Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper is the most widely known name for the unidentified serial killer in Whitechapel, London during 1888. The name “Jack the Ripper” came from a letter written by someone claiming to be the murderer, and signing it from “Jack the Ripper”, evidence to support whether this was a hoax or whether it was the Ripper himself is insufficient. He went by two other nicknames which were “The Whitechapel Murderer” and “Leather Apron”. All of his alleged murders were done on female prostitutes in the slums of the area. He became widely known and feared by the vast speculations from the media.

The Whitechapel murders involved that of 11 deaths, five of which, known as the conical five, are widely believed to be connected to the Ripper. Three of these five had internal organs removed from them, starting the belief that the murders were somehow connected. During the time of September and October 1888 it was believed that the Ripper had some sort of anatomic or surgical knowledge.

The conical five, the murders believed to be committed by the Ripper, spanned from August through to November in 1888. All of these murders happened around the time of a weekend and usually toward the end of a week or month. The severity of the murders increased as they went on, all except one. His first victim, Mary Ann Nichols, was discovered in late August 1888. Her throat was severed deeply by two knife wounds and her abdominal region was partly ripped open by a deep and jagged wound with several other incisions made by the same knife. His second victim was found only eight days later, with the same two cuts to the throat with the addition of her abdomen being entirely ripped open and her uterus was removed.

His next two victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, were killed and found several hours apart on the 30th of September 1888. Stride was found around the time of 1 am. There was a slight difference in Stride’s death to the Ripper’s normal pattern, her throat one slashed with one clear incision to the main artery with no abdominal mutilations. It is suggested that maybe the Ripper was interrupted during his attack, which would make sense because serial killers like to make sure that their killings are correct and that they follow a pattern that they have set. So when Eddowes was found three-quarters of an hour later with her throat severed and her abdominal region ripped open with a deep, jagged weapon and with her kidney and a major part of her uterus removed. This seems to be a kind-of OCD thing for the Ripper, failing in his first attempt so killing someone else in order for his pattern to be correct. The last of the conical five was Mary Jane Kelly, her brutally mutilated body was found in her bedroom with her throat severed down to the spine and her whole abdomen was basically emptied of its organs, the heart was missing from the scene.

There were several more killings in the years following the conical five but none of these murders followed the same pattern that the five did nor did they really have any connection to the Ripper’s usual tactics, suggesting that it was not him.

Jack the Ripper was by far a monstrous man, but maybe to him he felt like he was doing the right thing. All of these women were prostitutes around in the slums of the city, which were greatly frowned upon back then, so did he do the right thing? Or maybe it was just for his own personal hatred toward women like this. Even though no one knew his true identity, Jack the Ripper certainly had the power of fear over the area of Whitechapel, England.

– by Benjamin Clarke, 10ENG