Unknown Stories of WNY: Jack The Ripper

5:40 PM, Nov 1, 2012   |    comments
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BUFFALO, N.Y.- Was Jack The Ripper a man who lived and is buried right in our own back yard? Several "Ripper" historians believe so.

The suspect is Francis Tumbelty, who's grave is in Holy Sepulchre Cemetary in Rochester. Tumblety was a boy in Rochester when he started peddling several items including pornography to canal workers between Buffalo and Rochester in the mid 1800's.

As he grew up, Tumblety graduated to selling "indian potions" and medicines. He traveled from town to town and made a fortune. Tumbelty also posed as a doctor, performing abortions. His travels took him to Canada after a woman died in his "care". Tumbelty eventually moved back to the US, posing as a military doctor. While living in Washington, D.C., he would put on male-only seminars. During these gatherings, he would show his collection of human uteri.

Tumblety eventually was forced to leave the country when he came under suspicion of being involved in the assassination of President Lincoln. This shady character wound up living in London's White Chapel section at the time of the Jack the  Ripper slayings. Tumbelty's strange behavior and past led him to become one of Scotland Yard's prime suspects. Before he could be arrested, he slipped out of the country. Upon his death of heart disease in St. Louis, several pieces of costume jewelry were found in among his possessions. those who feel Tumblety was Scotland Yard's man, say these may be trophies of his victims.

A century later, a former Scotland yard constable named Stuart Evans stumbled across his name and began looking into the connection. The more he looked, the more convinced he became. Evans wrote a book about "The First American Serial Killer" in 1996.

Now many experts are as sure that Tumbelty was not the infamous killer. The fact remains, however, that this shady character who once hailed from and is now buried in Western New York, is among the many people suspected of being Jack The Ripper. 

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