What was happening in James Maybrick's life during late 1888/early 1889?
Valentine Blake, a chemist from whom Maybrick had obtained arsenic, gave an affidavit which puts Maybrick's drug addiction in proper perspective. Blake said he gave Maybrick about 300 grains of arsenic in February, 1889.
The diary, allegedly written at about the same time as Blake gave Maybrick the 300 grams, states:
I told him to be careful with it as he had almost enough to poison a regiment.
Maybrick's "diary," allegedly written at about the same time as Blake gave him the 300 grains, states:
I am taking more than ever.
By March, 1889, Florie Maybrick was extremely concerned about her husband's health. She told the family physician, Dr. Humphreys, that Maybrick was also taking a white power she thought was strychnine.
The doctor told Florie too much of the powder could kill Maybrick. He also told Florence that if Maybrick should suddenly die, he would tell the authorities about their conversation. Of course, when the time came to recall it, Humphreys abandoned Florence, just like everyone else did.
As Maybrick's condition continued to worsen throughout the spring of 1889, he changed his Will to give control to his brothers. The "diary's" last entry - May 3, 1889 - states:
Soon, I trust, I shall be laid beside my dear mother and father. I shall seek their forgiveness when we are reunited. God I pray will allow me at least that privilege, although I know only too well I do not deserve it. My thoughts will remain in tact, for a reminder to all how love does destroy. I place this [the diary] now in a place were it shall be found. I pray whoever should read this will find it in their heart to forgive me. Remind all, whoever you may be, that I was once a gentle man. May the good lord have mercy on my soul, and forgive me for all I have done.
I give my name that all know of me, so history do tell, what love can do to a gentle man born.
Jack the Ripper
Dated this third day of May 1889
When James Maybrick died on May 11, 1889, did he take the secrets of the Whitechapel murders to his grave? Was he really Jack the Ripper? His only surviving relative (a fourth cousin) thinks the evidence is compelling.
Is the diary authentic? Many experts disagree. A recent discovery of Maybrick's allegedly original Will (said to be written by Maybrick himself) will provide diary detractors with evidence that Maybrick was not the Ripper. But who can say for sure that the Will was written by Maybrick?
What about all the other suspects who have been listed during the last 100 years? The evidence against Maybrick may be compelling, but the jury is still out on this important question.
In the meantime, as more evidence is sought and weighed, a visitor to London can visit both Florence Maybrick and Jack the Ripper at Madame Tussauds' Wax Museum.
In life, Florie and James Maybrick were linked by marriage. In death, they are linked by the lasting impact of their respective "crimes."
EDITOR'S NOTE: We would like to acknowledge an exceptional web site on Jack the Ripper - The Casebook. Although we have linked to several portions of it in this story, the site has much more detailed information. Be patient, though. It's not always easy to find what you are looking for.