“Mr. Ripper, I presume?”
There are basically two facts in the Jack the Ripper murders. One, a bunch of prostitutes were killed in the Whitechapel area of London in the Fall of 1888. Two, we don't know who did it. From there, history and its too-many experts guess that it was a single killer, that there was no one killer, that the killer sent letters and part of one of the victim's kidneys to the media, that the letters were fake and the organ was from a medical cadaver, that he was a media invention anyway, that the nature of the wounds pointed to the subtle skill of a doctor, that the nature of the wounds pointed to the unsubtle skill of a butcher, that he killed five women, that he killed more than five women, that he hated “juwes,” that he was a “juwe.” On top of that, literally hundreds of suspects have been pushed forward over the years. Heck, even Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, has been suggested...badly. One such suspect was Francis Tumblety, notorious children's show host. Just kidding. Comical name, though. Tumblety is buried in Rochester, NY, making his grave one bit of Ripper lore that us Yanks can see firsthand. Well, if we’re near Rochester, anyway. Tumblety was born sometime in the early 1830s, after which time his family settled in the Rochester area. He was a crazy kind of cat, traveling all over America and Europe impersonating doctors and military men. Apparently he would truck around in an unearned military uniform on a white horse led by a pair of greyhounds, while collecting human uteri and making a nice little fortune selling snake oil. The one picture of him that shows up the most on the Internet depicts a guy in a Sergeant Pepper outfit with a moustache the size of a ferret. For the reasons outlined above (impersonations, snake oil, ferret moustache) and more, Tumblety regularly got in trouble with the law on both sides of the ocean. On our side, the biggest mark on his rap sheet was being arrested for conspiring in Lincoln’s assassination. In England, it was the Whitechapel murders. Obviously, he was either Mr. Wrong Place at the Wrong Time or legitimately the subject of the Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil. After dying in St. Louis, MO, in 1903, he was buried in the family plot in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester. The large cemetery can be found on Lake St., on both sides of Lake St., in fact. You’re going to want to enter the east side of the cemetery, which is the one with the gothic-looking chapel right through the front gates. His grave is pretty easy to find from there. It’s located in Section 13, which is right to the left of the aforementioned chapel if you’re facing it. Right to the left. Got that? Right. The family grave is marked by a single pinkish urn-topped pillar that, for some reason, is jammed up against the slab of the adjoining Dunn plot. On the pillar, Tumblety’s name is spelled “Fransis Tumuelty,” but that’s the guy you’re looking for. People were less retentive about a lot of things back then, names especially. It also marks him as a “Dr.”, although it seems there was more evidence supporting him being a serial killer than a genuine man of medicine.
Very offbeat... However, the cemetery is pretty amazing and the chapel is beautiful!
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Grave of Jack the Ripper
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