Jack the Ripper has been the topic of news stories for more than 120 years, and since he has never been identified, the great curiosity of who he was, and why he murdered continues. Coupled with the mystery of who he was and sheer heinousness of the murders, Jack the Ripper remains one of the world’s most infamous serial killers.
Jack the Ripper terrorized London in 1888, killing at least five women, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. He cut up their bodies in a manner that many speculated he possessed a substantial knowledge of human anatomy, some even say he was a physician.
When looking at the murders, what you first see is that all five of the killings took place within a one mile radius of each other. All were in or near the Whitechapel district of London’s East End, all were prostitutes, and all of the bodies were terribly mutilated.
The series of murders that began in August 1888 stood out from all other crimes of the era due to sadistic methods used on the victims. It was recognized that such savagery was far from normal; it was reprehensible. He mutilated and disemboweled his victims, he also removed organs such as kidneys and uteruses.
Jack the Ripper’s terror reign ended the very year it began, multiplying the mystery. Everyone wanted answers, and they do to this day. Theories are countless; did he himself die, was he arrested on other charges, or did he just quit.
A case that lacks evidence pointing to a certain individual needs public assistance to pinpoint a suspect, but there turned out to be little or no worthwhile information garnered from anyone. Witnesses weren’t to be found, physical evidence left at the scene wasn’t any use, and people wanting to be involved convoluted things with false information, some purposely, some just wrong.
And then there were the letters sent claiming to be from the suspect, some 700 or so were reportedly investigated. One of the most promising letters was sent to the London Metropolitan Police Service (AKA Scotland Yard) with an accompanying Hunan body part, that being a half a preserved human kidney. This letter was given the self identifying name “from Hell” in the heading, some think it’s authentic, maybe the only authentic one, some think medical students with access to a kidney sent it as a hoax. The actual letter, and kidney, are both lost.
Other letters didn’t seem to be authentic, but one in particular that was signed ‘Jack the Ripper’ – gave everyone a sensational name to be associated with the unknown killer. Jack the Ripper as a name would love on forever, and as far as terrible name go, this one would be hard to top.
His first victim was Mary Ann Nicholls, 42. Her face was bruised and her throat had been cut and nearly severed, and her stomach had been cut open. She was found on the ground near a business.
The second victim was Annie Chapman, 47. Her body was found in a alleyway, and her possessions were displayed on the ground, next to her body. Her throat had been cut and nearly severed as well; her stomach had been cut open and mutilated. Part of the vagina, and her bladder was missing. She had skin from her stomach placed on her shoulders, and part of her intestines was missing. She was found in someone’s backyard.
Victim number three was Elizabeth Stride; she was found with blood still running from her throat, seemingly, the murder ritual had been interrupted, and the body was abandoned before he was done. She was found in a passageway leading into courtyard several families resided.
Catherine Eddowes, 43, was victim number four. Her body had been ripped open and her throat cut. Her face was mutilated; She was missing part of her nose, both eyelids, and her right ear. Her uterus and left kidney were removed, and part of her intestines were placed on her right shoulder. She was found in the roadway area known as Mitre Square.
The fifth victim was Mary Jeanette Kelly, 25. Mary was the youngest of the victims, and the only one found indoors. She was found in her room, on the bed. Her throat had been cut, her nose and breasts had been cut off and her intestines had been placed around a picture frame. She had been skinned and her heart had been removed and placed on a table. She was found inside a room she was renting.