An historian claims he knows the true identity of Jack the Ripper, and we can all take heart: it isn’t Elvis, Nixon or Michael Jackson.
Apparently the man behind the Whitechapel murders was named Robert Mann, a morgue attendant who has been identified through “modern police forensic techniques.” Whatever these are, they are said to include psychological and geographical profiling.
All of that said, can we really claim that ol’ Jack has been discovered without say, I don’t know, DNA evidence? Even death row inmates are cleared when the right DNA is finally matched to a crime; how can a case over a century old be suddenly solved without it?
Mei Trow says that he came to his conclusion after studying FBI files from 1988 for two years, and identified Jack the Ripper as a white male from the lower social classes. He says that Mann was such a person, and had come from a broken home.
The killer, Trow says, would have a menial labor job with some knowledge of anatomy—the kind of knowledge a morgue attendant would possess. Mann, the person Trow has identified as the killer, grew up without a father for the most part, and also worked in a workhouse as a child.
Trow also says that Jack the Ripper—or Mann—killed an additional two women to the five killings he was said to have done.
The historian says he wants to go beyond the myth created by the serial killer and show that in reality, he was an ordinary man. Of course, what’s ordinary about a man who slaughters women in the first place?
There is plenty of circumstantial evidence present to indicate that Mann could have been the killer. After all, he was called as a witness, and violated instructions to not touch the body of a victim. Trow says this is because he wanted to admire his own work. The Coroner also reported that Mann was unreliable and “subject to fits.”
That said, over 100 suspects have been examined since the 1888 murders, and Mann, though perhaps a viable suspect, is only one man in a line of many.
Is Trow on the right track, or just another Ripperologist in the stream of pseudohistorians that claim to know…whatever it is they know about the case? We could say only time will tell—but that’s just it. It may never reveal a thing.