My Bipolar Perspectives of a Unipolar World by Stuart Sanderson.

A Collection of Perceptions and Opinions From the Point of View of a Person With Mental Illness.

“Wake Up!”

You are part of a generation that relies on social media for interaction rather than actual physical interaction. You watch a TV that in essence actually watches you. Butting into your life and thrusting fantasy lifestyles, conglomerates products down your throat, fear via the media and secure your insecurities for yourself. You have become afraid of being left behind and you can’t settle for what you have.

The virtual insanity of the situation is utterly depressing. You have become hypnotised in belief that nature is not normal and growing old is sacrilege. Botox, tummy tucks, liposuction, face lifts, anti-wrinkle cream, spandex pants, hair transplants, veneers, boob jobs, lip fillers, fad diets, PT sessions, false this and false that. When you come to realise that you have the most beautiful asset from the day you were born. A smile.

You have abandoned it and you can’t see it may never return. You are slowly having your god given rights eroded each day. You are not allowed to be content with your life.

To be content is bad for business you see.

Do you believe what you see or do you see what you believe?

Chapter 1

Deceit, drama, dictatorship, deception, disease, death, doom, disorder and dilemma.

I didn’t choose my lifestyle. I was born and raised as society dictates. Parents can’t decide what they want for their kids because they’re under the regime too. They probably won’t have ever thought about living self sufficient and raising their children by the way of the land. The family home, mortgage, 2.4 children, debt, 3-piece suite on higher purchase, living next door to someone you don’t like and taxes on just about everything. Education systems with impossible timetables to find a job to fit in with half-terms and a 9-3 term day. Expensive uniforms on a conveyor belt of kids being fed pointless information then pressured at 16 to pass an exam they’re told will define their life by the teachers they have become convinced know everything. The reality is that the exam is just an exercise to categorise and measure the best ones at regurgitating the information that only want them to know and filter out the others so they don’t go to college or uni at the government’s expense. I guess the ones that perform badly are in fact the intelligent ones as they haven’t fallen for the bullshit. That is how I see it. I got 5 C’s at GCSE. Enough to get into College. I sat down at enrolment and was asked what I wanted to be. In the pub was the true answer, 3.30 pm on a Thursday at 16 nearly 17 with the atypical night out at Heaven and Hell upcoming. A pathologist I replied. I was told I had no possibility of achieving that due to my GCSE grades. I was confused. I asked him if I was to pass these A-levels and then go to Uni, I may not be able to study as a doctor but I could get a degree in biology or chemistry and then on to a PhD, will my GCSEs hold me back? Maybe it’ll take a little longer but it doesn’t mean that I can’t get to where I wanted to go. With this in mind I did get the degree but I didn’t progress with it any further as things change, but I could have done it. There’s a multitude of options available for people who both do well and also don’t do so well as long as they have the desire and are encouraged. Knowledge is power I guess and don’t give them too much or they might surpass you. Why isn’t how to do a tax return taught in school? It’s maths? I know my peers would have found it more useful than trigonometry. You’re schooled from 4-16 in certain subjects, learning certain aspects of each subject. No chance to question. Do you think that any country in the world would teach the history of their country in schools and show their history tarnished and how terrible they were? In England, we are led to believe that we are a role model for the rest of the world. Only as I grew older I realised what we did to Native American and to the people of the Republic of Ireland to name but 2.

You’re told how to live your life. Drilled in to you that you have to sleep at night and eat at set times, regardless if you’re tired or hungry. You can’t travel to this country or that country without x, y or z because you’re from your country. A country you didn’t choose. A country that was created by an invisible boundary, to make visible the dividing line of segregation and classification evident in every aspect of life today. Countries don’t exist, only in the atlas’s and on the maps of the world are they significant.

I wish I was invisible.

I’m now waking up to the constraints on my life and how I am still in their grasp. Working certain hours, even when I have to drag myself into the office, you need to work as you can’t survive on SSP. I have a mental illness that has been diagnosed as bipolar disorder. Given it a name. The body won’t recognise it because of the name. The name is a way of making the issue subjective and separate. I’m asked how I am feeling and coping with it. The language I have is limited to the words that have been created to describe something. There are no words in my language that can truly explain what I am going through. How do I explain how I feel?

These rules we live by were made by the previous generations of people who had the power. Tyrants who were hell bent on control. Their blueprint continues to the present day with no ultimate purpose or direction. They are able to do as they see fit and make it up as they go along. The country I live in has been a contradiction of its intent and it’s actions in dealing with the Covid virus. Blundering lockdowns that weren’t enough and complete ineptitude and shambolic performances by a group of people who are meant to be the best we have. You can’t tell what is satire and what isn’t anymore. You can’t question them or live outside of their ideology. There’s labels of socialists, facists, Marxist, communists but it’s all fundamentally the same just dressed up in different clothes. The media feeds mass hysteria into every household on a daily basis that is putting the fear of god in to the population. If you ignored it and looked out the window or went for a walk and interacted with people, saw things for yourself, unplugged yourself from Facebook and Instagram and tuned into reality, you could uncover that there’s an entirely different world and way of life just waiting to be enjoyed.

Is it any wonder aliens have never landed here?

Chapter 2

Imagine a World Without Constraints

Have you ever stopped at pondered that everything you are thinking about and your thoughts are actually somebody else’s? Based on the ideas of others that have thrust their labels, numerology and regimes into our lives? The language we use. The illusion of time. Is there anything you can do that is truly exclusive? What is an original thought that you can have? Is it possible to have one?

The illusion of time creates a detachment from reality. Preoccupied by a causative past and absorbed into a prominent future. Neither of them exist as only the present exists. Do now what you need to and get on with it. I’d abolish seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, clocks and watches. There’s no need for them. If a week is in a cycle then it will rotate and have no end. A continuous motion. Animals have survived as long as us without it. It puts pressure on you too. Age is a constraint and if you hit 70/80 you worry about what day is your last purely because others died about your age. Workforce’s would prosper too. No restraint on deadlines. Get the work done, it’s finished when it’s finished. Maybe this is why the Egyptians and Mayan empires built their pyramids, just got on with it and finished when they finished

Uncharted territory and lands were explored by wealthy countries in years gone by. Countries made up with people either intrigued to explore and learn, coexist with their surroundings or possibly they were simply not satisfied with their own domain and wanted more. Boundaries weren’t established and Countries named prior to man being on Earth. We created a segregation. Jostling for power. Would there be wars if there was no differentiation between one another and we were all one nationality? Why can’t we just live on Earth and be the Humans of the Human Race so we might get to that finish line in first place?

Wars have happened throughout history. The purpose of war is peace. Peace is seldom found though. Are we doing it wrong? The Romans, Vikings, Normans, Saxons, Huns, Civil wars in both England & America, the Jacobite rebellion and the last battle on British soil at Culloden Moor on 16th April 1746 and the subsequent highland clearances so Scotland wouldn’t question England’s rule of them again. Spanish civil war, two world wars only last century and far too many more to mention. Alas, the threat of further wars still remain. A constant cycle of conflicts, conquests and control. So far it seems war doesn’t work. You’ll never have peace as long as you have segregation and constraints. Parameters on what you are allowed to do is a paralysis of your evolution.

Chapter 3

Propaganda, false prophets, purposelessness and parliamentary Pinocchios

So we are on the home straight now and finally about to conquer the COVID-19 Pandemic. In the UK anyway. I’m not going to start a debate about the why’s and what’s and how’s. What is done is done and that’s that. The only point I will raise however is that the information that has been fed to the Great British public left me scratching my head. The vaccine used was apparently a newly discovered method of defence against viruses.

The time it took to get the vaccine and then say it’s a new mechanism of defence when it’s actually being taught in universities for at least the last 20 years is disgusting.

I’ve had both jabs now. As a 38 year old male with no history of physiological illness and consistently exemplary blood test results, I was in the high risk group. I was told that I was a high risk for COVID-19 due to my underlying medical condition. I have Bipolar Disorder. I’m still struggling to fathom out the way a mental illness is the reason. The medication that I have to take is the reason for it by the way.

So, I look it as a person who has at SMI (Severe Mental Illness), Bipolar or Schizophrenia, and are prescribed antipsychotics or anticonvulsants, have their immune system compromised by it. Now, this wasn’t explained to me and I guess others also found that it was forgotten to be mentioned by the psychiatrist? I have brought the question up and it is simply answered by ‘but you have the vaccine now and you were a priority for it. You have been stable on the medication and no episodes so it’s positive for you at the moment. You have to think about it and would you like to be experiencing what you were or how you are now?’

Why do I just say that you are right Dr. Thanks. Really I should be saying it shouldn’t be a choice and you don’t have any right to say that it is a positive just because I have fitted in to your tick box questionnaire.

The pharmaceutical industry is all about greed, money and profits. Seems everyone is going to have the Vaccine. That non-compulsory vaccine everybody has to have. If you don’t have it then you can’t go on holiday etc. Socialism: Ideas so good they have to be mandatory.

The propaganda is that strong in the UK, that people believe what they want rather than what they see. The Country were an Instagram post is more influential than lessons in the classroom.

Now, on to the leaders of our respective countries. Are they really the best we have? I’m going to leave it at that!

I have found the works of Alan Watts highly intriguing. Why aren’t his philosophies taught in Schools?

The purposelessness of being alive is the key for happiness in my opinion;

You pick up a pebble on the beach: look at it, beautiful, don’t try to get a sermon out of it. Sermons-in-stones and God-in-everything be damned – just enjoy it! Do not feel that you have got to salve your conscience by saying that this is for the advancement of your aesthetic understanding. Enjoy the pebble. If you do that, you become healthy. You become able to be a loving, helpful human being. But if you can’t do that, if you can only do things because they’re somehow, you are going to get something out of it, you are a vulture.

So, we have to learn, you don’t have, you know, you don’t have to do anything, but it is a great idea, it is a great thing if you can learn what the Chinese call “purposelessness.” They think nature is purposeless. When we say something is purposeless, it is a put-down. There is no future in it, it is a washout. When they hear the word purposeless they think that’s just great. It is like the waves washing against the shore, going on and on, forever, with no meaning.

It’s like if you go out for a walk with a destination in mind, then your outbound journey is fixed on that destination and you are focusing on that. Imagine if you’re just walking with no destination or reason for it other than walking. You have no purpose for the walking so that it is purposeless. You will find that you are at your most beautifully engaged with your own unique being and your at one with everything around you by the purposelessness of your actions.

Now on to the people who lie more than weather reporters.

Politicians.

I have come up with an idea. Connect all these politicians who address the public, to a lie detector for the duration of their speeches.

I’m not sure what the hell is going on with the World at the moment. It’s been a weird decade so far. I do have to admit I suspect that there is an ulterior motive for the occurrences so far that plainly don’t add up. Materialism is the new Communism it seems and the pen drive is definitely mightier than the sword. I’m just glad I’m the age I am as I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up now in the virtual insanity of life on Earth.

Chapter 4

What do You Desire?

As I sit here with a million and one thoughts rushing about my mind, akin to my understanding of what the chaos theory must be like, I wondered if this might be my actual clarity. You can be searching for the solution to something that doesn’t need a conclusion. You are free to accept or refuse any advice given to you. What questions you have are as unique as you are. Therefore, they have a unique answer.

How do we know that the way we should be thinking is irrational? Because it’s different from the next person? Because someone who has regurgitate a text book in an exam, is now an expert on what you are experiencing with your own thoughts? We are bound by our language to speak our minds. I’m still waiting to uncover the words in the English language that accurately describe how I feel at times.

Then there’s the paradoxes from an early age we encounter to make sure we are looking up to the people who are teaching us all these wonderful new things, the history of our proud Country and it’s leaders. We are told in school by the same people to try harder! How do you try harder? Listen carefully they say. Isn’t simply listening sufficient?

I’m not you and your not me. We’re individually unique yet fundamentally identical. We can think about anything we want and no one else will ever know what it is, yet we have the ability to communicate with others telling them what we want them to know. We can cherry pick what information we see as desirable, and can share it to portray ourselves as we wish to others.

I’m not any better than you. I’m no more wiser than you are either. I’m no more intelligent than you are. I’m neither a better person than you. My opinions about things are no more important than yours. I’m in actual fact, offering far worse advice on things due to the fact I have been a far worse person than you ever have.

Let me explain. See if you’re in a long distance running race and you’re last. You can see the entire field of competitors battling it out. Who is poised for the next move, being cautious. Who is struggling with the pace. When you have got to the front of the field and are leading the way, you can say how you did it. With our own unique traits, we can choose if we want to do this or if not. Free to say our piece and we can decide on the method we use to do it. I don’t like to preach my opinions and force them on others so I try not to give up my thoughts on a topic in conversation unless prompted. I can tell if I have to tailor my answers to benefit the situation or if it is easier to do, I’ll just say I don’t have an opinion about it.

We have a select group of people around us who are all we need. It’s called “The Snow White Syndrome”. She had 7 dwarfs, we have 7 people. I bet now that if you count the most important people in your life, the inner circle, the real ones that care, you will name 7 people. I do. These are the ones that you take heed of. Listen to and talk with. Understand.

Since my diagnosis with Bipolar Disorder, my eyes have been opened up to a completely different World. We have to understand that if you have any illness, naming it doesn’t mean that we are going to get better. The body won’t recognise it because of a name. We just make it subjective and separate it from ourselves. Easier to then diagnose and categorise. Medicate and prescribe for it and then off we go. Every time I go to the Pharmacy (frequently) there’s a queue out the door. We are a nation of junkies. Legal drug addicts with prescribed remedies not cures. Remember, a cured patient is nowadays a lost customer to the Pharmaceutical Industry!

We are being watched 24/7 too. GPS in phones with their cameras which are also in our computers and laptops. Alexa in your home only joining the conversation when you say Alexa? Evidently she must be listening to hear when she is required! Logging in to public places to access the WI-FI by registering your email and phone number. Apple-pay so you can pay for things that you don’t want to impress people you don’t like with your watch and then answer a phone call on it. An apple a day keeps the doctor away will be a reality soon with iDoctor from Apple. Plug yourself into your iMac from the chip in your wrist you have had implanted and you’re sorted. We are attached already to the social media platforms for gratification and the need to share information with the World that we shouldn’t or need to. I have had accounts, I no longer do. Granted there’s benefits for their use but they have simply become a popularity contest and a way of showing off when all that glistens isn’t really gold! (Asking if anyone has the phone number for somewhere when you’re on the internet already?!?!).

We have a great need for acceptance. When we see something, we have an option of liking what we see or not liking what we see. We base our behaviour towards what we like. Other people teach us who we are. Their attitudes to us are the mirror in which we learn to see ourselves, but the mirror is distorted. We notice only what we think noteworthy, and therefore our vision is highly selective. Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth. We choose our friends and partners. We are not chained to anyone so if we aren’t happy, walk away. I’m lucky to have been born in England and I have had the ability to choose if I wanted further education, my vocation, what clothes I wear, music I listen to, where I live, what I spend my money on and how I live my life is pretty much my choice if you take 5 minutes to look at it. I can choose not to work and receive state benefits which entitles you to free dental care, prescriptions, eye tests, numerous child care exemptions and a guaranteed fortnightly payment which also covers all the National Insurance for your Pension.

We can be judgemental about the people who are doing this. What gives us the right to comment on it though? Do we think we are better than them? Does it mean that having 4 bedrooms in a detached house with an interest only mortgage, financed Mercedes or BMW on the drive and some other guys name on your underwear makes you superior? Buying things that you don’t need to impress the people you don’t like. The things that you own end up owning you.

However, we have this notion of being totally infatuated by the causative past and prominent future of our lives. We have to be in work till this age, withdraw your pension at that age. It’s not reality, it’s a fallacy. We are therefore detached from ourselves and from reality. The reality facing me at the moment is that I have to tackle the problem of explaining to my parents who are in their late 70’s, what Bipolar is and why I’m seeing the Psychiatrist for what I am experiencing currently, which is the early onset of Psychosis.

We’ve had the Stone Age, Iron Age etc. We’re now in the Offended Age. No matter what you say, somebody somewhere is offended. Why? If you don’t like it, move on. You’re offended because you chose to be offended.

We need 3 fundamental components to survive, oxygen, water and trees to recycle the Carbon Dioxide. Yet we’re destroying all of these slowly. Pollution of the seas and atmosphere and destruction of the rainforests. Attacking ourselves from all sides. We pay more attention to the satire of Love Island or Instagram posts than what is happening on our planet. Petrified of falling behind in the Rat Race.

It’s ironic how it is called that, the ‘Rat Race’. Rats have zero respect for authority and they observe no regard to any rules. They also have sex about 50 times a day! Now that is the kind of Rat Race I’m interested in!

Remember, before you speak, think about your words being true, necessary and kind. Of course you don’t have to do anything. Especially anything that I have said. You have the choice to be a different person from the one you were 30 seconds ago.

Finally, I will leave you with this. Imagine if the Big Bang is still expanding out? Everything that is in the galaxy, was originally part of that same spark? We are all one of the same and there is no separation. Trees, water, oxygen and humans aren’t separate entities. This is why they rely on each other to survive, just like the organs of our bodies, they are simply working in tandem. Thusly, we need to abandon the notion of birth and death. No stop and start. Without a beginning or end. We are part of the same universe. Universal. When we look at the stars in the sky, we are looking at ourselves. We are part of the continuing cosmos. Expanding. Infinite. Remember that the first rule of science is that energy can not be created or destroyed, only transferred.

Chapter 5

Bipolar: Me, Myself and I

Many people have had their opinions on my mental illnesses. Match making their assumptions to certain things I’ve done in the past, my behaviours and actions, my persona, my decision making and the obsession to listen to the whispers from those claiming that they have the exclusive story on my life, to the easy answer. From this basis they feel that they have the right to become judge, jury and executioner. The complexity and depth of knowledge an individual requires to be such, arguably still hasn’t been reached.

There’s no explanation for the cause of Bipolar Disorder. There’s 3 theories that are the most common in cases which are used as a benchmark but these aren’t set in stone. It’s currently classified as a lifelong affliction by the medical profession. The medication that is prescribed isn’t a cure either, only a remedy. There is no cure. The medication I have, Depakote (Sodium Valproate) is an anticonvulsant that slows down the neurones in the brain. It is potent, as it needs to be, and makes me docile. Things are harder. Concentration, memory, cognitive function, muscle spasms and weight gain. It also increases the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

The medication used for Bipolar and Schizophrenia patients are reported to shorten the life expectancy of the individual by 9-20years and 10-20 years respectively. More than smoking 40 cigarettes a day. So If you’re going to the effort of being interested and intrigued with a person and their circumstance, maybe save yourself sometime and get the full picture by actually asking the person.

I’m the first to admit that in the past I abused drink and drugs (cocaine) to cope. People put my consumption down to the cause of my mental illness. Bipolar Disorder is not caused by drug abuse. Substance abuse unfortunately goes hand in hand with Bipolar Disorder. The fact cocaine was used as an antidepressant not to long ago shows it has some positive effects. People say that I will have the come down and it’s dangerous. They never step back to realise the medication that I take daily is working on the same principle. That I have to feed my addiction so to speak. I’m a legal drug addict. If I didn’t have my daily dose, not only would it be the bipolar but also the withdrawal from antidepressants and antipsychotics or anticonvulsants.

The stark reality is that it’s far from romantic or desirable to be living with a mental illness. Everything that I was doing was a response to the pain and suffering I was going through. My responses may not have been the most productive or proactive nor positive but I have since learnt from them. My purpose on this Earth is not to make you understand my journey, I’m here to be on that journey.

But some people are always happy to give their understanding and not so keen on hearing mine. People who don’t really know me or haven’t seen me for a while, comment when they find out I have bipolar disorder, that they would have never known. I often wonder why that is? Do you have to act a certain way in front of people? Are you supposed to strip naked and climb up a building then hide in your bedroom for 3 days? Do these people understand that people with illnesses are given medication? Bipolar Disorder sufferers are no different.

Another fantastic comment that you hear is “but so-and-so is bipolar and they don’t do that. They can do this etc etc etc”. No two people are the same. Simple as that.

Some days I have a irritability for everything. Be it a tree in a garden, a bird in the sky or a programme on the TV. No reason why. The medication will possibly be increased to the maximum dose (2,000mg) per day because of this. I’m fine with that. The fear I have is that I have found myself to have a different thought process when I’m irritable and It is a new experience for me. I’m not saying I’m going to do anything reckless but then again I’m not sure what I am going to do. Irritability can lead to lashing out and that’s my concern.

Does anyone think less of me because I have Bipolar Disorder? The common perception is that it is linked to‘crazy people’ or ‘maniacs’. Well to anyone who does, I’ll leave you with the words of Alan Watts;

“No one is more dangerously insane than one who is sane all the time: he is like a steel bridge without flexibility, and the order of his life is rigid and brittle.”

“You don’t get it unless you’ve got it”. If you have a mental illness, you can find it extremely difficult to explain how you feel and what you’re going through to people who don’t suffer.

This is my explanation of what Bipolar is to me and how it effects me, day in, day out.

Bipolar disorder is a Severe Mental Illness (SMI) that affects your moods, which can swing from 1 extreme to another. It used to be known as manic depression.

People with bipolar disorder have episodes of:

• Depression – feeling very low and lethargic

• Mania – feeling very high and overactive

I have a form of Bipolar called Rapid Cycle Bipolar Disorder. This is where a person with bipolar disorder repeatedly swings from a high to a low phase quickly without having a “normal” period in between.

People think depression is sadness. People think depression is crying.

Depression

People think depression is dressing in black.

People are wrong.

For me, it’s an detachment from that everything you are.

Depression is the constant feeling of being numb.

Being numb to emotions, being numb to lie.

You wake up in the morning just to go back to bed again.

Days aren’t really days; they are just annoying obstacles that need to be faced. And how do you face them?

Through medication?

Through drinking?

Through smoking?

Through drugs?

Through cutting?

When you’re depressed, you grasp on to anything that can get through the day.

That’s what depression is for me, not sadness or tears, as you’re not feeling sad or upset.

Plain and simply it’s the overwhelming sense of numbness.

The numbness and the desire for anything that can help you make it from one day to the next.

This is what depression is to me.

Mania

The mania part of Bipolar is utter chaos. One positive with mania is that I’m so enthused by everything. I’m at my most creative during this phase, so l’m writing stuff down, making plans, playing the guitar and really upbeat. I engage with everyone, acting as though I don’t have a care in the World.

Waking up in the morning refreshed regardless if I had 1 hour or 8 hours kip the night before. I don’t really need that much sleep in this phase I’ve found. I’ve gone 11 days before with no REM sleep. Your body adapts and there is no obligation to sleep 10pm till 6am. You sleep when you’re tired.

I’m extroverted to the point that I’m all over the place, interrupting some conversations. I’ve been told to shut up as I switch topics so quickly that it’s hard for others to keep up with me. Sometimes I can’t keep up with myself!

Unfortunately this goes hand in hand with exuberance and reckless behaviour in the sense that I don’t stop and think about the necessity of the situation. I bought last years Christmas presents in April for everyone

People can mistake this behaviour for me being under the influence of drugs. But I’m not. I’m the first to admit that in the past I’ve been in Class A for entire weekends. The comments abound with some are that I still am. It’s the drugs that caused my mental illness. Even remarks that I don’t have bipolar, I’m just a Coke head.

Medication, street drugs or alcohol can’t cause you to develop bipolar disorder, but they can cause you to display some behaviour similar to both mania and depression. It can often be difficult for people to distinguish the effects of alcohol and drugs from your mental illness symptoms.

I can assure you that the manic phase of Bipolar is nothing like the high I’ve ever experienced before from any drug. No drug has come close to anything like it. Also, a comedown from drugs is that far from the feeling and angst of the depression, you wouldn’t believe. The thing is that these are the closest things to explain the situation with someone so they can relate.

There simply aren’t the words in the English language that can accurately describe how living with Bipolar truly is.

Chapter 6

Clarity

Our thoughts and words are conventions. It is dangerous to take conventions too seriously, because a convention is just a social convenience, for example, money. It’s absurd to take money too seriously and confuse it with real wealth. In the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are “coins” for real things. If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid.

When you get free from certain fixed concepts of the way the world is, you find it is far more subtle, and far more miraculous, than you thought it was. I have realised that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is. If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.

Here is the vicious circle: if you feel separate from your organic life, you feel driven to survive; survival -going on living- thus becomes a duty and also a drag because you are not fully with it; because it does not quite come up to expectations, you continue to hope that it will, to crave for more time, to feel driven all the more to go on.

You see, for all life is an act of faith and an act of gamble. The moment you take a step, you do so on an act of faith because you don’t really know that the floor’s not going to give under your feet. The moment you take a journey, what an act of faith. The moment that you enter into any kind of human undertaking in relationship, what an act of faith.

Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way. Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself. Where there is to be creative action, it is quite beside the point to discuss what we should or should not do in order to be right or good. A mind that is single and sincere is not interested in being good, in conducting relations with other people so as to live up to a rule. Nor, on the other hand, is it interested in being free, in acting perversely just to prove its independence. Its interest is not in itself, but in the people and problems of which it is aware; these are ‘itself.’ It acts, not according to the rules, but according to the circumstances of the moment, and the ‘well’ it wishes to others is not security but liberty.

Let’s suppose that you were able every night to dream any dream that you wanted to dream. And that you could, for example, have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time. Or any length of time you wanted to have. And you would, naturally as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure you could conceive. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each, you would say “Well, that was pretty great.” But now let’s have a surprise. Let’s have a dream which isn’t under control. Where something is gonna happen to me that I don’t know what it’s going to be. And you would dig that and come out of that and say “Wow, that was a close shave, wasn’t it?” And then you would get more and more adventurous, and you would make further and further out gambles as to what you would dream. And finally, you would dream … where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.

Another real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two. Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realisation that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.

Your body does not eliminate poisons by knowing their names. To try to control fear or depression or boredom by calling them names is to resort to superstition of trust in curses and invocations. It is so easy to see why this does not work. Once again, we try to know, name, and define fear in order to make it “objective,” that is, separate from “I”.

Chapter 7

Psychotherapy or Pseudoscience?

I’m not against attending this but I have my concerns about it. After my appointment with the Early Intervention Team, I felt they were of the persuasion that the events of 2013 were the instigator of my issues. Break up with my fiancé, redundancy and then losing a close friend. The only issue is the latter and the interactions between us we had over the last 6 weeks of his life is testament my character.

I wasn’t so long ago hell bent and succeeded with the chasing the 2.4 children, in my hometown (now I am just going to have say something here, the people who I know, the potential of the town and it’s soul is no longer evident. Before you snowflakes brand me something or other. Be honest enough to yourself and take the one hour or so that you will spend insinuating I’m racist/facist,prejudice etc (knobhhead i can live with) even though I don’t think that it’s a topic I raised ), go on a day’s visit to spend the time in the lovely town Centre of Rochdale in Greater Manchester. Busily compile your own unique thoughts. Speak to the multi cultural populous for their input. Any questions about anything you want. You can never understand or comment on me or my journey when you haven’t been in my shoes or walked my path.

I confide in someone that I have confidence in. I don’t have confidence for you (Psychotherapist) as you sit there looking attentive but obligated to bring your sorry ass down here for £30k a year?!?!?

I’m not being obstructive. I just don’t have to listen to you telling me what I know.

Let’s talk about why SSRIs like Sertraline are ineffective for me yet, Mirtazapine (TCA or NaSSa) work wonders with their opposite modes of action?

Is Depakote the best mood stabiliser?

This was only prescribed for me as I had 3 Tonic Colic seizures awaiting Psychiatrist appointment so I’m completely aware of the thinking behind .

Lithium is the primary medication prescribed and only Valproate is prescribed for Bipolar when the Lithium is not responding. Maybe I’m becoming more erratic as shit needs sorting pronto.

Takes this analogy though;

• Bipolar Disorder is a wild animal

• You experience the adrenaline rush of the chase/hunt and reap the rewards

• You can have depression yet you have a capacity to still go to meet mania of the adrenaline rush

• Over time the rush is now just a crushing blow

• You try to Satisfy your appetite with sex, new things to keep relevant

• Sex fades, you’re not going in the direction you desire

• You have become old. Lions age and they can’t do anything that they once wanted to.

• Is Psychosis and bipolar degenerate?

Epilogue

Don’t Look Back in Anger

Some might say they don’t believe in heaven. Go and tell it to the man who lives in hell. Take the time to make some sense of what you want to say and cast your words away upon the waves. Bound with all the weight of all the words you tried to say. Chained to all the places that you never wished to stay. Maybe you will never be all the things that you wanna be. Now is not the time to cry. Now’s the time to find out why. All this confusion. Nothing’s the same to you. But I can’t tell you the way you feel. You need to be yourself, you can’t be no one else. You could wait for a lifetime, to spend your days in the sunshine. You might as well do the white line. Cos when it comes on top . . .You gotta make it happen! I don’t know, I don’t care. All I know is you can take me there. So what would you say if I said to you, It’s not in what you say it’s in what you do. You point the finger at me but I don’t believe. It’s better people love one another. ‘Cause livin’ your life can be tough! True perfection has to be imperfect.

Bipolar Rollercoaster 🎢

Here’s a song I wrote about how living with Bipolar Disorder is day in, day out.

Bipolar

Mirror mirror upside down

Squared circles, parallel to the ground

Right of east but left of west

Theoretically, life’s a game of chess

Bipolar

Bipolar

A white knuckling rollercoaster

Laughing then crying, how can this be?

Makes no sense at all to me

One fine day in the middle of the night

Two dead men got up to fight

Back to back they faced each other

Drew their swords and shot each other

Bipolar

Bipolar

A white knuckling rollercoaster

Why is my mind doing this constantly

I’m locked out of myself without a key

Shaking hands with the armless man

Darkness meets light and gets a tan

Is our perception just an evil plan

To devoid us of achieving what we can

Bipolar

Bipolar

A white knuckling rollercoaster

With the help of others, love and support

Trying to get there with positive rapport

Standing tall laid in bed

Wide awake in your head

Sleeping insomniac

Immortal dead

Bipolar

Bipolar

A white knuckling rollercoaster

Slowing down then speeding up, keep control and don’t give up

Ending infinity

Starting again

Repetitive originality

Branded insanity

Bipolar

Bipolar

A white knuckling rollercoaster

Rapid Cycling through the day, manic high then depressive low, where’s the middle ground? I want to know!

Bipolar

Bipolar

A white knuckling rollercoaster

Up, down, round and round, voices in your head the only sound

Bipolar

Bipolar

A white knuckling rollercoaster

Sanity is still waiting to be found

Psychiatrists say so, very loud

Bipolar Induced Psychosis 🤯😱🫂

Bipolar reared its ugly head once again at my door, but this time with its friend Psychosis. Psychosis introduced itself by snatching away everything that made me who I am. Replacing it with everything that I am not and do not desire. This strange, unfamiliar, tongueless ghost of sin, created a black hole where my soul once was.

I had peripheral visions, shapes and objects moving. Van Gogh’s paintings now began to make sense, I understood what he was saying through Starry Night. I experienced this feeling of being touched on my shoulders and legs. I began to hear conversations about myself from complete strangers. I couldn’t decipher what the exact conversation was, but I could hear my name crystal clear. This was always accompanied with a glance in my direction. People were watching my every move too. I was convinced that I was being followed by someone. I didn’t have a mental picture of the individual, nor an idea of anything else other than that I was being followed.

My thoughts started to become more and more outlandish. I thought maybe my soul was swapped with someone’s who was on the run from MI5 or a similar organisation. The fact of the matter was that I was harbouring the soul of a fictional fugitive on the run from reality.

Just like the self harm period, I read that the Devil gets in you through your weakest side. I am right handed yet I cut my right arm with my left hand.

Convention, Convenience, Confusion, Comedy & Complete Clarity!

I’ve been getting my paperwork together for my psychiatrist appointment next Monday (16th August). In doing so I was reading back my blogs i saw there was a message that explains exactly how I feel about life. I have managed to put together the below. I think it expresses my thoughts perfectly.

Our thoughts and words are conventions. It is dangerous to take conventions too seriously, because a convention is just a social convenience, for example, money. It’s absurd to take money too seriously and confuse it with real wealth. In the same way, thoughts, ideas and words are “coins” for real things. If you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you’ll spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid.

When you get free from certain fixed concepts of the way the world is, you find it is far more subtle, and far more miraculous, than you thought it was. I have realised that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is. If, then, my awareness of the past and future makes me less aware of the present, I must begin to wonder whether I am actually living in the real world.

Here is the vicious circle: if you feel separate from your organic life, you feel driven to survive; survival -going on living- thus becomes a duty and also a drag because you are not fully with it; because it does not quite come up to expectations, you continue to hope that it will, to crave for more time, to feel driven all the more to go on.

You see, for all life is an act of faith and an act of gamble. The moment you take a step, you do so on an act of faith because you don’t really know that the floor’s not going to give under your feet. The moment you take a journey, what an act of faith. The moment that you enter into any kind of human undertaking in relationship, what an act of faith.

Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way. Just as true humor is laughter at oneself, true humanity is knowledge of oneself. Where there is to be creative action, it is quite beside the point to discuss what we should or should not do in order to be right or good. A mind that is single and sincere is not interested in being good, in conducting relations with other people so as to live up to a rule. Nor, on the other hand, is it interested in being free, in acting perversely just to prove its independence. Its interest is not in itself, but in the people and problems of which it is aware; these are ‘itself.’ It acts, not according to the rules, but according to the circumstances of the moment, and the ‘well’ it wishes to others is not security but liberty.

Have you ever stopped and pondered that everything you are thinking about and your thoughts are actually somebody else’s? Based on the ideas of others that have thrust their labels, numerology and regimes into our lives? The language we use. The illusion of time.

Let’s suppose that you were able every night to dream any dream that you wanted to dream. And that you could, for example, have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time. Or any length of time you wanted to have. And you would, naturally as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure you could conceive. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each, you would say “Well, that was pretty great.” But now let’s have a surprise. Let’s have a dream which isn’t under control. Where something is gonna happen to me that I don’t know what it’s going to be. And you would dig that and come out of that and say “Wow, that was a close shave, wasn’t it?” And then you would get more and more adventurous, and you would make further and further out gambles as to what you would dream. And finally, you would dream … where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.

Another real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two. Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realisation that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.

Your body does not eliminate poisons by knowing their names. To try to control fear or depression or boredom by calling them names is to resort to superstition of trust in curses and invocations. It is so easy to see why this does not work. Once again, we try to know, name, and define fear in order to make it “objective,” that is, separate from “I”.

Medication Explained 💊

Antipsychotics

What are atypical antipsychotics?

Atypical antipsychotics are antipsychotics that are less likely than traditional antipsychotics to cause certain side effects, such as extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). EPS are drug-induced movement disorders and include tremor, Parkinson’s-like symptoms (walking with a shuffle, mask-like facial features) and tardive dyskinesia this describes abnormal, repetitive facial movements such as lip smacking or poking the tongue out).

Most atypical antipsychotics were discovered recently; however, clozapine is often referred to as atypical antipsychotic even though it was discovered more than 60 years ago. Atypical antipsychotics are also known as second generation antipsychotics.

Experts aren’t exactly sure how atypical antipsychotics work but they appear block certain chemical receptors in the brain, affecting levels of various neurotransmitters such as dopamine, acetylcholine, noradrenaline, or serotonin. Atypical antipsychotics appear to have a higher affinity for serotonin receptors and a lower affinity for dopamine receptors than typical antipsychotics.

What are atypical antipsychotics used for?

Atypical antipsychotics are used to relieve symptoms such as delusions (mistaken beliefs), hearing voices, seeing things that aren’t there (hallucinations), or paranoid or confused thoughts typically associated with some mental illnesses.

They may be used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia or a psychotic episode; in the treatment of severe depression; severe agitation or for stabilizing episodes of mania in people with Bipolar Disorder. Some are FDA-approved in children to treat irritability associated with Autistic disorder.

What are the differences between atypical antipsychotics?

Atypical antipsychotics differ in the way that they are absorbed into the body, how they are metabolized, the length of their effect, and how they are excreted. There are also differences between them with regards to:

• Weight gain: Clozapine appears to have the highest risk followed by olanzapine and quetiapine

• Reduction in the risk of suicidal events and behavior: Clozapine appears superior to olanzapine

• Discontinuation because of adverse effects: Clozapine has the highest rate of discontinuation in the short-term but the lowest rate out of any antipsychotic in the long-term (two years or more)

• Risperidone appears to have higher rates of EPS than olanzapine

• Risperidone may have higher rates of sexual dysfunction compared with quetiapine, but similar rates when compared with ziprasidone

• Women may be more responsive to clozapine and olanzapine than men.

With regards to the difference between atypical antipsychotics and typical antipsychotics, atypical antipsychotics are less likely to produce EPS but more likely to cause weight gain. Recently, no difference in effectiveness regarding symptom improvement between atypical antipsychotics and typical antipsychotics has been shown.

Quetiapine: An In-depth Look

Quetiapine is an antipsychotic medicine that is used to treat schizophrenia in adults and children who are at least 13 years old.

Quetiapine is used to treat bipolar Disorder (manic depression) in adults and children who are at least 10 years old.

Quetiapine is also used together with antidepressant medications to treat major depressive disorder in adults.

Warnings

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor.

Quetiapine is not approved for use in older adults with dementia related psychosis.

Precautions

Quetiapine may increase the risk of death in older adults with dementia-related psychosis and is not approved for this use.

Quetiapine is not approved for use by anyone younger than 10 years old.

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

• liver disease;

• heart problems;

• high or low blood pressure;

• low white blood cell (WBC) counts;

• abnormal thyroid tests or prolactin levels;

• constipation or urination problems;

• an enlarged prostrate;

• a seizure;

• glaucoma or cataracts;

• high cholesterol or triglycerides;

• diabetes (in you or a family member); or

• trouble swallowing.

Quetiapine may cause you to have high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). If you are diabetic, check your blood sugar levels on a regular basis.

Drink plenty of liquids while you are taking quetiapine.

Blood pressure may need to be checked often in a child or teenager taking quetiapine.

You should not stop using quetiapine suddenly. Stopping suddenly may make your condition worse.

This medicine may affect a drug-screening urine test and you may have false results. Tell the laboratory staff that you use quetiapine.

What should I avoid while taking quetiapine?

Avoid drinking alcohol. Dangerous side effects could occur. Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how quetiapine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries. Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy. Avoid becoming overheated or dehydrated during exercise and in hot weather. You may be more prone to heat stroke.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

• uncontrolled muscle movements in your face (chewing, lip smacking, frowning, tongue movement, blinking or eye movement);

• mask-like appearance of the face, trouble swallowing, problems with speech;

• a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

• severe constipation;

• painful or difficult urination;

• blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain, or seeing halos around lights;

• severe nervous system reaction–very stiff (rigid) muscles, high fever, sweating, confusion, fast or uneven heartbeats, tremors, fainting;

• high blood sugar–increased thirst, increased urination, dry mouth, fruity breath odor; or

• low white blood cell counts–fever, chills, mouth sores, skin sores, sore throat, cough, trouble breathing, feeling light-headed.

Common side effects may include:

• speech problems;

• dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness;

• lack of energy;

• fast heartbeats;

• stuffy nose;

• increased appetite, weight gain;

• upset stomach, vomiting, constipation;

• dry mouth; or

• problems moving.

Upsides

• Quetiapine calms and sedates and is used to help reduce the incidence of psychotic thoughts in people with schizophrenia.

• Quetiapine also helps to calm acute manic episodes in people with bipolar I disorder. It may be used as the sole therapy or in addition to lithium or Divalproex. When used as maintenance therapy for manic episodes in bipolar 1 disorder, it is best used in addition to lithium or Divalproex.

• Quetiapine may be used as the sole therapy for the treatment of depressive episodes in people with bipolar I or bipolar II disorder.

• Quetiapine may also be used off-label for other conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder.

• Trials have established that quetiapine is effective in adolescents aged 13 to 17 with schizophrenia; however, quetiapine should only be used after careful consideration of the risks versus benefits involved with treatment.

• Quetiapine is also approved for the treatment of manic episodes in children aged 10 to 17 with bipolar I disorder.

Downsides

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

• Weakness, lack of energy, headache, dry mouth, constipation, weight gain, changes in cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

• Drowsiness or dizziness that may affect your ability to drive or operate machinery or perform hazardous tasks. Alcohol may enhance these effects.

• Other common side effects include chills, cold sweats, confusion, and agitation.

• Some people, such as seniors, the frail, and those with a predisposition to low blood pressure may be more sensitive to the effects of quetiapine. A slower rate of dose titration and lower target dosages may be needed.

• A drop in blood pressure on standing, particularly during the initial dose-titration period. To counteract this effect, the dosage of quetiapine may need to be reduced then titrated back up slowly. May not be suitable for people with known cardiovascular disease (history of a heart attack, angina, heart failure, or arrhythmia), stroke, or people at risk of dehydration. May increase blood pressure in adolescents.

• May not be suitable for people with diabetes or may precipitate diabetes especially in those with pre-existing risk factors (such as obesity and lack of physical activity).

• People with liver disease or taking other medications that may interact with quetiapine may need a dosage adjustment. Only one-sixth of the quetiapine dose is needed when taken with drugs that are CYP3A4 inhibitors (for example, ketoconazole, ritonavir, or nefazodone). A dosage increase of up to fivefold is recommended when quetiapine is taken with CYP3A4 inducers (such as phenytoin, carbamazepine, rifampin, or St John’s wort).

• The use of antipsychotics in elderly patients with dementia has been associated with an increased risk of death, mostly due to cardiovascular or infectious causes. Quetiapine is not FDA-approved for use in elderly patients with dementia.

• May not be suitable for some people including those with cataracts, heart disease, high cholesterol, thyroid dysfunction, abnormal blood counts, high prolactin levels, or liver disease.

• Antipsychotics such as quetiapine have been associated with a serious syndrome called Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome; symptoms include high body temperature, muscle rigidity, and mental disturbances. Seek urgent medical advice if these symptoms develop.

• As with other antipsychotics and antidepressants, quetiapine may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior, particularly in adolescents.

• May cause a discontinuation syndrome if abruptly stopped; symptoms include nausea, insomnia, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, irritability, and dizziness. Gradual withdrawal is advised.

Medication Explained 💊

Depakote (divalproex sodium)

Depakote is classed as a fatty acid derivative anticonvulsant. Fatty acid derivative anticonvulsants appear to increase the availability of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter. They have several mechanisms of action. They have inhibitory action against GABA transaminase, which breaksdown GABA. This leads to increased concentration of GABA in the synapses. Other proposed mechanisms of action that account for their anticonvulsant properties is they either enhance the action of GABA or mimic its action at postsynaptic receptor sites. They also block voltage gated sodium channels and T-type calcium channels, and cause inhibitory activity in the brain.

Fatty acid derivatives are broad-spectrum anticonvulsant drugs, which are effective against most types of seizures. They can be used to treat absence seizures, tonic-clonic seizures, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy and complex partial seizures.

Depakote is also used in adults to prevent migraines and also used in treatment of manic episodes in bipolar disorder.

Valproate products are approved for the treatment of certain types of epilepsy, the treatment of manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder, and the prevention of migraine headaches. They are also used off-label (for uses not approved by FDA) for other conditions, particularly other psychiatric conditions.

Precautions

Valproate products should not be used in pregnant women for prevention of migraine headaches and should be used in pregnant women with epilepsy or bipolar disorder only if other treatments have failed to provide adequate symptom control or are otherwise unacceptable. 

Women who are pregnant and taking a valproate medication should not stop their medication but should talk to their health care professionals immediately. Stopping valproate treatment suddenly can cause serious and life-threatening medical problems to the woman or her baby.

Healthcare professionals should inform women of childbearing age of the increased risk for adverse effects on cognitive development with prenatal valproate exposure, and should continue to counsel women of childbearing potential taking valproate about the increased risk of major malformations, including neural tube defects, when valproate is used during pregnancy. In addition, healthcare professionals should weigh the benefits and risks of valproate when prescribing this drug to women of childbearing age, particularly when treating a condition not usually associated with permanent injury or death. Alternative medications that have a lower risk of adverse birth outcomes should be considered. Patients should not stop taking valproate without talking to a healthcare professional.

Warnings

Depakote can cause liver failure that may be fatal, especially in children under age 2 and in people with liver problems caused by certain genetic disorders.

You should not use divalproex if you have liver disease, a urea cycle disorder, low platelet counts, or a genetic disorder such as Alpers’ disease or Alpers-Huttenlocher syndrome.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

• liver problems caused by a genetic mitochondrial disorder;

• depression, mental illness, or suicidal thoughts or actions; or

• a family history of a urea cycle disorder or infant deaths with unknown cause.

Some people have thoughts about suicide while taking Depakote. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Jack the Ripper & The Whitechapel Murders 🔪

Introduction

In the autumn of 1888, a series of violent murders on the streets of the London district of Whitechapel sent shockwaves across the country.

The large number of attacks against women in the East End during this time adds uncertainty to how many victims were murdered by the same individual. Eleven separate murders, stretching from 3 April 1888 to 13 February 1891, were included in a London Metropolitan Police Service investigation and were known collectively in the police docket as the “Whitechapel murders”. Opinions vary as to whether these murders should be linked to the same culprit, but five of the eleven Whitechapel murders, known as the “canonical five”, are widely believed to be the work of the Ripper. Most experts point to deep slash wounds to the throat, followed by extensive abdominal and genital-area mutilation, the removal of internal organs, and progressive facial mutilations as the distinctive features of the Ripper’s modus operandi. The first two cases in the Whitechapel murders file, those of Emma Elizabeth Smith and Martha Tabram, are not included in the canonical five.

Smith was robbed and sexually assaulted in Osborn Street, Whitechapel, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on 3 April 1888. She had been bludgeoned about the face and received a cut to her ear. A blunt object was also inserted into her vagina, rupturing her peritoneum. She developed peritonitis and died the following day at London Hospital. Smith stated that she had been attacked by two or three men, one of whom she described as a teenager. This attack was linked to the later murders by the press, but most authors attribute Smith’s murder to general East End gang violence unrelated to the Ripper case.

Tabram was murdered on a staircase landing in George Yard, Whitechapel, on 7 August 1888; she had suffered 39 stab wounds to her throat, lungs, heart, liver, spleen, stomach, and abdomen, with additional knife wounds inflicted to her breasts and vagina. All but one of Tabram’s wounds had been inflicted with a bladed instrument such as a penknife, and with one possible exception, all the wounds had been inflicted by a right-handed individual. Tabram had not been raped.

The savagery of this murder, the lack of an obvious motive, and the closeness of the location and date to the later canonical Ripper murders led police to link this murder to those later committed by Jack the Ripper. However, this murder differs from the later canonical murders because although Tabram had been repeatedly stabbed, she had not suffered any slash wounds to her throat or abdomen. Many experts do not connect Tabram’s murder with the later murders because of this difference in the wound pattern.

Background

In the mid-19th century, Britain experienced an influx of Irish immigrants who swelled the populations of the major cities, including the East End of London. From 1882, Jewish refugees fleeing pogroms in Tsarist Russia and other areas of Eastern Europe emigrated into the same area. The parish of t in London’s East End became increasingly overcrowded, with the population increasing to approximately 80,000 inhabitants by 1888. Work and housing conditions worsened, and a significant economic underclass developed. Fifty-five percent of children born in the East End died before they were five years old. Robbery, violence, and alcohol dependency were commonplace, and the endemic poverty drove many women to prostitution to survive on a daily basis.

In October 1888, London’s Metropolitan Police Service estimated that there were 62 brothels and 1,200 women working as prostitutes in Whitechapel, with approximately 8,500 people residing in the 233 common lodging-houses within Whitechapel every night, with the nightly price for a single bed being fourpence and the cost of sleeping upon a “lean-to” (“Hang-over”) rope stretched across the dormitory being two pence per person. The economic problems in Whitechapel were accompanied by a steady rise in social tensions. Between 1886 and 1889, frequent demonstrations led to police intervention and public unrest, such as Bloody Sunday (1887). Anti-semitism, crime, nativism, racism, social disturbance, and severe deprivation influenced public perceptions that Whitechapel was a notorious den of immorality. Such perceptions were strengthened in the autumn of 1888 when the series of vicious and grotesque murders attributed to “Jack the Ripper” received unprecedented coverage in the media.

Canonical Five

The canonical five Ripper victims are Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly.

The body of Mary Ann Nichols was discovered at about 3:40 a.m. on Friday 31 August 1888 in Buck’s Row (now Durward Street), Whitechapel. Nichols had last been seen alive approximately one hour before the discovery of her body by a Mrs Emily Holland, with whom she had previously shared a bed at a common lodging-house in Thrawl Street, Spitalfields, walking in the direction of Whitechapel Road. Her throat was severed by two deep cuts, one of which completely severed all the tissue down to the vertebrae. Her vagina had been stabbed twice, and the lower part of her abdomen was partly ripped open by a deep, jagged wound, causing her bowels to protrude. Several other incisions inflicted to both sides of her abdomen had also been caused by the same knife; each of these wounds had been inflicted in a downward thrusting manner.

One week later, on Saturday 8 September 1888, the body of Annie Chapman was discovered at approximately 6 a.m. near the steps to the doorway of the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. As in the case of Mary Ann Nichols, the throat was severed by two deep cuts. Her abdomen had been cut entirely open, with a section of the flesh from her stomach being placed upon her left shoulder and another section of skin and flesh—plus her small intestines—being removed and placed above her right shoulder. Chapman’s autopsy also revealed that her uterus and sections of her bladder and vagina had been removed.

At the inquest into Chapman’s murder, Elizabeth Long described having seen Chapman standing outside 29 Hanbury Street at about 5:30 a.m. in the company of a dark-haired man wearing a brown deer-stalker hat and dark overcoat, and of a “shabby-genteel” appearance. According to this eyewitness, the man had asked Chapman the question, “Will you?” to which Chapman had replied, “Yes.”

Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were both killed in the early morning hours of Sunday 30 September 1888. Stride’s body was discovered at approximately 1 a.m. in Dutfield’s Yard, off Berner Street (now Henriques Street) in Whitechapel. The cause of death was a single clear-cut incision, measuring six inches across her neck which had severed her left carotid artery and her trachea before terminating beneath her right jaw. The absence of any further mutilations to her body has led to uncertainty as to whether Stride’s murder was committed by the Ripper, or whether he was interrupted during the attack. Several witnesses later informed police they had seen Stride in the company of a man in or close to Berner Street on the evening of 29 September and in the early hours of 30 September, but each gave differing descriptions: some said that her companion was fair, others dark; some said that he was shabbily dressed, others well-dressed.

Eddowes’s body was found in Mitre Square in the City of London, three-quarters of an hour after the discovery of the body of Elizabeth Stride. Her throat was severed and her abdomen ripped open by a long, deep and jagged wound before her intestines had been placed over her right shoulder. The left kidney and the major part of the uterus had been removed, and her face had been disfigured, with her nose severed, her cheek slashed, and cuts measuring a quarter of an inch and a half an inch respectively vertically incised through each of her eyelids. A triangular incision—the apex of which pointed towards Eddowes’s eye—had also been carved upon each of her cheeks, and a section of the auricle and lobe of her right ear was later recovered from her clothing. The police surgeon who conducted the post mortem upon Eddowes’s body stated his opinion these mutilations would have taken “at least five minutes” to complete.

A local cigarette salesman named Joseph Lawende had passed through the square with two friends shortly before the murder, and he described seeing a fair-haired man of shabby appearance with a woman who may have been Eddowes. Lawende’s companions were unable to confirm his description. The murders of Stride and Eddowes ultimately became known as the “double event”.

A section of Eddowes’s bloodied apron was found at the entrance to a tenement in Goulston Street, Whitechapel, at 2:55 a.m. A chalk inscription upon the wall directly above this piece of apron read: “The Juwes are The men That Will not be Blamed for nothing.”

This graffito became known as the Goulston Street graffito. The message appeared to imply that a Jew or Jews in general were responsible for the series of murders, but it is unclear whether the graffito was written by the murderer on dropping the section of apron, or was merely incidental and nothing to do with the case. Such graffiti were commonplace in Whitechapel. Police Commissioner Charles Warren feared that the graffito might spark anti-semitic riots and ordered the writing washed away before dawn.

The extensively mutilated and disembowelled body of Mary Jane Kelly was discovered lying on the bed in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street, Spitalfields, at 10:45 a.m. on Friday 9 November 1888. Her face had been “hacked beyond all recognition”, with her throat severed down to the spine, and the abdomen almost emptied of its organs. Her uterus, kidneys and one breast had been placed beneath her head, and other viscera from her body placed beside her foot, about the bed and sections of her abdomen and thighs upon a bedside table. The heart was missing from the crime scene.

Multiple ashes found within the fireplace at 13 Miller’s Court suggested Kelly’s murderer had burned several combustible items to illuminate the single room as he mutilated her body. A recent fire had been severe enough to melt the solder between a kettle and its spout, which had fallen into the grate of the fireplace.

Each of the canonical five murders was perpetrated at night, on or close to a weekend, either at the end of a month or a week (or so) after. The mutilations became increasingly severe as the series of murders proceeded, except for that of Stride, whose attacker may have been interrupted. Nichols was not missing any organs; Chapman’s uterus and sections of her bladder and vagina were taken; Eddowes had her uterus and left kidney removed and her face mutilated; and Kelly’s body was extensively eviscerated, with her face “gashed in all directions” and the tissue of her neck being severed to the bone, although the heart was the sole body organ missing from this crime scene.

Historically, the belief these five canonical murders were committed by the same perpetrator is derived from contemporary documents which link them together to the exclusion of others. In 1894, Sir Melville Macnaghten, Assistant Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police Service and Head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), wrote a report that stated: “the Whitechapel murderer had 5 victims—& 5 victims only”. Similarly, the canonical five victims were linked together in a letter written by police surgeon Thomas Bond to Robert Anderson, head of the London CID, on 10 November 1888.

Some researchers have posited that some of the murders were undoubtedly the work of a single killer, but an unknown larger number of killers acting independently were responsible for the other crimes. Authors Stewart P. Evans and Donald Rumbelow argue that the canonical five is a “Ripper myth” and that three cases (Nichols, Chapman, and Eddowes) can be definitely linked to the same perpetrator, but that less certainty exists as to whether Stride and Kelly were also murdered by the same individual. Conversely, others suppose that the six murders between Tabram and Kelly were the work of a single killer. Dr Percy Clark, assistant to the examining pathologist George Bagster Phillips, linked only three of the murders and thought that the others were perpetrated by “weak-minded individual[s] … induced to emulate the crime”. Macnaghten did not join the police force until the year after the murders, and his memorandum contains serious factual errors about possible suspects.

Later Whitechapel Murders

Mary Jane Kelly is generally considered to be the Ripper’s final victim, and it is assumed that the crimes ended because of the culprit’s death, imprisonment, institutionalisation, or emigration. The Whitechapel murders file details another four murders that occurred after the canonical five: those of Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, the Pinchin Street torso, and Frances Coles.

The strangled body of 26-year-old Rose Mylett was found in Clarke’s Yard, High Street, Poplar on 20 December 1888. There was no sign of a struggle, and the police believed that she had either accidentally hanged herself with her collar while in a drunken stupor or committed suicide. However, faint markings left by a cord on one side of her neck suggested Mylett had been strangled. At the inquest into Mylett’s death, the jury returned a verdict of murder.

Alice McKenzie was murdered shortly after midnight on 17 July 1889 in Castle Alley, Whitechapel. She had suffered two stab wounds to her neck, and her left carotid artery had been severed. Several minor bruises and cuts were found on her body, which also bore a seven-inch long superficial wound extending from her left breast to her navel. One of the examining pathologists, Thomas Bond, believed this to be a Ripper murder, though his colleague George Bagster Phillips, who had examined the bodies of three previous victims, disagreed. Opinions among writers are also divided between those who suspect McKenzie’s murderer copied the modus operandi of Jack the Ripper to deflect suspicion from himself, and those who ascribe this murder to Jack the Ripper.

“The Pinchin Street torso” was a decomposing headless and legless torso of an unidentified woman aged between 30 and 40 discovered beneath a railway arch in Pinchin Street, Whitechapel, on 10 September 1889. Bruising about the victim’s back, hip, and arm indicated the decedent had been extensively beaten shortly before her death. The victim’s abdomen was also extensively mutilated, although her genitals had not been wounded. She appeared to have been killed approximately one day prior to the discovery of her torso. The dismembered sections of the body are believed to have been transported to the railway arch, hidden under an old chemise.

At 2:15 a.m. on 13 February 1891, PC Ernest Thompson discovered a 25-year-old prostitute named Frances Coles lying beneath a railway arch at Swallow Gardens, Whitechapel. Her throat had been deeply cut but her body was not mutilated, leading some to believe Thompson had disturbed her assailant. Coles was still alive, although she died before medical help could arrive. A 53-year-old stoker, James Thomas Sadler, had earlier been seen drinking with Coles, and the two are known to have argued approximately three hours before her death. Sadler was arrested by the police and charged with her murder. He was briefly thought to be the Ripper, but was later discharged from court for lack of evidence on 3 March 1891.

Other Alleged Victims

In addition to the eleven Whitechapel murders, commentators have linked other attacks to the Ripper. In the case of “Fairy Fay”, it is unclear whether this attack was real or fabricated as a part of Ripper lore. “Fairy Fay” was a nickname given to an unidentified woman whose body was allegedly found in a doorway close to Commercial Road on 26 December 1887 “after a stake had been thrust through her abdomen”, but there were no recorded murders in Whitechapel at or around Christmas 1887. “Fairy Fay” seems to have been created through a confused press report of the murder of Emma Elizabeth Smith, who had a stick or other blunt object shoved into her vagina. Most authors agree that the victim “Fairy Fay” never existed.

A 38-year-old widow named Annie Millwood was admitted to the Whitechapel Workhouse Infirmary with numerous stab wounds to her legs and lower torso on 25 February 1888, informing staff she had been attacked with a clasp knife by an unknown man. She was later discharged, but died from apparently natural causes on 31 March. Millwood was later postulated to be the Ripper’s first victim, although this attack cannot be definitively linked to the perpetrator.

Another suspected precanonical victim was a young dressmaker named Ada Wilson, who reportedly survived being stabbed twice in the neck with a clasp knife upon the doorstep of her home in Bow on 28 March 1888. A further possible victim, 40-year-old Annie Farmer, resided at the same lodging house as Martha Tabram and reported an attack on 21 November 1888. She had received a superficial cut to her throat. Although an unknown man with blood on his mouth and hands had run out of this lodging house, shouting, “Look at what she has done!” before two eyewitnesses heard Farmer scream, her wound was light, and possibly self-inflicted.

“The Whitehall Mystery” was a term coined for the discovery of a headless torso of a woman on 2 October 1888 in the basement of the new Metropolitan Police headquarters being built in Whitehall. An arm and shoulder belonging to the body were previously discovered floating in the River Thames near Pimlico on 11 September, and the left leg was subsequently discovered buried near where the torso was found on 17 October. The other limbs and head were never recovered and the body was never identified. The mutilations were similar to those in the Pinchin Street torso case, where the legs and head were severed but not the arms.

Both the Whitehall Mystery and the Pinchin Street case may have been part of a series of murders known as the “Thames Mysteries”, committed by a single serial killer dubbed the “Torso killer”. It is debatable whether Jack the Ripper and the “Torso killer” were the same person or separate serial killers active in the same area. The modus operandi of the Torso killer differed from that of the Ripper, and police at the time discounted any connection between the two. Only one of the four victims linked to the Torso killer was identified, Elizabeth Jackson. She was a 24-year-old prostitute from Chelsea whose various body parts were collected from the River Thames over a three-week period between 31 May and 25 June 1889.

On 29 December 1888, the body of a seven-year-old boy named John Gill was found in a stable block in Manningham, Bradford. Gill had been missing since 27 December. His legs had been severed, his abdomen opened, his intestines partly drawn out, and his heart and one ear removed. Similarities with the Ripper murders led to press speculation that the Ripper had killed him. The boy’s employer, 23-year-old milkman William Barrett, was twice arrested for the murder but was released due to insufficient evidence. No-one was ever prosecuted.

Carrie Brown (nicknamed “Shakespeare”, reportedly for her habit of quoting Shakespeare’s sonnets) was strangled with clothing and then mutilated with a knife on 24 April 1891 in New York City. Her body was found with a large tear through her groin area and superficial cuts on her legs and back. No organs were removed from the scene, though an ovary was found upon the bed, either purposely removed or unintentionally dislodged. At the time, the murder was compared to those in Whitechapel, though the Metropolitan Police eventually ruled out any connection.

Police Investigation

The vast majority of the City of London Police files relating to their investigation into the Whitechapel murders were destroyed in the Blitz. The surviving Metropolitan Police files allow a detailed view of investigative procedures in the Victorian era. A large team of policemen conducted house-to-house inquiries throughout Whitechapel. Forensic material was collected and examined. Suspects were identified, traced, and either examined more closely or eliminated from the inquiry. Modern police work follows the same pattern. More than 2,000 people were interviewed, “upwards of 300” people were investigated, and 80 people were detained. Following the murders of Stride and Eddowes, the Commissioner of the City Police, Sir James Fraser, offered a reward of £500 for the arrest of the Ripper.

The investigation was initially conducted by the Metropolitan Police Whitechapel (H) Division Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headed by Detective Inspector Edmund Reid. After the murder of Nichols, Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore, and Walter Andrews were sent from Central Office at Scotland Yard to assist. The City of London Police were involved under Detective Inspector James McWilliam after the Eddowes murder, which occurred within the City of London. The overall direction of the murder enquiries was hampered by the fact that the newly appointed head of the CID Robert Anderson was on leave in Switzerland between 7 September and 6 October, during the time when Chapman, Stride, and Eddowes were killed. This prompted Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren to appoint Chief Inspector Donald Swanson to coordinate the enquiry from Scotland Yard.

Butchers, slaughterers, surgeons, and physicians were suspected because of the manner of the mutilations. A surviving note from Major Henry Smith, Acting Commissioner of the City Police, indicates that the alibis of local butchers and slaughterers were investigated, with the result that they were eliminated from the inquiry. A report from Inspector Swanson to the Home Office confirms that 76 butchers and slaughterers were visited, and that the inquiry encompassed all their employees for the previous six months. Some contemporary figures, including Queen Victoria, thought the pattern of the murders indicated that the culprit was a butcher or cattle drover on one of the cattle boats that plied between London and mainland Europe. Whitechapel was close to the London Docks, and usually such boats docked on Thursday or Friday and departed on Saturday or Sunday. The cattle boats were examined but the dates of the murders did not coincide with a single boat’s movements and the transfer of a crewman between boats was also ruled out.

Whitechapel Vigilance Committee

In September 1888, a group of volunteer citizens in London’s East End formed the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. They patrolled the streets looking for suspicious characters, partly because of dissatisfaction with the failure of police to apprehend the perpetrator, and also because some members were concerned that the murders were affecting businesses in the area. The Committee petitioned the government to raise a reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer, offered their own reward of £50 for information leading to his capture, and hired private detectives to question witnesses independently.

Criminal Profiling

At the end of October, Robert Anderson asked police surgeon Thomas Bond to give his opinion on the extent of the murderer’s surgical skill and knowledge. The opinion offered by Bond on the character of the “Whitechapel murderer” is the earliest surviving offender profile. Bond’s assessment was based on his own examination of the most extensively mutilated victim and the post mortem notes from the four previous canonical murders.

He wrote:

All five murders no doubt were committed by the same hand. In the first four the throats appear to have been cut from left to right, in the last case owing to the extensive mutilation it is impossible to say in what direction the fatal cut was made, but arterial blood was found on the wall in splashes close to where the woman’s head must have been lying.

All the circumstances surrounding the murders lead me to form the opinion that the women must have been lying down when murdered and in every case the throat was first cut.

Bond was strongly opposed to the idea that the murderer possessed any kind of scientific or anatomical knowledge, or even “the technical knowledge of a butcher or horse slaughterer”. In his opinion, the killer must have been a man of solitary habits, subject to “periodical attacks of homicidal and erotic mania”, with the character of the mutilations possibly indicating “satyriasis”. Bond also stated that “the homicidal impulse may have developed from a revengeful or brooding condition of the mind, or that religious mania may have been the original disease but I do not think either hypothesis is likely”.

There is no evidence the perpetrator engaged in sexual activity with any of the victims, yet psychologists suppose that the penetration of the victims with a knife and “leaving them on display in sexually degrading positions with the wounds exposed” indicates that the perpetrator derived sexual pleasure from the attacks. This view is challenged by others, who dismiss such hypotheses as insupportable supposition.

In addition to the contradictions and unreliability of contemporary accounts, attempts to identify the murderer are hampered by the lack of any surviving forensic evidence. DNA analysis on extant letters is inconclusive; the available material has been handled many times and is too contaminated to provide meaningful results. There have been mutually incompatible claims that DNA evidence points conclusively to two different suspects, and the methodology of both has also been criticised.

The Letters

Over the course of the Whitechapel murders, the police, newspapers, and other individuals received hundreds of letters regarding the case. Some letters were well-intentioned offers of advice as to how to catch the killer, but the vast majority were either hoaxes or generally useless.

Hundreds of letters claimed to have been written by the killer himself, and three of these in particular are prominent: the “Dear Boss” letter, the “Saucy Jacky” postcard and the “From Hell” letter.

The “Dear Boss” letter, dated 25 September and postmarked 27 September 1888, was received that day by the Central News Agency, and was forwarded to Scotland Yard on 29 September. Initially, it was considered a hoax, but when Eddowes was found three days after the letter’s postmark with a section of one ear obliquely cut from her body, the promise of the author to “clip the ladys (sic) ears off” gained attention. Eddowes’s ear appears to have been nicked by the killer incidentally during his attack, and the letter writer’s threat to send the ears to the police was never carried out.[158] The name “Jack the Ripper” was first used in this letter by the signatory and gained worldwide notoriety after its publication. Most of the letters that followed copied this letter’s tone. Some sources claim that another letter dated 17 September 1888 was the first to use the name “Jack the Ripper”, but most experts believe that this was a fake inserted into police records in the 20th century.

Scrawled and misspelled note reading:

“From hell—Mr Lusk—Sir I send you half the kidne I took from one woman prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer—Signed Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk”

The “Saucy Jacky” postcard was postmarked 1 October 1888 and was received the same day by the Central News Agency. The handwriting was similar to the “Dear Boss” letter, and mentioned the canonical murders committed on 30 September, which the author refers to by writing “double event this time”. It has been argued that the postcard was posted before the murders were publicised, making it unlikely that a crank would hold such knowledge of the crime. However, it was postmarked more than 24 hours after the killings occurred, long after details of the murders were known and publicised by journalists, and had become general community gossip by the residents of Whitechapel.

The “From Hell” letter was received by George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, on 16 October 1888. The handwriting and style is unlike that of the “Dear Boss” letter and “Saucy Jacky” postcard. The letter came with a small box in which Lusk discovered half of a human kidney, preserved in “spirits of wine” (ethanol). Eddowes’s left kidney had been removed by the killer. The writer claimed that he “fried and ate” the missing kidney half. There is disagreement over the kidney; some contend that it belonged to Eddowes, while others argue that it was a macabre practical joke. The kidney was examined by Dr Thomas Openshaw of the London Hospital, who determined that it was human and from the left side, but (contrary to false newspaper reports) he could not determine any other biological characteristics. Openshaw subsequently also received a letter signed “Jack the Ripper”.

Scotland Yard published facsimiles of the “Dear Boss” letter and the postcard on 3 October, in the ultimately vain hope that a member of the public would recognise the handwriting. Charles Warren explained in a letter to Godfrey Lushington, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department: “I think the whole thing a hoax but of course we are bound to try & ascertain the writer in any case.”

On 7 October 1888, George R. Sims in the Sunday newspaper Referee implied scathingly that the letter was written by a journalist “to hurl the circulation of a newspaper sky high”.Police officials later claimed to have identified a specific journalist as the author of both the “Dear Boss” letter and the postcard. The journalist was identified as Tom Bullen in a letter from Chief Inspector John Littlechild to George R. Sims dated 23 September 1913. A journalist named Fred Best reportedly confessed in 1931 that he and a colleague at The Star had written the letters signed “Jack the Ripper” to heighten interest in the murders and “keep the business alive”.

The Suspects

Metropolitan Police Service files show that their investigation into the serial killings encompassed 11 separate murders between 1888 and 1891, known in the police docket as the “Whitechapel murders”. Five of these—the murders of Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly—are generally agreed to be the work of a single killer, known as “Jack the Ripper”. These murders occurred between August and November 1888 within a short distance of each other, and are collectively known as the “canonical five”. The six other murders—those of Emma Elizabeth Smith, Martha Tabram, Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, Frances Coles, and the Pinchin Street torso—have been linked with Jack the Ripper to varying degrees.

The swiftness of the attacks, and the manner of the mutilations performed on some of the bodies, which included disembowelment and removal of organs, led to speculation that the murderer had the skills of a physician or butcher. However, others disagreed strongly, and thought the wounds too crude to be professional. The alibis of local butchers and slaughterers were investigated, with the result that they were eliminated from the enquiry. Over 2,000 people were interviewed, “upwards of 300” people were investigated, and 80 people were detained.

During the course of their investigations of the murders, police regarded several men as strong suspects, though none was ever formally charged.

Montague John Druitt (15 August 1857 – early December 1888) was a Dorset-born barrister who worked to supplement his income as an assistant schoolmaster in Blackheath, London, until his dismissal shortly before his suicide by drowning in 1888. His decomposed body was found floating in the Thames near Chiswick on 31 December 1888. Some modern authors suggest that Druitt may have been dismissed because he was homosexual and that this could have driven him to commit suicide. However, both his mother and his grandmother suffered mental health problems, and it is possible that he was dismissed because of an underlying hereditary psychiatric illness. His death shortly after the last canonical murder (which took place on 9 November 1888) led Assistant Chief Constable Sir Melville Macnaghten to name him as a suspect in a memorandum of 23 February 1894. However, Macnaghten incorrectly described the 31-year-old barrister as a 41-year-old doctor. On 1 September, the day after the first canonical murder, Druitt was in Dorset playing cricket, and most experts now believe that the killer was local to Whitechapel, whereas Druitt lived miles away on the other side of the Thames in Kent. Inspector Frederick Abberline appeared to dismiss Druitt as a serious suspect on the basis that the only evidence against him was the coincidental timing of his suicide shortly after the last canonical murder.

Seweryn Antonowicz Kłosowski (alias George Chapman—no relation to victim Annie Chapman; 14 December 1865 – 7 April 1903) was born in Congress Poland, but emigrated to the United Kingdom sometime between 1887 and 1888, shortly before the start of the Whitechapel murders. Between 1893 and 1894 he assumed the name of Chapman. He successively poisoned three of his wives and became known as “the borough poisoner”. He was hanged for his crimes in 1903. At the time of the Ripper murders, he lived in Whitechapel, London, where he had been working as a barber under the name Ludwig Schloski. According to H. L. Adam, who wrote a book on the poisonings in 1930, Chapman was Inspector Frederick Abberline’s favoured suspect, and the Pall Mall Gazette reported that Abberline suspected Chapman after his conviction.

However, others disagree that Chapman is a likely culprit, as he murdered his three wives with poison, and it is uncommon (though not unheard of) for a serial killer to make such a drastic change in modus operandi.

Aaron Kosminski (born Aron Mordke Kozminski; 11 September 1865 – 24 March 1919) was a Polish Jew who was admitted to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in 1891. “Kosminski” (without a forename) was named as a suspect by Sir Melville Macnaghten in his 1894 memorandum and by former Chief Inspector Donald Swanson in handwritten comments in the margin of his copy of Assistant Commissioner Sir Robert Anderson’s memoirs. Anderson wrote that a Polish Jew had been identified as the Ripper but that no prosecution was possible because the witness was also Jewish and refused to testify against a fellow Jew. Some authors are sceptical of this, while others use it in their theories. In his memorandum, Macnaghten stated that no one was ever identified as the Ripper, which directly contradicts Anderson’s recollection. In 1987, author Martin Fido searched asylum records for any inmates called Kosminski, and found only one: Aaron Kosminski. Kosminski lived in Whitechapel; however, he was largely harmless in the asylum. His insanity took the form of auditory hallucinations, a paranoid fear of being fed by other people, a refusal to wash or bathe, and “self-abuse”. In his book The Cases That Haunt Us, former FBI profiler John Douglas states that a paranoid individual such as Kosminski would likely have openly boasted of the murders while incarcerated had he been the killer, but there is no record that he ever did so. In 2014, DNA analysis tenuously linked Kosminski with a shawl said to have belonged to victim Catherine Eddowes,[28] but experts – including Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, the inventor of genetic fingerprinting – dismissed the claims as unreliable. In March 2019, the Journal of Forensic Sciences published a study that claimed DNA from Kosminski and Catherine Eddowes was found on the shawl, though other scientists have cast doubt on the study.

Michael Ostrog (c. 1833–in or after 1904) was a Russian-born professional con man and thief. He used numerous aliases and assumed titles. Among his many dubious claims was that he had once been a surgeon in the Russian Navy. He was mentioned as a suspect by Macnaghten, who joined the case in 1889, the year after the “canonical five” victims were killed. Researchers have failed to find evidence that he had committed crimes any more serious than fraud and theft. Author Philip Sugden discovered prison records showing that Ostrog was jailed for petty offences in France during the Ripper murders. Ostrog was last mentioned alive in 1904; the date of his death is unknown.

John Pizer or Piser (c. 1850–1897) was a Polish Jew who worked as a bootmaker in Whitechapel. In the early days of the Whitechapel murders, many locals suspected that “Leather Apron” was the killer, which was picked up by the press, and Pizer was known as “Leather Apron”. He had a prior conviction for a stabbing offence, and Police Sergeant William Thicke apparently believed that he had committed a string of minor assaults on prostitutes. After the murders of Mary Ann Nichols and Annie Chapman in late August and early September 1888 respectively, Thicke arrested Pizer on 10 September, even though the investigating inspector reported that “there is no evidence whatsoever against him”. He was cleared of suspicion when it turned out that he had alibis for two of the murders. He was staying with relatives at the time of one of the canonical murders, and he was talking with a police officer while watching a spectacular fire on the London Docks at the time of another. Pizer and Thicke had known each other for years, and Pizer implied that his arrest was based on animosity rather than evidence. Pizer successfully obtained monetary compensation from at least one newspaper that had named him as the murderer. Thicke himself was accused of being the Ripper by H. T. Haslewood of Tottenham in a letter to the Home Office dated 10 September 1889; the presumably malicious accusation was dismissed as without foundation.

James Thomas Sadler or Saddler (c. 1837 – 1906 or 1910) was a friend of Frances Coles, the last victim added to the Whitechapel murders police file. Coles was murdered on 13 February 1891. Her body was discovered beneath a railway arch in Swallow Gardens, Whitechapel. Two deep slash wounds had been inflicted to her neck. She was still alive, but died before medical help could arrive. Sadler was arrested, but little evidence existed against him. Though briefly considered by the police as a Ripper suspect, he was at sea at the time of the first four “canonical” murders, and was released without charge. Sadler was named in Macnaghten’s 1894 memorandum in connection with Coles’s murder. Macnaghten thought Sadler “was a man of ungovernable temper and entirely addicted to drink, and the company of the lowest prostitutes”.

Francis Tumblety (c. 1833–1903) earned a small fortune posing as an “Indian Herb” doctor throughout the United States and Canada, and was commonly perceived as a misogynist and a quack. He was connected to the death of one of his patients, but escaped prosecution. In 1865, he was arrested for alleged complicity in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, but no connection was found and he was released without being charged. Tumblety was in England in 1888, and was arrested on 7 November, apparently for engaging in homosexual acts, which were illegal at the time. It was reported by some of his friends that he showed off a collection of “matrices” (wombs) from “every class of woman” at around this time. Awaiting trial, he fled to France and then to the United States. Already notorious in the States for his self-promotion and previous criminal charges, his arrest was reported as connected to the Ripper murders. American reports that Scotland Yard tried to extradite him were not confirmed by the British press or the London police, and the New York City Police said, “there is no proof of his complicity in the Whitechapel murders, and the crime for which he is under bond in London is not extraditable”. In 1913, Tumblety was mentioned as a Ripper suspect by Chief Inspector John Littlechild of the Metropolitan Police Service in a letter to journalist and author George R. Sims.

William Henry Bury (25 May 1859 – 24 April 1889) had recently moved to Dundee from the East End of London, when he strangled his wife Ellen Elliott, a former prostitute, on 4 February 1889. He inflicted extensive wounds to her abdomen after she was dead and packed the body into a trunk. On 10 February, Bury went to the local police and told them his wife had committed suicide. He was arrested, tried, found guilty of her murder, and hanged in Dundee. A link with the Ripper crimes was investigated by police, but Bury denied any connection, despite making a full confession to his wife’s homicide. Nevertheless, the executioner, James Berry, promoted the idea that Bury was the Ripper.

Dr. Thomas Neill Cream (27 May 1850 – 15 November 1892) was a doctor secretly specialising in abortions. He was born in Glasgow, educated in London and Canada, and entered practice in Canada and later in Chicago, Illinois. In 1881 he was found guilty of the fatal poisoning of his mistress’s husband. He was imprisoned in the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois, from November 1881 until his release on good behaviour on 31 July 1891. He moved to London, where he resumed killing and was soon arrested. He was hanged on 15 November 1892 at Newgate Prison. According to some sources, his last words were reported as being “I am Jack the…”, interpreted to mean Jack the Ripper. However, police officials who attended the execution made no mention of this alleged interrupted confession. As he was still imprisoned at the time of the Ripper murders, most authorities consider it impossible for him to have been the culprit. However, Donald Bell suggested that he could have bribed officials and left the prison before his official release, and Sir Edward Marshall-Hall suspected that his prison term may have been served by a look-alike in his place. Such notions are unlikely, and contradict evidence given by the Illinois authorities, newspapers of the time, Cream’s solicitors, Cream’s family and Cream himself.

Thomas Hayne Cutbush (1865–1903) was a medical student sent to Lambeth Infirmary in 1891 suffering delusions thought to have been caused by syphilis. After stabbing a woman in the backside and attempting to stab a second he was pronounced insane and committed to Broadmoor Hospital in 1891, where he remained until his death in 1903. In a series of articles in 1894, The Sun newspaper suggested that Cutbush was the Ripper. There is no evidence that police took the idea seriously, and Melville Macnaghten’s memorandum naming the three police suspects Druitt, Kosminski and Ostrog was written to refute the idea that Cutbush was the Ripper. Cutbush was the suspect advanced in the 1993 book Jack the Myth by A. P. Wolf, who suggested that Macnaghten wrote his memo to protect Cutbush’s uncle, a fellow police officer. Another recent writer, Peter Hodgson, considers Cutbush the most likely candidate. David Bullock also firmly believes Cutbush to be the real Ripper in his book.

Frederick Bailey Deeming (30 July 1853 – 23 May 1892) murdered his first wife and four children in Rainhill near St. Helens, Lancashire, in 1891. His crimes went undiscovered and later that year he emigrated to Australia with his second wife, whom he then also murdered. Her body was found buried under their house, and the subsequent investigation led to the discovery of the other bodies in England. He was arrested, sent to trial, and found guilty. He wrote in a book, and later boasted in jail that he was Jack the Ripper, but he was either imprisoned or in South Africa at the time of the Ripper murders. The police denied any connection between Deeming and the Ripper. He was hanged in Melbourne. According to Robert Napper, a former Scotland Yard detective, the British police did not consider him a suspect because of his two possible alibis but Napper believed Deeming was not in jail at the time, and there is some evidence that he was back in England.

Carl Ferdinand Feigenbaum (alias Anton Zahn; 1840 – 27 April 1896) was a German merchant seaman arrested in 1894 in New York City for cutting the throat of Mrs Juliana Hoffmann. After his execution, his lawyer, William Sanford Lawton, claimed that Feigenbaum had admitted to having a hatred of women and a desire to kill and mutilate them. Lawton further stated that he believed Feigenbaum was Jack the Ripper. Though covered by the press at the time, the idea was not pursued for more than a century. Using Lawton’s accusation as a base, author Trevor Marriott, a former British murder squad detective, argued that Feigenbaum was responsible for the Ripper murders as well as other murders in the United States and Germany between 1891 and 1894. According to Wolf Vanderlinden, some of the murders listed by Marriott did not actually occur; the newspapers often embellished or created Ripper-like stories to boost sales. Lawton’s accusations were disputed by a partner in his legal firm, Hugh O. Pentecost, and there is no proof that Feigenbaum was in Whitechapel at the time of the murders. Xanthé Mallett, a Scottish forensic anthropologist and criminologist who investigated the case in 2011, wrote there is considerable doubt that all of the Jack the Ripper murders were committed by the same person. She concludes that “Feigenbaum could have been responsible for one, some or perhaps all” of the Whitechapel murders.

Robert Donston Stephenson (also known as Roslyn D’Onston; 20 April 1841 – 9 October 1916) was a journalist and writer interested in the occult and black magic. He admitted himself as a patient at the London Hospital in Whitechapel shortly before the murders started, and left shortly after they ceased. He wrote a newspaper article in which he claimed that black magic was the motive for the killings and alleged that the Ripper was a Frenchman. Stephenson’s strange manner and interest in the crimes resulted in an amateur detective reporting him to Scotland Yard on Christmas Eve, 1888. Two days later Stephenson reported his own suspect, a Dr Morgan Davies of the London Hospital. Subsequently, he fell under the suspicion of newspaper editor William Thomas Stead. In his books on the case, author and historian Melvin Harris argued that Stephenson was a leading suspect, but the police do not appear to have treated either him or Dr Davies as serious suspects. London Hospital night-shift rosters and practices indicate that Stephenson was not able to leave on the nights of the murders and hence could not have been Jack the Ripper.

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (8 January 1864 – 14 January 1892) was first mentioned in print as a potential suspect when Philippe Jullian’s biography of Clarence’s father, King Edward VII, was published in 1962. Jullian made a passing reference to rumours that Clarence might have been responsible for the murders. Though Jullian did not detail the dates or sources of the rumour, it is possible that the rumour derived indirectly from Dr. Thomas E. A. Stowell. In 1960, Stowell told the rumour to writer Colin Wilson, who in turn told Harold Nicolson, a biographer loosely credited as a source of “hitherto unpublished anecdotes” in Jullian’s book. Nicolson could have communicated Stowell’s theory to Jullian. The theory was brought to major public attention in 1970 when an article by Stowell was published in The Criminologist that revealed his suspicion that Clarence had committed the murders after being driven mad by syphilis. The suggestion was widely dismissed, as Albert Victor had strong alibis for the murders, and it is unlikely that he suffered from syphilis. Stowell later denied implying that Clarence was the Ripper but efforts to investigate his claims further were hampered, as Stowell was elderly, and he died from natural causes just days after the publication of his article. The same week, Stowell’s son reported that he had burned his father’s papers, saying “I read just sufficient to make certain that there was nothing of importance.”

Subsequently, conspiracy theorists, such as Stephen Knight in Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, have elaborated on the supposed involvement of Clarence in the murders. Rather than implicate Albert Victor directly, they claim that he secretly married and had a daughter with a Catholic shop assistant, and that Queen Victoria, British Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, his Freemason friends, and the Metropolitan Police conspired to murder anyone aware of Albert Victor’s supposed child. Many facts contradict this theory and its originator, Joseph Gorman (also known as Joseph Sickert), later retracted the story and admitted to the press that it was a hoax. Variations of the theory involve the physician William Gull, the artist Walter Sickert, and the poet James Kenneth Stephen to greater or lesser degrees, and have been fictionalised in novels and films, such as Murder by Decree and From Hell.

Joseph Barnett (c. 1858–1927) was a former fish porter, and victim Mary Kelly’s lover from 8 April 1887 to 30 October 1888, when they quarrelled and separated after he lost his job and she returned to prostitution to make a living. Inspector Abberline questioned him for four hours after Kelly’s murder, and his clothes were examined for bloodstains, but he was then released without charge. A century after the murders, author Bruce Paley proposed him as a suspect as Kelly’s scorned or jealous lover, and suggested that he’d committed the other murders to scare Kelly off the streets and out of prostitution. Other authors suggest he killed Kelly only, and mutilated the body to make it look like a Ripper murder, but Abberline’s investigation appears to have exonerated him. Other acquaintances of Kelly put forward as her murderer include her landlord John McCarthy and her former boyfriend Joseph Fleming.

Lewis Carroll (pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson; 27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898) was the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. He was named as a suspect based upon anagrams which author Richard Wallace devised for his book Jack the Ripper, Light-Hearted Friend. Wallace argues that Carroll had a psychotic breakdown after being assaulted by a man when he was 12. Moreover, according to Wallace, Carroll wrote a diary every day in purple ink, but on the days of the Whitechapel killings, he switched to black. This claim is not taken seriously by scholars.

David Cohen (1865 – 20 October 1889) was a 23-year-old Polish Jew whose incarceration at Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum on 7 December 1888 roughly coincided with the end of the murders. An unmarried tailor, Cohen was described as a violently antisocial, poor East End local. He was suggested as a suspect by author and Ripperologist Martin Fido in his book The Crimes, Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper (1987). Fido claimed that the name “David Cohen” was used at the time to refer to a Jewish immigrant who either could not be positively identified or whose name was too difficult for police to spell, in the same fashion that “John Doe” is used in the United States today. Fido identified Cohen with “Leather Apron” (see John Pizer above), and speculated that Cohen’s true identity was Nathan Kaminsky, a bootmaker living in Whitechapel who had been treated at one time for syphilis and who could not be traced after mid-1888—the same time that Cohen appeared. Fido believed that police officials confused the name Kaminsky with Kosminski, resulting in the wrong man coming under suspicion (see Aaron Kosminski above). Cohen exhibited violent, destructive tendencies while at the asylum, and had to be restrained. He died at the asylum in October 1889. In his book The Cases That Haunt Us, former FBI criminal profiler John Douglas has asserted that behavioural clues gathered from the murders all point to a person “known to the police as David Cohen … or someone very much like him”.

Sir William Withey Gull (31 December 1816 – 29 January 1890) was physician-in-ordinary to Queen Victoria. He was named as the Ripper as part of the evolution of the widely discredited Masonic/royal conspiracy theory outlined in such books as Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. Coachman John Netley has been named as his accomplice. Thanks to the popularity of this theory among fiction writers and for its dramatic nature, Gull shows up as the Ripper in a number of books and films including the TV film Jack the Ripper (1988), Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s graphic novel From Hell (1999), and its 2001 film adaptation, in which Ian Holm plays Gull. Conventional historians have never taken Gull seriously as a suspect due to sheer lack of evidence; in addition, he was in his seventies at the time of the murders and had recently suffered a stroke.

George Hutchinson was an unemployed labourer. On 12 November 1888, he made a formal statement to the London police that in the early hours of 9 November 1888, Mary Jane Kelly approached him in the street and asked him for money. He stated that he had then followed her and another man of conspicuous appearance to her room, and had watched the room for about three-quarters of an hour without seeing either leave. He gave a very detailed description of the man, claiming he was “of Jewish appearance”, despite the darkness of that night. The accuracy of Hutchinson’s statement was disputed among the senior police. Inspector Frederick Abberline, after interviewing Hutchinson, believed that Hutchinson’s account was truthful. However, Robert Anderson, head of the CID, later claimed that the only witness who got a good look at the killer was Jewish. Hutchinson was not a Jew, and thus not that witness. Hutchinson’s statement was made on the day that Mary Kelly’s inquest was held, and he was not called to testify. Some modern scholars have suggested that Hutchinson was the Ripper himself, trying to confuse the police with a false description, but others suggest he may have just been an attention seeker who made up a story he hoped to sell to the press.

James Kelly (20 April 1860 – 17 September 1929; no relation to victim Mary Kelly) was first identified as a suspect in Terence Sharkey’s Jack the Ripper. 100 Years of Investigation (Ward Lock 1987) and documented in Prisoner 1167: The madman who was Jack the Ripper, by Jim Tully, in 1997.

James Kelly murdered his wife in 1883 by stabbing her in the neck. Deemed insane, he was committed to the Broadmoor Asylum, from which he later escaped in early 1888, using a key he fashioned himself. After the last of the five canonical Ripper murders in London in November 1888, the police searched for Kelly at what had been his residence prior to his wife’s murder, but they were not able to locate him. In 1927, almost forty years after his escape, he unexpectedly turned himself in to officials at the Broadmoor Asylum. He died two years later, presumably of natural causes.

Retired New York Police Department cold-case detective Ed Norris examined the Jack the Ripper case for a Discovery Channel programme called Jack the Ripper in America. In it, Norris claims that James Kelly was Jack the Ripper, and that he was also responsible for multiple murders in cities around the United States. Norris highlights a few features of the Kelly story to support his contention. Norris reported Kelly’s Broadmoor Asylum file from before his escape and his eventual return has never been opened since 1927 until Norris was given special permission for access to it, and that the file is the perfect profile match for Jack the Ripper.

Charles Allen Lechmere (5 October 1849 – 23 December 1920), also known as Charles Cross, was a meat cart driver for the Pickfords company, and is conventionally regarded as an innocent witness who discovered the body of the first canonical Ripper victim, Mary Ann Nichols. In a documentary titled Jack the Ripper: The New Evidence, Swedish journalist Christer Holmgren and criminologist Gareth Norris of Aberystwyth University, with assistance from former detective Andy Griffiths, proposed that Lechmere was the Ripper. According to Holmgren, Lechmere lied to police, claiming that he had been with Nichols’s body for a few minutes, whereas research on his route to work from his home demonstrated that he must have been with her for about nine minutes.

When Lechmere called over Robert Paul to look at her, no blood was visible, but by the time a constable found her shortly afterward, a pool had formed around her neck, suggesting the cut to her throat was extremely fresh when Lechmere and Paul were present. He also refused Paul’s suggestion to prop her up, which would have instantly made it clear that her throat had been cut. In addition, neither man reported seeing or hearing anyone else in Buck’s Row, which had no side exits. Her injuries were also hidden under her clothing, whereas the Ripper typically left the wounds displayed. It was theorized that Lechmere had killed Nichols and begun the process of mutilating her body when he heard Paul’s footsteps, and then rushed to portray himself as the discoverer of her body. Lechmere did not come forward until Paul mentioned him to the press, and he gave evidence under the name “Charles Cross” at the inquest; Cross was the surname of a stepfather.

Lechmere’s home address, visits to family, and route to work link him to the times and places of murders; he passed three streets where Martha Tabram, Polly Nichols, and Annie Chapman were murdered roughly at the same time the murders are estimated to have occurred. The “Double Event” murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes occurred on a Saturday, his only night off from work: Stride was killed near Lechmere’s mother’s house in an area he grew up in, and the direct route from Stride’s murder scene to the location of Eddowes’s murder followed a path to Lechmere’s route to work that he had used for twenty years. Mary Kelly was also murdered on his route to work, and the time frame in which she is estimated to have been killed matches his route, although the day she was killed was a holiday and he may have had the day off.

Lechmere’s family background is also similar to that of many serial killers: he grew up in a “broken home”; having never known his biological father, he had two stepfathers; and his childhood was characterized by an instability of residence, growing up in a series of different homes. In addition, his occupation as a meat cart driver would have allowed his blood-splattered appearance to escape suspicion. Holmgren believes that Lechmere may have been responsible for several other murders in addition to those of the canonical five victims and Martha Tabram.

Jacob Levy (1856 – 29 July 1891) was born in Aldgate in 1856. He followed in his father’s trade as a butcher, and by 1888 he was living in Middlesex Street with his wife and children, which was right in the heart of Ripper territory (and close to where Catherine Eddowes was murdered). Levy contracted syphilis from a prostitute, making revenge a probable motive, and he was a butcher with the necessary skills to remove certain organs from the victims. The 2009 video game Sherlock Holmes Versus Jack the Ripper uses a combination of historically attested and embellished evidence to propose his candidacy.

James Maybrick (24 October 1838 – 11 May 1889) was a Liverpool cotton merchant. His wife Florence was convicted of poisoning him with arsenic in a sensational, and possibly unjust, trial presided over by Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, the father of another modern suspect James Kenneth Stephen.[118] In her book, Jack the Ripper: The American Connection author Shirley Harrison asserted James Maybrick was both Jack the Ripper and the Servant Girl Annihilator of Austin, Texas. A diary purportedly by Maybrick, published in the 1990s by Michael Barrett, contains a confession to the Ripper murders. In 1995, Barrett confessed to writing the diary himself, and described the process of counterfeiting the diary in detail. He swore under oath that he and his wife, Anne, had forged it. Anne Barrett, after their divorce, later denied forgery, and their story changed several times over the years. The diary was discredited by historians who pointed to factual errors in relation to some of the crimes, and document experts pronounced the diary a fake; the handwriting does not match that of Maybrick’s will, and the ink contains a preservative not marketed until 1974.

Michael Maybrick (alias Stephen Adams; 31 January 1841 – 26 August 1913) was an English composer and singer best known under his pseudonym Stephen Adams as the composer of “The Holy City”. In his book from 2015 They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper Bruce Robinson documents how this suspect frequented the Whitechapel area where the murders took place and investigates a description of a man seen by Matthew Packer on the night of the murder of Elizabeth Stride who resembled Michael Maybrick. The suspect’s profession meant he frequently travelled around the UK and the dates and locations of his performances coincide with when and where the letters to the police were sent from. The suspect’s presence in Bradford around Christmas 1888 also coincides with the murder of a seven-year-old boy, Johnnie Gill, a murder which the Ripper had foretold to police in a letter.

Alexander Pedachenko (alleged dates 1857–1908) was named in the 1923 memoirs of William Le Queux, Things I Know about Kings, Celebrities and Crooks. Le Queux claimed to have seen a manuscript in French written by Rasputin stating that Jack the Ripper was an insane Russian doctor named Alexander Pedachenko, an agent of the Okhrana (the Secret Police of Imperial Russia), whose aim in committing the murders was to discredit Scotland Yard. He was supposedly assisted by two accomplices: “Levitski” and a tailoress called Winberg.[123] However, there is no hard evidence that Pedachenko ever existed, and many parts of the story as recounted by Le Queux fall apart when examined closely. For example, one of the sources named in the manuscript was a London-based Russian journalist called Nideroest, who was known for inventing sensational stories. Reviewers of Le Queux’s book were aware of Nideroest’s background, and unabashedly referred to him as an “unscrupulous liar”. Pedachenko Alexander Pedachenko (alleged dates 1857–1908) was named in the 1923 memoirs of William Le Queux, Things I Know about Kings, Celebrities and Crooks. Le Queux claimed to have seen a manuscript in French written by Rasputin stating that Jack the Ripper was an insane Russian doctor named Alexander Pedachenko, an agent of the Okhrana (the Secret Police of Imperial Russia), whose aim in committing the murders was to discredit Scotland Yard. He was supposedly assisted by two accomplices: “Levitski” and a tailoress called Winberg. However, there is no hard evidence that Pedachenko ever existed, and many parts of the story as recounted by Le Queux fall apart when examined closely. For example, one of the sources named in the manuscript was a London-based Russian journalist called Nideroest, who was known for inventing sensational stories. Reviewers of Le Queux’s book were aware of Nideroest’s background, and unabashedly referred to him as an “unscrupulous liar”. Pedachenko was promoted as a suspect by Donald McCormick, who may have developed the story by adding his own inventions. He was promoted as a suspect by Donald McCormick, who may have developed the story by adding his own inventions.

Walter Richard Sickert (31 May 1860 – 22 January 1942) was a German-born artist of British and Danish ancestry, who was first mentioned as a possible Ripper suspect in Donald McCormick’s book The Identity of Jack the Ripper (1959). He had a fascination with the Ripper murders, going so far as to stay in a room that was rumoured to have once had Jack the Ripper himself as a lodger, and depicted similar scenes in many of his paintings. Sickert subsequently appeared as a character in the royal/masonic conspiracy theory concocted by Joseph Gorman, who claimed to be Sickert’s illegitimate son. The theory was later developed by author Jean Overton Fuller, and by crime novelist Patricia Cornwell in her books Portrait of a Killer (2002) and Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert (2017). However, Sickert is not considered a serious suspect by most who study the case, and strong evidence shows he was in France at the time of most of the Ripper murders. Cornwell’s allegation that Sickert was the Ripper was based on a DNA analysis of letters that had been sent to Scotland Yard, but “experts believe those letters to be fake” and “another genetic analysis of the letters claimed the murderer could have been a woman”.

South African historian Charles van Onselen claimed, in the book The Fox and the Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath (2007), that Joseph Silver (1868-1918), also known as Joseph Lis, a Polish Jew, was Jack the Ripper. Critics note, among other things, that van Onselen provides no evidence that Silver was ever in London during the time of the murders, and that the accusation is based entirely upon speculation. Van Onselen has responded by saying that the number of circumstances involved should make Silver a suspect.

James Kenneth Stephen (25 February 1859 – 3 February 1892) was first suggested as a suspect in a biography of another Ripper suspect, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale by Michael Harrison published in 1972. Harrison dismissed the idea that Albert Victor was the Ripper but instead suggested that Stephen, a poet and one of Albert Victor’s tutors from Trinity College, Cambridge, was a more likely suspect. Harrison’s suggestion was based on Stephen’s misogynistic writings and on similarities between his handwriting and that of the “From Hell” letter, supposedly written by the Ripper. Harrison supposed that Stephen may have had sexual feelings for Albert Victor, and that Stephen’s hatred of women arose from jealousy because Albert Victor preferred female company and did not reciprocate Stephen’s feelings. However, Harrison’s analysis was rebutted by professional document examiners. There is no proof that Stephen was ever in love with Albert Victor, although he did commit suicide by starvation shortly after hearing of Albert’s death.

Francis Thompson (18 December 1859 – 13 November 1907) was an ascetic poet and opium addict with some medical training. Between 1885 and 1888 he spent some time homeless in the Docks area south of Whitechapel. He was proposed as a suspect in the 1999 book Paradox by Australian teacher Richard Patterson.

William Berry “Willy” Clarkson (1861- 12 October 1934) was the royal wigmaker and costume-maker to Queen Victoria and lived approximately two miles from each of the canonical five crime scenes. He was first named as a suspect in 2019, with many of the assertions based on Clarkson’s 1937 biography written by Harry J. Greenwall. Clarkson is known to have stalked his ex-fiancée, and was reputedly a blackmailer and arsonist. He is suspected of committing the murders to cover-up his blackmail schemes. Evidence presented to support the theory of Clarkson as a suspect included the revelation that he admitted one of his custom-made wigs was found near the scene of one of the Ripper killings, a fact not previously widely-known in the Ripperology community. Additionally, Clarkson’s biography quotes him as stating that the police obtained disguises from him for their search for the Ripper, and as such, he would have been aware of the trails they followed, allowing him to elude capture. Hair-cutting shears and barber surgeon tools (his father or grandfather allegedly being a barber surgeon) of the kind used by a wig-maker at the time closely match the shape and style of the weapons suspected to have been used in the murders.

Sir John Williams (6 November 1840 – 24 May 1926) was obstetrician to Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Beatrice, and was accused of the Ripper crimes in the book, Uncle Jack (2005), written by one of the surgeon’s descendants, Tony Williams, and Humphrey Price. The authors claim that the victims knew the doctor personally, that they were killed and mutilated in an attempt to research the causes of infertility, and that a badly blunted surgical knife, which belonged to Williams, was the murder weapon. Jennifer Pegg demonstrated in two articles that much of the research in the book was flawed; for example, the version of the notebook entry used to argue that Williams had met Ripper victim Mary Ann Nichols had been altered for print and did not match the original document, and the line as found in the original document was in handwriting that did not match the rest of the notebook.

Williams’s wife, Lizzie, was named as a possible suspect by author John Morris, who claims that she was unable to have children and, in an unhinged state, took revenge on those who could by killing them.

Other named suspects include Swiss butcher Jacob Isenschmid, German hairdresser Charles Ludwig, apothecary and mental patient Oswald Puckridge (1838–1900), insane medical student John Sanders (1862–1901), Swedish tramp Nikaner Benelius, and even social reformer Thomas Barnardo, who claimed he had met one of the victims (Elizabeth Stride) shortly before her murder. Isenschmid and Ludwig were exonerated after another murder was committed while they were in custody. There was no evidence against Barnardo, Benelius, Puckridge or Sanders. According to Donald McCormick, other suspects included mountebank L. Forbes Winslow, whose own suspect in the case was a religious maniac, G. Wentworth Bell Smith. Most recently, morgue assistant Robert Mann was added to the long list of suspects.

Named suspects who may be entirely fictional include “Dr Stanley”, cult leader Nicolai Vasiliev, Norwegian sailor “Fogelma”, and Russian needlewoman Olga Tchkersoff, as well as the aforementioned Alexander Pedachenko.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle advanced theories involving a female murderer dubbed “Jill the Ripper”. Supporters of this theory believe that the murderer worked, or at least posed, as a midwife, who could be seen with bloody clothes without attracting suspicion and would be more easily trusted by the victims than a man. Women proposed as the Ripper include the convicted murderers Mary Pearcey and Constance Kent, and even Theosophist Helena Blavatsky. The 19 December 1893 edition of the Ohio Marion Daily Star reported that Lizzie Halliday, a mentally ill Irish immigrant suspected of leaving a string of dead husbands in her wake before being arrested in upper New York State for the murder of two women and her last husband, was likewise accused of the Whitechapel murders, of which she spoke “constantly”. She denied any relation to them, however, and there was no evidence to contradict her claim.

Some Ripper authors, such as Patricia Cornwell, believe the killer sent letters to the police and press. DNA analysis of the gum used on a postage stamp of one of these letters was “inconclusive” and “not forensically reliable”. The available material has been handled many times and is therefore far too contaminated to provide any meaningful results. Moreover, most authorities consider the letters hoaxes. Nevertheless, Jeff Mudgett, himself a descendant of notorious American serial killer H. H. Holmes, used these handwriting samples in an attempt to link Holmes to the Ripper case. The H. H. Holmes theory is the basis for an 8-part cable TV series entitled American Ripper, which premiered on the History Channel on 11 July 2017.

Author Frank Pearse, who purports to have access to a written confession, argues that the murders were performed by a man named John Pavitt Sawyer (who held multiple similarities, such as residence and profession, to alternate suspect George Chapman), as part of an occult Freemason initiation.

Several theorists suggest that “Jack the Ripper” was actually more than one killer. Stephen Knight argued that the murders were a conspiracy involving multiple miscreants, whereas others have proposed that each murder was committed by unconnected individuals acting independently of each other (which, if true, would mean there never actually was a single “Ripper” at all). The police of the time believed the Ripper was a local Whitechapel resident. His apparent ability to disappear immediately after the killings suggests an intimate knowledge of the Whitechapel neighbourhood, including its back alleys and hiding places. However, the population of Whitechapel was largely transient, impoverished and often used aliases. The lives of many of its residents were little recorded. Despite continued interest in the case and ongoing investigation by both professional and amateur researchers, the Ripper’s true identity will almost certainly never be known.

Legacy

The nature of the Ripper murders and the impoverished lifestyle of the victims drew attention to the poor living conditions in the East End and galvanised public opinion against the overcrowded, insanitary slums. In the two decades after the murders, the worst of the slums were cleared and demolished, but the streets and some buildings survive and the legend of the Ripper is still promoted by various guided tours of the murder sites and other locations pertaining to the case. For many years, the Ten Bells public house in Commercial Street (which had been frequented by at least one of the canonical Ripper victims) was the focus of such tours.

In the immediate aftermath of the murders and later, “Jack the Ripper became the children’s bogey man.” Depictions were often phantasmic or monstrous. In the 1920s and 1930s, he was depicted in film dressed in everyday clothes as a man with a hidden secret, preying on his unsuspecting victims; atmosphere and evil were suggested through lighting effects and shadowplay. By the 1960s, the Ripper had become “the symbol of a predatory aristocracy”, and was more often portrayed in a top hat dressed as a gentleman. The Establishment as a whole became the villain, with the Ripper acting as a manifestation of upper-class exploitation. The image of the Ripper merged with or borrowed symbols from horror stories, such as Dracula’s cloak or Victor Frankenstein’s organ harvest. The fictional world of the Ripper can fuse with multiple genres, ranging from Sherlock Holmes to Japanese erotic horror.

Jack the Ripper features in hundreds of works of fiction and works which straddle the boundaries between fact and fiction, including the Ripper letters and a hoax diary: The Diary of Jack the Ripper. The Ripper appears in novels, short stories, poems, comic books, games, songs, plays, operas, television programmes, and films. More than 100 non-fiction works deal exclusively with the Jack the Ripper murders, making it one of the most written-about true-crime subjects. The term “ripperology” was coined by Colin Wilson in the 1970s to describe the study of the case by professionals and amateurs. The periodicals Ripperana, Ripperologist, and Ripper Notes publish their research.

In 2015, the Jack the Ripper Museum opened in east London, to minor protests. There is no waxwork figure of Jack the Ripper at Madame Tussauds’ Chamber of Horrors, unlike numerous murderers of lesser fame, in accordance with their policy of not modelling persons whose likeness is unknown. He is instead depicted as a shadow. In 2006, a BBC History magazine poll selected Jack the Ripper as the worst Briton in history.

Medication Explained 💊

Mirtazapine

What is Mirtazapine?

Mirtazapine is an atypical antidepressant and is used primarily for the treatment of a major depressive disorder. The drug has sedative, antiemetic, anxiolytic, and appetite stimulant effects, which explains its off-label use for the following conditions: insomnia, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, headaches, and migraines. Most commonly, clinicians prescribe mirtazapine when individuals have not achieved success with initial pharmacological therapies for major depressive disorder, and they use it predominantly in depressed individuals with insomnia and/or individuals who are underweight.

Mirtazapine was first synthesized and written about in 1989. Mirtazapine first received approval for the treatment of a major depressive disorder in the Netherlands in 1994. It was finally FDA-approved in the United States in 1996 for the treatment of moderate and severe depression.

In 2010, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the United Kingdom published a guideline for treating depression, and this study also included a review of various antidepressants. Concerning mirtazapine, it stated that there was no difference between mirtazapine and other antidepressants currently in use on any efficacy measure, but mirtazapine had a higher chance of achieving remission in a statistical though not clinical setting. It also showed a statistical advantage over current SSRIs in terms of decreasing the symptoms of depression, but the finding was not clinically meaningful. However, the guideline still recommended generic SSRIs as the first-line treatment for depression as they were equally as effective as other antidepressants but had a favorable risk-benefit ratio.

A systemic review and network meta-analysis conducted in 2018 comparing the efficacy and acceptability of 21 different antidepressant drugs demonstrated mirtazapine as one of the most effective when compared to other antidepressants in head-to-head studies.

Currently, the available evidence shows that mirtazapine is effective in all stages of severity of depressive illness and also for a broad range of symptoms associated with depression.

Mode of Action

Mirtazapine is part of the tetracyclic antidepressants (TeCA) group that works by exerting antagonist effects on the central presynaptic alpha-2-adrenergic receptors, which causes an increased release of serotonin and norepinephrine. Mirtazapine is also sometimes called a noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressant (NaSSA). Noradrenaline is known to have an activating effect on the sympathetic nervous system, and this could explain the general increase in activity and increased metabolism seen with mirtazapine. It also acts as a potent antagonist of H1 histamine receptors (producing a sedating, calming effect) and 5-HT2A, 5-HT2C, and 5-HT3 serotonin receptors.

Mirtazapine in Addiction Treatment

Because of the way mirtazapine acts in the body, it has been considered for use in treating addictions of various kinds, including but not limited to:

• Alcohol

• Benzodiazepines (benzos)

• Opiate substances

• Cocaine

• Marijuana

As mentioned above, mirtazapine acts on serotonin balance. Based on recent research, most psychoactive drugs affect the serotonin system in the brain, and consistent use or abuse can cause adaptive changes in that system that coincide with the addictive cycle. In other words, substance abuse causes changes in the ways serotonin is created and used in the body, which in turn contributes to the development of addictive behaviors. This occurs in combination with other factors, such as genetic dispositions and other brain chemistry pathways.

Mirtazapine also affects the production and use of norepinephrine, a stress hormone produced in the adrenal glands. The anxiety response that is common in some drug addictions, like those of opiates and cocaine, is correlated to changes in norepinephrine function caused by the substances that are being abused.

Even before this research came out, mirtazapine was tested for use in treating addiction to various substances. According to multiple research reports and case studies indicating that the medication shows promise in helping people manage substance addiction.

Because of the medication’s action in several different areas of brain chemistry, it appears that mirtazapine can help to calm cravings and reduce drug-seeking behaviors. Also, in clinical cases involving opiate drugs and co-occurring alcohol and depression, and in a study of people being treated for depression, mirtazapine was able to help not only reduce drug cravings, but also reduce the co-occurring psychological issues.

Things to Consider

Some people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using Remeron. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Do not give this medicine to anyone younger than 18 years old without the advice of a doctor. Mirtazapine is not approved for use in children.

It may take up to several weeks before your symptoms improve. Keep using the medication as directed and tell your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 4 weeks of treatment.

Drinking alcohol can increase certain side effects of mirtazapine.

Dosing Information

Usual Adult Dose for Depression:

Initial dose: 15 mg orally once a day at bedtime (this dose is also when Mirtazapine works best for insomnia and sleeping problems so it will make you drowsy. You will also have a dry mouth when you wake up).

Maintenance dose: 15 to 45 mg orally once a day

Maximum dose: 45 mg/day

Side Effects

Like all medicines, mirtazapine can cause side effects in some people, but many people have no side effects or only minor ones.

Some of the common side effects of mirtazapine will gradually improve as your body gets used to it.

Common Side Effects

These side effects happen in more than 1 in 100 people.

Keep taking the medicine, but tell your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or don’t go away:

• dry mouth

• increased appetite and weight gain

• headaches

• feeling sleepy

• constipation

Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare and happen in less than 1 in 10,000 people when taking mirtazapine.

Call your doctor straight away if you experience:

• severe pain in your stomach or back, and nausea – these can be signs of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)

• thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life

• constant headaches, long-lasting confusion or weakness, or frequent muscle cramps – these can be signs of low sodium levels in your blood (which can cause seizures in severe cases)

• yellow skin, or the whites of your eyes go yellow – this can be a sign of liver problems

• high fever, sore throat and mouth ulcers – these signs of infection could be due to a problem with your blood cells.

Serious Allergic Reaction

In rare cases, it’s possible to have a serious allergic (anaphylaxis) reaction to mirtazapine.

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