For those who have a morbid interest in the work of historical serial killers, there are many interesting facts on Jack the Ripper available in books, films, and of course, online. But who was Jack the Ripper and what horrific murders was he believed to have been responsible for?
Jack the Ripper was a notorious serial killer who carried out his dastardly crimes in the Whitechapel area of London, 1888. Although a great number of unexplained and violent deaths took place around that time, the most gruesome of these murders were attributed to Jack the Ripper.
One of the interesting facts on Jack the Ripper is the origin of the name that still strikes a cold chill into hearts, despite the fact more than one hundred years have passed since Jack the Ripper brought fear to the back alleys of London. His famous name was originally the signature at the end of one of many letters purported to have been sent from the killer around the time of the murders. The press soon picked up on the catchy name and the Whitechapel serial killer forever became known as ‘Jack the Ripper’.
Although there were many female prostitutes murdered in the Whitechapel area of London around the time Jack the Ripper was active, only eleven separate murders were included in the London Metropolitan Police Service ‘Whitechapel Murders’ investigation, and of these eleven, only five were considered to be truly the work of Jack the Ripper.
The Canonical Five, as they became known, were each characterised by certain features and experts of the time became convinced these women had been murdered by the same killer. In each case, the throat had been deeply slashed and the victims’ abdomen ripped open with various internal organs subsequently removed. The level of violence perpetrated against the women rose incrementally as the murders progressed and the final victim, Mary Jane Kelly, was gruesomely mutilated.
One of the most interesting facts on Jack the Ripper is that all of the murders ceased abruptly following the violent death of Mary Kelly. Whether this was because the killer was himself killed soon after, imprisoned, deported, or died of natural causes, remains a mystery. But whatever the reason, Jack the Ripper is still a perennial fascination to millions of people, largely due to the horrific nature of his crimes.
There were several other murders in the years following Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror, but although the victims showed certain similarities in their injuries and mutilations, they were not thought to be the work of the Ripper.
Despite the number of theories put forward, the identity of Jack the Ripper will probably never be known. Although some experts believed he was a medical professional due to the nature of the mutilations, others dismissed the idea. There were many suspects interviewed and arrested at the time of the murders, but none were ever held accountable as evidence was mostly circumstantial.
The one good thing to come out of the macabre Whitechapel murders was the attention it drew to the living conditions of the poor in the area at that time. Within twenty years of the Ripper’s last murder, the majority of the slums had been pulled down and the Whitechapel area cleared.
However, the Ripper’s macabre reputation still lives on…