Jack the Ripper - Another Look
Jack the Ripper?
Introduction to Jack The Ripper
No one really knows who Jack the Ripper was. Speculation? You bet. From Prince Albert Victor to Lewis Carroll, theories abound. A serial killer that ran rampant over one hundred years ago still holds the interest of many today. As an aside, a serial killer is one who kills two or more people. So what makes Jack the Ripper so intriguing?
I have been fascinated by the whole Jack the Ripper story since first seeing a movie about it years ago. Thanks to a lovely person called blonde-logic I have chosen to write about Jack the Ripper.
As an introduction let's take a look at the origins of Jack the Ripper. Was he the first serial killer ever? Certainly not, but, he was a serial killer in a time when society had the ability to print newspapers and detailed posters. People were able to follow Jack the Ripper through daily newspaper accounts just as we would today on TV. The people's fascination with his crimes was not unlike the fascination we see today with constant media coverage and everyone watching and talking about it. In 1888, a way to sell newspapers, writing about "The Whitechapel Murderer". He was also referred to as "Leather Apron" in the Manchester Guardian. In addition to the newspaper accounts there were some books written at the time, most of them useless. Print helped spread interest in Jack the Ripper and keep the people advised as to what was and wasn't happening to capture him.
Though the most popular count of his victims is five, some believed he killed as many as nine. The first was believed to be Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols, murdered Friday, August 31, 1888. The location of this and subsequent murders drew attention to the horrible living conditions in the "East End".
Wanted Poster from 1888
Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols
Mary Ann was previously married to one William Nichols. They were divorced and Mr. Nichols sent support payments to Mary until he found out she was prostituting herself. I didn't realize they had five children together and that they were married for twenty-five years though there were many separations during those twenty-five years. With the final separation and divorce, the children were living with William and yes, Mary was a prostitute. Though there is much more to the life story of Mary Ann Nichols, we are here to look at Jack the Ripper, unfortunately Mary Ann was Jack's first victim and probably one of the most famous.
Mary Ann was seen when she was turned away from renting a bed because she had no money. She was last seen alive at the corner of Osborn Street and Whitechapel Road after it is believed she earned enough money to pay for that bed. Unfortunately for Mary no one heard or saw anything prior to cart driver Charles Cross finding her body. Her throat had been slit twice and her stomach mutilated. Addtionally she had teeth missing, a bruise on her face as well as the cuts on her stomach. The coroner believed the injuries were caused by someone who was left-handed. Poor Mary, the first known victim of Jack the Ripper. The Coroner additionally concluded she was murdered at about 3:00 a.m. where her body was found, occupation at the time of death, prostitution. By the time the Inquest for Mary was finished, another body had been found. So the bloody legacy of Jack the Ripper began.
George Bagster Phillips - performed Ripper autopsies
Subsequent Jack the Ripper Murders
Annie Chapman was the next victim. Similar to Mary, Annie had no money for a bed to sleep in so she went out to earn some. This time a witness had seen Annie just before her death and described the man she saw. He was a little taller than Annie, over forty, dark complexion, foreign, "shabby-genteel" appearance, wearing a deer stalker hat and dark overcoat.
Annie also had her throat cut and was disemboweled with part of her uterus missing. The police made several arrests but all of them proved to be innocent people. Elizabeth "Long Liz" Stride was next. Her body was found in an alley and the police believe she went into the alley willingly thinking perhaps she was going in with a client, yes, Liz too was a prostitute. Like the two before her, her throat was cut, however, her body was not mutilated.
On the same night as the death of Elizabeth Stride, the body of Catherine Eddowes was found. She had died between 1:35 a.m. and 1:45 a.m. Again, a cut throat and intestines taken out of her body. As with the others her death was caused by her throat being slashed and all other mutilation took place after her death.
What now becomes interesting is a post card sent to the Central News Agency, claiming that he, Jack the Ripper, was responsible for the double murders. The post card however, was later believed to be a hoax. Several letters followed but they too were believed to be fake.
The fifth victim, Mary Jane Kelly, was murdered on November 9, 1888. She was found dead in her bed. She too died from a slit throat and her body was horribly mutilated. Hers was more brutal than the four before her. She was also younger than the other four, and murdered in her home not an alley.
Jack the Ripper Suspects
- Montague John Druitt
- Seweryn Klosowski alias George Chapman
- Aaron Kosminski
- Michael Ostrog
- John Pizer
- James Thomas Sadler
- Francis Tumblety
- William Henry Burry
- Thomas Neill Cream
- Frederick Bailey Deeming
More About Jack the Ripper
Who Was Jack the Ripper?
At the time of the actual murders there were several suspects but none could be proven. Newspaper coverage spread throughout Europe and America. These five murders were committed between August and November with all murders within one mile of each other. Yes, several other murders are attributed to Jack the Ripper but none proven so. The murders suddenly stopped after Mary Jane Kelly.
What manner of sociopath was responsible for these brutal, mutilating murders? Believe me, they were even more brutal than depicted in movies about Jack the Ripper and it seems the mutilations escalated with each of his victims. He struck at night, like a bad horror movie, coming out of the fog only long enough to kill and destroy his victims.
In researching this piece I found that violence towards prostitutes was not uncommon in 1888 but nothing reached the magnitude of these murders. Because of the mutilations it was believed the killer was either a doctor or a butcher.
Its fairly obvious we will never know who Jack the Ripper really was, or will we? Today there are some still looking at one Carl Feigenbaum who was executed at Sing Sing Prison in 1894 for the brutal murder of his landlady in New York City. Apparently Feigenbaum's lawyer said Feigenbaum suffered from "psychotic episodes that would cause him to brutally murder women". He further stated that Feigenbaum was in London during the Ripper murders. As with all things Jack the Ripper, investigation continues. What do you think? I'd really love to have you leave some comments.
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Jack the Ripper Documentary - Part 1 of 6
Everyone knows of Jack the Ripper
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