H.H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper were both notable Victorian serial killers, and over the years, various parallels have been drawn between the two. Some people have even suggested that the two could have been one and the same… an intriguing, if horrifying, prospect.
Jack the Ripper, the infamous serial killer, started his murderous stint from the streets of the East End in 1888. His ruthless murders and unfortunate victims are still an unsolved mystery and the identity of the man still remains unknown to date.
However, while Jack was lurking around the streets and alleyways of Whitechapel, terrifying innocent residents with his brutal murders in the fog-lit alleys of Victorian London, another killer was gearing up across the pond.
H.H. Holmes was one of the first serial killers in American history. He skinned and mutilated his victims’ bodies in his Illinois hotel (dubbed the ‘Murder Castle’) before dissolving the bodies in acid. Although his exact number of victims is not known, it is thought that he may have killed up to 200 people between 1893 and 1896, before he was eventually discovered, detained, and hanged.
There are a string of similarities and strange coincidences surrounding H.H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper. In fact, some historians have even gone on to say that these two individuals could possibly even be the same person – a theory that we will explore in a little more detail later on.
One of the most striking similarities between the two killers was the fact that both their victims were predominantly women. In addition, both serial killers clearly had psychopathic tendencies and gruesome murder histories – a chilling combination.
Another enduring theory that regularly pops up in the Ripper case is that the suspect may have had some degree of medical knowledge or expertise. It is said that the mutilations on his victims looked like the work of a skilled doctor, which points towards another eerie similarity between Holmes and the Ripper. H.H. Holmes was a qualified doctor and the Ripper clearly possessed some medical or anatomical knowledge, which leads many to connect the dots between the two killers…
Jeff Mudgett, a qualified lawyer, also happens to be the great-great-grandson of H.H. Holmes. He claims that Holmes and Jack the Ripper are one and the same – a theory which has been discussed by experts, historians, and Ripperologists many times over the years.
According to Mudgett, Scotland Yard detectives visited the US in search of the Ripper as they became suspicious and thought that he may be hiding out in the New World. He also believes that Holmes was the mysterious man behind the Whitechapel Murders, masquerading as Jack the Ripper as an alias to carry out his despicable crimes.
Mudgett believes that Jack the Ripper carried out the Canonical Five murders, killing five prostitutes in the East End of London, before escaping to the US to dodge the British police who were on the lookout for him. He went on to say that the investigation was aborted halfway, which helped Holmes get back to business once again in Chicago.
In order to support his claim, Mudgett submitted samples of handwritten text from both H.H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper for review. After close inspection, handwriting experts have confirmed that it is a likely possibility that the two samples could have been written by the same hand.
The theories are never-ending. There are plenty of similarities between H.H. Holmes and Jack the Ripper, yet more than a century later, the identity of the murderer responsible for the Canonical Five still remains a mystery. However, between Ripperologists and armchair detectives alike, the hunt is still on!
You can experience the fright and horror of the Ripper’s heinous crimes first-hand on our Jack the Ripper tour. Step back in time as you explore the sights and sounds of Victorian London with our exclusive Ripper-Vision, following in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper himself as you visit the murder sites and other noteworthy locations in the Whitechapel Murders case. Your knowledgeable guide will be an experienced Ripperologist who will be perfectly placed to afford you a unique glimpse into the notorious tale of Jack the Ripper.
For more information or details of our Jack the Ripper walking tour of the East End, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today.