Psychoanalysis of the Ripper

DATED: 14.03.16

With the coldest case on the planet still hot on the lips of psychologists, criminal profilers and fanatics around the round; it’s no wonder that the case gets looked at by professionals and amateurs alike on a regular basis, even though it is a case from 128 years ago.

The case being, of course, the subject of our Jack the Ripper tour, and the question we all want answering is ‘just who was Jack the Ripper?’

What Kind of Killer was the Ripper?

Serials killers are often classified as either psychopaths or sociopaths. While psychopaths suffer from mental chronic disorders, demonstrating violent social behaviour; sociopaths suffer from personality disorders with extreme behaviours and attitudes. Determining which of these disorders an individual actually has; often decides their punishment, should a crime be committed.

In the case of Jack the Ripper, there has been much speculation regarding whether or not he was a psychopath or a sociopath. Was he afflicted with a mental illness that drove him towards his horrific, violent outbursts towards the prostitutes of 18th century London? Or was it an entirely different personality within an otherwise normal person in Whitechapel 1888? It is believed that a psychopath will always kill you if that is his intention, but a sociopath will have some conscience and could be persuaded otherwise.

Psychopath or Sociopath?

When it comes to the Jack the Ripper story, there are supporters on both sides of the fence regarding the question of whether he was a psychopath or a sociopath.

While it may be argued that no firm diagnosis can be made due to the lack of patient to be evaluated by experts, there are still many hints and clues towards his state of mind that allows investigators, Ripperologists and other fanatics around the world enough information, to speculate and suggest their own judgements.

The Evidence: Psychopath

With no way of knowing who Jack the Ripper was, beyond speculation and guesswork, the reasons for the killer being a psychopath lie in his actions concerning his victims. Many people suggest the Ripper was a psychopath because he was smart enough to ensure no clues were left behind, he was never caught and was most likely regarded as charming and gentlemanly in society.

Psychopaths are meticulous in their planning, which is part of the reason they are harder to catch. They are likely to stick to their plans, despite obstacles in their way. This was demonstrated by his carrying out the second kill of his double event, despite almost being caught in the first murder of the evening.

The Evidence: Sociopath

Sociopaths usually end up the way they are, due to traumatic events such as abuse in their early lives.  There are plenty of people who believe that Jack the Ripper was, in fact, a sociopath. In part, this is because sociopaths tend to move around a lot, and this would explain why the killings were concentrated over a few a months, and he was then never heard of again.  . It also explains the displaying of his victims’ bodies, post mutilation, along with the way in which they were killed.

The notion that Jack the Ripper dressed up as someone with money to attract his prostitute victims demonstrates sociopathic tendencies and a split personality disorder. Another sociopathic learning is the fact that his modus operandi changed with the last kill. This not only demonstrated that he was an experienced criminal, but also capable of breaking, entering and stalking, on top of murder and mutilation.

The Psychological Profile

A previously secret FBI dossier that was made public in 2011 looked to create a psychological profile of the Ripper crimes. So, who was Jack the Ripper?

The killer was likely to be smart, strong and in control. He killed quickly, made no sexual assaults and mutilated his victim’s post-mortem with no evidence to suggest torture before death.  The changing of the MO on the last victim indicates he was deliberately trying to avoid being caught, which could mean that police investigations were getting close. It also suggests that he was gaining confidence in his work. He most likely found pleasure in the degrading situations he left his victims in and enjoyed their vulnerability. It was probable that he lived nearby to clean up swiftly, post-murder.

The document also suggested he was a loner, possibly disfigured and very likely to be unmarried. He was likely to be neat, orderly and from an unstable background. Writing letters to the police and taunting them suggests he was proud of his work and that his victims were merely a consequence of this action, an action that he deemed justified.

After looking through the evidence and psychological profile, the consensus is that Jack the Ripper was a psychopath that revelled in the notoriety of his own crimes.

Whilst no real diagnosis can ever be made, here at Jack the Ripper tour, we would love to hear your theories, reasoning and perspective on the serial killer who became the biggest unsolved mystery of all time.

Please visit our website to book your place on our Jack the Ripper tour, which takes place daily and we look forward to seeing you very soon!


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Tour Duration

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The Jack the Ripper Casebook