Charles van Onselen: South African historian claims to have identified Jack the Ripper





JOHANNESBURG -- An eminent South African historian believes he has stumbled on the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Charles van Onselen said at first he wasn't sure he wanted to publicize the conclusions he drew when he noticed parallels in the century-old, unsolved Ripper case and the background of Joseph Silver, who terrorized women as "King of the Pimps" in Johannesburg...

The publicity around van Onselen's The Fox and The Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath, published in April, has made much of Silver being Jack the Ripper, the notorious Victorian serial killer who murdered at least five East London prostitutes in 1888.

But van Onselen, an acclaimed biographer who specializes in South Africa's criminal history and who took nearly three decades to research the book, only makes his Ripper case in the final 25th chapter, written in the last 36 months.

While the book has been well-received, reaction from "Ripperologists" has been skeptical as van Onselen makes his case on circumstantial evidence.

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