"This is 1888, isn't it? I knew I was Jack. Hats off

I said Jack. I'm Jack, cunning Jack, quiet Jack, Jack's

my name. Jack whose sword never sleeps. Hats off

I'm Jack, not the Good Shepard, not the Prince of

Peace. I'm Red Jack, Springheeled Jack, Saucy Jack,

Jack from Hell, trade-name Jack the Ripper!"

-- Peter Barnes, The Ruling Class

First, some background. All murders occurred between the months of August and November of 1888, in Whitechapel, in the East End of London. The victims were Mary Anne Nichols, Annie Chapman, Catherine Eddowes, Mary Kelly, and Elizabeth Stride; all were prostitutes. Each of their necks was slit, and there was some disturbance (i.e. mutilation) to other parts of their bodies as well. Upon investigating the murder of Mary Kelly, the Illustrated Police News reported: "The throat had been cut right across with a knife, nearly severing the head from the body. The abdomen had been partially ripped open, and both of the breasts had been cut from the body; the left arm, like the head, hung to the body by skin only. The nose had been cut off, the forehead skinned, and the thighs, down to the feet, stripped of flesh. The abdomen had been slashed with a knife across downwards, and the liver and entrails wrenched away. The entrails and other portions of the frame were missing, but the liver etc., it is said, were found placed between the feet of this poor victim. The flesh from the thighs and legs, together with the breasts and nose, had been placed on the table, and one of the hands of the dead woman had been pushed into her stomache." The horrifying mutilation of Mary Kelly was the most sadistic, and signified the end of Jack the Ripper's reign of terror.

According to the Post Mortem Examiner, all the murders were committed by the same person, in that each victim's throat was slashed from left to right. This rules out the theory that there was more than one killer. There is no evidence of any struggle and all victims were laying down at the time of the murder.

Also according to the Post Mortem Examiner, this must have been done by a man with great strength, and a considerable amount of coolness and daring. This person was probably subject to frequent attacks of homicidal or erotic mania. As well, the sexual condition known as Satyriasis is linked with the killer.

The first suspect is not that of Jack the Ripper, but Jill the Ripper. First, in order to narrow down the identity of the killer, we must ask ourselves four important questions: What sort of person could move around at night without arousing too much suspicion? Who could basically walk the streets covered in blood? Who would have had the basic knowledge and skill to commit such murders? Who could have been found near the body, yet provide a decent explanation as to why? The answer might surprise you. A midwife and/or abortionist fits every single question. Of course, at the time, London was looking for a man, so a woman would have been even more unnoticed. Also, the fact that there are credible witnesses claiming to have seen Mary Kelly after her established time of death points to the fact that a woman could have killed her and ran off in Kelly's clothes. At the time of the murder, Kelly was rumored to be pregnant, which builds an even better case against an abortionist. She had no money or means to support a child, and it would almost be common knowledge to say that she probably would want to get rid of it. Midwives and abortionists in the 19th century didn't have much in the way of anaesthesia, so they knew how to knock a person out just by using pressure points. Since no struggle was involved, the most probable situation is that a midwife/abortionist put their victims under, and then killed them. The one known suspect in this theory is Mary Pearcey. In October of 1890, she stabbed the wife and child of her lover, slitting their throats in the same manner as the Whitechapel murders. She later wheeled their bodies into a secluded street and left them there.

The second main suspect is that of Prince Edward, the Duke of Clarence. He was supposed to have had "syphilis of the brain", which drove him to commit the murders. These murders were said to have been covered up by Sir William Gull, his private physician, as not to dirty the Royal Family. Clarence was a hunter and knew how to dress deer, which could have attributed to his supposed knowledge of disemboweling prostitutes. Hunting was said to have also stimulated his psychopathic rages. Of course, the Clarence theory is shaky. Clarence was not even in the London area at the time of the murders.

The third main suspect is that of Montague John Druitt. He was the son of a veterinarian, he studied medicine for a short time, and he was a very good cricketeer. However, in Sir Melville Macnaghten's case notes, he is described as sexually insane. His mother, Ann Druitt, also suffered from depression and paranoid delusions, thus possibly genetically causing John Druitt's illness. Druitt refers to this in his suicide note, when he is quoted as saying "Since Friday I felt I was going to be like Mother and the best thing was for me to die." He drowned himself in the Thames River and soon after, the police closed the Ripper cases.

So who was Jack the Ripper really? All speculation aside, no one will ever know for sure. I, myself, am inclined to believe that it is the female abortionist theory that comes closest to the truth. First of all, everyone in London was looking for a male killer, allowing a female murderer to walk the streets with little fear of being caught. Secondly, it would not be uncommon to see a midwife on the streets at all hours of the night. Last, if there was any presence of blood on her clothing, it would be passed off as a result of her profession. This is in no way a common theory, but sometimes you have to look past the obvious in order to find reality.

Jack the Ripper is probably the world's most well-known villain, despite the fact that his true identity has never been determined. The 'Ripper Murders' took place in the unsalubrious Whitechapel area of East London. The world's first serial killer was never caught. To this day, criminologists, Ripperologists, historians and amateur sleuths are no nearer discovering who the murderer was.

All five victims killed within the space of ten weeks in 1888 were East End prostitutes.

Mary Ann 'Polly' Nichols, aged 42, married with 5 children was found murdered at Bucks Row, off the Whitechapel Road at 3.40am on Friday 31 August. This first acknowledged victim of Jack the Ripper was discovered by PC John Neill who found her throat cut twice (from left to right), the second cut almost severing the head from her body. At the mortuary it was discovered that her stomach had been hacked open and her body slashed several times.

Bucks Row was renamed Durward Street in 1892 to avoid notoriety. The assault took place 70 feet west on the Board School, which has now been converted into luxury flats.

Annie Chapman, aged 47 was found in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street at 6am on Saturday 8 September. The facade of the old Truman's Brewery on the north side of Hanbury Street conceals the murder site.
Dark Annie's body was discovered by a Spitalfield Market porter, John Davis. Annie's throat savagely cut, body mutilated and certain organs removed from her abdomen in a manner which suggested that her attacker had anatomical knowledge. Her rings had been torn from her fingers and a leather apron soaked in water was found nearby.
Annie had been seen at 5.30am by a park keeper's wife. She was haggling with a shabbily but respectably dressed man wearing a deerstalker hat aged about 40. On Sunday 10 September the police arrested John Pizer, alias 'Leather Apron' but he had alibis.

Elizabeth Stride, aged 45 of Swedish descent. Long Liz was discovered by Louis Diemschutz when he turned his pony and trap into the yard behind 40 Berner Street at 1am Sunday 30 September.
Elizabeth's throat had been cut. From the position of the corpse it is presumed that the assassin had intended to mutilate it, but was interrupted by the arrival of the cart.
The street has been renamed Henriques Street after a local benefactor. The site is occupied by a former London County Council school, now known as Harry Gosling Primary School.

Catherine Eddowes, aged 46, was found less than an hour after Elizabeth Stride's a short walk away, inside the City of London district at Mitre Square by PC Watkins.
She had been ferociously attacked, especially around the face and abdomen. Like Annie Chapman, some of her internal organs had been removed, notably her uterus and left kidney.

Crowds of people started gathering at the Whitechapel Murder Sites and a 'terrible quiet' descended. Following this double murder, a letter in red ink was sent to the Central News Agency dated 25 September 1888, signed "Jack the Ripper". After its publication the day after, the nick-name for the killer has stayed with us to this day.

Mary Jane Kelly, aged 25 was killed at her home, Room 13, Miller's Court, 26 Dorset Street at 4am Friday 9 November.
This was the most savage and gruesome attack where her body was horrifically mutilated and her face hacked beyond recognition after her murder.
In 1904 Dorset Street was renamed Duval Street and in 1929 the whole north side was demolished and an extension to Spitalfields Market erected. Today it is an unnamed service road next to White's Row Car Park.

Polly Nichols, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddows all lived in the Thrawl Street and Flower & Dean Street vicinity at some time. Catherine Eddows and Elizabeth Stride lodged in Fashion Street on occasions. They were all reputed to drink in the Ten Bells Public House on Commercial Street.

Though the murderer was never found there were several suspects, the most sensational being the eldest son of Edward VII, Prince Albert Victor the Duke of Clarence and Queen Victoria's doctor, William Gull. A favoured suspect was Montague John Druitt, a barrister of the Inner Temple. Other suspects included John Pizer (Leather Apron), the Freemasons, a Jewish slaughterman, a doctor and a midwife.

To this day, despite the protestations of local residents, the oldest profession in the world is still practiced where Jack the Ripper murdered five East End prostitutes.

Adapted from information listed at http://www.britannia.com/

Letters from Jack the Ripper

Recieved by the Central News Agency on September 27, 1888.

Dear Boss,
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont
fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so
clever and talk about being on the right track.
That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down
on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do
get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the
lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now.
I love my work and want to start again. You will
soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some
of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle
over the last job to write with but it went
thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit
enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the
ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for
jolly wouldn't you. Keep this letter back till I do a
bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife's
so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck.
Yours truly
Jack the Ripper
Dont mind me giving the trade name
PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it No luck yet. They say I'm a doctor now. ha ha

Recieved by the Central News Agency on October 1, 1888.

I was not codding dear old Boss when I gave you the tip, you'll hear about Saucy Jacky's work tomorrow
double event this time number one squealed a bit couldn't finish straight off. ha not the time to get ears
for police. thanks for keeping last letter back till I got to work again.
Jack the Ripper

Recieved by the president of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee on October 2, 1888.

From hell.
Mr Lusk,
I send you half the Kidne I took from one woman and prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was
very nise. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a whil longer

Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk

Recieved by a local newspaper on October 6, 1888.

You though your-self very clever I reckon when you informed the police. But you made a mistake if you
though I dident see you. Now I known you know me and I see your little game, and I mean to finish you
and send your ears to your wife if you show this to the police or help them if you do I will finish you.
It no use your trying to get out of my way. Because I have you when you dont expect it and I keep my
word as you soon see and rip you up. Yours truly Jack the Ripper.
PS You see I know your address

Recently discovered by the British Public Record Office:

17th Sept 1888
Dear Boss
So now they say I am a Yid when will they lern Dear old Boss! You an me know the truth dont we. Lusk can
look forever hell never find me but I am rite under his nose all the time. I watch them looking for me an
it gives me fits ha ha I love my work an I shant stop until I get buckled and even then watch out for
your old pal Jacky.
Catch me if you Can
Jack the Ripper

Sorry about the blood still messy from the last one. What a pretty necklace I gave her.

from http://www.casebook.org/official_documents/index.html

Eight little whores, with no hope of heaven
Gladstone may save one, then there'll be seven.
Seven little whores beggin for a shilling,
One stays in Henage Court, then there's a killing.
Six little whores, glad to be alive,
One sidles up to Jack, then there are five.
Four and a whore rhyme alright,
So do three and me,
I'll set the town alight
'Ere there are two.
Two little whores, shivering with fright,
Seek a cosy doorway in the middle of the night.
Jack's knife flashes, then there's but one,
And the last one's the ripest for Jack's idea of fun.

An anonymous verse sent to police in the fall of 1888, attributed to Jack the Ripper.

The most outrageous suspect in the ongoing case of the Ripper murders is probably Lewis Carroll, a. k. a. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

In 1996, Richard Wallace published a book entitled Jack the Ripper, Light-Hearted Friend, claiming that Carroll and his Oxford collague Thomas Vere Bayne were responsible for the Whitechapel killings. His arguments were based on anagrams constructed out of passages in Carroll's work. However, Wallace's concotions are often awkward and messy, missing letters and full of grammatical errors.

It seems unlikely that a proto-geek like Carroll, obsessed with mathematical games and wordplay, would have allowed such mistakes to mar his handiwork. Others have pointed out that arbitrary rearranging of words makes it possible to find hidden meanings in just about everything: for example, the opening line from Winnie the Pooh -

'Here is Edward Bear coming downstairs now'

easily becomes

'Stab red red women! CR is downing whores -AA'

Here, CR is no other than Christopher Robin, everybody's favorite infant psychopath.

There isn't a shred of real evidence to implicate Carroll, of course - Ripper hunters are better off hunting the Snark than the creator of Alice.

www.casebook.org, a Ripperologist's wet dream, has a more detailed account of the Alice-Ripper -connection.

When Jack the Ripper was on his murder spree, there were an estimated 1200 prostitutes in the Whitechapel area. The city of London had about 80,000 prostitutes total.

As dangerous as it was, prostitution paid better wages than any of the other jobs women could get in the city, such as being a scrubmaid, sewing in a sweatshop or making matchboxes. Those who slaved at regular "women's work" could at most expect to get about ten pence per 17-hour day of hard labor. Prostitutes, on the other hand, earned two or three pence per john serviced.

Jack's murders were less terrifying than the specter of starvation to most working women, so they continued their trade as best they could.

Reference: Murder Ink edited by Dilys Winn (Workman Publishing Company)

It is hard, if not quite imposible to prove anything concerning a series of murders done over one hundread years ago. Nonetheless, one person believes she has solved the mystery.

The famous writer of crime novels (and coincidentally one of my absolute favourite writers), Patricia Cornwell, claims she knows who "Jack The Ripper" was. According to her, the murderer was Walter Richard Sickert, a famous British impressionist painter at the time. He was 28 at the time of the killings and owned three studios in the area where the killings took place. This could have made it easier for "The Ripper" to have "disapeared into the night".

What lead Patricia Cornwell to suspect Sickert however, was a bunch of paintings that he did some twenty years after the murders. Cornwell herself has bought 30 of his paintings in her search for clues and hints, among others a series of paintings of a murdured prostitute.

As I am writing this, this is fairly fresh news, and though Patricia Cornwell is quite certain that her claims are the answers to the mystery, none has yet tried to prove her wrong. In other words, please take this with a grain of salt, and, needless to say, please add your own writeup and msg me if you find new info on the subject.

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