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My knife's so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck. Yours truly Jack the Ripper.
Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper was a British serial killer (possibly prolific) and possible cannibal active in London during the late 1800s. He is widely considered the world's first and most infamous modern serial killer, mainly because he was never caught or even identified.

Background

"Jack" as he called himself, was active in the Whitechapel district of London, England during the late 1800s. Whitechapel itself was known as a Red Light District of the city; meaning that it was a haven for prostitutes, drug addicts, and gangsters. The London Metropolitan Police estimated that there were 62 brothels and 1,200 active prostitutes at any given time, every one of them a potential target of a serial killer.

The prostitutes that inhabited the Whitechapel District could stay at various common lodging houses; known as "Doss Houses" for one or two shillings a night and were often told to leave if they were unable to provide the money. They were often targeted by gangs who threaten to harm them if they were unable to provide any "protection" money.

Following the assassination of the Russian Tsar; Alexander II in 1881, many Jewish families from all over Eastern Europe immigrated to Britain to escape anti-Semitic persecution that took place, many of them settling down and working in the Whitechapel District.

Involved chiefly in the investigation were inspector Frederick Abberline of the Metropolitan Police H Division based in Whitechapel and Medical Examiner Thomas Bond. They were unsuccessful in capturing or even identifying the Ripper.

Killings

Between the 3rd April 1888 and 18th February 1891, there were 11 separate murders of prostitutes, these were referred as the "Whitechapel Murders", some theorized that they were the work of The Ripper, but some of the victims had wounds that didn't matched the Ripper's MO.

The first victim attributed to The Ripper was 43-year-old Mary Ann Nichols. Known as "Polly", Nichols was born Mary Ann Walker on the 26th August 1845 to locksmith; Edward Walker and his wife, Caroline in London's West End district of Soho. On the 16th January 1864, Polly married a printer machinist, William Nichols and from 1866 to 1879, the couple had five children.

In late 1880, early 1881, Mary and William's marriage broke up, William continued to support Mary by sending her an weekly allowance of 5 shillings until 1882 when William heard that Mary was working as a prostitute and legally wasn't required to financially support her. By early 1888, Nichols undertook work as a domestic servant in Wandsworth, South London but left two months later with clothes worth £3.10s stolen from her employers.

Nichols was last seen alive at 2:30am on the 31st August 1888 by her roommate, Emily Holland on the intersection of the Whitechapel Road and the Osborne Road. Nichols told Holland that she had money for her lodgings but spent it repeatedly on alcohol, at 3:40 am, Nichols' body was found by a carmen; Charles Allen Cross in front a gated stable in Bucks Row.

At the inquest into Polly Nichols' death, the Coroner, Doctor Wynne Baxter stated that the she died from a neck wound caused by a knife with a moderate long sharp blade that was also used to mutilated Nichols' body, Dr. Baxter also stated that the killer was possible left-handed. Nichols was buried on the 6th September 1888.

Two days later on the 8th September 1888, market porter, John Davis who lived at 29 Hanbury Street in Spitalfields had found the body of 47-year-old Annie Chapman. Like Polly Nichols, Chapman was born Eliza Ann Smith in the district of Paddington in London's central area on the 25th September 1840 to soldier; George Smith and his wife, Ruth. On the 1st May 1869, Annie married coachman; John Chapman and from 1870 to 1880, they had three children. In 1882, their eldest child; Emily Ruth Chapman died from meningitis, by 1884, Annie and John's marriage broke up, after moving to Whitechapel in 1886, Annie was still receiving weekly payments of 10 shillings from John until his death on Christmas Day 1886. Annie was last seen alive at 5:30am on the 8th September by Elizabeth Long talking to a man near the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street, in her statement at the inquest, Mrs. Long stated that the man Annie was talking to was little taller than Annie, aged about 40 years old with dark hair and of a "foreign and genteel" appearance, with a deerstalker hat. Mrs Long remembered seeing Annie at that time as she heard the clock of a brewery located near the scene chime from striking the half hour.

Another witness, Albert Cadosch who lived next door at 27 Hanbury Street had reported that he heard a woman cried "No, no" followed by a sound of something fall against the fence dividing the yards of 27 and 29 Hanbury Street at 5:15am.

At the inquest into Anne Chapman's death held on the 10th September 1888, Dr. George Phillips stated that Chapman died from a wound to the neck caused by a knife with a blade about 6-8 cm long, most likely a bayonet-type weapon. Further medical evidence revealed that Annie Chapman's face was swollen and her tongue protruding, indicating that she had been asphyxiated as well. Dr Phillips testified that Annie Chapman was suffering from a advance stage of lung and brain diseases that would've killed her within months.

Anne Chapman was buried in a communal grave at Manor Park Cemetery in Forest Gates, London on the 14th September 1888. Two weeks after Annie Chapman's funeral on the 27th September 1888, the Central News Agency received a two-page letter riddled with spelling and grammatical errors allegedly from the killer. Entitled the Dear Boss letter, the author seemed to be taunting the investigators about their abilities to catch the killer.

Three days after the Dear Boss Letter was sent, on the 30th September 1888, the first of the "Double Event" victims was found, at 1am, a steward from the International Working Men's Educational Club at 40 Berner Street, Louis Diemschutz was pulling into the Dutfield's Yard off Berner Street adjacent to the International Working Men's Educational Club with his horse and cart when the horse abruptly pulled to the left. After getting off his cart, Diemschutz noticed a heap in the darkness, as he moved in closer, Diemschutz had discovered the body of 44-year-old Elizabeth Stride. Known as "Long Liz", Elizabeth Stride was born Elisabeth Gustafsdotter to farmer, Gustaf Ericsson and his wife, Beata Carlsdotter in the rural village of Stora Tumlehed, west of Gothenburg in Sweden on the 27 November 1843. Unlike the other Ripper's victims who were forced to turn to prostitution, Liz Stride became a prostitute at a early age. In March 1865, Liz was arrested for prostitution in Gothenburg, on the 21st April 1865, Liz gave birth to a stillborn girl. In late 1865, Liz received a inheritance of 65 krona following the death of her mother in 1864.

Using the inheritance, in February 1866, Liz moved to London where she briefly dated a police officer. On the 7th March 1869, Liz married ship's carpenter; John Stride. Several years into their marriage, the couple resided in the East India Dock Road area and ran a coffee shop in Polar until 1875 when John Stride had sold the coffee shop.

In 1877, Liz Stride was admitted to Polar Workhouse, after separating from John Stride in December 1881, Liz Stride was admitted to a Whitechapel workhouse infirmary after being diagnosed with bronchitis. In January 1882, Liz Stride was released from the infirmary and was believed to resided in a common lodging house on Flower and Dean Street in Whitechapel. On the 24 October 1884, John Stride died from tuberculosis at the Poplar and Stepney Sick Asylum. From 1885 to her death, Stride had began a relationship with a dock worker, Michael Kidney residing on occasion with Kidney at Kidney's home in Devonshire Street and her lodgings at Flower and Dean Street. In April 1887, Stride filed an assault charge against Kidney but the charge against Kidney was dropped when Stride failed to appear in court. Four days before her murder, on the 26 September 1888, Stride left Kidney after another argument.

About 45 minutes after the discovery of Liz Stride's body, the second of "The Double Event" victims was discovered. Police Constable Edward Watkins was on foot patrol in Mitre Square on the boundary line between Whitechapel and the City of London, a mile from the scene of Liz Stride's murder. At 1:44am, PC Watkins noticed a heap in the south-west corner of Mitre Square, as he got closer with his lamp, he discovered the mutilated body of 46-year-old Catherine Eddowes.

Known as Kate Conway and Kate Kelly, Eddowes was born in Graiseley Green, Wolverhampton on the 14th April 1842 to tinplate worker; George Eddowes and his wife, Catherine Evans. A year after Catherine's birth, the family moved to London where her parents bore more 10 children.

After the death of her parents in 1857, Catherine was admitted to a workhouse in Bermondsey as an orphan, Eddowes later left the workhouse and returned to Wolverhampton where an aunt found Eddowes a job as a tinplate worker until she was fired for allegedly theft. Eddowes then moved to Birmingham where she lived with an uncle and worked a tray polisher for four months before moving back to Wolverhampton and later returning to Birmingham nine months later. While living in Birmingham, Eddowes began a relationship with former soldier; Tom Conway in which they had two children.

In 1868, Eddowes and Conway moved back to London with their two children, shortly after moving to London, Eddowes gave birth to a third child, while in London, Eddowes began to drink heavily. In 1880, Eddowes left Tom and their children and by the following year, Eddowes began a relationship with John Kelly, residing in Kelly's lodgings at 55 Flower and Dean Street in Spitalfields, London.

As Eddowes' body was laying in the south-west corner of the Mitre Square in the City of London, the investigation into Eddowes' murder was carried out by Detective Inspector James McWilliam from the City of London Police. An hour into the investigation, the Metropolitan Police discovered an important piece of evidence. At 2:55am, Metropolitan Police Constable Alfred Long found a piece of Eddowes' blood stained apron in the stairway of 108-109 Model Dwellings in Goulston Street, Whitechapel.

Above the apron piece, was a message written in white chalk either on the wall or the black brick jamb of the doorway that read "The Juwes are the men who will not be blamed for nothing". Dubbed the Goulston Street Graffito, the message was removed under orders of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Charles Warren fearing that the message would spark anti-semitic riots.

The investigation in the Double Event murders of Stride and Eddowes had turned up a number of leads from witnesses, in the Stride murder, on the 29th September, Stride cleaned two rooms of her lodging house in which she was paid 6d. At 6:30pm, Stride and her landlady; Elizabeth Tanner briefly visited to the Queen's Head Pub on Commercial Street before heading back to the lodging house before going back out again.

Later eyewitness testimony place Stride in Whitechapel over the evening of the 29th September into the earlier hours of the 30th September in the company of various men, one reported seeing a male with Stride at 11pm near Berner Street. The witnesses described the male as short with a dark moustache, wearing a morning business suit with bowler hat.

Another witness, labourer William Marshall stated that he saw Stride talking to another male on the pavement opposite No. 58 Berner Street at about 11:45pm, Marshall described the male as "decently dressed" kissing Stride and reportedly said "You would say anything but your prayers" to Stride.

Another witness, Israel Schwartz reported to detectives that at 12:30am on the 30th September, he saw a woman who he identified as Liz Stride being pushed to the ground by a man. As he walked passed, the attacker noticed Schwartz and shouted the word "Lipski" to Schwartz.

At the time, the word Lipski was used as a ethic slur for the Jewish population stemming from the criminal trial and execution of Polish Jewish businessman, Israel Lipski who was hanged on the 22nd August 1887 for the poisoning murder of a pregnant woman named Miriam Angel that occurred a block from the Stride murder scene.

Schwartz then stated he also saw a man smoking a pipe nearby who then began to walk towards Schwartz, causing him to run from the scene. At 12:35am, Police Constable William Smith was on patrol when he saw Stride talking to a male opposite the International Working Men's Educational Club, PC Smith stated that the male wearing a hard felt hat and was carrying a parcel about 18 inches long.

Seeing it not as suspicious, PC Smith continued with his patrol beat towards Commercial Road, another witness, dockworker James Brown saw Stride talking to another male against a brick wall on the corner of Berner Street sometime between 12:35 and 12:45am, Brown described the male as average build wearing a long black coat. As Brown walked past, he heard Stride tell the man "No, not tonight. Some other night." A third witness, Fanny Mortimer, who lived two doors away from the International Working Men's Educational Club, was standing in Berner Street, listening to communal singing at the time of Stride's murder. While Mrs. Mortimer stated that she didn't see anyone entering or exiting Dutfield's Yard, she did mentioned that a man, carrying a black shiny bag had ran past her. While Mrs. Mortimer's description was in the newspaper, the man that Mrs. Mortimer saw, Leon Goldstein was identified as a member of the International Working Men's Educational Club and was dismissed as a suspect.

Suspects

There have been many theories concerning the identity of The Ripper, mostly involving royal figures, prominent businessmen, and even a female Jewish immigrant. These include, but are not limited to:

George Chapman, another English serial killer who also murdered women.

Sketch of William Henry Bury, a convicted murderer.

Thomas Neill Cream, a serial killer who murdered five prostitutes.

Robert Stephenson

David Cohen

James Salder

Frederick Deeming, another English serial killer

Montague Druitt

Prince Albert Victor

Walter Sickert

John Pizer

James Maybrick, the supposed author of the "diary of Jack the Ripper.

Carl Feigenbaum

Lewis Carroll

Michael Ostrog

H.H. Holmes, considered as the first modern American serial killer.

Dr. Francis Tumblety

Joseph Barnett

  • George Chapman:
    • Real name was Seweryn Klosowski.
    • A barber, bartender, and former surgeon.
    • Was another English serial killer who murdered three women through means of poisoning.
    • Was sentenced to death and hung.
    • Believed to be the Ripper by lead investigator Frederick Abberline.
    • Dismissed by some as a suspect due to the fact that a serial killer rarely makes a drastic change in their method of killing.
  • William Henry Bury:
    • Was convicted of murdering his wife Ellen (who may have been a prostitute).
    • Was sentenced to death and hanged in 1889.
    • The murder occurred shortly after the Ripper killings stopped.
    • Also had a previous abode in the Whitechapel.
  • Thomas Neill Cream
    • A Scottish-Canadian serial killer
    • Killed five prostitutes by poisoning them.
    • Was hanged in 1892.
    • Confessed to the Ripper killings shortly before his execution.
    • Was dismissed because he was incarcerated in Illinois at the time of the Ripper killings.
  • Robert Stephenson
    • A writer and journalist.
    • Had a personal theory as to the identity of the Ripper
    • Was suspected to have committed the murders as part of a "black magic" ritual.
    • Was allegedly in love with a prostitute and contracted venereal disease from others.
    • Was also suspected of killing his wife (who disappeared).
  • David Cohen:
    • A Jewish cobbler
  • James Sadler:
    • Was suspected of killing possible Ripper victim Frances Coles.
    • Was dismissed due to having a solid alibi.
    • Disappeared after getting on a smuggler's ship heading for Caribbean.
  • Frederick Deeming:
    • Another English serial killer
    • Was convicted of killing two of his wives and four of his own children
    • Was sentenced to death and hanged in 1892.
  • Aaron Kosminski:
    • A Polish Jewish barbar.
    • Was put in an insane asylum in 1891, after the killings ended.
    • Was supposedly linked to the Ripper crimes in September 2014 through DNA evidence extracted from a shawl found near Catherine Eddowes[1]
    • Linked to the Ripper again in 2019.
  • Montague John Druitt:
    • A schoolmaster and barrister.
    • Committed suicide after the death of Mary Jane Kelly.
    • Was "sexually insane".
    • Possibly suspected by his mentally unstable family to be the killer.
    • Possibly committed suicide due to regret or out of fear of being caught and to take his secrets with him in death.
      • However, it is also likely that he killed himself because he was homosexual, which was illegal at the time, or due to some unknown hereditary illness.
    • The Ripper was believed to be a local resident of Whitechapel, but Druitt lived miles away on the other side of the Thames in Kent.
    • Dismissed as a suspect by Inspector Frederick Abberline.
  • Prince Edward Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale:
    • The grandson of Queen Victoria.
    • Heir to the throne.
    • Believed to have contracted syphilis from a prostitute which caused him to commit the murders himself.
    • Would easily sway victims as he was a powerful royal.
    • A highly unlikely suspect due to the theory's authenticity and that he was not in London at the time.
  • Walter Sickert:
    • A German-born painter.
    • Believed to be the Ripper due to his painting of the "Ripper's Room".
    • Involved in the "royal conspiracy", believed to have been as assassin hired to execute the five prostitutes who knew of an affair going on between the Prince and a local prostitute named "Annie Crook".
    • Widely dismissed as the Ripper due to his strong alibi that he was in France at the time of the murders.
  • John Pizer:
    • A Polish Jewish bookmaker.
    • Was named by police as "Leather Apron" after the murder of Annie Chapman.
    • Had strong alibis for the murders.
  • James Maybrick:
    • Alleged himself to be the author of the "diary of Jack the Ripper", however the diary was confirmed as a fake due to the ink containing a preservative not invented until the 1970s.
    • Alleged himself to be the owner of a pocket watch with the initials of all five victims signed by "J Maybrick".
      • The scratches from the watch were determined to have not been made in modern times.
  • Unnamed female, a.k.a. "Jill the Ripper":
    • A widely-speculated theory.
    • The lead inspector on the Ripper case, Frederick Abberline, was the first of the investigating officers to suggest that Jack may, in fact, be a Jill.
    • Mary Pearcey:
      • Believed to be "Jill the Ripper" by a many.
      • Convicted of the murder of her husband's former lover and baby.
      • Was hanged in 1889.
  • Sir William Gull:
    • Physician to Queen Victoria and the British royal family.
    • Involved in the "royal conspiracy" as an assassin sent to kill the five victims.
    • Was 71 at the time of the murders and had recently suffered from a stroke.
    • In no way matched eyewitness accounts of the possible murderer.
  • Carl Feigenbaum:
    • German merchant sailor.
    • Was convicted of an unrelated murder and executed in New York in 1894.
    • Claimed to have an unexplained desire to kill and mutilate women.
  • Lewis Carroll:
    • Author of Alice in Wonderland.
    • Has been proposed on a suspect based on possible anagrams in his work.
    • The theory is not taken seriously.
  • Michael Ostrog
    • A con artist and thief.
    • Was ruled out since he was incarcerated during the time of the murders.
    • His fate and date of death are unknown.
  • An unidentified American serial killer (dubbed the Servant Girl Annihilator) has been suggested by some as being connected to the Ripper.
  • H.H. Holmes:
    • Dubbed as the first modern American serial killer.
    • Was named as the Ripper by Holmes' descendant; Jeff Mudgett.
    • Was suspected to be in London at the times of the murders as two of Holmes' aliases were found on Transatlantic passenger lists dated before and after the murders.
    • Known con artist and bigamist.
    • Confessed to 27 murders from 1891 to 1894 but only convicted of nine murders.
    • Murdered his victims at a former hotel building dubbed as "The Murder Castle" and had later disposed his victims' remains at a secondary location.
    • Committed most of his murders during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair as Holmes' Building was in close distance to the World's Fair site.
    • Hanged at Moyamensing Prison in Philadelphia on the 7th May 1896.
  • Doctor Francis Tumblety:
    • American self-proclaimed "Indian Herbal Doctor".
    • Had been named as a suspect by Detective Chief Inspector John Littlechild; head of the Metropolitan Police Special Branch in a letter to journalist and author; G.R Sims in September 1913.
    • Was arrested as a suspected co-conspirator involved in the Assassination of President Abraham Lincoln but was released without charge.
    • Had a hatred towards prostitutes, blaming them for a failed marriage.
    • Was known for displaying women organs in jars and showing them to guests at multiple dinners that he hosted.
    • Had resided in a boarding house in the Whitechapel District at the time of the murders.
    • Was reported by his landlady coming back to his boarding house covered in blood on the night of the "Double Event" murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.
    • Was charged with gross indecency after being caught engaging in sexual acts with another man as homosexuality was a criminal offence in Britain under Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 until 1967, later released on bail of £300 (£33,000 in today's value).
    • Left London soon after the murders.
  • Joseph Barnett:
    • Known as Danny Barnett, Joe Barnett and Jack.
    • Mary Jane Kelly's former partner.
    • Worked as fish porter before being fired for theft and a construction worker.
    • Had left Mary Jane Kelly after an argument in October 1888.
    • Was possibly first named as the Ripper by "Double Event" victim; Catherine Eddowes, leading to the theory that Eddowes' murder occurred to silence a potential witness.
    • First named as a possibly suspect in the 1970s.
    • Had extensive knowledge of the Whitechapel area.
    • Was of Irish origin, so he could have written the "From Hell" letter addressed to George Lusk, which contained idioms from that language.
    • Would've had either crude or relatively simple anatomical knowledge as a fish porter to perform the mutilations.
    • An escape route the Ripper took lead to Barnett's home, where he could've washed off any traces of blood on him at the fountain at Millers Court.
    • Was seen interacting with Kelly after the fight, seemingly on peaceful terms.
    • An envelope that belonged to Barnett was found at the corner of Hanbury Street, the site of Annie Chapman's murder.
    • Would've had the key to 13 Miller's Court where Kelly's body was found, and would've locked the door after committing the murder.
      • Barnett falsely claimed that the key to the house was lost.
    • Matches with eyewitness accounts of men who had interacted with the victims prior to their deaths.
    • Possibly charmed the local prostitutes who let their guards down when confronting him, as he was the boyfriend of a patron.
    • The grisly and violent acts of mutilation against Kelly could've been from Barnett in a fit of rage, more than the other victims' wounds due to his extensive relationship with Kelly.
    • Died in 1926 due to pulmonary edema and acute bronchitis.
    • Matches the FBI's psychological profile of the murderer.

Modus Operandi

The Ripper's "From Hell" letter, in which he included a part of a kidney taken from a victim.

The Ripper targeted Caucasian female prostitutes in the Whitechapel area. He killed them by slashing their throats, proceeding to eviscerate them when they were dead. Because bruises older than the cuts were found on the necks of many of the canonical victims, it has been suspected that the Ripper strangled his victims into submission with his bare hands before slashing them. The murders would always occur on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, within the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m. He would often take an organ or two as a trophy and once sent half of a kidney to George Lusk, head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, as proof of his identity (the accompanying letter claimed that the killer had eaten the other half). It is reported that the body of Mary Jane Kelly was so grotesquely slaughtered that she was unrecognizable. Her body was also posed with the legs parted, as was another victim.

Profile

"I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled."

In the book The Cases That Haunt Us by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, there was a profile of Jack the Ripper made by Douglas and Roy Hazelwood. According to them, the Ripper was a disorganized, paranoid killer. He would have been a white male in his late 20s to early 30s who was raised in a household marked by a passive or absent father and a dominant mother who may also have been promiscuous and/or an alcoholic. He later became an introverted, antisocial loner who set fires and tortured animals as an outlet for his anger. At the time of the murders, he would have been calm, quiet, and inconspicuous.

If he had a job, he would have chosen one in which he could pursue his interests, such as a morgue worker, butcher, mortician's assistant, low-ranking hospital staff, etc., since the way the Ripper cut out organs from his victims suggests some anatomical knowledge. The times of the murders indicate that he would have had days off on certain weekends and holidays and could come and go from his home as he pleased without anyone noticing. He was also probably neither married nor involved in any committed relationship, the majority of his association with women having most likely been prostitutes.

He may have had some physical defect that made him feel inadequate or unattractive. Because of a negative self-image, he displayed paranoid traits and carried one or more knives for self-defense purposes. Prior to the murders, he may have visited pubs and drunk in order to relieve himself of some tension. He may also have been seen wandering on the streets looking for potential victims. It is possible that he was at one point interviewed or questioned by the police.

Known Victims

All of the following were attacked in and around the Whitechapel district area

The "Canonical Five"

The five victims confirmed to have been murdered by the Ripper

  • 1888: Whitechapel
    • August 31, Buck's Row: Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols, 42 (throat was slashed twice; her lower abdomen was cut repeatedly and partially ripped open post-mortem)
    • September 8, 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields: Annie Chapman, 47 (throat was slashed twice; disemboweled, threw her intestines over her shoulder, removed her uterus and parts of her vagina and bladder post-mortem, and took them)
    • The September 30 "double event":
      • Dutfield's Yard: Elizabeth Stride, 44 (throat was slashed once; wasn't mutilated significantly post-mortem)
      • Mitre Square, the City of London: Catherine Eddowes, 46 (throat was slashed; her abdomen was ripped open and an earlobe and a kidney removed post-mortem)
    • November 9, 13 Miller's Court, Dorset Street: Mary Jane Kelly, 24 (throat slashed down to the spine and severely mutilated almost beyond recognition; removed her heart and took it post-mortem)

Suspected

Victims who were killed during the so-called "Whitechapel murders", which is heavily suspected of being perpetrated by the Ripper and also includes the Canonical Five

  • 1888:
    • April 2, Osborn Street: Emma Elizabeth Smith, 45 (assaulted, violated with a blunt instrument, and robbed; fell into a coma and died two days later, was suspected that a gang was responsible)
    • August 6, George Yard Buildings, George Yard: Martha Tabram, 39 (was stabbed 39 times in the body and neck)
    • December 20, Clarke's Yard: Rose Mylett, 29 (strangled; some suspect she died by accident or natural causes as there were no signs of a struggle)
  • 1889:
    • July 17, Castle Alley: Alice McKenzie (her throat was slashed and her abdomen wounded; some suspect she was the victim of a copycat)
    • September 10, Pinchin Street (found): "The Pinchin Street torso" (real name unknown; throat was slashed; no other body parts were found)
  • February 13, 1891, Swallow Gardens: Frances Coles (thrown violently to the ground and her throat slashed twice)

Other Possible Victims

Other victims suspected to have been attacked by the Ripper that were not counted in the Whitechapel murders

  • 1888:
    • February 25, unspecified location: Annie Millwood (stabbed in the legs and abdomen; survived; later died of apparent natural causes over a month later)
    • March 28, unspecified location: Ada Wilson (stabbed twice in the neck; survived)
    • November 21 (reported), unspecified location: Annie Farmer (throat was superficially slashed; survived; the wound was possibly self-inflicted)
    • October 2 (found), various locations (discovered): An unidentified woman (case was dubbed the "Whitehall Mystery"; decapitated, dismembered, and her parts found in various locations of London)
    • December 29, Manningham, Bradford: John Gill, 7 (legs were severed, his abdomen opened and his intestines slung out, and his heart and one ear were removed)
  • June 2-25, 1889 (dates of discovery of parts), the river Thames: Elizabeth Jackson (decapitated and dismembered in the same manner as the "Whitehall Mystery" victim)
  • Notes:
    • There is a serial killer dubbed "The Torso Killer", who was active near the river Thames, where the parts of his or her victims were discovered. He or she was suspected of having murdered, among his or her victims, the Pinchin Street torso and the "Whitehall Mystery" victim, as well as Elizabeth Jackson.
    • Carrie Brown, a.k.a. "Shakespeare" (reportedly for quoting William Shakespeare's sonnets), was briefly suspected of being a victim of the Ripper victim. Her body was found strangled with clothing and mutilated by a knife in New York City on April 24, 1891. Her murder was compared to the deaths at Whitechapel, but any connection between the two cases was ruled out.
    • Due to the fact he was never caught and the suspicion that he is responsible for many more murders leads to the possibility that Jack may be responsible for many more unsolved or undiscovered murders.

Legacy

There are no documents in the Whitechapel murder file dated after 1896. The murderer or murderers were never identified and the cases remain unsolved.

The poor of the East End had long been ignored by affluent society but the nature of the murders and of the victims drew attention to their living conditions. The murders galvanized opinion against the overcrowded, insanitary slums of the East End and led to demands for reform. On September 24, 1888, George Bernard Shaw commented sarcastically in a letter to The Star newspaper on the media's sudden concern in social justice:

Whilst we conventional Social Democrats were wasting our time on education, agitation, and organization, some independent genius has taken the matter in hand, and by simply murdering and disemboweling ... women, converted the proprietary press to an inept sort of communism.

Acts of Parliament, such as the Housing of the Working Classes Act 1890 and the Public Health Amendment Act 1890, set minimum standards for accommodation in an effort to transform degenerated urban areas. In the two decades after the Whitechapel murders, the worst of the slums were closed down and demolished.

Sensational reportage and the mystery surrounding the identity of the killer or killers fed the development of the character "Jack the Ripper", who was blamed for all or most of the murders. Hundreds of books and articles discuss the Whitechapel murders, and they feature in novels, short stories, comic books, and films of multiple genres. There is even an entire science dedicated to the Ripper murders called "Ripperology".

Derek Brown.

Some modern-day serial killers have been compared to the Ripper (a name which is sometimes part of their nicknames). An example is an unidentified English serial killer active between 1964 and 1965 nicknamed "Jack the Stripper", so named because all of his known victims were prostitutes who were found undressed, having suffered head injuries, died of various causes and been dumped in the Thames. Another is Peter Sutcliffe, a.k.a. "The Yorkshire Ripper", another English serial killer who also targeted prostitutes. He would strike them from behind with a blunt object and then stab them. Yet another is Colin Ireland, a.k.a. "Jack the Gripper", who would beat and torture his victims before killing them by some form of asphyxiation, though he didn't attack or mutilate any of his victims with a knife. Furthermore, the word "Ripper" is often included in the nicknames of serial killers whose murders often involved the use of sharp instruments and mutilation; examples include the aforementioned Sutcliffe; Andrei Chikatilo, a.k.a. "The Rostov Ripper"Robert Napper, a.k.a. "The Plumstead Ripper"; and the uncaught Gilgo Beach Killer, who also had the nicknames "The Craigslist Ripper" and "The Long Island Ripper".

In 2008, a convicted rapist obsessed with serial killers, named Derek Brown, tried to copy the M.O. of the Ripper. Brown picked up a prostitute named Bonnie Berrett and a DVD seller, Xiao Mei Guo, in the same Whitechapel area where the Ripper was active. He then brought the women to his flat, where they were murdered and butchered in a bathtub. He was subsequently nicknamed the "Jack the Ripper Killer" by the press.

On Criminal Minds

Jack the Ripper, as depicted in a flashback sequence in "Jones"

  • Season Two
    • "Sex, Birth, Death" - Jack the Ripper is first mentioned when Nathan Harris tells Reid he has read a lot of Ripper-based literature, mostly comics. Later, Nathan is shown writing Ripper-related fan-fiction on his laptop. He may have also been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Ronald Weems - Both were serial killers who operated on city streets at night, targeted Caucasian female prostitutes, used bladed wponry to kill them, and wrote messages for the Authorities.
    • "Jones" - Jack the Ripper was mentioned again when Sarah Danlin began copying his M.O. (though she targeted men and killed more). One of his crimes was briefly dramatized.
    • "No Way Out" - While not directly mentioned or referenced in this episode or its part 2, Jack the Ripper appears to have been an inspiration for the episode's unsub, Frank Breitkopf - Both were prolific (possibly in Jack the Ripper's case) serial killers who were incredibly sophisicated and organized, targeted the 'unwanted'/high-risk victims (mainly women), were incredibly sophisticated and organized killers, and performed vivisection and dismemberment on their victims with bladed weaponry.
  • Season Four
    • "52 Pickup" - While not directly mentioned or referenced in this episode, Jack the Ripper appears to have been an inspiration for the episode'unsub, Robert Parker - Both were serial killers who targeted prostitutes, slit their throats, and dismembered them with balded weaponry.
    • "Zoe's Reprise" - Jack the Ripper was one of the many serial killers mentioned throughout this episode. He is also one of the killers who the episode's unsub, Eric Olson copied (murdered a prostitute named Lily Nicks, whose murder was inspired by Jack the Ripper's murder of Elizabeth Stride).
  • Season Six
  • Season Eight
    • "Pay It Forward" - Jack the Ripper was mentioned as an example of serial killers who stop killing and disappear.
  • Season Eleven
    • "Tribute" - Jack the Ripper was mentioned again and was one of the serial killers the episode's unsub, Michael Lee Peterson copied (murdered several women by sliting their throats and eviscerated them).

On Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders

  • Season Two
    • "Il Mostro" - While the Ripper was never directly mentioned or referenced on Beyond Borders, he seems to have been an inspiration for Dominico Scarpa - Both were prolific (possibly in the Ripper's case) and uncaught (initially in Scarpa's case) serial killers who targeted women (though Scarpa also killed men), mutilated them post-mortem with bladed weapons, were given nicknames for their crimes, the investigations into their crimes went cold, and inspirated at least one copycat serial killer. Also, Scarpa using his own surgical tools on his victims could be a nod towards the Ripper theoretically being a surgeon.

Sources

References

  1. Note that at the time of this writing, the DNA testing, carried out by Ripperologist author Russell Edwards and Dr. Jari Louhelainen, has not yet gone through peer review.
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