Jack the Ripper was a careful killer, and, unfortunately for detectives, he did not leave much to help the police solve the case. From eyewitness reports and mysterious graffiti to a blood-soaked cloth, each clue only seemed to add to the shadowy picture of the Ripper.
How did the clues contribute to the investigation? Were they instrumental in helping Jack the Ripper make his escape? Our casebook offers all the information you need about the clues the Ripper left.
Jack the Ripper Criminal Profile
The identity of Jack the Ripper is a topic that has fascinated people for centuries since we don’t know who he was still to this day. All we know is that the Ripper was:
- A resident of the Whitechapel area
- In his late 20s
- Likely employed as the killings mainly occurred on weekends
- Without family ties as the killings happened between 6 am and 12 am
- Probably of low class
- Not surgically skilled
- Likely known as a previous offender
- Regarded as a loner
- Likely abandoned or abused by his mother during his childhood
This isn’t a lot to go on when it comes to identifying someone with 100% certainty in the present day, never mind in the 19th century when biometrics and other forms of police technology were non-existent.
Jack the Ripper Whitechapel Murders Clues
Although police failed to pin the identity of the Ripper, there was a series of clues that were suggestive of key Jack the Ripper locations. For instance, a blood-smeared cloth was found in the doorway of 108-119 Wentworth Dwellings in Goulston Street, Whitechapel. This was discovered to be a piece of Catherine Eddowes’ shawl or apron; she was one of the Ripper’s victims. This was the sole authentic clue that was left behind by the Ripper and suggested that he returned home from Mitre Square after he’d committed the homicide; however, this was all that could be deducted, as forensic science wasn’t very advanced at the time.
Above the bloody cloth were the words “The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing”, scrawled in white chalk. Despite this, there’s no telling whether this was written by the Ripper himself or a semi-literate, antisemitic local.
While photography had been invented in 1888, it was still a relatively new concept. As a result, Jack the Ripper crime scene photos were also very sparse. Instead of Jack the Ripper victim photos, the case heavily revolved around drawings and word-of-mouth. Consequently, the Jack the Ripper “photos” available were far from reliable.
In the absence of widespread photography, the police, media, and other officials received Jack the Ripper letters. Even in 1888, the murders received a lot of media attention, resulting in hundreds of fake letters being written. Consequently, there’s no guarantee that the Ripper actually wrote one of these letters himself. Once again, technology was limited at this time, meaning that handwriting analysis equipment was non-existent.
Police Methods to Catch Jack the Ripper
As previously mentioned, the Jack the Ripper police methods were far from advanced and conclusive. The limited technology of Victorian London meant that it was incredibly difficult to trace Jack the Ripper, and the police heavily relied on trial and error. The most common investigation method was the questioning of eyewitnesses, which mostly led to vague and conflicting descriptions. As a result, forming a reliable profile and establishing a Jack the Ripper murders map was almost impossible.
Identifying the Ripper
This limited evidence and absence of technology mean we’re still oblivious to who the Ripper was today. Perhaps you can form your own theory by booking in for one of our tours. Contact us to learn more.