True Crime Sunday: Jack the Ripper (part 1)

I’ve been holding off on talking about Jack the Ripper because I feel like everyone talks about him. Even people who don’t have an interest in true crime know at least the nuts and bolts about the case. However, I came upon a possible connection as I was doing some research for today’s post. So today will be part one of a two (or more?) part series.

The tale of Jack the Ripper is unarguably one of the most famous unsolved cases in history. To this day, there are theories, developments, and “eureka!” moments. However, there has yet to be a resolution.

In 1888, a serial killer terrorized Whitechapel in London’s East End. For the longest time, it was posited that the victims of Jack the Ripper were prostitutes. Research has recently shown that most of the women were not prostitutes. Rather, most of them were poor women living on the streets or in and out of boarding houses.

Between 1888 and 1891, there were eleven murders grouped as the “Whitechapel Murders.” Some of these have similarities to the Ripper killings, but only five of these are officially attributed to this particular killer. The first was Mary Ann Nichols in August 1888, the second was Annie Chapman in September 1888, then Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were both found on the same day in September 1888, and finally, Mary Jane Kelly was found in November 1888.

Four of the women were killed in the same way and their bodies left beyond recognition. Elizabeth Stride’s throat was slit, but her body was not mutilated in the same manner. It’s possible the Ripper was interrupted before he could finish his deed. It’s also possible she was not a victim of Jack the Ripper.

In September 1888, the “Whitechapel Vigilance Committee” was formed to find Jack the Ripper. However, as you have surely guessed, they didn’t catch him. There were a number of suspects, of course. As I mentioned, some thought the killer had training that would allow him to perform these heinous acts in such an efficient manner. This theory had fingers pointing at doctors and related professions. A medical expert at the time, however, refuted the assertion that the perpetrator had medical training. Over the years, the search for suspects grew more desperate and random in an effort to solve the mystery.

There’s probably no knowing the identity of Jack the Ripper since forensic science wasn’t really a thing at the time, and anyone involved has been gone for generations. The legend of Jack the Ripper remains alive and well, and amateur and professional sleuths alike continue to try their hands at solving the case.

Research revealed a number of angles and connections I hadn’t seen before, and it’ll be an interesting dive into the research so I can share some of them with you. I’ll go more in depth with those stories, but I figured I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least give a rundown of this case as we dive into the possibly related stories.

While there’s a wealth of information out there about this case. If you’re looking for something to read related to it, I would recommend The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold. I loved the way the author touched on the crimes, but most of the focus was on who each of the five women were and how they ended up in their respective situations.

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