The identity of legendary murderer Jack The Ripper has remained a mystery for centuries, but newly authenticated evidence may help solve the crimes which occurred in the late 1800s.
Doubt had been cast upon a diary which had been made public in 1993, supposedly written by James Maybrick, a nineteenth-century cotton merchant from Liverpool who confessed to a series of killings in the book. Discovered by Mike Barrett -- who died before many of the details about the diary's revelations could be questioned -- many considered the text to be a forgery.
Now, according to Fox News, researchers have concluded that the diary is, indeed, genuine. A team led by filmmaker Bruce Robinson claim to have verified the material.
"I give my name that all know of me, so history do tell, what love can do to a gentleman born. Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper," reads the ominous words of Maybrick, who died in 1889, a year after the notorious Whitechapel murders.
Many were suspicious of the diary because Barrett himself was a writer. Some wondered if this "discovery" had been a stunt to help him get published. But timesheets from workers who rennovated the Maybrick house, where Barrett lived and the diary was discovered, have helped to verify the source of the material.
"The truth was that Barrett's only significant literary achievement was to write occasional puzzles for the weekly TV children's magazine, Look-In... Barrett had a highly impetuous nature. Just seeing or being told about the signature at the end of the diary would have been enough for him to reach for the phone," says Robert Smith, who published the original diary in 1993. “He was not very literate and the idea that he would have been capable of producing such a sophisticated and credible forgery is not remotely plausible.”
Barett would go on to claim that the diary was a forgery, but eventually retracted that confession.
“The new and indisputable evidence, that on March 9, 1992, the diary was removed from under the floorboards of the room that had been James Maybrick's bedroom in 1889, and offered later on the very same day to a London literary agent, overrides any other considerations regarding its authenticity," adds Smith. "It follows that James Maybrick is its most likely author. Was he Jack the Ripper? He now has to be a prime suspect, but the disputes over the Ripper's identity may well rage for another century at least".
[Photo: Getty Images]