Lazy eyes listen
According to historian Sarah Bax Horton, Jack the Ripper, the murderer who tormented Victorian London and was never apprehended, was an epileptic cigar-maker who plummeted into alcoholism and insanity when an injury cost him his job.
Bax Horton, who is descended from a police sergeant who worked the unsolved murders, told the outlet that new evidence of “distinctive physical characteristics” points to a man named Hyam Hyams as the killer as she teased her forthcoming book, “One-Armed Jack: Uncovering the Real Jack the Ripper.”
She explained that Hyams’ medical records, collected from “various infirmaries and asylums,” matched witnesses’ descriptions of a thirty-something man of medium height and build with a stiff arm, bent knees, and an erratic walk. In Hyams’ file, an injury left him unable to “bend or extend” his left arm, as well as an inability to straighten his legs, resulting in an asymmetric, foot-dragging gait that Bax Horton believes was caused by “some brain damage as a result of his epilepsy.”
According to Bax Horton’s research, Hyams learned to use a knife while working as a cigar maker, but his epilepsy and drunkenness kept him in and out of mental asylums, and his health deteriorated swiftly when an accident rendered him unable to work. He assaulted his wife multiple times, certain she was cheating, and was eventually arrested after threatening her and his mother with a knife.
According to his records, he became particularly violent after epileptic seizures, and it was during this period that he allegedly committed the murders for which Jack the Ripper is famous – at least five women, all prostitutes or beggars, brutally slashed and mutilated in and around Whitechapel over a three-month period in 1888. While several taunting letters purportedly written by the killer were sent to authorities during that time period, some accompanied by body parts including half of a human kidney, it is unknown if any were actually written by the individual responsible for the murders.
There were no more Jack the Ripper killings after Hyams was apprehended by police as a “wandering lunatic” and put to an insane institute in 1889.
Despite police interrogating over 2,000 persons and investigating over 300 suspects, the Whitechapel murders were never solved. Even more than a century later, Bax Horton notes a “long list” of 100 probable perpetrators that remains open and unlikely to be narrowed down by additional investigation, given that all police documents from the era were lost in World War II bombs.