WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES (NSFW)
The murder of Mary Jane Kelly by ‘Jack the Ripper’ was the most brutal of all the killings attributed to him. The crime scene photos from that murder are some of the most famous in history. The gruesomely savaged remains can shock even now, over 130 years later. What the Whitechapel monster left behind in that room is barely recognisable as being human.
One of the quirks of the Maybrick scrapbook is the diarist’s reference to leaving clues of initials at the crime scene of Mary Jane Kelly. This is a significant point in the whole authenticity debate. It could force the entire discussion that has raged on for thirty-odd years into a final end game. Is the diary genuine?
1. F & M INITIALS ON THE WALL
This has caused a heated debate from both sides of the Maybrick scrapbook discussion. Some claim to see the initials F and M marked on the partition door. The suggestion is the killer did this using Kelly’s blood. The Maybrick diarist references leaving clues of initials. Some claim the reference is singular, but I believe ‘here and there’ by virtue makes it a plural statement. Why is there no police record or reference to graffiti or daubing in the room?
There are two possible explanations. One, the room was incredibly dark, and the markings were not noticeable to the naked eye. The flash of the camera brought it to visibility. Or the photo has been edited. My personal preference is lighting issues. This photo was never made public to the press until a few years later, so there would have been no reason to doctor the original negative.
2. F CARVED INTO LEFT ARM
Many on the Casebook.org forum are not convinced this is a carving of the letter F. In fact, many have gone as so far as to claim it is a defensive wound. There were no reports of loud screams or noise of a struggle. The tenant above her claimed she heard a faint cry of ‘oh murder’ around 4 am but could not place how far the sound was away from her. Also, if you are being murdered, I’d imagine you would be a bit more defiant and louder. Perhaps even screaming. If she was murdered as she slept, how could this be a defensive wound? She was asleep. If she was strangled before having her throat cut, as believed all victims were, how could she have defensive wounds from a knife?
All the victims had their carotid arteries cut open, and all murders were committed with little to no noise. Lastly, examine the angular nature of the wound. No defensive wound would produce such right angles. This has been carved into her arm deliberately. The diarist mentioned carving into flesh in the example above. I would not be surprised if the extracted mound of F-shaped skin and flesh was placed elsewhere in the room.
3. HEART TATOO BESIDE CARVING?
This is one I spotted. No one else, I believe as yet, has claimed to have spotted this. I think the mark to be a crude tattoo of a heart. Why is that of any interest? It is believed that she was missing her heart when the coroner conducted his examination. This is never made explicit, but the language is most definitely suggestive of that being the case. What’s more, the Maybrick diarist also mentioned a heart. He also claims he did not take anything away with him this time, so why the fascination with a heart?
MODERN HOAX OR IT IS REAL
If we accept that the initials are on the wall, as many believe, we can potentially conclude this whole debate. A researcher named Simon Wood back in 1989 shared with the sadly deceased Martin Fido that he thought he could see initials on the wall. There had been no reference to such a discovery for over a hundred years. There has been no book, article, or any kind of written reference up to that point of any such initials. Simon has since claimed he quickly changed his mind after sharing this information and believes that the scrapbook is a modern hoax.
Here is the crux. If it is a modern hoax, then the hoaxer must have known about Wood’s discovery. Between 1989 to 1992 (the diary’s discovery), only a tiny band of people would have known about Wood’s initial thoughts. So how did the diarist get to know of this? If it is a hoax, then the net draws in on it being someone very close to the Ripperologist community (if not part of it), who constructed it with knowledge of ‘Jack the Ripper’ and James Maybrick. Then, the next question is, how did it then find its way into the hands of a Liverpool scrap dealer with no connection whatsoever to the small band of researchers who had this knowledge? I think it would mean we can pretty much rule out Mike Barrett as the master forger.
One other alternative could be that the diarist independently came to the same conclusion as Simon Wood from looking at a photo in a book. Chances of that happening around the same time as he made the same discovery is very slim. Remember, for a hundred years there had been no printed or known references to such a claim. The chances of it being Mike Barrett, are even slimmer.
So that leaves the one remaining scenario. If the diarist referred to the carved F on the arm and the initials on the wall, he did so because he was the murderer.
That would clearly make ‘Jack the Ripper’ none other than James Maybrick.
JACK THE RIPPER: THREADS
Think you know Jack the Ripper? Think again.
What if ‘Jack the Ripper’ was a cotton merchant from Liverpool? What if the diary or watch, purported to be James Maybrick’s, is genuine? This gripping fictional tale is a circumstantial exploration of James Maybrick being ‘Jack’.
Using a mix of fact and fiction, actual events and characters are brought to life in this gripping story.
Did one of his family members murder him in 1889, ending the reign of terror in London’s Whitechapel?
“Jack the Ripper: Threads” is the debut novel of Jay Hartley.
A historical crime thriller that will challenge everything you thought you knew about history’s most famous unsolved serial murders.