• Devika Ayyappa

Jack the Ripper

Somewhere in the world, Jack, the Ripper’s body is peacefully buried in a grave, successfully burying his secrets along with him. Jack the Ripper, perhaps one of the most infamous serial killers of all time, has baffled investigators, police, conspiracists, and the public for years. “Ripperologists” as they call themselves are people who have devoted their entire time to investigating and looking into the deep depths of this huge mystery of the UK’s most wanted killer.

In the year 1888, the White Chapel district located in the East End of London was known for a very high number of cases of violence and crime owing to an increase in poverty. But a wave of grisly murders shocked the people like never before. A man with no motive, mercilessly killing people with no motive - who eventually came to be known as Jack The Ripper.

Literacy was increasing among people in the East End, and this was one of the first cases to have developed a media frenzy, being printed in newspapers and leaflets which have a wider reach. Every step of the investigation was tracked by the media and the public was updated on every move. The people were so disappointed and upset at the lack of identification of the killer that eventually the Home Secretary and Police Commissioner resigned. The Ripper is known to have killed 5 people, also known as the "Canonical Five". But some believe that he has killed over 11 women. The canonical five were all women sex workers. This case is also known to have the most suspects identified-8.

August 31, 1888- At 3:40 AM the body of Mary Anne Nichols was found near Bucksrow, White Chapel. She was found to be on her back, her throat heavily slashed, body disemboweled. A man named Charles Cross who was walking nearby saw a bundle-type figure and approached it to find the body. Another man, Robert Paul, also approached the body with a cross. According to reports, the body was said to have been dead for about 30 minutes which meant the killer should have been near where it was found. It is terrifying to think that this was the first victim of who would be the most infamous serial killer of all time.

September 8, 1888- The body of the second victim Annie Chapman was found in 29, Hanbury Street by a man named John Davis, an elderly resident of the area. The degree of violence of this murder had increased, not only had the woman’s throat been slashed severely but the murderer had taken her womb as well. The forensic head at the time of investigation believed that the murderer had anatomical knowledge by the precision in which Annie’s womb was removed. This gave the police a clue to think that the murderer might be a doctor or a nurse or anyone who had professional anatomical or medical expertise.

September 27, 1888- A letter was received by the Central News Agency from the killer, written in red ink. It was a very threatening letter that included a lot of dark humor about the killings and confirmations of more to come. He also coined himself the name of "Jack the Ripper" by signing off with that name. The letter wasn’t released to the public until October. After it was released, many believed that this was fake and was written by journalists for attention.

September 30, 1888- Three days after the letter was released to the public, at 1:00 AM, the body of Elizabeth Stride, the third victim, was found by Louis Diemshutz on Burners Street. Only the throat was cut this time, which lead the police to believe that the killer may have been interrupted by Louis approaching. The body appeared to have been dead for about 30 minutes when examined.

Appallingly, a second body was found just 45 minutes after Elizabeth’s body was discovered, west of the Stride murder. A woman named Catherine Eddowes was the killer’s fourth victim. Her body and face were severely mutilated. Her uterus and left kidney were removed as well. One of the few grounded clues found was a piece of Catherine’s apron near the crime scene, next to which written in chalk was the message “The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing”. This clue was found east of the Eddowes murder, an area filled with cops. It was also in the opposite direction of the Stride murder, which had occurred just 45 minutes earlier. This suggested that the killer might have entered a risky area on purpose and that he lived in the East End.

The following morning a postcard from the killer was received in which he confirmed to have committed the two crimes, also stating that he did not have time to cut off the ears of a victim to provide to the police.

Upon further investigation of all four murders, the general appearance of what the killer might look like was obtained. A man shabbily dressed, wearing a deer-stalker hat was seen talking to Annie Chapman. This became the general idea of the Ripper’s identity.

November 9, 1888- The heavily mutilated and disemboweled body of Mary Jane Kelly was discovered off Dorset street at 10:45 AM. Her face had been mutilated beyond recognition with her throat severed down to the spine and organs emptied from her abdomen. The heart was missing from the crime scene. Kelly’s body was heavily eviscerated which made it very hard for the police to search for any clues.

Each of the murders of the Canonical Five became increasingly severe as the murders proceeded to occur and happened either in the night or close to a weekend. All these murders are said to be linked, as stated by old documents and statements recorded by the police and investigators. Other cases occurred in the White Chapel district, but none of them had any similarities to the canonical five murders.

All of these murders were never solved and the legends around these crimes became folklore, history, and pieces of research. No one was ever arrested or identified for any of these murders and it has become one of the most interesting and shocking series of crimes to have ever occurred. Jack the Ripper continues to be unidentified and will remain one of the most wanted, dangerous, and infamous serial killers of all time.

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