Monday, September 8, 2014


Yet another author, Russell Edwards, has written an article for The Daily Mail purporting to prove the identity of Jack The Ripper. This time, the elusive culprit seems to be Polish Jew Aaron Kozminsky, an insane barber/hairdresser who died in an asylum in 1919. 

However, in all honesty this theory has some weight, in the form of DNA evidence. It was supposedly derived from a bloody shawl found near the body of fourth canonical Rippper victim Karherine Eddowes. Although this has yet to be proven, the shawl remained in the custody of a policeman's family, until it was recently discovered, still bearing the gruesome bloodstains, from which Eddowes DNA was supposedly derived, matched by a sample provided by a female descendant of Eddowes. So far, so good. 

However, not content to rest on their laurels, the investigative team of author Russell Edwards and a Doctor Jari Louhelainen-a microbiologist and biochemist-subjected the shawl to infrared light, which revealed the minute, yet tell-tale presence of what looked to be the remains of-gasp-semen. A sample was, unbelievably, derived from which DNA was detected, and matched up to a sample of none other than a descendant of Kosminsky's sample. So that would seem to make this an open and shut case, huh? 

Well, no, let's not be too hasty here. As much as I would love to believe this mystery has finally been solved, there is indeed an innocent explanation for the discovery of Kosminsky's DNA on the shawl found by the body of Ripper victim Katherine Eddowes. That being-he put it there, all right! But not during or immediately after the murder, but during the course of the police interrogation in which he was soundly questioned. 

Remember, Kosminsky was one of the major suspects during the time of the murder. So I can easily imagine the interrogation might well have went something like this-

"Can you tell us, sir, if you have ever seen this shawl?" 

At which point the copper tosses it to Kosminsky, who dimly fingers it in his dirty, grimy hands, which may indeed have contained traces of his semen. For, it just so happens (wouldn't you just know it) Kosminsky was known to the police at the time as a chronic masturbater. 

One high ranking official of the day-a Detective Swanson-mentioned this in passing in the course of a journal which delved into the crimes. It was referred to by such euphemisms as "self-abuse", and that Kosminsky was thought to be "insane" due to this "solitary vice". So there you have it. What it all boils down to is, even though there is certainly a chance Kozminsky was the Ripper, we will probably never, ever, know for sure.

Of course, some people disregard the Daily Mirror story and scream about "peer-reviewed journals" but that's a different story. It's way too easy to attack papers such as The Mirror and The Daily Mail. And of course it's much more exciting to speculate some far-fetched conspiracy involving the Masons and/or the royal family, or famous artists/authors, etc., or even the main police investigator of the case than the far more probable mundane view that the Ripper was probably some indistinct nobody who has remained unknown for the simple fact that he was just that at the time-a nobody. 

So in other words, certain commentators and websites, like this one here, are rightly questioning the findings, but maybe for the wrong reasons. Perhaps had Edwards and Louhelainen managed to press the shawl up against the crotch of a drunken Prince Harry, their findings would be hailed as the breathrough of the century.

Of course, it's always fun to speculate when it comes to Jack The Ripper, so here is a website that will pretty much teach you almost everything you ever wanted to know about The Ripper, including the myriad of suspects over the years. 

And here is the mysterious shawl in question-

And here is a contremporary engraving from the tiime of the murders. Hey, don't sneer-it probably sold a hell of a lot of papers.

And finally, here is just one of five women who deserve to rest in peace-the aforementioned Katherine Eddowes.