calls attention to the recently released book, Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman
, and asks: Was Jack the Ripper really a Jill?
The question stems from the release of John Morris' book (Seren, 2012). The product description on amazon.com
reads in part: Suspects have included the eminent Victorian doctor Sir William Gull, royal gynecologist Sir John Williams and the painter Walter Sickert. Conspiracy theories abound, involving Masonic, Jewish and other connections. Hundreds of books have been written about the murders, and several films made but the Ripper's identity remains a mystery. But perhaps no longer. Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman is the result of extensive research by author John Morris and his late father
Only last year did Sir John Williams' great-great-great-great nephew, Tony Williams, 49, publish a book claiming that Sir John murdered Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly during the fall of 1888.
Sir John lived in London at the time of the gruesome murders, and was the surgeon to Queen Victoria. Tony Williams uncovered a six-inch long, black-handled surgeon's knife while looking among the possessions of Sir John. During an interview with The Telegraph
, Mr. Williams said, ''Why would he leave this behind? I am convinced that this is the knife used by Sir John Williams to murder those women."
Hold on a moment, seems to be Morris' reply to Williams. In the Prologue of Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman, Williams asks a number of questions that have not been answered to his satisfaction by historians, authors, or by Tony Williams. For example: What was the motive? Why did the murders begin, and then end so quickly?
But, it may be that Tony Williams was not too far off the mark. Aren't the possessions of Sir John's also those of his wife's? Or, certainly, she would have had access to them. As Gather News states, Morris' book "claims that a woman named Lizzie Williams was the real fiend."
Sir John's wife, Lizzie, had knowledge of human anatomy, and, according to Gather News, "the book claims that the disembowelment of the victims was actually a psychopathic reaction by Mrs. Williams because she was incapable of having children." Thus, Mrs. Williams had the means and the motive, but readers will have to read Morris' book to find out if she had the opportunity.
Is it possible, then, that Jack the Ripper was actually a woman? America had its Lizzie Borden
in 1892, perhaps England had a Lizzie Williams only four years earlier in 1888?