Jack the Ripper murders were committed in 1888 by one man in East End of London. These murders had a huge impact on the English society and fear reverberated throughout. One of the most puzzling things about these murders is that they are still as notorious and infamous as they were a hundred and twenty-five years ago. The murders were committed in a part of London which was known for its unrest and squalor. By association, the murders represented everything that was wrong with East London.
The print media in that day and age also added to the fire by reporting on each and every little sordid detail related to the murder and the fear surrounding it. Various journalists went so far as to write and publish letters on behalf of Jack the Ripper to boost their publications. Amidst so much uproar and fear, authorities could not apprehend the killer and he continued to remain a threat, shrouded in mystery. Following are 15 fascinating mysteries about Jack the Ripper and the murders he committed.
The body of Mary Ann Nichols was found by two men on August 31, 1888. She was believed to be the first victim of Jack the Ripper killed by a slash to the throat.
Annie Chapman was found on September 8, 1888 with a slash to her throat. The killer had also mutilated her and taken out her womb. It was believed by investigators that Jack the Ripper possessed medical and anatomical knowledge to be able to remove her womb so skillfully.
Then on September 27, 1888 the killer apparently sent a letter to the police.
Known as the ‘Dear Boss Letter’, it reads as follows:
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now.
I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you.
Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck. Yours truly
Jack the Ripper
Dont mind me giving the trade name
PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it. No luck yet. They say I’m a doctor now. ha ha.”
The letter was signed as Jack the Ripper and the name stuck here on after.
Elizabeth Stride’s body was discovered with a slashed throat on September 30, 1888 but the killer seemed to be in a hurry according to evidence. Investigators believe that it may not have been the actual killer himself but someone impersonating him.
The same night another body was found. It was of Catherine Eddowes and severe mutilation had been done to it. Her uterus along with her left kidney had been removed by the killer.
The next victim whose body was discovered in association with Jack the Ripper murders was that of Mary Kelly. The mutilation to her body had been the most gruesome and extreme. Her skin had been cut off and she had been disemboweled entirely.
Montague John Druitt was one of the primary suspects in this case. He lived with a cousin who’d been studying medicine. Shortly before the first murder, his mother went insane and in a letter Montague had written that he feared he was going insane as well. He disappeared after the first murder and his body was found in the river around four weeks after the final murder.
Another possible suspect had been Michael Ostrog who had been institutionalized previously for homicidal tendencies. However, there was never enough evidence linking him to any of the murders in particular.
Aaron Kosminski was the third suspect in these murders. He had been a resident of the area and was particularly known for his hatred towards women especially prostitutes.
Another crazy theory that Jack the Ripper was actually Jill the Ripper but since the police had been actively looking for a man they didn’t pay much heed to possible female suspects.
The fifth suspect is Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward and this is also known as the “Royal Conspiracy”. It is believed that he contracted syphilis through a prostitute which drove him on a revenge killing spree. Enough evidence to support these claims does not exist.
There is a sixth suspect, a painter by the name of Walter Sickert who is believed to be obsessed by Jack the Ripper. He even referenced Jack in his work and there is even a painting titled as “Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom”.
Joseph Barnett is another suspect who lived with the final victim Mary Kelly. It is believed that he was in love with Mary Kelly and did not like her working as a prostitute. So he committed the first few murders to scare Kelly off the street but when she didn’t leave it altogether, he killed her and then disappeared.
The final suspect was James Maybrick who was a cotton merchant from Liverpool. He died one year after the final murder, apparently poisoned by his wife. A diary surfaced with Maybrick’s confession that he had been Jack the Ripper. However, investigators believe that it was nothing but a hoax.