Known the world over, the grizzly murders that occurred between August and November 1888 have long fascinated folks with a penchant for serial killers and the macabre, primarily because the case- despite having been gone over by every bored junior detective the world over- has never been solved.
Who would have thought…
129 years since the slaying of five limey street walkers in the impoverished Whitechapel area of London, the true identity of the world’s most famous serial murderer has never been determined…
Retired English homicide detective, Trevor Marriott, has determined that the true identity of “Jack the Ripper” was that of German merchant sailor Carl Feigenbaum.
Using modern policing methods to overturn many of the old assumptions about the Ripper murders and gathered evidence that points to Feigenbaum, who was eventually convicted and executed for murdering Juliana Hoffmann in New York in 1894, Marriott is certain of his conclusion.
“There is a case for suggesting he might have been the first trans-continental serial killer,” Marriott says.
“There were two merchant docks close to Whitechapel, and Whitechapel had hundreds of prostitutes and we all know that where seamen are, there are prostitutes as well,” he says. “It’s an area that hadn’t been explored by the police at the time back in Victorian times, so it was a totally new lead really.”
Brand new life around the bend…
Marriott began investigating the world’s most infamous cold case in 2002, when the retired detective- who had always had a passing interest in century old murder- began taking a closer (and more sophisticated) look at the case.
"When I looked through it, I thought, 'There are lots of things here that are not right, that are not factually correct'," he says. "The Ripper mystery is based on many wild, speculative, uncorroborated theories.'…”
Theories so outlandish and wild that at one point it was widely believed that Prince Albert (of the can fame) was thought to be a very strong candidate to have been the true identity of the 19th century monster.
So how did it all come to be Feigenbaum, you ask???
In 1894, the “Ripper like murder” (according to Marriott) of one Juliana Hoffman occurred in New York. The man accused of the crime (later convinced and executed for it as well) was a German merchant sailor by the name of Carl Feigenbaum.
“He was bang to rights on that murder. He was arrested leaving the scene of the crime and the police found a long-bladed knife outside which was obviously attributed to him. When they searched his property, they found a kind of sheath and sharpening stone which indicates he’d been carrying it around for some time.”
Marriott’s research revealed Feigenbaum had been a merchant seaman and had worked for the Norddeutsche Line, which owned the Reiher.
“There was a strong connection there ... Once I started to widen the net, I found there was a number of unsolved, Ripper-like murders in Germany between 1889 and 1894 in addition to others in and around Whitechapel - outside of the original five women who everybody believed were the only victims, and other Ripper-like murders in and around the New York area,” he says.
Honey, You ain’t the first…
As strange as it might seem, Marriott is not the first person to believe that Carl Feigenbaum was the killer…
William Sanford Lawton, the New York lawyer who defended Feigenbaum in the Hoffmann murder, later said that while on death row, Feigenbaum admitted being a pathological killer and mutilator of women. Lawton made the connection with the Ripper, conducted some inquiries and was quoted in newspapers in 1896 saying he could put Feigenbaum in Whitechapel at the times of the five murders.
“Sadly, the press never asked the $64,000 question, ‘What were those inquiries?’” Marriott says.