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Author's ripping Jack theory

By unknown | May 03, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

An eminent South African historian believes he has stumbled on Jack the Ripper.

An eminent South African historian believes he has stumbled on Jack the Ripper.

Charles van Onselen said at first he wasn't sure he wanted to publicise the conclusions he drew when he noticed parallels in the unsolved Jack the Ripper case and the background of Joseph Silver, a feared international criminal who terrorised women as "King of the Pimps" in Johannesburg.

He expected resistance, especially from the UK where, he said, there is a "whole cottage industry" devoted to the 1888 murders of London's Whitechapel prostitutes.

The publicity around Van Onselen's The Fox and The Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath, published last month, has made much of Silver being Jack the Ripper.

While the book has been well-received, reaction from "Ripperologists" has been sceptical.

Van Onselen, an acclaimed biographer, started out exploring South Africa's criminal history. He was researching the white slave trade when he encountered Silver.

The book paints a vivid picture of Johannesburg as a young mining town which the author describes as "hell's playground".

The evidence that Silver was in Whitechapel at the time of the Ripper murders includes the birth of his daughter there, Van Onselen said.

Scores of people have been accused of the Ripper murders, but no one has ever been proven guilty. - Sapa-AP


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