Jack the Ripper

A British magazine illustration of Jack the Ripper, from 1888. [from the British Library, via historytoday.com]

Jack the Ripper, this is still an unsolved case but some sources say that someone may have figured out who the real Jack the Ripper was. Though nothing about them was unknown they still managed to pinpoint a few people who would be a possible suspect for being Jack the Ripper. Most of the suspects were men but only one I believe was a female. The victims were five prostitutes who each had their own story and it wasn’t uncommon for prostitutes to be out and about back then. These tragical murders started appearing in 1888 with the first Whitechapel murder. They believe that the murder of Emma Smith is actually one of Jack the Ripper murders as well.

Jack the Ripper started appearing in 1888 during the Victorian era when Queen Victoria was still reigning over England. Researchers believe that the Whitechapel murders and the Jack the Ripper murders are all connected. Let me give a brief story about Emma Smith who would be a potential victim of Jack the Ripper. Emma Smith was the first victim of the Whitechapel murders, she was a 45 year old widowed who was attacked by a gang but she never really saw her attackers face. She had injuries from her face down to her feet, “”her face was bleeding,” Mary later recalled, “her ear was badly cut, and she said that she was also injured about the lower part of the body.”

This isn’t the first time this has happened either but there were five other victims but they however did not have a chance of surviving for an hour or less, maybe more like Emma Smith did. Jack the Ripper’s victims were brutalized with (excuse this part) their throats were cut open and organs such as kidneys and uteruses were cut out. From my source it said that the five victims that were confirmed to be murdered by Jack the Ripper were all prostitutes.

Mary Ann Nichols, is believed to be the first victim of Jack the Ripper. She was a native of London and, “spent a good deal of the 1880s on the drift.” She was mother of six children and after her last one was born her husband William “had been irreversibly turned by a neighbor called Rosetta.” Soon enough she became homeless and didn’t have enough money to pay for a lodge (as they called it). If she earned some money then she spent it all by drinking each night or at least that’s what she said. August 31, 1888 was the last day that no one but her killer would see her alive again.

Annie Chapman, is the second victim of Jack the Ripper who had suffered from isolation, malnourishment, and a chronic illness. She of course was married before all this had happened; Annie distanced herself away from her family and friends as she found it better to drink instead of being with them. Due to her doing that it caused her to be “isolated, malnourished, suffer from chronic illnesses.” On September 5, 1888 Annie Chapman was caught brawling with another woman that goes by the name of Eliza Cooper (it was all over a piece of soap too). Some think that when she and Ms. Cooper fought it “was a sign that her ability to defend herself was diminishing.” Three days later on September 8 her body was found in an “unsecure yard”.

Elizabeth Stride, victim number three, graduated from the Gothenburg’s streets “to their less- regulated equivalents in London.” This had left behind a background that was really unfortunate and would exchange it for an uncertain future. During that time Elizabeth Stride had also stayed at a lodging house. One the afternoon before she died, she spent it “cleaning rooms in the lodging house on 32 Flower and Dean Street.” She had lived there doing that on and off for about six years. Unlike the other victims of the Ripper Elizabeth had not been mutilated by her Jack the Ripper. Only her throat was slit and people believe that she was in cannon with the Ripper because of that.

Catherine Eddows, the fourth victim of the Ripper. That night Catherine had spent it entertaining “a crowd of onlookers outside number 29 Aldgate High Street with spontaneous, though drunken, imitation of a fire engine.” After Catherine was done she had laid on the pavement and just went to bed like nothing had happened. An officer that went by the name of Robbinson had picked her up and asked everyone around her if they had known her or at least knew where she lived but to his dismay they didn’t. Catherine was actually smart and never gave out her real name so anyone who knew her only knew what she went by, which is Kate. She had actually rested in a cell while she was sobering up and eventually got released at one in the morning. Catherine had died within forty-five minutes of being released and was later found at Mitre Square.

Mary Jane Kelly, the Ripper’s fourth victim, and her death was apparently the most enigmatic of the rest. She was actually younger then the other four victims as she was murdered at 25 years of age. Nothing is really known about her due to the shadowy background she has and was largely out-of-reach. They described her having a fair complexion, light hair, and having really attractive features. Mary Jane Kelly was actually a pretty popular local and had appeared to be well liked within the areas she was always walking in. She had invited a homeless prostitute off the streets to live with her and Joe barnet; that protitute went by the name of Maria Harvey. Despite Mary having to become a prostitute (due to the lack of earnings Jor Barnet made) it caused many arguements between the two of them and that was when Maria came. When Joe left him and Mary were still on good terms before she had died but he later mentions that another woman had been in the house as well. “At around 4am on the morning of 9th November two neighbors claimed that they had heard a faint cry of “Oh Murder!”” Apparently this was the kind of place it would happen most of the time, especially late at night. That morning around 10:45am Mary’s landlord sent his assistant over to collect her overdue rent. Mary Jane Kelly was found dead and brutalized like the other women. She was found on her bed, sprawled out everywhere but was coated in blood. This was probably one of the most brutalist murders Jack the Ripper did because and I quote, The body was lying naked in the middle of the bed, the shoulders flat, but the axis of the body inclined to the left side of the bed. The head was turned on the left cheek. The left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at a right angle & lying across the abdomen. the right arm was slightly abducted from the body & rested on the mattress, the elbow bent & the forearm supine with the fingers clenched.”

Jack the Ripper wrote a few letters to the police and most of them were people pretending to be the Ripper. Only a few of these made sense enough to even be considered a real one from the Ripper. In one of them it talks about how the Ripper wants to give themselves up but doesn’t state anything except the guilt within the letter. They described themselves as a horse slaughterer for all the murders and crimes they have committed against London and the London women. The main letter that Jack the Ripper is known for is the “Dear Boss,” letter in which it is directly sent to the police and they end up throwing it away not believing the Ripper who just so happened to strike again but this time got two in one night.