During a recent tour in the core of Hamilton, Ontario’s downtown presented by Haunted Hamilton’s Hamilton Ghost Walk one of the stops along the way was a dark and damp alley that dates back more than 100 years. As we stood in the semi-darkness, the leader of the tour told a small group of interested attendants that Jack the Ripper was believed to be a former Hamilton, Ontario resident.
Francis Tumblety (1833-1903) was an Irish-American, a self-proclaimed herb doctor and renowned physician who traveled across Canada and the United States. According to Wikipedia, he may also have sold pornographic books.
While in the Hamilton area, he touted his ‘Pimple Destroyer’ cream and ‘Dr. Morse’s Indian Root Pills’ out of the old Burlington Hotel, usually dressed in military attire. Needless to say, this flamboyant self-promoter and con man soon became known as quite eccentric, if not an outright quack.
When he was in Boston, Massachusetts, local police attempted to connect him to the death of one of his patients but without success. However, he was arrested in Hamilton for an entirely different crime -- sexual assault. Tumblety made it known that he did not like women and specifically hated prostitutes. He blamed them for his being gay. And he went so far as keeping female reproductive organs in formaldehyde in a glass jar that he proudly displayed to his male friends.
At one point, he found out his own wife was a prostitute. She was later found murdered with her throat slashed. The night of this crime, it is said he returned home with blood on the cuffs of his pants but he was not charged with her death.
Despite his strange behavior, did this former Hamilton resident commit the Whitechapel murders?