In 1888 the streets of London were the hunting ground for one of the world’s most notorious serial killers: the “Whitechapel Murderer”, the “Leather Apron”, or as the majority of you will know him “Jack the Ripper.” From 1888 – 1891 eleven prostitutes were murdered on the dilapidated streets of Whitechapel. Although some schools of thought believe that the Ripper was responsible for all eleven murders it is widely believed that due to their method and brutality he was only responsible for five. The Ripper was never apprehended and his legend has grown over the last century to the point where there is now a dedicated school of theorist known as “Ripologist” with hundreds of works of fiction and film based on his life.
The Ripper’s Method of Murder
Jack the Rippers notoriety is based not on the quantity of murders but rather on the method that they were carried out in. The Rippers chosen method revolved around deep throat slashes, facial mutilation, abdominal and genital mutilation, but most notoriously of all the removal, and possible consumption of internal organs. The five main victims of the Rippers most gruesome crimes in order of death were: Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly. As time progressed the murders became progressively more violent. The Ripper started with Nichols whose throat was slashed and abdomen scared and then progressed on to what was believed to be his last murder that of Kelly, which was the most gruesome of all. Her throat was slit down to her spine, her face was mutilated beyond recognition and her chest was torn open missing the majority of her internal organs including her heart. Six other murders are potentially attributed to Jack the Ripper with the most notable being the “Pinchin Street Torso”, a headless, legless unidentified woman found under a railway arch.
Suspects / Media Attention / Legend
Jack the Ripper’s moniker comes from a series of letters alleged to have been sent by the killer to the media. One of these letters was said to contain half of a preserved kidney. The Rippers case picked up publicity so quickly that it became an international news story and later a legend. Several leading “Ripologist” believe that the letters may have been fraudulent in order to drum up publicity for the murders however, whether this is fact or fiction cannot be verified. The Ripper’s legacy hangs largely on the fact that he was never apprehended. The police believed that the murders stopped after Mary Jane Kelly because the killer was arrested, emigrated, or died. The suspects accused of being Jack the Ripper number in their hundreds with the more notable, but tenuous, links to Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carol and even Royal Prince Albert Victor. The fact that Jack the Ripper was never apprehended has ensured that his legend has lasted until modern day.