A question that has perplexed people for over 100 years.
As far as serial killers go, very few can compare to the infamous Jack the Ripper and his legendary status. A Victorian murderer whose identity has never been found, the Ripper is thought to have killed at least five women, carrying out the murders over a relatively short period of time. In fact, the violent spate took place over just three months, August-November 1888, which undoubtedly brought fear and terror to the streets of Victorian London.
For all their toil and hard work though, as well as the help they received from the extensive media coverage at the time, the police struggled to piece together the case and find the culprit. However, indications were that the Ripper had some form of medical training, as the mutilations carried out on the victims displayed certain skills that implied an understanding of anatomy, usually associated with professions such as doctor, surgeon or butcher. In contrast, some felt that this was not the case at all; such is the controversy and divisive nature of the mystery.
The horrific reality was that the distinguishing characteristics of the murders were the mutilations suffered by the majority of his victims. These mutilations all seemed to follow a similar pattern, which is why the victims were all assumed to be the Ripper’s. Typically, the injuries inflicted included cut throats and abdominal lesions and cuts, but several of the victims had organs removed as well. These organs tended to originate in the abdominal area and were usually part of the reproductive system, such as the uterus.
The victims, known as the Canonical Five, ranged in age but were all prostitutes, who typically worked in the capital’s slums. All five were murdered within areas of poverty around the East End of London, specifically Whitechapel, leading the police and media to coin the name “Whitechapel Murderer”.
So in answer to the original question, the fact is, we are no nearer the truth – and probably never will be.
A variety of hoaxes and cryptic messages have been found, as well as names of potential villains; many of which have proven to be unsubstantiated. In reality without any new evidence, which is unlikely to surface, the perpetrator may well never be known.
That doesn’t stop you enjoying one of our Jack the Ripper tours though, where you can get to know the victims, the suspects and the gruesome details of the case first-hand. Book your spot now!