Jack the Ripper terrorized London in 1888, killing at least five women and mutilating their bodies in an unusual manner, indicating that the killer had a substantial knowledge of human anatomy. The culprit was never captured—or even identified—and Jack the Ripper remains one of England’s, and the world’s, most infamous criminals.
All five killings attributed to Jack the Ripper took place within a mile of each other, in or near the Whitechapel district of London’s East End, from August 7 to September 10, 1888. Several other murders occurring around that time period have also been investigated as the work of “Leather Apron” (another nickname given to the murderer).
A number of letters were allegedly sent by the killer to the London Metropolitan Police Service (often known as Scotland Yard), taunting officers about his gruesome activities and speculating on murders to come. The moniker “Jack the Ripper” originates from a letter—which may have been a hoax—published at the time of the attacks. Just like multiple people told police they were the zodiac when in fact they just wanted attention, in reality they were fucking police up when they should’ve been focused on the actually killer on the loose.
Prostitution was only illegal if the practice caused a public disturbance, and thousands of brothels and low-rent lodging houses provided sexual services during the late 19th century. At that time, the death or murder of a working girl was rarely reported in the press or discussed within polite society. The reality was that “ladies of the night” were subject to physical attacks, which sometimes resulted in death.
However, the series of killings that began in August 1888 stood out from other violent crime of the time: Marked by sadistic butchery, they suggested a mind more sociopathic and hateful than most citizens could comprehend.
Jack the Ripper didn’t just snuff out life with a knife, he mutilated and disemboweled women, removing organs such as kidneys and uteruses, and his crimes seemed to portray an abhorrence for the entire female gender.
Despite countless investigations claiming definitive evidence of the brutal killer’s identity, his or her name and motive are still unknown.With the lack of evidence, misinformation and false testimony in this crime it made it almost impossible to solve.
Jack the Ripper’s murders suddenly stopped in the fall of 1888, but London citizens continued to demand answers that would not come, even more than a century later. This would spark up multiple conspiracy theories, some even which include claims accusing the famous Victorian painter Walter Sickert, a Polish migrant and even the grandson of Queen Victoria. None of which had any solid evidence that could prove it for sure. This led to the crazy folk lore surrounding the ripper. He definitely left his mark on London..
Jack the Ripper has been the topic of news stories for more than 120 years, and will likely continue to be for decades to come.