Book Reviews

Jack The Ripper Was Three Killers: New Theory in Sherlock Holmes and the Autumn of Terror

Not only does Randy Williams, private investigator and author of Sherlock Holmes and the Autumn of Terror believe that the Ripper murders were carried out by three people, he believes the trio were working together and he can name them. Supported by three of the top criminology experts in the world, this is a theory which has Ripperologists taking note.

sherlock-holmes-and-the-autumn-of-terrorSherlock Holmes And The Autumn Of Terror: The True Story of Jack The Ripper by Randy Williams with criminology experts Dr Michael M Baden, Dr Cyril H Wecht and Dr Henry C Lee.

Rukia Publishing, Paperback, Hardback and Kindle, 646 Pages

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Sherlock Holmes and the Autumn of Terror takes a look at the murders of Jack the Ripper and the identity of those responsible from the perspective of Sherlock Holmes. Using the techniques and approach adopted by Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s books, Randy Williams looks to solve the longest running true crime mystery in British history. Supported by three of the top criminology experts in the world, Dr Michael M Baden, Dr Cyril H Wecht and Dr Henry C Lee, this may be the truth behind the riddle of Jack the Ripper.

Randy Williams is suggesting a new theory on these murders, one that puts forward three individual men as the killers; Louis Deimschutz, Isaac Kozebrodski and Samuel Friedman. Three men who worked to together to kill the known victims of Jack the Ripper and most likely a further six victims. Politically active individuals they were connected through a Working Men’s Club in which they were all members.

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This book is written in the form of a Sherlock Holmes novel taking the reader through each of the grisly crimes that took place in 1888 in Whitechapel in London. The story is told primarily from the perspective of Dr Watson, Sherlock Holme’s trusted sidekick, with each of the murders retold from the view of the killers at the end. A well-researched and fact based book, this is a comprehensive piece of writing.

It is a hybrid of fiction meeting true crime across almost 700 pages focused on the most fascinating historical true crime case of all time. While the tale may be placed on the fringes of fiction in relation to Sherlock Holmes, the theory behind the Jack the Ripper murders and the facts to support this theory are very much real. Key evidence explored includes the witness testimony of Emma Smith before she died.  While her murder has not been included in the official five attributed to Jack the Ripper, many believe it should be.  In her last breaths before she died she said she was attacked by three men, one who looked around 19 years old.

Further evidence surrounds the fact that Louis Deimschutz found the body of Elizabeth Stride on 30 September 1888 and the proximity of all three of these men at the time of each of the Ripper murders.  An intriguing and fascinating read that does not fail to make an impression, Sherlock Holmes and the Autumn of Terror is not a book you will forget in a hurry.

Q & A with Author Randy Williams

Randy Williams has kindly given me time to answer some questions about his book and his compelling theory on Jack the Ripper actually being three killers working together.

Private investigator and author Randy Williams

Q. You have written the book from the perspective of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson which is a unique way to present a very real theory on the Ripper murders. Was this always your plan and what made you decide to take this route?

RW – The clinical version of our theory is in the works.  It’s called The Theotokos Murders: Jack the Ripper’s Terror of London.  But when the doctors and I discussed the best way to first present our theory to the public at large, we tossed around a number of ideas. Firstly, we weren’t trying to compete with or to somehow outdo the great works already produced by people such as Richard Jones and Donald Rumbelow, whose research we admire greatly.  As you and your readers well know, the story has been done in many ways, but not exactly like this that I know of.  In fact, Holmes has been called in to tackle the case in a number of books, movies and short stories, but never to my knowledge with an eye to presenting a real detective and a team of world-famous criminalists’ view of the actual facts of the case.  And since all four of us have been Holmes fans since boyhood, and were all drawn into careers in Criminology and Investigation by our fascination with Holmes’ superhuman powers of deduction as well as with the Ripper case, it seemed a very natural way to approach the book for all of us.

Q. This is the first credible theory I have heard involving the Jack the Ripper murders actually being carried out by multiple individuals.  Are you aware of other theories suggesting multiple killers?

RW – I have heard the idea suggested before, but never with any specific names attached, and certainly never any of the men I am now positive were at the back of the Ripper murders; 26-year-old Louis Diemschutz, whose (false) surname means “Protector of Noble Women” or “Protector made of Smoke,” 17-year-old Isaac Kozebrodski – by far the most twisted of the three – and 41-year-old Samuel Friedman, who I believe to be the enforcer of the group, and whom I also believe stood guard at the Elizabeth Stride slaying and assisted in Catherine Eddowes’ murder while Diemschutz was putting it on thick for the police a half mile away, where he was pretending to be frightened and rattled to the core after supposedly finding the body of “Long Liz” Stride just inside the gateway of the men’s club where he was Steward.

Q. The three men you feel are responsible for the murders, are they names that have been circulating before within the suggestions of who could have been Jack The Ripper?

RW – Absolutely not.  Diemschutz has never been seriously considered a suspect due to an incredibly clever ruse he devised to create for himself an unquestionably ironclad alibi that held up for 124 years, until I unravelled it back in 2012.  The other two are mere footnotes in the case’s history and have never to my knowledge been even slightly considered by anyone before me as viable suspects in the case.

Q. You note in your book you feel Louis Deimschutz, Isaac Kozebrodski and Samuel Friedman were working together to carry out these killings.  How did you theorize their relationship and separate their roles in the murders?

RW – I view Diemschutz as the main organizer and commander of the mission, specifically selected in Russia by Prince Pyotr Kropotkin for his military efficiency and brought to England under a false identity for the purpose of carrying out the murders as a sort of political propaganda operation.  I think he recruited the young, impressionable Kozebrodski to do the dirtiest of the “wet work,” which I believe he came to enjoy and that Diemschutz also recruited Friedman from the ranks of his Socialist/Anarchist club in order to act as lookout and enforcer; I have uncovered that Friedman had an 1886 conviction for Indecent Assault two years before the Ripper crimes, indicating a pre-existing penchant for sexual assault.  As Holmes says in my book, “Diemschutz was the head of the snake, but the other two were its muscle and its venom.  And I’ve a strong suspicion this may well have been a two-headed serpent as well,” summing up the relationship tidily while hinting at the presence of an even greater mastermind lurking in the background.

Illustrations by Michael Trot

Q. The fact that Louis Deimschutz found the body of Elizabeth Stride on 30 September 1888 is an interesting link in the case.  Can you tell us more about why you think this is important?

RW – Diemschutz, along with Kozebrodski, Friedman and his own wife, claimed to have “found” the body of victim Elizabeth Stride just outside his home on the premises of the club where he was Steward and where he lived with his wife Sarah Anna.  Historically, many murderers have pretended to “find” the body of their victim because they couldn’t wait to see the results and/or they wished to insert themselves into the investigation.  In this case, it was a bit of both, although primarily the latter, as well as a desire to draw the majority of the police to the first murder scene, leaving the streets much less patrolled to make things easier for his accomplices to commit the second of the evening.  He needed Stride’s body to be “found” at exactly 1AM in order for the rest of his plan to move forward.  And he definitely needed to bring his nemesis to his premises in order for that plan to succeed, which it did for 124 years.

Thousands of criminals have inserted themselves into police investigations since that day, but Diemschutz may well have been the first ever to do so.  He found one of the bodies in what I consider to be very incriminating circumstances, although he was never considered a suspect for reasons that are explained in my book.  As we now know, many killers attempt to insert themselves into the investigation, some by pretending to find the victim’s body.  Some killers who are known to have inserted themselves into investigations include Ted Bundy, Dennis Rader (BTK), Edmund Kemper and Wayne Williams (the Atlanta Child Murderer) among many, many others.

By the way, the second murder of the so-called “Double Event,” at Mitre Square, took place just in front of the Duke Street Synagogue run by Dr. Adler, despised by Prince Kropotkin (who I believe to be the ultimate mastermind behind the Ripper killings) and by the club’s members – the same synagogue at which Diemschutz and his club members assembled and were turned away by Chief Rabbi Adler just before the Socialist riot of March 1889, where he, Isaac Kozebrodski and Samuel Friedman – all three of whom were present at the “finding” of Liz Stride’s body – were arrested for violence against a boy and various adults, and then dragging a policeman to the very spot Liz Stride was found inside the club gates and injuring his leg with a kick after beating him with a club.

Mrs. Diemschutz – who was also present when her husband “found” Stride –  also participated in the assault on P.C. (Police Constable) Joseph Frost by beating him with her hair broom. 

One of the other adults that were beaten was an enemy of my three suspects’ club named Israel Sunshine, who lived in the Wentworth Model Dwellings at #119 Goulston Street (The very location of the infamous “Juews” graffito!!).

I wonder; could they have been trying also to lead the police and/or angry mobs to the doorstep of Israel Sunshine with that graffito?  Or did Diemschutz just know the outside of that building from visiting Sunshine and note its resemblance to a school slate board as a perfect medium for writing in chalk?

So now we have the same four people who were the first out the door the night of the finding of Stride’s body, Diemschutz leading the group to the site of the Eddowes murder, then back to the site of the Stride Murder, a violent act against a policeman on the very spot where Stride lay murdered, and an act of violence against an enemy of the club who lived in the exact location where the Goulston Street graffito was left. I find those coincidences extremely compelling and in my investigative experience, when there are too many coincidences, they most often end up not really being coincidental after all.

Q. Your video focusing on The McCarthy Letter (above) illustrates some really curious links with the drawings and shapes used matching the names of your three suspects.  How did this discovery come about?

RW – I have always been a lover of puzzles of all sorts, from crosswords to anagrams to jigsaw puzzles.  And one particular type of puzzle that I always enjoyed as a lad were of the type published back then in a magazine for boys called “Highlights.”  In those puzzles, a drawing of some figure was made up entirely of letters of the alphabet arranged in such a way as to form the picture of whatever it was they spelled out when extracted from the whole, leaving nothing at the finish.  For example, a bunny might be drawn with an uppercase B laying on its back to form the top of the bunny’s head with the two loops forming its ears.  The U would in turn form the remainder of the outline of the head.  Two N’s would be the eyes and a stylized Y would form its nose and the split that runs down the upper lip.

When I saw the cryptic sketch that appeared at the end of a Ripper letter sent to the owner of the building where victim Mary Jane Kelly lived and was murdered, it seemed to have that same odd sort of styling that those old puzzles had.  I went to work on deciphering the sketch, and I think you’ll agree, the results are astounding to say the least.  By the way, I have come to find out that those puzzles were popular far before the 1960’s when I was introduced to them.  They actually pre-date the Ripper murders considerably, and puzzles of that very type were popular back then and were frequently featured in newspapers and publications such as The Strand magazine – coincidentally (or not) the same magazine that serialized the Holmes stories that first appeared in Beeton’s Christmas Annual a full six months before the first (by my assessment) Ripper attack.  I believe Diemschutz was inspired by the “Rache” graffiti in “A Study in Scarlet” and came up with his own “Juwes” grafitto, which I have also anagrammed with startling results.

If your readers go to the site and view my analysis of the sketch, they will note that although it is very plain that I can extract Kozebrodski’s full name and middle initial from the first figure, Diemschutz’ from the second and Friedman’s from the third, I cannot get any of the three from either of the other two than the one intended.  Neither can I get my own name from any of the three, nor the name of any of my friends that I have tried without having portions of the drawing remain when all letters used have been extracted from the sketch.  Yet it works perfectly for the names of all three of my suspects.  That fact in itself would never convict them and wasn’t intended to do so, but once you have seen the actual evidence we have gathered against them, and if you accept that evidence, then this sketch and its hidden meaning will only be the icing on that cake of reasonable doubt.

Q. You have a very impressive list of criminology experts supporting your theory in Michael M Baden, Dr Cyril H Wecht and Dr Henry C Lee, giving a great deal of further credibility to your work.  What made you contact them and were you worried about what they would think?

RW – I can answer that question with the greatest pleasure and pride.  My team is made up of myself and three of the most distinguished Criminalists in the world.  First off, we have Dr. Michael M. Baden, who was formerly the Chief Medical Examiner (Coroner) for New York City for over 25 years.  He has been called in on a huge number of high-profile cases such as the Kennedy Assassination, the death of Elvis Presley, John Belushi, the Claus Von Bulow case and countless others.  Dr. Baden was actually contracted in the 1960’s to go to England and try to solve the Ripper case himself, but he was unable to do so at the time due to the lack of evidence he was provided.

Dr. Henry C. Lee has assisted in the investigations of over 8,000 criminal cases including those of O.J. Simpson, JonBenet Ramsey and the Phil Spector case.  His incredible powers of crime scene analysis were also largely responsible for the safe recovery and return home of Utah kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart. As for Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, he has been called in on cases ranging from the John F. and Robert F. Kennedy assassinations, Elvis Presley, JonBenet Ramsey, O.J. Simpson, Vince Foster and Dr. Jeffrey McDonald to the Waco, Texas Branch Davidian fire. 

All three have many more accomplishments than I can list here, and I believe that having their full endorsements should hopefully be enough for your readers to give my theory some open-minded consideration.

I initially presented my theory to Dr. Baden when I met him while he was in my area testifying in the trial of a local murderer and I had the good fortune of being asked by the District Attorney of my county in Pennsylvania to keep Dr. Baden company for the 3 hours he was excluded from the courtroom during witness testimony. In those three hours, I gave him an overview of my case and the evidence I had gathered.  Thankfully, it was enough to spark his interest to hear more.  He requested to read my full case file, and when he did, he was convinced I had cracked the case.  He then contacted Drs. Lee and Wecht, and from there it was decided that they would endorse my theory and participate in the writing of my book.  The rest is, as they say, history.

By the way, all three of the doctors were previously approached individually by an extremely well-known and wealthy author of some very financially successful Ripper theory books, and all three refused to become part of that author’s work after reading their theory and its evidence (or lack thereof).  Yet all three of them joined forces with me to present my case when they read what I had come up with, even before they helped me uncover yet more evidence against my suspects.  And all at no charge, save for asking me to base a character in my book after each of them.  Thus we have Dr. Michael Braeden, Dr. Cyril West and Henry Leu – a Kung Fu expert who eventually saves the life of Sherlock Holmes in a deadly battle against four black-faced Chinese hatchet men; making that happen was Dr. Lee’s second condition haha.

Q. What are your plans now the book is published and has received such great feedback?

RW – As I mentioned earlier, I’m currently working on a factual case-study version of our theory without Holmes as well as an audio version of Sherlock Holmes and the Autumn of Terror with a very special guest celebrity Ripperologist narrating. There is also an interactive Virtual Reality game version of my book being developed by a company called Natural Records Studios that allows you to take part in the investigation as you very realistically walk the 3-D streets of 1888-92 Whitechapel.  They are building in Virtual Reality a very young me and a very old me. The player will travel back in time to 1938 to meet the eighty-some-year-old Detective Inspector Williams who wrote a book on his theory of Jack the Ripper’s identity earlier in the 1930’s.

The premise is that the player had read that old book in 2017, believed in its theory and then went back in time to fetch the Inspector as an old man with full knowledge of the truth of the case to take him back to 1888 in order to prevent the murders.  If you win, Diemschutz and company hang, haha.  On another note, my team is also preparing to take on the mysterious death of Bruce Lee.  My martial arts instructor was the late great Ted Wong, who was himself Bruce Lee’s top student as well as his son Brandon’s godfather. 

He passed on to me his own personal belief that his master, Bruce Lee, had been murdered and why he thought so, so it is very natural for me to head up a new investigation in the name of my master and Grandmaster.  Additionally, Dr. Baden actually worked on Lee’s autopsy, and Dr. Lee is a huge fan of Bruce Lee himself, and would love to use his cutting-edge Forensic technology to re-evaluate Lee’s toxicology from 1972 in search of exotic poisons that were probably not included in the tox screens that were performed on Lee back then.

Thanks Randy for answering my questions and sharing your photos with us and best of luck going forward with your book!

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