The Childhood of Jack the Ripper

DATED: 12.04.18


Jack the Ripper is well known across the world for his murder spree that took the lives of five women in the 1800’s. We know about the crimes he committed, the victims he killed and how he came to be known by the name Jack the Ripper. However, we don’t know anything else about him, who he was or where he came from.

There are a some that think they know all about him, but there’s nothing to back each of these claims. You can, of course, learn about the killer on a Jack the Ripper tour but even then there’s not much information that we can give you about the true identity of the killer and what drove him to these heinous crimes.

That is why we thought we would delve into the mind of the killer and try to suss out what the notorious killer’s childhood may have been like.

Where Might he have Grown Up?

Since the crimes started there was much speculation about where the killer could have come from. Some believed him to be a London resident living in one of the East End’s streets and others believed that he was just passing through from a different country altogether.

It would make complete sense if he was born and lived in the capital as, during this time, there would have been poverty and famine which could have been one of the things that drove the killer to act out his frustrations. However, if he was an outsider, someone that was only visiting the capital it would explain the sudden start and finish of the murder spree.

The history of Jack the Ripper is based on the crimes he committed and the victims he killed. One clue to his childhood could open the door to not only understanding the killer but, uncovering his true identity.

What May his Parents Have Been Like?

Experts claim that many of those that turn out to be killers will have had a troubling childhood. Although not proven, this is a theory that is considered by many to be true. If the Ripper’s parents where cruel to him during his childhood, this could explain as to why he felt the need to gain control later in life. Was his father abusive and his mother another victim? Was she a single mother that took up prostitution leaving the young killer in the care of other family members or on his own? If so, this may explain why he chose to kill prostitutes as he could have had a deep hatred for his mother.

However, there are hundreds of people that have had a rough childhood and not gone on to take the lives of others, which leaves this theory open to debate. Of course, all will have experienced different trauma, but what if the Ripper’s parents were nice? If so, what could have been his trigger?

His parents may have been kind and caring; he could have been waited on hand and foot and given everything that he wanted. However, this could also have a negative effect on a child as without structure and discipline, he may have felt de-valued or unloved.

Did he Have Siblings?

But it’s not only parents that contribute to the later life of a killer; siblings too can have an effect. In fact, according to experts, a child can completely change when siblings are introduced to the family and many older siblings can feel excluded from the family when a new baby arrives.

Did the Ripper have siblings and, if so, was he the oldest? Did this contribute to his killing spree of women? However, he could have also been the middle child which again could be a contributing factor. His mother could have been more focused on the youngest child and his father on the oldest leaving young Jack to fend for himself. Of course, they may not have done this purposely but he may have felt excluded, starting a deep hatred for everyone early on in his childhood.

Would He Have Been Good or Bad in School?

However, it’s not only home life that could have moulded the killer. His school life, too, could have been a large contributing factor. He may have suffered from a learning disability and, in the 1800s, it wouldn’t have been understood. This could have caused the would-be killer to have been bullied and taunted, leaving him alone and misunderstood.

Equally, he may have been top of the class with the best grades, and he may well have been popular with a lot of friends. This could have put him under pressure to impress his friends and achieve good grades and, due to his popularity; he may himself have been a bully to other children.

On the other hand, however, his parents may not have sent him to school. The may not have been able to afford it in which case he could have harboured anger at the fact he remained uneducated for the beginning of his life. There is speculation that Welsh physician Sir John Williams was the killer, in which case he would have been better educated, but this is only theory and is yet to have been proven.

What Makes a Killer?

While each of these could have greatly affected the killer’s childhood what exactly makes a killer? According to experts, there are various traits that make a killer. The first is suffering from mental and physical child abuse, which we have already mentioned could have contributed to the Ripper murders.

The second is taking the lives of animals. We all know that taking any life is an awful thing that would tear most of us apart, however, there are some that enjoy harming animals and experts believe that it is only one small step from harming animals to harming people.

Another trait of a killer is to be a ‘power junkie’, someone that loves to have complete control over everything and hates the idea of handing control to anyone else. They can also be very manipulative – this is a trait seen in many killers that live a double life. They will kill during their free time and lie about their whereabouts to family and friends manipulating them to be a witness or alibi. The most terrifying trait about all killers, though, is that they are regular people, hidden in plain sight and Jack the Ripper would have been the same.

Without evidence or proof to suggest the true identity of the killer, it remains unlikely that we will ever know more about Jack the Ripper than we do already, which isn’t much at all. He could have had a very normal childhood or he may have suffered various traumas which we will never know. A Jack the Ripper tour will give you all of the information that we do have, leaving you to make your own decision on the killer and his life.


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Tour Duration

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The Jack the Ripper Casebook