Did Jack The Ripper Get His Start In America?
Before Jack the Ripper came the less well-known prequel. You know how Friday the 13th Part 2 is basically where the series starts? Jack the Ripper was basically (real-life) Serial Killer Part II: London's Calling. The original? That was deep-fried Texas, baby. Homegrown, barely post-Confederate, Texas.
Oh, and the deep-fried part? Well … It turns out Jack the Ripper might've been a cook.
It was three years before Jack the Ripper (who was only given that title because of what may have been a hoax letter) ripped the jack off of London's White Chapel district by killing women in an unbelievably brutal display. And, just to be clear, this definitely wasn't the first rash of killings to happen to sex workers in a poor part of England, but it was the first time it was done with such repeated and distinct MO that it caught the eye of, well, the whole world. But before even that, down in Texas, there was killing going on courtesy of The Servant Girl Annihilator.
There's a chance the two men were the same, or maybe it was a case of in steam engine times people build steam engines. In killing lots of ladies for a chance at infamy, with the women's names all but forgotten as the disposable items they were viewed as ... times... people... ya know, do all of that.
In KLOLFACAIWTWNABFATDITWVA times, people KLOLFACAIWTWNABFATDITAVA.
The Servant Girl Annihilator was a sobriquet given to the killer by none other than the hated twist ending asshole O. Henry, best known as the writer who made you go "Wait, 'The Gift of the Magi' was a short story?" The Servant Girl Annihilator killed at least eight people, including seven women in Austin, Texas, in 1884 and 1885. This next part's pretty messed up, so first, look at this beautiful pony.
The victims' names were Mollie Smith, Eliza Shelly, Irene Cross, Gracie Vance and Orange Washington, Susan Hancock, Ela Phillips, and Mary Ramey -- who was only 11 years old.
The SGA was best known for, aside from just generally being basically the first serial killer as we now think of them, never alerting dogs. Even when he broke into a place with a dog or that was next door to a dog, they were never heard to bark or raise alarm, leading some people to believe he was full magic. 40 people were arrested in connection with the murders, but none of them ever appeared to actually be the man whose visual description was "Someone? With hands for murdering, sure? He had a hat, maybe?"
But not long after SGA left, the Jack the Ripper's Whitechapel Murders started up in England. Of course, with that clear of a pattern, there has to be some way to try and track to see if anyone -- Oh, they did? Yeah, cool.
Turns out that there was at least one person who was in both Austin and Whitechapel when the murders happened in both locations. And he was a Malay cook. His name was Maurice, and he had threatened to kill every woman in Whitechapel at least once and was known for his bad relationships with women. (See: "threatened to kill every woman in Whitechapel") But don't worry, the cook definitely wasn't him because he left London not long after moving there … and when he did the murders stopped. What a coincidence, just like what happened in Austin!
So was this cook the killer in both cases? Possibly. The Jack the Ripper theory is the Servant Girl Annihilator emerged back in 1888 when someone wondered if SGA had just skipped across the pond. The five women murdered, Marry Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly, all seemed the type Maurice would've hated, and a man matching his description was seen speaking to Stride shortly before her murder -- but again, probably a coincidence. The fact that all the murdered people in Austin lived near where he was staying? Also, a coincidence, c'mon.
Of course, there was another cook that some people thought might be the SGA. Nathan Elgin was shot to death by police while living in Austin after allegedly dragging a screaming girl out of a saloon. He was a chef, he missed one toe, which might've explained the odd footprints seen near the SGA attacks, and after he died, there were no more murders. A local sheriff even thought Elgin was the SGA.
But there's no way to prove which cook it was (or if there was a restaurant specializing in training murderous cannibal cooks and sending them all over the world, one which later would train Dahmer, and that dude who ate that other guy's dick) if it was either.
The comic and film adaptation of From Hell, about Jack the Ripper, ends with the Ripper announcing that no matter what happens now, he's finished -- he has infected the entire 20th-century with the idea of him. That's part of why the idea of the Servant Girl Annihilator and Jack the Ripper being the same is so appealing -- one ultra-monster is much easier to deal with than the idea that anyone you know could kill you and everyone you love without feeling anything.
Honestly, wouldn't it be preferable to believe in one ultra boogeyman that goes around killing than in an endless horde of murderers that'll kill everyone you know without any remorse or feelings just because they're bored?
Hey, maybe the Devil did it! That's fun, right? Yeah, let's just all blame the Devil.
Top Image: Illustrated Police News