TLC's "The Ultimate 10 Unsolved Crime Mysteries" Message Board: Zodiac Media: TLC's "The Ultimate 10 Unsolved Crime Mysteries"

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Sunday, March 11, 2001 - 06:05 pm:

This is the thread for everyone to post their thoughts on The Learning Channel's "The Ultimate 10 Unsolved Crime Mysteries."

By Maxson (Maxson) ( - on Sunday, March 11, 2001 - 08:23 pm:

Did you notice how they used clips from the Case Reopened documentary? That and Zodiac used a shotgun in one of the clips. I actually didn't expect Zodiac to be 1st. I'll bet if he were watching (pending his being alive) he is a giddy as a school girl right now.

By calyth ( - on Sunday, March 11, 2001 - 08:44 pm:

I was rather surprised that you guys are expecting people watching the Ultimate 10 would read your website, because you guys pretty much nailed down the date and time, at least for the Toronto's time...
Anyway, It's particularly interesting that the ciphers used is a 32 char cipher, because one usually uses symbol to substitute for the 26 characters. In this case as shown on Ultimate 10, it seems that the Zodiac did use this method, however, what is the leftover 6 characters? Could it be a combination of other symbols? or could it be the number of letters required to make up the killer's name?
I'm not exactly that interested in the murders, and frankly, I'm a bit jumpy after reading your site because I'm a frady cat..... But that cipher thing really interests me, and why isn't a part of the site that shows this?

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 01:16 am:

I don't think the Z case deserved a #1 ranking.
Jack the Ripper should always claim that spot, followed by Green River. (Due to the huge number of victims.)

On a side note, TLC spent almost three hours filming in my apartment, only to use about five seconds of footage. At least they showed my Web address...

By Robert Despain ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 02:41 am:

the codes on the main page, are they the same ones that noones been able to crack?

By Ronnie P. ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 04:22 am:

Watching the special on TLC promted me to this website good advertisement. You also have a very nice website. Looking over your site I've come to the conclusion in my opinion that Arthur is the Z. If you look at his letters his w's are all the same then go to his handwriting sample and check them out. Also the Z liked to jokingly repeat himself and Arthur in my opinion repeated the word "more" intentionally in his handwriting sample. I have a background in law and only someone with any type of security or law background like Arthur had would know to keep a light on the victims in order to blind them to get close enough to shoot point blank. One more thought it may sound silly but where did Arthur live in conjuction to the SFPD? Because of the fact when he made that O symbol in one of his letters he placed the words SFPD=0 on the bottom left and he placed the words =13 on the top right of the symbol. Then later used the symbol as a compass. JUST A THOUGHT. Again nice site.

By LEMAT ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 08:14 am:

I agree that the top three mysteries should have been Jack the Ripper, The Zodiac killer, and the Green River killer. (note that there are theories that the Zodiac and The Green River killers are the same person weak as they may be) I cannot concede a number one ranking just because of the number of victims. Both Jack the Ripper and The Green River killers attacked a similar type of person 'ladies of the night' prominently, the Zodiac killer random attacked and threatened the lives of a variety of people. To me this makes this case more of a priority because it affect every common person, i.e. you didn't have to be a prostitute or say a nurse to be attacked.
With that fact if the three cases were all ongoing at the same time the the most dangerous of the three crimes would in fact be the Zodiac, therefore it would probably be the number one priority of any task force.
Furthermore, the Zodiac killer openly taunted the police giving clues to his identity.
For these reasons I would have to say that The Zodiac killer should be ranked number one followed by The Green River killer and Jack the Ripper

By Bruce (Bruce_D) ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 08:47 am:

I used to be one of the regular posters to this site but now I basically just read the messages.
I,too, would put JACK THE RIPPER at NO.1. I've read many books and accounts from other sources of the Ripper case and agree with the FBI agent who appeared on THE ULTIMATE TEN that the RIPPER was AARON KOSMINSKI.
Three reasons for the case against Kosminski:
1) He was the only person ID'D by a witness as conversing with a victim just before she died.
2) When he was taken off the streets and put in an asylum, the killings stopped(They had him in for questioning before but released him)
3) To me and the most compelling was that as soon as Kosminski was taken off the streets,without fanfare, all the extra uniformed police and undercover police were removed from Whitechapel-The killings stopped!

Bruce D.

By Mike ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 10:28 am:

The TLC show was good except that in an hour timeframe it is difficult to do justice (no pun intended)to the cases chosen. Also, there should have been the guidelines and "selection" committe, the how/why on each case was picked and ranked. I probably would selected Jack the Ripper as #1 (he does stand the "test of time")with (not in this order)Hoffa, Zodiac, JonBenet and Tylenol as the other top "5". GreenRiver while intriguing becuase of the number of victims is still relatively "unknown" to the rest of the nation and has not gotten the noterity of the others. The Boston Strangler's rank hinges on whether DeSalvo is teh Strangler or not; if NO, then The Boston Strangler moves up to top 2 or 3 while if YES then the case doesn't belong. A notable omission was Senator Percey's daughter; remember when she was killed back in the late 60's, early 70's (I forget the actual time). I do not believe that case was ever resolved.By the way, for what it is worth: Allen was ZODIAC !!!!!

By Stevie Allen ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 01:09 pm:

I too believe Allen was the Zodiac Killer. And to me, the Green river killer should have been ranked above the Zodiac. After all, they did not even know he was human till finding a footprint. I don't know how many he killed before that, but it was more than the zodiac killed all together.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 06:22 pm:

To be quite honest, I was quite surprised to find that Z was ranked at #1. That spot, as Tom said, should be reserved for Jack the Ripper, who I was equally surprised to find ranked so low at #9! Z should have been between #2 and #5, as with the Green River Killer (and not a #7). In any case, Z's ranking at #1 is certain to help with the case.

Some have been long forgotten, such as Marilyn Sheppard; I didn't realize who she was until they mentioned Dr. Sam Sheppard, the inspiration for two series and a movie entitled The Fugitive. In fact, were it not for Hollyweird's interest in perpetuating the case through TV and the movies (obviously because of ratings and the $$$ it makes them), I find it doubtful that Marilyn Sheppard's murder would have even come close to the top ten.

In any case, The Ultimate 10 Unsolved Crime Mysteries was about informative as a show that profiles a crime about every four and a half minutes can be. I understand the constraints of time, etc, and I'm not knocking the format either (I've rather enjoyed the few The Ultimate 10 programs I've seen), but that's about the only downside to the show. All in all, however, it was a good show, and should help to keep these cases in the public eye, especially the more recent cases, specifically the one relevant to this message board: the Zodiac!

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 07:39 pm:

Something that occurred to me: what happened to the Black Dahlia? Or what about Eliot Ness' other arch nemesis, the Torso Killer? Or what about the Axeman of New Orleans? I realize that the show is called The UltimateTen, and therefore they can only have ten cases, but I'm curious as to how they arrived at their top ten. And I'm certain that others will have their own ideas as to which cases should have been included as well.

By AF 9 ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 08:26 pm:

Man, that show was wack. I agree, the Zodiac Killer should not have taken #1. I agree completely with Tom Voight. First comes Jack the Ripper. Then the Green River Killer. The Ramsey case at # 2? Give me a break!!! Oh well, at least they didn't include O.J.'s case. If any one would like more information about who the Zodiac really is, and how I know this, please respond to this message.

By AF 9 ( - on Monday, March 12, 2001 - 08:32 pm:

Oh yeah, the Tylenol poisonings aren't that difficult to figure out if you know where to look for clues.......

By scott ( - on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 08:39 am:

I think TLC names Zodiac the #1 unsolved mystery because they foresee the case being solved in the near future. At that time, they can do a "The Greatest Unsolved Mystery:Solved" show.I think they belive as well as most that Arthur Lee Allen
was Zodiac and that when DNA tests are returned the will confirm this belief.

By Bruce (Bruce_D) ( - on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 09:32 am:

That's a good angle,Scott. I never thought of it that way. If you and TLC are right ,that would surely jack up the ratings for the show. Sometimes, I can't see the forest through the trees.
Bruce D.

By Richard ( - on Tuesday, March 13, 2001 - 01:46 pm:

I disagree with Tom's assessment, although I do agree that Jack the Ripper should have been nearer the top.

The Zodiac Killer deserves number one due to the following:

1. Sheer, unadulterated panic across ALL of Northern California (versus a small section of London or a strip of highway connecting Seattle and Tacoma)--take it from someone who knows! I was a kid at that time in the Bay Area and you were constantly looking over your shoulder.
2. The unpredictability of victimology, some real and some implied by the killer (i.e., school buses of children).
3. The blatant and taunting use of the media by the killer. Up to that point, it had rarely ever been done. (Remember, the letters from Jack the Ripper to the London newspaper are considered by most--including John Douglas in his latest book--to be fakes.)
4. The fact the Killer kept communicating long after the murders attributed to him were committed, keeping the "story" going.
5. The creepiness factor! It's one thing to blitz-attack prostitutes; quite another to show up next to a couple picnicing in broad daylight wearing a freaking black hood with markings! bbbbrrrrrrrr...

By Barry (Barry) ( - on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 12:14 pm:

Hello, from deep in the south, been reading for quite a while now and though Z is
not the case that most interest me( that would
be Green River ) I think this site is the
most important one of its kind today if for
no other reason it gets things done, or at
least started. I know Tom, doesnt like it
when other cases are mention so I took advantage
of this thread to break the ice and say that I
hope becomes reality very soon, with
or without the cooperation of King County.

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 02:56 pm:

I'm surprised that Realtor has not yet commented on his JonBenet Ramsey/Zodiac connection in relation to The Ultimate Ten. She was #2, and Z was #1. Although why her murder is considered unsolved is beyond me; I think it's pretty obvious which person(s) is/are responsible...

By Esau (Esau) ( - on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 06:26 pm:

I'm not sure if it should be The Green River Killer or Zodiac as number one. GRK has a good beat but I can't dance to him.

By Alan Cabal (Alan) ( - on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 06:59 pm:

GRK lacks imagination.

By TerraNova ( - on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 07:15 pm:

His actual ability may have been different when he wasnt doing his thing. For instance he may have sprayed the victims at Blue springs just to see the reaction. If he was evolving as a killer he may have been trying to get a different "thrill" each time out. his ability is really in the 7 range. Keep this in mind trained police officers often have very low hit ratios in real shooting situations as opposed to what they can do on the range. It is interesting to note that Z did move to a more powerful weapon after Lake Herman perhaps he thought that the situation was slipping away. So closer range and more fire power for future crimes.


yeah...somebody did the homework !!!

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 08:35 pm:

TerraNova wrote:
"It is interesting to note that Z did move to a more powerful weapon after Lake Herman ... So closer range and more fire power for future crimes."

Now that's the kind of point that we need more of around here.

"This is the Zodiac Speaking..."

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Wednesday, March 14, 2001 - 09:10 pm:

You are all wrong...again. The worst crime of the century is, in my humble opinion, the murder of Elizabeth Short (aka "The Black Dahlia"). I mean, come on, she was hot and she was a "wild chick". Tragic! In this day of ultra-conservative, SUV- driving soccer moms whose idea of outrageous sexuality is swirling their bloated tongues around the rim of their Starbucks coffee cups, the death of Short is all the more poignant.
p.s. I am still here...for better or worse.

By Bryan (The_Giant) ( on Thursday, March 15, 2001 - 11:33 am:

Oscar Oscar Oscar...

By John Doe ( - on Friday, March 16, 2001 - 05:14 pm:

Yeah when I was watching the special on TLC I kept telling my Mom and brother that either Jack the Ripper, The Boston Strangler, or The zodiac but as I saw the first 3 killers on there I knew it was going to be the Zodiac. I had previously saw a special all about the Zodiac killer earlier that week with my Mom and I found it entertaining and I became infatuated with the Zodiac. I mean he was way ahead of his time and very skillful, although I think it is funny how some officials believe that the Zodiac might be apart of the Manson family killings or the killings in Texas only a couple of years before the killings in California.

By Tom Slatin ( - on Saturday, March 17, 2001 - 05:11 pm:

The zodiac cyphers are interesting. Is there a key available to decode them? I was watching TLC's special this evening and was wondering how they were able to deciper the code.


By BrendaZattoni ( - on Saturday, March 17, 2001 - 06:42 pm:

I agree with you Tom, the Ripper should be #1, but also think that the police knew who he was at the time. I think they were embarrassed that they screwed up somewhere. If anyone knows of a general site about unsolved mysterys or killers, etc. please let me know. Great site, keep up the good work!!!!!!!!! Brenda

By NEIL WHITE ( - on Saturday, March 17, 2001 - 08:24 pm:

i also agree the ripper should be #1 on the top 10 list ialso agree he is the first serial killer, but the one fact not mentioned was that the killer was in the medical field. the one thing not said was that he was the most brutal and grossem killer to this date. no one even dommer compaired to the ripper. the zodiac is nothing special except for his creative letters.
ted bundy had more flair this guy just walked up and shot or stabbed people.

By Sara M ( - on Saturday, March 17, 2001 - 09:36 pm:

hey everyone! im new here. i just saw a friends tape of the TLC program. i did a little researching online, and i was curious about the "red phantom" letter. the hand writing on this letter looks nothing like Z's other writing. how come this letter was attributed to Z? thanks everyone!

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Saturday, March 17, 2001 - 10:48 pm:

Sara, please register and then start a new thread in the Letters section for that question.

By Jennifer (Jackyl1) ( - on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 12:23 am:

Jack deserves the number one spot, but I would put Z right behind him. It has never been proven that Jack the Ripper was in the medical field, and it isn't very likely. That is speculation only. And declaring someone the most GRUESOME killer ever is only an opinion. DAHMER cut out brains (among other things) and ate them! I think that is a little more psychotic than the Ripper's actions (not to say that his were normal). Of course that is only my opinion....
The fact that you think Ted Bundy had more "flair," as you put it, has nothing to do with it. The point is not that Z is "special" to use your word, it's that the Zodiac has never been caught! That's why it was on a list of crimes that have remained UNSOLVED.

By Alan Cabal (Alan) ( - on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 11:48 am:

The Zodiac texts are in a class by themselves. No other killer has communicated in such a brilliantly crafted ambiguous way. The number of interpretations available for the texts is pretty astounding.

By Sara M ( - on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 12:21 pm:

i am experiencing some sort of computer snafu. i am unable to send or recieve e-mail. i'm sorry i asked my question in the wrong section....could somebody maybe start a new thread for me to answer my "red phantom letter" question? thanks!

By Leah Hollingshead ( - on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 05:15 pm:

Why was the Black Dahlia not one of the ten cases?

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( - on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 06:33 pm:

Jennifer wrote "And declaring someone the most GRUESOME killer ever is only an opinion. DAHMER cut out brains (among other things) and ate them! I think that is a little more psychotic than the Ripper's actions (not to say that his were normal)."

I take it you've never actually scene the crime scene photo of what Jack the Ripper did to his victims? I'm not even sure the word "ripper" is a strong enough word....

By Jennifer (Jackyl1) ( - on Sunday, March 18, 2001 - 07:12 pm:

Kevin, yes, I've seen crime scene pics from at least two Ripper victims and several of Dahmer's. I didn't say he was not gruesome. What is your problem? I said in my statement "OF COURSE THAT IS ONLY MY OPINION...."
This site isn't about JTR anyway, so Tom should just erase the whole thing.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( - on Monday, March 19, 2001 - 06:01 pm:

No problem here. You said that what Dahmer did was more psychotic that JTR, and I said, no, not really. Disembowling someone, cutting up their private parts, and putting em' on the table next to the bed is just as psychotic, maybe more. This being a message board, don't take it personally if someone doesn't agree with YOUR OPINION, as there are others.

By Sara M ( - on Monday, March 19, 2001 - 07:09 pm:

you people are off topic. why do i have to start a new thread? i cannot send e-mail! i am really curious about the "red phantom" letter! i didnt mean to post on an off topic thread! please help me! just because i am not a freelance private dick doesnt mean that i'm not interested!i dont think i'm asking a question that would have been answered had i read the graysmith book. and i have read the "zodiac" book. i went straight to borders and bought it. right after the show.but i still dont understand why the "red phantom" letter has been attributed to zodiac. somebody please help me. i will never ask another question. thanks guys! sara m

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) ( - on Monday, March 19, 2001 - 08:16 pm:

Sara, why don't you try REGISTERING?
Then, you can click the "Getting Started" link below and be up to speed with everyone else.

By Jennifer (Jackyl1) ( - on Monday, March 19, 2001 - 10:46 pm:

Kevin, I didn't mean to get hostile, which I did. My point is that you are indicating that I am wrong. I am not wrong, I just am more grossed out by Dahmer. And he did many of those same things. No big deal. I was just in a mood. Apologies all around. I hope we can still be civil. I really did not mean to snap at you.

And Sara, you may want to read through some of the other threads re: the red phantom letter, I am pretty sure it's discussed elswhere. Click on "keyword search," and something may come up. If you don't find anything, I am sure someone will help you out. In the meantime you may not want to come busting in here calling everyone "you people." If Tom has a problem with our straying conversation, he can deal with it. Jenn

By TxCowboy ( - on Tuesday, March 20, 2001 - 01:45 pm:

I agree that "Saucy Jacky" aka. Jack the Ripper should have been #1, but I do not agree that it was Kosminsky. Do any of ya'll study the Ripper case, and if so, do you ever go to the Jack the Ripper Casebook website. It's about the best site for the Ripper. As to Zodiac, I wonder just who he paid off not to get caught. There were more screw ups in this case than the London police ever thought of making in 1888. They should have caught him a long time ago. That's the only problem with the Top Ten, is that they couldn't go enough in depth to cover all the aspects of the cases. The show was informative for the time alotted, but I wish I could have seen more on each of the cases.

Oh, and by the way, the Torso Killer didn't have anything to do with Elliot Ness. The Torso Killer opperated in London about the same time as the Ripper killings,and the victims are being investigated to see if they were ripper killings or someone else.

By NEIL WHITE ( - on Tuesday, March 20, 2001 - 04:49 pm:

I know that jack was off topic and this thread was regarding the top ten on tlc.
i still think jack is the most gruesomme killer despite dahmer had sex with young gay males and then chopped them up. any murder is gross.
the zodiac is unique in style. the letters are very interesting and creative.

By Jud Johnston ( - on Tuesday, March 20, 2001 - 07:49 pm:

I thought the show was a reasonable sample, although I might have had a couple different choices. JTR should stay on the list, because it will probably never be 100% solved. The Sheppard case was picked because it engendered "The Fugitive". I think it's pretty likely that Richard Eberling was the culprit in that one, and would have picked the Karen Silkwood or Valerie Percy case instead. It seemed to me that the Texarkana Phantom was pretty well identified, but the crimes are the first of their type, so OK.

On to the Zodiac. This is the most interesting, because many of the principals are still with us, and new evidence can still be developed.

And TxCowboy, there definitely was a Torso Killer who was the nemesis of Elliot Ness in Cleveland, after he left the Feds.

Maybe these folks will do a second ten including some of the ones mentioned. There are also some interesting cases from Hollywood, including Bob Crane, but I couldn't find my reference on those tonight.

By Kevin (Kevinrm) ( - on Tuesday, March 20, 2001 - 08:01 pm:

The Bob Crane case doesn't belong, as they know who did that here in Scottdale, Arizona. The cops bungled it and it couldn't be proven, but not much of a mystery...

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Tuesday, March 20, 2001 - 08:58 pm:

Gee, kinda sounds like the JonBenet Ramsey case...

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - 08:32 pm:

Just curious- did D.B. Cooper make the list? His crime seems all the more sensible today, what with the appalling in-flight service.

By Hurley (Hurley) ( - on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - 10:08 pm:

LOL, yes Oscar he did.

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - 11:38 pm:

Well, what did Cooper rank? Number five, eight, three..what? I have always found this case to be extremely interesting.
The Big O in Your Face

By Ed N (Ed_N) ( - on Wednesday, March 21, 2001 - 11:58 pm:

Oscar: D.B. Cooper came in at #4...

By Oscar (Oscar) ( - on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 12:05 am:

What about his luggage? No.#6, 7..? United is still looking for my bag they lost three years ago. Talk about unsolved criminal activity! Almost makes me wanna' buy some dynamite and...oops! Never mind. Love the world!

By Peter_H (Peter_H) ( on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 09:07 am:

Real Trivia:

I could have sworn TLC narrator pronounced Mageau's name "may-hew". Is this right?

By Jake (Jake) ( - on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 09:30 am:

I've heard MAY-hew, ma-JOE, ma-GOE, and ma-GOO. It looks French, so I say ma-JOE.


By Jud Johnston (Jud) ( - on Thursday, March 22, 2001 - 09:36 am:

I heard the same thing. Always thought it was mah-go'.

Speaking of the Cooper case, does anyone know if the flight crew were shown photos of the Pensacola man who claimed on his deathbed to be Cooper? His wife had photos of him earlier in life, sems like it would be a quick resolution.

By BFree (Bfree) ( - on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 - 09:47 am:

I agree with ED and find the case of the Torso Murderer particularly fascinating and believe this case should surely be among the top unsolved crimes. It's a mystery to me why it did not achieve the same notoriety as Zodiac. Perhaps the fact that it took place in Cleveland in the thirties had something to do with it!

Tex, Elliot Ness did investigate this case, perhaps the same name was used for this murderer as another in history. In any event, just my two cents as a new poster to the board.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 - 09:57 am:

Ness said that, for him, the case was definitively "solved". I agree. There appears to be little doubt who it was.
I have to go taech a class, otherwise I'd post a bit more.

By BFree (Bfree) ( on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 - 08:04 pm:

Sylvie, thanks for responding. Having read most of what's available on the case including the most recent "In the Wake of The Butcher" by James Badal, I'd agree with you that Ness certainly thought he knew who the murderer was. However, his conclusions were not based on any physical evidence that tied his suspect to the crime but instead on a lie detector test (a technology literally in it's infancy at the time) adminstered to the suspect, who was locked in a Cleveland hotel for five days. Additionally, the detective who was assigned exclusively to the case for half a decade rejected this suspect.

In any event, the case is officially unsolved, and to me parallells Zodiac in the way that both have likely suspects but leave us short of absolute certainty. That fact certainly makes for interesting discussions! BTW, if you are a fan of the genre, I highly recommend Badal's book, it's truly a fascinating case.

Thanks again for your post.

By Zander Kite (Zk) ( - on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 12:09 pm:

In that case, it appears that the murderer was a man riding the rails with long blond hair. He would offer to do drugs,drink with people as his approach. And he was connected in this way to other murders, I think New Castle, PA was the place.

By Sylvie (Sylvie14) ( - on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 05:48 pm:

Ness's suspect was a very good possibility indeed.
There were peculiarities about this serial killer that fit SUNDHEIM to a tee.
The perp, as Zander posted was blond, wore a size 12 shoe (unlike Zodiac there were many shoeprints at different crime scenes.) The killer was huge, with enormous strength, and it was evident looking at the prints he walked with a limp.
This perfectly describes Sundheim, and as well he had a medical background. He also had an office in the Cleveland slum district, but as he came from a "good family" would not have been suspected by the male/female prostitutes that he killed.
The crimes continued to occur after Sundheim was committed to a mental hospital. However, the crimes all coincided with his excursions. He also came from a wealthy family that heavily influenced authorities.
At the end of the day, Ness knew he was stuck, at the time the criminal system was similar to England at the time of Jack the Ripper: if a perp was already officially committed to an insane asylum, they could not be prosecuted (this enabled Kosminski to escape prosecution.)
The best Ness could hope for was to end the excursions, and mercifully Sundheim died two years after committment which coincided with the end of the Torso murders.
Yes, I am very much fascinated with this genre and I will check out Badal's book.
I actually hope to be teaching a class on serial killers at some point in the future, we're trying to work it out as a History course.
BTW, as far as "officially unsolved" goes, I believe there are many cases with that status, however many detectives will give you a different story. Ex: speaking to some detectives I met from the LAPD, I was told that told me the Black Dalia murder unofficially "solved" and who it was, but that's perhaps another thread.

By BFree (Bfree) ( - on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 - 09:46 pm:

The Ness suspect has actually been identified as one Dr. Sweeney whose cousin was indeed a congressman from Cleveland. The remaining details you outline are very familiar to me, although, I suggest the Badal book for getting the most accurate account. For instance, the police were unable to accurately track the times Sweeney came and went once institutionalized, and he lived longer than two years after being institutionalized. Interestingly, the lead detective on the Torso case, Peter Merylo, whose never before released files were a primary source for Badal's book categorically rejected Dr. Sweeney as a suspect.

Your comparison to The Ripper case is an excellent one. I only recently became aware that Badal gave a lecture at the annual US Jack The Ripper Conference with Donald Rumbelow, author of The Complete Jack The Ripper, on the similarities between the two cases!

You've peeked my curiosity about The Dahlia! I remember seeing something recently on TLC or A&E but I could not recall if I was persuaded of the guilt of any one of the suspects. I look forward to your posts on the subject!

By Linda (Linda) ( - on Wednesday, October 30, 2002 - 02:42 am:

I thought I saw a headline on a news scroll (I believe on MSNBC) yesterday or the day before that indicated that DNA has solved the Jack the Ripper case identifying Walter Sickert, the Impressionist Artist. I was trying to find a full story on this, but haven't seen anything. Did anyone else hear about this? I know the famous mystery author, Patricia Cornwell has been absorbing the costs for DNA testing to prove her theory is right. Her research has been impressive, to say the least. I'd love to know if her theory has finally been confirmed.

By Zander Kite (Zk) ( - on Wednesday, October 30, 2002 - 03:02 pm:

I read that they got DNA from the letters that suggest that a lot of the letters were delivered by the same person. I also read that Sickert was cremated and so they don't have his DNA to compare with.