For the past hundred or so years, much of the world has been obsessed with the identity of Jack the Ripper. As a child, I lived in the area where The Ripper once walked. Now, if that doesn’t send shivers down your spine nothing will! My grandmother, always dramatic, believed that she actually saw Jack skulking around a corner one dark night. I remember her showing me the church railings where she said he mounted the severed heads of his victims. This is the kind of stuff
Top: Whitechapel High Street, 1905
Bottom: St. Mary Metfelon; left: 1940; right: the only remains of the church today
Why were only five murders attributed to Jack? Historically, the belief that these five crimes were committed by the same man derives from contemporary documents that link them together to the exclusion of others. The circumstances and manner of murder of these five women share certain common features: they each occurred at night, close to a weekend and included mutilations and organ removal, which became increasingly severe as the series proceeded. One murder, that of Elizabeth Stride, seemed to be interrupted since cuts and mutilation were minimal.
It is of interest to note that police procedure has not changed significantly since Victorian times including much that forms the basis of today’s CSI and Law & Order. Police files demonstrate that a large team of policemen conducted house-to-house inquiries throughout Whitechapel. Forensic material was collected and examined and suspects were identified, traced and either scrutinized further or eliminated from the inquiry. Apparently over 2000 people were interviewed, more than 300 people were investigated and 80 people helped their police with further inquiries.
Frederick George Abberline,
Apparently everyone at that time had something to say on the identity of the Ripper. Even Queen
Queen Victoria through the years: young princess; monarch; wife & mother; Empress of India
Various letters, postcards and a piece of an apron have formed the foundation for investigations, but none led to a plausible suspect being found.
Jack the Ripper has become a star on stage, screen and television
and has been the subject of numerous books
From left to right: Bluebeard (& his wife), Albert de Salvo (The Boston Strangler),
David R. Berkowitz (Son of Sam) & Peter Sutcliffe (The Yorkshire Ripper)
The many faces of Dracula