American Murders of Jack the Ripper

Overview

For the first time, the American murders of Jack the Ripper are revealed in the 1891 and 1892 crimes of Severin Klosowski (a.k.a. George Chapman, the Borough Poisoner), a prime suspect in the Ripper case. After his narrow escape from Scotland Yard, the killer would travel to the New York City area where four high-profile murders took place soon after his arrival. With Victorian era New York as his backdrop, Gordon recounts the gruesome scenes. He also details Klosowski's subsequent return to England where he ...

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Overview

For the first time, the American murders of Jack the Ripper are revealed in the 1891 and 1892 crimes of Severin Klosowski (a.k.a. George Chapman, the Borough Poisoner), a prime suspect in the Ripper case. After his narrow escape from Scotland Yard, the killer would travel to the New York City area where four high-profile murders took place soon after his arrival. With Victorian era New York as his backdrop, Gordon recounts the gruesome scenes. He also details Klosowski's subsequent return to England where he would eventually be convicted and executed for another murder spree—with poison as his weapon of choice.

Readers will learn about these unknown Ripper victims: Carrie Brown, an aging prostitute who was brutally slashed and mutilated; Hannah Robinson, a servant girl who was strangled to death; 73-year-old Elizabeth Senior, who struggled bravely against an intruder who stabbed her multiple times in her New Jersey home; and Herta Mary Anderson, a teenaged New Jersey hotel maid, found dead from a bullet wound and cut throat. How could the Ripper evade capture so easily? Why did the American connection remain hidden for so long?

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Gordon (Alias-Jack the Ripper: Beyond the Usual Whitechapel Suspects) here attempts to convince readers that following his funny little games in Whitechapel in 1888, Jack, whom he identifies as Severin Klosowski, went on tour in 1891, racking up another four kills in the New York/New Jersey area. While the information on the four alleged victims is quite thorough, Gordon fails to provide sufficient evidence to prove his theory. Few of the American victims follow the killer's established MO: only one was a prostitute, and only a single body was butchered. One was shot and another strangled and left intact. The murders were sloppy and amateurish and smack of robberies gone bad. Jack's crimes also took place within roughly a square mile of London-no doubt very close to his residence-while these murders are spread long distances apart in two states. The writing itself is quite uneven, and many of the illustrations amateurish. Diehard fans might find this interesting, but otherwise it's just another Ripper theorist Jacking off. Not recommended.-Michael Rogers, "Library Journal" Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275981556
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/30/2003
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

R. MICHAEL GORDON is a professional writer. He is author of Alias--Jack the Ripper: Beyond the Usual Whitechapel Suspects (2000) and The Thames Torso Murders of Victorian London (2002).

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Read an Excerpt

The American Murders of Jack the Ripper
By R. Michael Gordon Praeger Publishers

Copyright © 2003 R. Michael Gordon
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780275981556


The once-proud East River Hotel was, by 1891, well past its best days, if it ever had any. This so-called "dive" or flophouse was very near the imposing Brooklyn Bridge, which dominated the New York City skyline. The hotel had served as a meeting and drinking place for the men who worked the docks for many years but had fallen into disrepair. Located near the docks and facing the East River, it was the first place many dock workers and sailors had gone after a hard day's work. It was also close to the waterfront slips where ships, mostly from the European mainland and England, bearing huge numbers of immigrants would dock. It was not too surprising to find that this area was also crowded with prostitutes, many on their last legs. By the time of Carrie Brown's murder the four-story brick building, then owned by Mr. James Jennings, was reported to be a "lodging house of unsavory reputation, and is chiefly resorted to by the women who prowl about the neighborhood after nightfall." The "bawdy resort" on the southeast corner of Catharine and Water Street, fronting on Water Street, was badly in need of repairs, which would never come. It was, however, able to supply cheap tiny rooms at around 25 cents a night to the few who cared to visit and more to the point it had a small bar located on the first floor. Beyond beingthe Carrie Brown murder site, the location was also rumored to have been used by the underworld thugs in control of the local area for dumping their victims into the East River. Local legend has it that a subterranean tunnel had been constructed for just such purposes, but that rumor has yet to be confirmed.

For more than half an hour Carrie Brown and Mary Healey sat at a small table drinking beer as bartender Samuel Shine cleaned glasses and served the small group cheap drinks. That evening Mr. Shine would also serve as night clerk for the hotel. It was to be just one more long night of drunken women and dirty men for the aging bartender, but at least the work put a roof over his head and food in his stomach. It was more than many who called the docks their homes could boast, so he did not complain very much.

It did not take long for the drinks to take effect on Carrie, as another woman joined the group. Before long Mary would leave the hotel with the woman named Lizzie, leaving Carrie to herself. Now bolstered by drink, she began to tell the housekeeper, Mary Miniter, about her long life and the family who she said no longer seemed to care about "Old Shakespeare." For Miniter, who had never met Brown before, it would not be long before she would find a reason to leave. Later, Miniter was interviewed and would give one of the few accounts of the life of Carrie Brown to the readers of the daily New York papers as they began to ask is this was one of Jack's!




Continues...

Excerpted from The American Murders of Jack the Ripper by R. Michael Gordon Copyright © 2003 by R. Michael Gordon. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Prologue from London's East End

Scotland Yard Hunts a Serial Killer

The American Search for "Jack the Riper"

New York City

"Old Shakespeare"

The Hunt for Jack the Ripper

"Frenchy" Goes on Trial

Long Island

A Mysterious Murder on Long Island

The Search for Hannah's Killer

New Jersey

A Brutal Murder in New Jersey

A Mysterious Murder along the Tracks

A Serial Killer Returns "Home"

Once Again London Was Calling

Chief Inspector Abberline Names Jack the Ripper

Postscript

Appendix I: Macnaghten's Memorandum--February 23, 1894

Appendix II: The Littlechild Letter--September 23, 1913

Appendix III: A Chronology of Death

Bibliography

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