Over the years, I’ve often been asked by curious crime enthusiasts and tourists alike “what exactly is a Jack the Ripper experience?”
In 1988, during the 100th anniversary of the Whitechapel murders, the London Dungeons ran a themed attraction called “The Jack the Ripper Experience”. They recreated the streets, the atmosphere and the murder sites for thousands of London visitors.
However, for those who wished to see the actual murder sites and indeed Jack the Ripper’s London, our tour granted the real experience for the first time.
When we first arrived in London, we noticed dozens of tours offering what they called a Jack the Ripper experience, but we wanted to go one step further and offer the real deal. We created an experience that intrigued not only the true crime enthusiast, but also those who were new to the subject and looking for something that little bit different.
Here’s how we describe a Jack the Ripper experience:
1. Setting the right atmosphere
Many Jack the Ripper tours today start in the modern city of London where many tourists flock to see the usual sites like Big Ben and The Tower of London. We, however, decided to begin our experience in the actual area where the murders first began; Aldgate East and Whitechapel. This brings you straight into the world of Jack the Ripper.
2. Seeing Jack the Ripper’s London
From the very start of our Jack the Ripper tour, you will see the original Victorian London, which once housed the Ripper and his victims. You will walk the very route the Ripper would have taken, along the original cobblestone streets and alleyways which were once regarded as “The Abyss”. You can recreate streets on a movie set but when you actually walk the real thing you instantly feel like you have been transported back in time.
3. Visiting the actual murder sites
One of the benefits of starting at Aldgate East exit 3 is being able to visit the murder sites in the order they happened. From Aldgate East, you can go straight to Osborne Street where the Whitechapel murders first began with the death of Emma Smith on 3rd April 1888. Strangely enough, only a few feet away we have the murder site of the second victim in the murder file, Martha Tabram. So right away you are starting at the real beginning, it’s only from here that the true story of the autumn of terror can be understood.
4. Expert guides and storytellers who know their history
They say a tour is only as good as its guide and if that is the case we have certainly cracked it. All of our guides are experts on the Whitechapel murders, appearing in documentaries, on the history channel and at Jack the Ripper conventions. Our team organises the largest Jack the Ripper conference in the world, running every year since 1996. We are the first to hear of new evidence, suspects and breakthroughs, so an unrivalled wealth of experience awaits all who dare to walk the streets with us.
5. Seeing the crime scene photos and evidence
We remain one of the only tours in London to use the original crime scene photographs from 1888. Most of these were uncovered in the police archives and public records office and are now readily available for all to see on our tour. They are quite shocking and not for the faint hearted but remain a compelling piece of evidence when trying to understand the mind of Jack the Ripper.
6. Naming Jack the Ripper
Today, across the world, police investigations use modern criminal profiling to solve crimes and so our tour does the same. We take the FBI profiling techniques created by John Douglas and apply them to the case of Jack the Ripper. We map out where the killer was likely to have lived, what kind of person they would have been and who out of the suspects matches the profile. Come along and see what we have to say; you might be surprised.
7. The real Jack the Ripper experience
All in all, to truly understand the world of Jack the Ripper and his victims you don’t need to go to a movie set or any recreation in any themed attraction. You need to walk with the experts on the streets of the East End, particularly on a cold, dark night. We offer a Jack the Ripper experience you won’t forget in a hurry.