Jack the Ripper may have killed as many as fifteen individuals. Such of the findings of a mystery writer who has spent a considerable amount of her own money in an attempt to solve one of history’s most confounding and magnetic mysteries — the identity of the man who committed the Whitechapel murders.
After years of intense scrutiny and nearly $7 million (£6 million) spent, the Daily Express reports, the identity of the notorious London serial killer known as Jack the Ripper has been revealed, the investigation reaching a “definitive conclusion,” according to famed American author Patricia Cornwell. She also issued a challenge to anyone who believes they can prove her findings wrong: “bring it.”
“I spent about £5.7million overall in my investigation, including employing some of the best and brightest experts in the world. A lot of people couldn’t have done what I have because they wouldn’t have the money. I am trying to do the right thing. If someone proves me wrong, bring it.”
Patricia Cornwell is certain that Jack the Ripper is a German painter, one Walter Sickert, who once famously put Sir Winston Churchill’s likeness to canvas.
Fans of Cornwell will no doubt remind us all that the theory of Walter Sickert being perhaps the most notorious killer of all time has been broached before. In fact, it was the subject of Cornwell’s 2002 bestseller Portrait Of A Killer: Jack The Ripper — Case Closed, wherein she laid out a fairly convincing set of details exposing Sickert, who was known as being obsessed with killings of the serial killer, as the man behind at least five murders that terrorized London in 1888. Although police investigations into 11 murders committed in the Whitechapel section of the city through 1891 could find no way to conclusively connect all of the killings, it was widely suspected that the murderer was same unidentified suspect.
Cornwell now has new evidence that points to Walter Sickert as being Jack the Ripper. Fifteen years after Portrait Of A Killer, she has bolstered her case against the man who liked to dress up as the serial killer as he painted and once openly claimed that “he would not mind having to kill and eat raw flesh.”
The author, most noted for her string of bestselling mystery novels featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, points out in Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert that the man’s own paintings were rather disturbing and had odd similarities to Jack the Ripper’s murder scenes. One painting in particular, the death bed scene of Nuit d’ete, is highly evocative of the victim Mary Kelly’s own last moments.
Another painting, the Putana a Casa, depicts a prostitute with black brush strokes across her face. The marks resemble cuts that appear in the postmortem picture on the face of another victim, Catherine Eddowes.
Cornwell offers even more evidence, noting that Sickert’s notes contained strange doodles similar to the doodles in the letters that Jack the Ripper sent to the police during the time of the killings.
But possibly the most shocking revelation in the new book might be that Cornwell’s investigation has placed Sickert at a bed and breakfast in Cornwall at the same time that the guestbook was signed by “Jack The Ripper, of Whitechapel.”
Cornwell’s allegations that Walter Sickert and Jack the Ripper are one and the same are not the first. In fact, the Express notes that Joseph Gorman, a picture-framer who worked with Sickert, claimed in the early 1900s that the painter confessed to the brutal murders of the previous century.
Patricia Cornwell’s new book, Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, arrived in bookstores in February, its release nearly coinciding with the premiere of a new drama on ABC Television, one that sets author H. G. Wells chasing Jack the Ripper through time to stop him from killing again.
But the show, Time After Time, presents the serial killer as Dr. John Stevenson, according to Entertainment Weekly, which seems to be a fictitious conflation of the many suspects that have been proffered over the years. (Note: A journalist named Robert Donston Stephenson, a dabbler in black magic, is known to have admitted himself to the London Hospital in Whitechapel, where his stay arced around the dates of the murders. He would pen an article claiming that the motive for the murders was black magic and that Jack the Ripper was a Frenchman.)
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