Charles van Onselen, an acclaimed biographer who specializes in South Africa's criminal history, spent nearly three decades researching his book "The Fox and The Flies: The World of Joseph Silver". The book has made much of Silver being Jack the Ripper, the notorious Victorian serial killer who murdered at least five East London prostitutes in 1888, using the 25th chapter to make his case.
What evidence does van Onselen have that Joseph Silver was Jack the Ripper? First, Silver was in Whitechapel at the time of the Ripper murders for the birth of his daughter. As pimp and brothel keeper, Silver would have been familiar with the prostitutes working in the area. Jack the Ripper was known to write brazen letters to the papers. Silver was litigious, wrote bold letters to newspapers and had an array of mocking aliases. He also had bitter, violent relationships with women all his life.
Like "Ripperologists", I'm not totally convinced that Joseph Silver could be Jack the Ripper but I think it is a possibility. The evidence van Onselen has presented is all circumstantial. Even though people particularly in the United States are convicted of crimes solely on circumstantial evidence all the time, I think it is going to take some real hard proof before this killer is ever unmasked.
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