The London Monster’s first recorded attack was on a woman named Maria Smyth. She was stabbed in the thigh and breast by an unknown assailant and had a nervous breakdown as a result (via Ancient Origins). Some women claimed that the man told them some crude things before he hurt them. The London Monster had several tricks up his sleeve. In some cases, he kicked unsuspecting women from behind while wearing shoes with spikes, and other times he hid a sharp weapon in a bouquet of flowers and stabbed women in the face, as reported by Wales Online. Women started wearing copper petticoats, pots, and corks under their skirts to avoid getting slashed.
The victims gave varying descriptions in regard to the London Monster’s hair color, height, and the way he dressed, and it was highly suspected that he made use of wigs and different types of clothing to avoid being properly identified and captured, according to Strand Magazine. Some journalists suspected that the London Monster was a pickpocket who accidentally stabbed the women while attempting to slash their skirts, but it was also suggested that the perpetrator had piquerism, a rare disorder wherein a person gains sexual gratification from cutting, slicing, or stabbing someone else’s flesh, per the Journal of Forensic Sciences. By 1790, there were more than 50 reports of attacks (fortunately no fatalities) by the London Monster, and in June of that year, a suspect was arrested.