– George Chapman (aka Severin Klosowski)

On paper Chapman looks like a good candidate for being Jack the Ripper.  He was a violent, misogynistic multiple murderer.  He lived in Whitechapel at the time of the murders.  He studied as a junior surgeon in his native Poland.  And even Inspector Abberline was reported to have said (upon Chapman’s arrest): “I see you’ve got Jack the Ripper at last”.   However, where his candidacy falls down for me is that the murders he was arrested for were in remarkable contrast to those of the Ripper.  Chapman was a cold, callous, organised type of serial murderer.  Using a mostly odourless and tasteless poison he bought from chemists, he slowly, and painfully, poisoned three wives.  Once one wife was dead (and thought to have died from natural causes) he subsequently found another woman and then repeated the same M.O.  So here we have a man who not only had the calmness of mind to think ahead, to plan the murders, but to choose a method that took time and afforded him very little chance of being caught.  Compared with the frenzied slaughter of the Ripper, Chapman’s crimes were clinical and distant.  The Ripper killed women who were easy targets, and did so in quick, brutal attacks, murders that were more about the post mortem mutilations than the act of killing itself.  His crimes were high risk – anyone could have come along and seen him committing the murders.  Then he fled the scene without thought of hiding the bodies.  So, a brutal, frenzied overkill, a product of a diseased and mostly disorganised mind.

Chapman may have been a callous murderer, but he was controlled and calculating.  A serial killer simply doesn’t go from needing to kill and mutilate women in very personal and frenzied attacks, to being a cold, organised killer who is content with carrying out a particularly impersonal type of homicide – poisoning.

Candidacy of George Chapman: **½ (out of 5)

Published on November 7, 2010 at 11:05 am  Comments (17)  

17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The thought is common that Chapman didn’t “do it” because of the different nature of the murders. But, think for a moment. If he had offed his wives in the brutal way Jack the Ripper killed the prostitutes, he would have been arrested immediately, and easily identified as Jack the Ripper. Instead, he changed his MO so he wouldn’t be linked to Jack. He was not an unintelligent man, as can be seen by his “medical” training, and could very quickly made up his mind to eliminate his “wives” in a different way. I see little reason to doubt this…

    • Hi Fred,

      Of course, anything is possible. You may be right. Still, you can’t ignore the psychology behind the JTR murders – the kind of mental state of the killer. I see the Ripper murders as perpetrated by someone who couldn’t control their bloodlust, someone who had a deep pathological need to commit the kind of crimes Saucy Jacky carried out. In my opinion, these weren’t murders of solely revenge, greed or any other ‘logical’ reason. There was no logical reasoning behind the savage overkills of destitute women who were already dead when the killer did most of his ghoulish deeds. I simply can’t see that type of personality change his M.O simply to try to cover his tracks later on.

      Thanks for your comment,

  2. I do believe Severin Klosowski was Jack the Ripper. The murders were as strange as he was, I’ve been doing some research on him, and discovered some time in 1889 he moved his hairdresser’s shop to 195 Blackfriars road,this could of been the reason for the sudden cessation of the murder’s. The shop was just on the edge of union street,were he would run the monument public house a decade later.


    • Hi Stephen,

      Thanks for your comments. I personally don’t believe Klosowski was the Ripper, but as you say, he was a strange chap, with murder in his heart, so who knows?


  3. Chapman was not JtR. He is the popular suspect today but there is no evidence that he did those horrendous crimes in 1888. I totally agree with the author , one does not change one’s M.O so drastically. JtR was impulsive , he selected his victims randomly and each attack was frenzied . Chapman poisoned his lady friends in a cold and callous way , nearly a decade later. What was he doing in between , if indeed he was JtR ? The descriptions given by witnesses who thought they saw the man only vaguely tallies to Chapman. Most men wore similar clothes then , many wore hats , and it was fashionable to have moustaches !
    To say he lived and worked in the vicinity of the murders , so did thousands of others. To say similar crimes occurred in America while he was there has been more or less disproved. Chapman had not reached the USA until after the murders. JtR must have hated women , there is much anger in his attacks. Chapman liked women..he could not get enough. Once he despatched one of his victims , another took her place almost immediately.
    I think JtR would not have stopped his attacks until he was caught or something stopped him. I believe JtR died in 1888 possibly by suicide , or was admitted into an asylum or prison where he died there. JtR did not live a normal life for another decade and then started poisoning his victims in 1897. It does not make sense.

    • Hi Amanda,

      Thanks for your comment. As you’ve read, I don’t put much stock in Chapman being the Ripper, and so agree with you wholeheartedly.

      All the best,

    • I thought Chapman was a good candidate a year ago, but recently I’ve been studying him again and I’ve come ro the conclusion he Is not the ripper,

      I’m starting to think that JtR was a freemason
      I don’t no what’s your opinion on that?



      • Hello Stephen,

        I personally don’t see any indication of the Ripper being a Freemason. Why do you think he was?


      • HI Gents.

        I am not a Ripperologist; but it is my understanding that Chapman’s murders began almost a decade after Jack the Ripper’s? Could he as they say in Criminal Minds evolved after having gained more experience into the callous poisoner? I understand he was in his 20s during the Ripper killings and in his 30s during the poisonings. It is possible that as he got older, his murderous tastes called for new more inventive type of killings? Like the maturing of a palette, which caused the development of a new m.o?

        Please feel free to correct me. I also understand James Kelly and Doctor Mann have become suspects along with Abberline himself to revive his career?

      • Hi Robert,

        Personally, I can’t see a person who has a pathological need to brutally mutilate his victims, someone who does so in a very intimate and bloody manner, not to mention frenzied, would, a decade later, be content with such a cold and impersonal act of murder such as poisoning. The two acts are polar opposites, and I don’t think it’s a matter of gaining experience or an attempt to avert suspicion: whoever committed the atrocious Whitechapel murders was someone deeply troubled and who needed to gain release/fulfill his fantasies in this heinous and very particular manner.

        But, just my two cents.


      • Totally agree with you with you Brett. Chapman was not the Ripper. Quite a few books have been published in recent years to suggest he was but most use vague circumstantial evidence and twist facts to support their claim.
        I’ve recently come across an old photo among my dads things of Maud’s grandmother, taken around 1900. Maud, as you know, was Chapman’s last victim…

  4. I’ve jokingly said that maybe Lusk did it. He sent the human kidney to himself to deflect the police away from him. He was a Freemason , by the way, and was chucked out of the Lodge for not paying his dues. The only reason I mentioned Lusk was because, at the time, everybody seemed to be pointing at Chapman , with no more evidence really than the fact he lived and worked in the vicinity. So did Lusk. So did thousands of others. There’s no reason to think JtR was any more a Freemason than anyone else in the street. Wonder why Stephen thinks he might have been ?

  5. Hi Brett

    It just crossed my mind, he may of being a free mason when I saw the initials FM on the wall near Mary Kellys body, I thought they could stand for free mason, but there’s nothing mentioned at the time of initials on the wall.

    Also he left a piece of Catherine Eddowes apron in a doorway with a message. The apron has something to do with the freemasons. I feel he was leaving clues behind.


    • Hi Stephen,

      The FM=Freemason is not a new theory (the supposed initials have also been used to mean ‘Florence Maybrick’…). Almost certainly what people think are initials are just blood spatter, and the human mind simply orders the spatter into a recognisable pattern.

      As to the apron and the message, well, read my essay on Catherine Eddowes to get my thoughts on whether I put any stock in the message having been written by her killer.


  6. I think the FM initials is just a story. Something as important as that would have been mentioned at the time. Everything else was described in graphic detail.
    Talking earlier about ancestors. Maud Marsh was my grandmother’s first cousin , which is why I am interested in Chapman.
    There has been several recent publications that try to convince that GC was the Ripper. Any ‘ evidence ‘ is circumstantial. He had nothing to do with it. Thousands of people lived and worked in the same areas as he worked. He was in the same position of , say , the barber 50 yards up the road. The only difference being is that he started poisoning women nearly a decade later.


  7. What about H.H. HOLMES? The AMERICAN SERIAL KILLER, Who fits the AGE, Physical description, was a MEDICAL SCHOOL GRAD, and computer software used by THE U.S. DEPT OF JUSTICE matching with a 97% accuracy to the JTR LETTERS??..Chapman to me is, along with Tumblety the leading suspects…But something holds me back…..WHY ARE SO MANY DOCUMENTS MISSING, LOST, DESTROYED, etc WHY WOULD NIGEL MORLAND and the author of the 1970 TIME MAGAZINE article, who’s name escapes me LIE ABOUT KNOWING WHO THE RIPPER WAS and SWEARING TO SECRECY??..DO you believe the SUSPECT WAS KNOWN BY SCOTLAND YARD?…Pointing to PRINCE ALBERT??…after 125 YEARS AND limited permission only RELEASES OF INFO BY THE home office,DOES A ROYAL SURGEON, OR ROYAL PERSONAGE A POSSIBILTY??…According to the 1976 PALL MALL Interview article released decades later,somehow I believe this:”the suspect is known.HE IS NOT A YID, A BUTCHER, OR A FOREIGN SEAMAN..DON’T LOOK FOR SOMEONE IN THE LOWER LONDON CLASS, BUT SOMEONE WAY UP IN LONDON SOCIETY”-ABBERLINE..According to MORLAND, he didn’t name Jack or lie about telling him in secrecy etc…which leads to believe ABBERLINE MORE THAN any other TOP OFFICIAL since he was the Scotland Yard InSPECTOR AFTER THE FIRST OF THE CANNONICAL 5..SIR CHARLES WARREN never even mentioned a possible suspect even til his death..isn’t all this a little odd??….MISSING OR LOST OR SEALED DOCUMENTS,CASE CLOSED UNSOLVED IN 1892, Not to be reopened till 1992 100 years after the death of PRINCE EDDY…Im not saying the Prince was JTR, NOR DO I BELIEVE IN CONSPIRACIES, BUT HERE’S “MY” TAKE:…”IF” the YARD/HOME OFFICE/ETC KNEW the identity but never disclosed heres why:..1) He escaped, to USA as the BATTY ST. LODGER, FRANCIS TUMBLETY, and would be an embarrassment at the time…NYPD BYRNES WAS IN FACT IN TOUCH WITH DETECTIVES FOLLOWING TUMBLETY TO USA, EVADING CAPTURE AND COULDNT BE EXTRADICTED due to lack of evidence on a non extrdictable offense….2) GEORGE CHAPMAN escaped capture avoiding similar embarrassment 3) A high Ranking PHYSICIAN, PERHAPS GULL OR D’ ONSTON, or a link to cover up EDDY ETC, R.C., which would explain this JFK LIKE -HIDE-THE DOCUMENTS-TILL EVERYONE LIVING IS DEAD STYLE…ISNT CONCEIVABLE with all we know about the Govt and even Royalty of all nations, that a doctored up trip to SCOTLAND WAS THE ALIBI???POSSIBLE, HERE, NOT PROBABLE?!….IF the Prince at that time was JTR, are they gonna try him or admit this??…of course not…EXCEPT MAYBE JUST MAYBE THE BOY SCOYT SIR CHARLES WARREN, the law enforcement type of man I SWORE TO TAKE AN OATH NO MATTER WHO THE KILLER IS I’LL BRING HIM TOI JUSTICE….CONVIENTLY RESIGNS and never talks aboyt who JTR WAS TO THE END OF HIS DAYS….UNLIKELY.YES……but HOW MANY coincidences and misplaced documents and hushed OFFICIALS does it take to make you at least wonder………….WHAT ARE IN THOSE DOCUMENTS AND MISSING TUMBLETY DOSSIERS WHEVER THEY ARE KEPT??????

  8. The first murders could have been cold and calculating if they were committed to sell the body parts. Apparently there were buyers for them then.

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