expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>
Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Crime Tidbit: The Annihilator/Ties to Jack the Ripper?

One of the two final victims of the
Annihilator, Christmas Eve 1885.
Did you know...that an Austin serial killer working in 1884-5 was suspected to be Jack the Ripper?

It's true. In 1884 and 1885, seven young women, all servant girls, were brutally murdered in the Austin, Texas area. 
"Seven females (five black, two white), and one black male were murdered. Additionally, six women and two men were seriously injured. All of the victims were attacked indoors while asleep in their beds. Five of the female victims were then dragged, unconscious but still alive, and killed outdoors. Three of the female victims were severely mutilated while outdoors. Only one of the murdered male victims was mutilated indoors. All of the victims were posed in a similar manner. Six of the murdered female victims had a "sharp object" inserted into their ears. The series of murders ended with the killing of two white women, Eula Phillips, age 17, and Susan Hancock, who was attacked while sleeping in the bed of her sixteen year-old daughter, on the night of 24 December 1885." (Source)
Sometimes the weapon was an ax, a few of the victims were stabbed in the face with some kind of spike. The killer usually knocked them out, then dragged them outdoors to mutilate them, though the MO was subtly different in each and every case. 
The victims of the crimes were “servant girls” – usually young, African-American women who at that time were commonly employed as domestic servants in many Austin households. The epithet “servant girl murders” is perhaps something of a misnomer – one of the victims was male, the boyfriend of one of the slain women; one victim was a child, the daughter of a servant who was herself attacked but not killed; and the last two victims were married white women, neither of them servants. (Source)
Popularly known as the "Servant Girl Annihilator," the murders stopped abruptly after the final two victims on Christmas Eve, 1885, and no one was ever charged. The case remains unsolved.

Three years later, the now world-famous murders in Whitechapel began. The tie between the two cases came because a "Malay cook" was named as a suspect in the Jack-the-Ripper case. He reportedly was employed three years earlier in 1885 at a hotel in Austin Texas. 
...investigated the matter, calling on Mrs. Schmidt, who kept the Pearl House, near the foot of Congress Avenue opposite the Union depot, 3 years ago. It was ascertained that a Malay cook calling himself Maurice had been employed at the house in 1885 and that he left some time in January 1886. It will be remembered that the last of the series of Austin women murders was the killing of Mrs. Hancock and Mrs. Eula Phillips, the former occurring on Christmas eve 1885, just before the Malay departed, and that the series then ended... (Source)
One of the most interesting things about this case is that it predates Jack the Ripper (supposedly the world's first serial killer) and H.H. Holmes (America's first serial killer). The annals of crime are more complicated than they seem!

For full information on the case, visit ServantGirlMurders.com, the Crime Library, or Wikipedia.

What do you think? Could Jack the Ripper and the Servant Girl Annihilator have been one and the same? 


  1. I have never heard of this one, but it's probably because it involved servant girls.

    1. Yeah it's definitely a more obscure one. Thanks Maurice! :D