Will the Jack the Ripper Face Ever be Revealed? 

DATED: 10.11.21

Who was Jack the Ripper? 

What did Jack the Ripper look like? 

Have we ever seen the face of Jack the Ripper? 

Will we ever have a ‘masked singer’ moment in which there is a Jack the Ripper face reveal at the end of a show? 

These are questions that have plagued Ripperologists for decades. Meanwhile, not knowing the true identity of the man has fuelled the imagination of artists, creators, and filmmakers. The amalgamation of these varying impressions has evolved into a character hidden by the shadows, obscured by hat brims and turned up collars, enigmatic, never quite looking directly at you. 

If you have been on one of our tours in London’s Whitechapel, you will know that evoking fear and trepidation is what makes the tour truly satisfying for those fascinated by this story. Ignorance of his true identity feeds into this fear. 

Jack the Ripper is one of the most notorious serial killers, not only because of his horrific murders, but also because we are still oblivious to his identity. There are 17 prime suspects who the Ripper could have been but carrying out an investigation over 130 years after the crimes is tricky to say the least. Similarly, no two of the suspects are alike, ranging from princes to already convicted serial killers. So, what did Jack the Ripper really look like? 

Descriptions of Jack the Ripper’s Face and Appearance

Jack the Ripper was believed to be between 26-38 years old with a pale complexion, dark eyes, and dark eyelashes. He was said to stand at 5 feet, 6 inches, wearing a long dark coat with a fur-trimmed collar and cuffs. 

The description of him included a moustache curled up at each end and dark hair, which contributed to his churlish demeanour. Under his coat, he was thought to wear a light waistcoat and dark trousers, paired with a dark felt hat on his head. On his feet, he was believed to wear button boots, matched with gaiters with white buttons. His final defining feature was a black tie with a horseshoe pin that conveyed a reputable and crisp appearance. 

In many images, an iconic ‘Jack the Ripper cane’ has also become synonymous with the prevailing characteristics, elevating the social standing of a man who obviously had absolutely no regard for the lives of his impoverished victims. 

Will we ever see the real face of Jack the Ripper? Did any of the suspects bear any resemblance to the supposed Jack the Ripper appearance? 

Carl Feigenbaum

Feigenbaum changed his name multiple times, making it especially difficult to pin his true identity down, but we can be sure that he was killed via the electric chair. This was punishment for murdering his landlady, which does not bode well in Feigenbaum’s favour with regards to Jack the Ripper. 

It was reported that Feigenbaum had a desire to mutilate women and had a complex understanding of human anatomy. Furthermore, he killed his landlady through a knife attack and the cutting of the throat, which was reminiscent of the five Ripper victims. 

Despite this, no photos exist of Feigenbaum aside from an e-fit photo that was produced in 2011. Therefore, we cannot be certain that this is an accurate depiction of him. Additionally, it is not believed that Feigenbaum was near Whitechapel at the time of the murders. 

Joseph Barnett

Barnett was the one-time boyfriend of Ripper victim, Mary Jane Kelly, and is the only suspect with a known link to one of the victims. 

He was 5ft 8 inches and had a defining moustache that matches the description of the Ripper. Furthermore, he lived within a mile of Whitechapel for his entire life, suggesting a familiarity with the area. It is believed that the Ripper would have an absent father, whilst Barnett’s father died when he was six. 

Additionally, it is thought that the Ripper would have a physical defect, causing much resentment. Barnett displayed evidence of suffering from a speech impediment. Finally, the Ripper probably had a job that adhered to his destructive tendencies; Barnett was a fish porter and spent his days gutting fish. 

Francis Craig

Craig married Elizabeth Weston-Davies on 24 December 1884, and it is he whom Dr Wynne Weston-Davies claims to be the great-nephew of. According to Weston-Davies, Craig filed for divorce in 1886 upon discovering that his wife was engaging in prostitution. Weston-Davies claims that during her work in prostitution, Elizabeth Weston-Davies used the name Mary Jane Kelly (the fifth Ripper victim). Weston-Davies’ theory is that Craig killed his wife out of revenge. 

We only have access to a drawing of Craig, which does not tell us enough about his appearance to judge whether he is the face of Jack the Ripper. 

Prince Albert Victor

The prince’s appearance does appear to match the description of Jack the Ripper; however, the similarities seemingly end there. It was a bold claim to accuse the prince, with little evidence to support it. Therefore, it is generally agreed that the evidence suggests the prince was not the Ripper. 

Montague John Druitt

After the last of the Ripper’s murders, it was rumoured that the Ripper had drowned in the River Thames. Druitt’s body was in fact found in the Thames on 31 December 1888, and it was apparent that it had been there for a significant period of time. His pockets were filled with stones, which would explain the delay in the discovery of his body. 

Just under three years later, the MP for West Dorset announced that the Ripper was the son of a surgeon and had committed suicide; this description matched Druitt to a T. Druitt was also named as one of the premier Ripper suspects in Sir Melville Macnaghten’s private memoirs of 1894, wherein he highlights the timeframe of Kelly’s murder and Druitt’s death. 

The portrait we have of Druitt certainly shows a well-dressed man with dark hair and a pale complexion, which adheres to the description of the Ripper. Despite this, his death could well have just been an unfortunate coincidence. 

Michael Ostrog

Ostrog certainly had questionable morals, with evidence of him committing thefts, robberies, scams, and fraud, but does this make him capable of murder? He was not considered as a suspect until 1894; however, this was discredited by the revelation that he was in prison in1888. 

This being said, his dark hair, defining facial hair, and smart attire does match the description of the Ripper, which might explain his entanglement with the case. 

What do you think? 

Out of 17 suspects, we have only just begun to scratch the surface with six. If you want to learn more about the other suspects and make your own verdict as to who was the face of Jack the Ripper, be sure to book in for one of our tours.


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The Jack the Ripper Casebook