American Murders of Jack the Ripperby R. Michael Gordon
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.
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 spreewith 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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Read an ExcerptThe American Murders of Jack the Ripper
By R. Michael Gordon Praeger Publishers
Copyright © 2003 R. Michael Gordon
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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!
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Meet the Author
R. MICHAEL GORDON is a professional writer. He is author of AliasJack the Ripper: Beyond the Usual Whitechapel Suspects (2000) and The Thames Torso Murders of Victorian London (2002).
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