Looking Back on History – Jack The Ripper


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Policemen discovering a murdered woman in Whitechapel.

Since the spooky spirit of Halloween is upon us, let’s talk about the brooding tale of the man known as Jack The Ripper. Jack The Ripper, also known as the Whitechapel Murderer, is the infamous butcher that is thought to be responsible for all of the murders included in The Autumn of Terror in 1888. A documentary produced by The History Channel described him as “one of the most evil serial killers in history.”

Imagine that the year is 1888 and you live on London’s East End in Whitechapel. It’s not the most wealthy, clean and certainly not the safest city, but this is where you and 250,000 others call home. So it’s a normal day, and as you are on your way to work you turn into a dark alley way. As you walk to the other end of the alley, you see a fairly large and unidentifiable pile that has never been there before. Coming closer and closer, you discover that the pile is the body of a recently murdered woman. Her body is mutilated and she’s hidden underneath her own blood.

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What would your first reaction be? Fear.

Being a crowded district, word of this woman’s murder gets around quickly; fear and confusion start to spread. This is how one person caused a city-wide panic. Was it intentional? We may never know.

The Victims

Jack The Ripper’s first believed victim is a prostitute by the name of Mary Nichols. Her body was found by Charles Cross in Bucksrow, Whitechapel on August 31, 1888 at 3:40 a.m. When she was found, she had only been dead for 30 minutes. Her throat was cut to the point that her head was almost completely off her neck.

The second victim is another prostitute named Annie Chapman. She was found at 5:30 a.m. on September 8, 1888 and found by a man named John Davis. JacktheRipper.org describes the scene. “The killer deftly cut out Annie Chapman’s womb” and her head was also nearly cut off her neck. When she was found, her clothes were pulled above her waist in order for The Ripper to cut out Chapman’s uterus.

The third victim of Jack The Ripper’s massacre is Elizabeth Stride-another prostitute. By this time, investigators picked up on the pattern of murdered prostitutes. She was found at 1:00 a.m. on Sept. 30, 1888 by Luis Diemshutz in Dutfield’s Yard. She was discovered to be only dead for 20-30 minutes, with the same wounds as the murderer’s other two victims.

The fourth victim is Catherine Eddowes. She was found on the same night as Elizabeth Stride at 1:44 a.m. by PC Watkins in Mitre Square. Eddowes’ wounds were different from the other victims. Aside from a dangling head and a missing uterus, her left kidney was cut out, “v”s were cut into here eyelids and cheeks and nose were missing.

The last and youngest of Jack The Ripper’s victims is Mary Kelly. She was found at Miller’s Court in her bedroom by Thomas Bowyer, a tax collector, at 10:45 a.m. The window to the room was broken and Bowyer looked to see if she was home or not. When he looked in, he saw the mutilated body of Mary Kelly. Her body was almost beyond recognition.

These murders made the fall of 1888 known as The Autumn of Terror. According to jacktheripper.org, “The Whitechapel Murderer, in the eyes of the wider Victorian Society, came to be seen as the personification of all the evils with which the East End of London was associated.” Aside from crippling fear, people’s eyes were opened the horrid “evils” that were taking place in Whitechapel.

There is compelling evidence as to who Jack The Ripper’s true identity belonged to, but no one really knows who The Ripper was and the true identity may never be known.