It was an orange sunset, October evening in Whitechapel, but George Lusk, hurried to 1 Alderney Road, Mile End without glancing at the picturesque setting. A nagging feeling that he was being watched clawed at him.
‘Honey, isn’t it a lovely evening?’His wife would have said. But today, his eldest son commented on the evening. “You seem to be a hurry father?” Lusk just continued to close all the windows and lock the doors. “It very well might be son” he said back, grunting at the effort it took to close the old pane window.
“You’re reading the paper again?”He asked his son. At the mention of the paper in his hands, His son tossed the paper on the nearby side table and jumped up from the sofa seat, pacing, a thin line of sweat covering his brow.
“They found two bodies on the 30th”He said, his voice hushed and hurried as he went along, almost scared someone might listen in. “Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, both within an hour”
“Where?”His father asked, although Lusk already knew, he just wanted his son to be able to tell someone. “Dutfield’s Yard and Mitre Square”. Lusk nodded, deciding to retire to his bedroom for the night.
That’s when they heard a knock on the door.
His son volunteered to open it, but Lusk stopped him, he motioned for him to leave it be and follow him to his bedroom. Lusk then called the police.
Lusk described the situation as ‘a sinister bearded man following him’ it led to speculation, but the police at first refrained from giving him help. His son claiming all of this might be connected to the Jack the Ripper fell on deaf ears as he only preyed on prostitutes. They did not get the police protection Lusk so badly wanted.
Things did quiet down though, apart from the occasional conversation about the news with Albert about the killings, things were normal at 1 Alderney Road, Mile End. Which led Lusk to think that the maybe he was being paranoid.
He was proved wrong on the 15th of October. The day progressed on slowly for Lusk, but the nagging feeling of being followed was back. So Lusk retied early that night, with a nice bottle of Chardonnay to save himself from his own paranoia.
“Father” A voice shouted, a few knocks on the door and Lusk woke up with a start.
He hurriedly got up and opened the door, trying to ignore the raging headache he suddenly had. Albert stood there, a packet in his hand.
“It’s for you” He said, extending the brown packet top Lusk. Lusk took it gingerly, not knowing why someone would post this to him this time of the night.
“Where did this come from?”He asked, placing it down
“Twas at the doorstep” Albert explained, eyeing the packet himself.
Lusk nodded, “You should go to bed” He told his son.
Albert stood there though, not moving for a very long time. Lusk waited patiently for him to leave too. Something told him he did not want to open it with Albert in the room.
It was almost midnight when Lusk opened the packet. And he was very thankful Albert wasn’t around to see it.
Blood dripped as soon as he opened it. A cold, bean shaped organ dropped out of the packet.
Lusk stood shocked. It was kidney. An actual human kidney. Someone had posted him a kidney. With a letter written in what he assumed to be, blood.
I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you the other piece I fried and ate it was very nice. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a while longer
Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk”
Sweat broke out on Lusk’s brow, all kinds of possibilities, possibilities in which he would end up dead, flashed before his eyes, finally stopped by a tap on the door. He shoved the letter along with the bloody kidney into his desk drawer and opened the door.
His eldest son stood there again, Lusk contemplated telling him about the letter when he remembered, his freak out. The newspapers were full of Jack the Ripper conspiracies’ and speculations. There were people who hated Lusk, a lot of them. For all George knew it might have been a joke. A sick practical joke. He decided to keep it to himself for now. It helped him sleep that night.
But he couldn’t for long, the Vigilance Committee meeting was the next day. He showed the committee the letter as the Chairperson of the Vigilance committee, he felt he had to. So he showed the committee members, the gruesome letter. Ready to throw both the letter and the kidney in question out after that. The more time passed the more he was convinced it was just a joke.
But the committee didn’t agree. Joseph Aarons, William Harris, Reeves and Lawton came over to inspect the letter and the kidney the next day. They succeeded in persuading Lusk to not throw the letter away and hand it in for inspection.
But Lusk didn’t want the police to know about the letter just yet. He had experienced their need for proof for justice, beforehand. He did not fancy being slapped twice.
“Show it to someone else then, have a private investigator” Aarons suggested.
That piqued his interest. He was curious about it and the local surgeon looked like the best person to show the letter to.
The letter was taken to Doctor Frederick Wiles, but came back with no outcomes as Wiles was out at that time. Lusk and his fellow Committee members decided to hand it over to Wiles’ assistant, F S Reed.
A few weeks later Lusk came to know about another letter.
This time addressed to Dr. Thomas Openshaw.
Reed had examined the letter, its contents and the kidney. Horrified he took it to Dr. Thomas Openshaw. The preceding doctor at the London Hospital. Who had in turn concluded that the kidney was indeed human and a left one at that. The conclusion had put Lusk and his family in deep turmoil, though they finally got the police protection they had wanted. What everyone also got, was another letter.
This time signed Jack the Ripper very clearly.
Old boss you was rite it was the left kidny i was goin to hoperate agin close to your ospitle just as i was going to dror mi nife along of er bloomin throte them cusses of coppers spoilt the game but i guess i wil be on the job soon and will send you another bit of innerds
Jack the Ripper
O have you seen the devle with his mikerscope and scalpul a-lookin at a kidney with a slide cocked up.