Jack the Ripper

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Jack the Ripper is an unidentified serial killer(s) who struck between August and November 1888 , in London’s East End community of Whitechapel, (population 76,000), a depressed area, with 39.2 percent of its citizens living in poverty.

Jack the Ripper there have been over 400 suspects in the Ripper case.

  • Prince Albert Victor the grandson of Queen Victoria
  • Dr. William Gull a Royal physician
  • Dr. Sir John Williams the founder of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and a personal friend of Queen Victoria, and her daughter Princess Beatrice's gynecologist
  • Montague John Druitt - Barrister and teacher
  • Walter Sickert – Artist
  • Francis Tumblety, a US "quack" doctor, arrested for gross indecency at the time of the murders alleged to have kept a collection of female organs.
  • Lewis Carroll, born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, author of " Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
  • Prince Albert Victor, a royal family ladies man.
  • James Maybrick, a murdered cotton merchant

Jack the Ripper is the first serial killer to achieve worldwide notoriety. Whitechapel industries were mainly boot and cabinet manufacturing shops. Employment was difficult to find, and jobs had poor working conditions, long hours, and low wages. Whitechapel was heavily inhabited with foreigners, and drifters. Criminals, prostitutes, and the poor lived in lodging houses. Whitechapel had sixty-three brothels, and more than 1,200 prostitutes. Many women working for low pay resorted to prostitution to survive. Prostitution had not a crime in Victorian England. Parliament cracked down on houses between 1885 and 1914, resulting in the closure of brothels which left women on the streets and at risk. The poor East Enders were ignored by affluent London society, until the murders drew attention to their plight.

The victims were poor, aging, prostitutes with drinking problems. They were strangled before their throats slashed. Their organs were surgically removed from their mutilated bodies. The murders occurred only on weekends. There were no witnesses and few leads. Local tradesmen beat the streets at night. Bystanders were questioned. Everyone was suspicious of everyone else especially anyone talented with knives. Since it was believed that no sane person could commit these crimes the mentally ill became suspect. Attempts were made to round up the mentally unbalanced of Whitechapel and send them to asylums. Those who confessed to be the Whitechapel killer were fined or sent to an asylum. The popular theories were that the killer was either a religious fanatic ridding the world of prostitution or a medical doctor. The doctor theory was based on the anatomical knowledge the murderer showed.

The five murders consistently attributed to the killer are:

"Polly" Mary Ann ( Walker) Nichols was born on August 26, 1845, and murdered on Friday, August 31, 1888. she had no missing organs. Nichols was found on a public street.

Eliza Ann "Dark Annie" (Smith) Chapman was born September 1841, and killed on Saturday, September 8, 1888. "Dark Annie" was murdered in daylight and found in a back yard. Her uterus was taken out. At her September 26 inquest, Dr. Wynne Baxter said the procedure could not have been performed by a butcher but someone with anatomical/ pathological post-mortem expertise. Other medical experts disagreed claiming the killer showed little or no medical knowledge.

Elisabeth “Elizabeth” Stride (Gustafsdotter ), "Long Liz" born in Sweden on November 27, 1843 was killed Sunday, September 30, 1888. She was not missing any organs.

Catherine Eddowes , aliases "Kate Conway" and "Mary Ann Kelly," born April 14, 1842, was killed on Sunday, September 30, 1888 within the City of London. Her uterus and a kidney were removed and she had facial mutilations. During her mid-October 1888 inquest, medical experts argued about the level of expertise displayed by the killer. Some experts maintained that the killer was an experienced surgeon while others claimed it could have been a butcher.

Former Bedfordshire police murder squad detective Trevor Marriott investigated the murders for 10 years said both victims were found within 12 minutes.

"It is highly unlikely that the murderer would have stopped a second time to murder a second victim in such a short space of time"

Whitechapel had a large Jewish immigrant population of about 35,000 Russian and German Jews escaping religious persecution. Jewish immigration increased anti-Semitism in England. Local tensions grew as it was alleged that the jobs were jobs going to new-comers.

After the two murders early September 30, Constable Alfred Long found a bloodstained scrap of fabric cloth from Eddowes' apron. Above a message was written on the wall in white chalk:

"The Juwes are the men That Will not be Blamed for nothing." Or “The Juwes are not The men That Will be Blamed for nothing."

Rumors circulated that the killings were committed by a Jew called “Leather Apron." Fearing an Anti-Semitic riot, Police Superintendent Thomas Arnold ordered the graffiti erased. The graffiti was removed by 5:30 a.m. but

City of London Police officers disagreed with Arnold's order, the graffiti should have been documented with a photograph, first but it was not.

Mary "Marie Jeanette” Jane Kelly, aka "Ginger" was younger than the other victims. She was born in Ireland in 1863 and murdered indoors on Friday, November 9, 1888, with extensive mutilations. Her heart was missing and her internal organs were removed and left in her room.

Former Bedfordshire detective Marriott believes there were more victims.

"My findings suggest that there may well have been two other similar murders after the police closed their file."

Police and newspapers received thousands of letters. Hundreds of letters claim to be from the killer. None of the letters have been established as credible.

A "Dear Boss" letter , to the news dated September 25, 1888, received September 27, promised to "clip the ladys ears off." On September 29, it was forwarded to Scotland Yard. Police published the letter October 1, hoping the handwriting would be recognized.

On October 1, 1888, a "Saucy Jack" postcard was received by the news with similar handwriting to the "Dear Boss" letter. It stated that Stride and Eddowes were killed near one another. The letter believed to be a hoax by most experts, was postmarked more than 24 hours after the murders. It is believed these letters were created by a journalist trying to sell papers.

George Bernard Shaw made a statement about the press in the Star:

“Whilst we 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 four women, converted the proprietary press to an inept sort of communism.”

A letter "From Hell" postmarked October 15, 1888 was received by the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee on October 16, along with half a human kidney in ethyl alcohol. A doctor determined the kidney was similar to the kidney taken from Eddowes.

On October 29 1888 another letter was mailed.

"Old boss you was rite it was the left kidny I was goin to hopperate agin close to your ospitle just as I was goin to dror mi nife along of er bloomin throte then 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."

By early November the hysteria and terror grew. East End arrests drew crowds and innocent men were almost hung.

Dr. Francis Tumblety, a quack from the United States was linked to the killings because he was rumored to keep female organs. He was arrested once for indecency.

Another suspect was Queen Victoria's grandson, Prince Albert Victor. There were unverified stories about him living with a mistress in the tawdry East End. Other experts content he wasn't near London when the murders occurred.

Some believe James Maybrick, a 19th Century cotton merchant from Liverpool was the killer. The diary alleged to belong to him made public in the early 1990’s, contains a confession to the killings. Its authenticity is a matter of debate.

On a May 2001 research mission at Scotland Yard for a Scarpetta novel, after Patricia Cornwell, a detective and novelist met expert Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve Ripper she became involved with the case. Research was difficult due to the English police practice during the 19 th century of destroying all reports when the case detective retires. In her book, Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed, she accuses eccentric British impressionist artist, Walter Sickert, Whistler’s apprentice and an associate of Degas, His art depicted women being assaulted. Sickert was cremated when he died in 1942. The Virginia Institute for Forensic Science and Medicine ( Cornwall helped found with a $1.5 million endowment) investigated 250 Ripper letters. She purchased over 30 of his art pieces and even cut one painting up in an attempt to uncover evidence.Cornwell believes his 1908 painting of a murdered prostitute was in the same position victim Mary Kelly was found in. Comparison of notes from the Ripper and Sickert’s papers, drawings and paintings, led to a salivary mitochondrial DNA match. She purchased Sickert's artwork and writings and developed a profile based in part on his drawings and paintings, depicting brutal abuse of nude females.

"Sickert had contempt of all people. He thought he was smarter than everybody."

Cornwell's claims 99 percent certainty that Sickert, 28 when the killings began, is Jack the Ripper. Scotland Yard suspected Sickert as well. Cornwell believes Sickert stopped killing in Whitechapel when it became too risky but kept killing. She investigated unsolved homicides in the English countryside, and a French coastal town.

"I am suspicious that he also killed children. There is a sort of pedophiliac interest ..."

Michael Gordon, author of "Alias Jack the Ripper: Beyond the Usual Whitechapel Suspects” says Jack the Ripper didn't write the letters.

Marriott disagrees with the suspects named by researchers and investigators.

"Most of the main suspects put forward aren't worthy of being classed as suspects. Some of them have been hyped up by publicity and media over the years to suit their own means."

Tony Williams claims Dr. Sir John Williams, his grandmother's great-great uncle, born at Blaenllynant, Gwynfe, Carmarthenshire, in 1840, was the killer. Sir John, the founder of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and a personal friend of Queen Victoria, and her daughter Princess Beatrice's gynecologist treated all the victims. He performed an abortion on Mary Anne Nichols in 1885. As a relative, Tony Williams had access to Sir John's personal effects at the National Library of Wales including a large knife, he believes was used to commit the murders.

"I started researching Sir John because I was proud he was my relation. While I was researching, I read in his diaries and medical notes in the national library that he knew the Ripper's first victim Mary Anne Nichols. Other diaries and medical notes in London and Cardiff revealed that Sir John knew all five victims, had treated them all and had links to Whitechapel where the murders were committed. I think he was a Jekyll and Hyde-type character who may have been driven to commit murder because his wife could not have children. He was also known to be working on a cure for his wife's problem. I believe that knife, which still rests at the National Library of Wales may contain clues to the Whitechapel murders. If that knife could be examined using modern DNA techniques maybe there would be links to some of the victims."

A National Library of Wales spokesman dismissed Williams' research.

"The library thinks there's no basis for it at all. We're very proud of the contribution Sir John Williams made in bringing the national library to Aberystwyth."

Artists with songs about Jack the Ripper: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds , Falconer, Grim Reaper, Iced Earth, Judas Priest, Roland Kirk, The Legendary Pink Dots, Link Wray, LL Cool JMacabre, Motörhead, Morrissey, My Chemical Romance, Nationalteatern, Queensryche, Spitalfield, Kanye West, and The White Stripes.

Post-mortem report written by Dr. Thomas Bond after he examined the remains of Mary Jane Kelly. The report was lost until 1987, when it was returned anonymously to Scotland Yard.

Jack The Ripper by Dreamcatcher Interactive

While writing a series of articles about horrible murders in the Low Side District of New York, the young reporter, Jimmy Palmer, will soon become involved in a game of cat and mouse with an illusive and deadly character--Jack the Ripper. Along Palmer's dark journey he will foster a friendship with a young singer, Abigail, the "Irish Nightingale," and meet numerous other colorful characters of this poor district. Beginning with the search of witnesses to the crimes, Palmer's snooping will soon lead him to investigate suspects. His daily editorials trigger the interest of the serial killer himself, who begins to correspond with Palmer via the newspaper, leading Palmer to surmise that this killer is the infamous Jack the Ripper! A thrilling experience with realistic and unforgettable characters and a compelling storyline Virtools Engine allows for special effects and rich, beautiful, and detailed graphics with a user-friendly interface A mass-appeal theme based on true historical events Exploration, inventory-based gameplay, suspenseful storyline Numerous puzzles of varying complexity--environmental, tactile, auditory.

Jack the Ripper (Mystery Rummy, Case No. 1) (Cards)

Jack The Ripper Costume

Jack the Ripper 10" Action Figure





Copyright Kari Sable 1994-2006