An Interview With Jack The Ripper

Posted: May 18, 2009 in The Chicago Whitechapel Club

[FOR THE SUNDAY HERALD. By Special Arrangement with the author.]
Toward the Gladsome Spring.

no institution of the great, throbbing, chin whiskered west is more
unique or more distinctive than the Whitechapel club of this city. It
is a bright, cheery little crypt, which is reached through a narrow,
somber stab in the still blacker blackness, and soon to be called
Whitechapel Alley, opening off La Salle street. Inside all is cozy and
bright. You enter by going down several steps, and find yourself in an
anteroom on the left of which is the tap room and on the right the
reception vault or general sarcophagus.
Bright and cheery skeletons
hang up wherever the pleased eye rambles o’er the walls, and blood
spattered garments, torn by the coroner from murdered innocence, soften
the harsh outlines of the bony decorations. Skulls with phosphorescent
eyes in them stand upon the whatnots – or whatsnot, perhaps I should
say – here and there.
All is cheery and appetizing, especially to
the weary mind and the tired and spent brain. Here we see several
white, ghost dance garments from Wounded Knee, upon which the blood yet
looks nice and fresh. Here is a large westward hoe with which an
irritated farmer killed several of his children in an unguarded moment.
Over yonder is the somewhat battered and knockneed charger formerly
belonging to Herod’s somewhat morbid daughter.
Many relics, from the early history of crime and horror to that of the
present day, are here – here to please, to beguile and to perpetuate.
Yonder is the cloven helmet of a Haymarket policeman, and back of it a
model of the gallows on which the anarchists were hanged.
Comfortable solitude is said to be the object of the London club, and
in this respect it is doubtless modeled after the Whitechapel club of
Chicago. Solitude, surrounded by a wealth of brass knuckled,
highbinders’ knives with fresh gore on them, freshened each day by the
Armour abattoirs, and skeletons from which ever and anon a vertebra, a
patella or a few phalanges fall with a startling yet sodden plunk on
the deadened floor, may surely be found here.
The Whitechapel club of Chicago was endowed some two years ago by Jack
the Ripper for the purpose of engendering a more fraternal feeling
toward humanity, and also to advance intellectual refinement and to
encourage thought waves. Realizing the uncertainty of life, he desired,
he said, to perpetuate his name in this way. "I might be cut down at
any time," said he, "as my night work, of course, is one of constant
exposure to the unwholesome atmosphere of London. Besides, "he added,
"there is a growing feeling of antagonism toward me here. Sometimes I
think I would like to try the climate of America, but I am afraid I
would get run over and killed by the professional drunkards who drive
drays over people in New York, or if I came to Chicago I might get
"bindged" and die of pneumonia. So perhaps I am as well off here among
friends, suppressing vice and evading the keen eyed police, as I would
be in America, where the social evil does not as yet own the town.
"Do all that you can," he said, "to make the club cheerful and bright.
I send by this steamer a gray plaid shawl, stiff with the gore of No. 3. It will make a nice piano cover, I think. Could you not arrange with the city morgue, so that rent could be saved and your dining hall have about it a homelike air which money alone cannot procure?
"I am almost discouraged at times when I see how slowly I am getting along with my great work looking toward the suppression of vice,

but I will not give up. I am determined to press on and carve my way to fame. Keep up the kindest club spirit, and yet admit no one who has ever led a life of shame. We cannot be too careful, I think, in this regard.
"I am going out again this evening to see if I can catch up a little with my work. I am now way behind. When I get this job done I am thinking of operating on a few titled Englishmen who need killing very much. I am very anxious to be through with my work, for, as I say, it keeps me away from home so much at night. Fly swiftly round, ye wheels of time, and bring the welcome day!
"Miss Bompard, of Paris, wishes to contribute to the club a trunk, scarf, etc., for our dining room. They will be sent within a few weeks."
I wish I had more time to speak of the bric-a-brac of the Whitechapel club, but have not, of course. Suffice it that, with the walls covered over with bones, blood stained cleavers, knives and sling shots, with a loaded door spring billy here, and over there the dried and weatherbeaten boot of a soldier from the Custer battlefield, in which the bones of the foot could still be seen, the president apologized for the absence of eleven skeletons which had been loaned to a well known physician for scientific purposes. He said that to him the absence of these eleven skeletons seemed to leave the room sort of bare and inhospitable.

Source: The Salt Lake Herald, April 5, 1891, page 20


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