Jack-the-Shadow Wiki

Although eleven men were murdered around the time of the Shadow's reign, there were five victims that stood apart from the rest. The Canonical Five, as they were known, are believe to have all been murdered by the same hand. All five victims, rent boys of the Hulme district of Manchester, shared distinct and similar wounds, as well as post-mortem organ removal and mutilations in some cases. Other victims in the Hulme Murders investigations had been brutally murdered as well, but none were carried out with the same precision and methodology as the Canonical Five.

These five victims were all killed under cover of darkness, typically in the early morning hours. All of these murders also occurred on a weekday, or within one day of, and happened towards the end of the month, or within a week or so after.

Inspector Paul Woods, who had been Assistant Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police Service and Head of the Criminal Investigation Department, wrote a report in 1994 that stated: "The Hulme murderer had five victims & five victims only".

Coroner Mark Bond, also linked the killings together in a letter he'd written to Harold White, head of the Manchester CID, in September 1985.

Canonical Five

James Curtis

Body Found: 7am, June, 1985

Location: Corner Street alley, Hulme


The location of the corpse discovery.

The body of James Curtis was discovered one morning in June 1985, around 7am, by a woman walking her dog. She reported it to Greater Manchester Police, who carried out an investigation to find the killer. His body was found in an alleyway off Corner Street, in Hulme. The woman who discovered the corpse was called Lynda Cross, who first noticed Curtis, when walking her dog. At first she was not sure if he was either passed out drunk or dead, but after some observation it was evident that he had been murdered and mutilated. Feeling very queasy about what she had just stumbled upon, she hurried off to alert the police on a public phone box.

About twenty minutes later, he was discovered by PC John Miles while passing through the alley. He too reported the corpse and rung for a coroner. He described the body as looking "lifeless, with eyes staring up into the morning sky".

His throat had been severed and his abdomen partially ripped open by a deep, jagged wound. The killer had also made several other incisions in his abdomen with the same knife. The coroner who arrived at the scene to examine his body had deemed his time of death to be less than half an hour from the time he'd been found by Cross.

Samuel Nicholls

Body Found: 8am, June 1985

Location: James Street alley, Hulme


Alleyway just off James Street, where Nicholls' body was discovered.

Believed to be Jack the Shadow's second victim, Samuel Nicholls's murder was the most gruesome of all the Hulme Murders. He was found horrifically mutilated, lying on the ground in an alleyway off James Street, in Hulme. He was discovered by a man on his way to work. The man was later identified as Gerald Young, who reported the body to Greater Manchester Police in June 1985, around 8am.

Inspector Faith Anderson conducted interviews with the residents of the area, who may have seen something suspicious, although they all denied they had encountered anything. Although one woman, claimed she saw the killer's shadow, slowly vanishing into the darkness, but never actually saw the killer.

Nicholls's body was mutilated beyond recognition, his entire abdominal cavity had been emptied out, his nipples were cut off, and his viscera had been had been deliberately placed under his head. Nicholls's face had been hacked away and his heart removed, some belief it was the same heart that was sent to Greater Manchester Police in August 1985. His murder was far the most grisly and ritualistic of all.

Hamish Chapman

Body Found: 6:30, July, 1985

Location: 29 Horseshoe Lane, Hulme

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Back garden of 29 Horseshoe Lane, where Chapman's body was discovered.

A witness reported seeing Hamish Chapman talking with a man outside 29 Horseshoe Lane, Hulme, 5:30am the morning of his murder. Frederick Cudlow, who lived at 27 Horseshoe Lane, reported hearing a man in the next door backyard say "No", followed by what sounded like a body falling against the fence. Approximately thirty minutes later, his badly mutilated body was found by dentist Harry Davies near a doorway in the back garden of 29 Horseshoe Lane.

His abdomen had been cut in much the same manner as Samuel Nicholls had been slashed, and his kidneys ripped entirely open. His intestines torn out and still attached, had been placed over his right shoulder.

Michael Stride

Body Found: 6:40, July 1985

Location: Horseshoe Lane, Hulme


Alleyway behind Horseshoe Lane, where Stride's body was discovered.

The Shadow would claim two victims in the early morning of July 1985, the first of which was Hamish Chapman, who Stride tried to protect from the Shadow. His body was discovered a few feet away from 29 Horseshoe Lane, ten minutes after Frederick Cudlow discovered Chapman. The killer had cut his throat, severing his left artery, yet not other slashes or incisions had been made.

Because of the absence of abdominal mutilations, there has been some doubts to whether or not Stride was in fact killed by Jack the Shadow. However, most experts agree that Stride was murdered by the same killer due to the nature in which his throat had been cut.

It's also believed that the reason Stride had not been mutilated like the others was due to an interruption of some sort. It’s possible the killer feared he was in jeopardy of being detected by nearby witnesses and elected to flee before finishing his ritual.

The Stride and Chapman murders were later referred to as the “Double Event“.

Edward Eddowes

Body Found: 8am, August, 1985

Location: Polperro Lane, Hulme

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Polperro Lane, the black outline is where Eddowes body was discovered.

Edward Eddowes was murdered in August 1985. He was found on Polperro Lane, Hulme, a passageway beneath a railway arch between Chamber Road and Smithcourt Street, with his throat slit. Visible wounds on the back of his head suggested that Eddowes was likely thrown to the ground after having suffered to knife wounds across his throat. Apart from the cuts to his throat, there were not mutilations to his body.

A man named Thomas James, who authorities believed to be Jack the Shadow, was arrested and charged with the murder, but was later released in August 1985, due to a lack of evidence.