. So, very poorly researched piece!
Oct 7, 2011 9:09am
Whatever the reasoning behind opinions. The one fact that we are sure of is that we will never know who or what was Jack the Ripper, and that is the most ntriguing part of the story for a lot of readers
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