26th, July 2012
Jack the Ripper
On a late evening over a hundred years ago, a serial killer started his spree of slayings, which would end up being one of the most talked about unsolved killings to this date. By typical philosophies, the eerie slayer who terrified the gloomy streets of London’s East End was nothing compared to serial killers of the present time. How could this one person fascinate a large number of individuals, since there have been far more disturbing serial killers over the years? It could be that over a century has passed and the killings have gone unsolved. It could also be the type of individual he slayed, how he did it, or the many theories on who did it and why.
The area known as the East End, the district neighboring Whitechapel, was a frightening and remotely mysterious area that was just north of the Tower of London. Jobs were limited and sickness ran uncontrolled through the city, that being said, women turned to prostitution to survive. These women in dire circumstances resorted to turning cheap tricks in order to support themselves, even in some cases to support their families (Douglas&Olshaker 22-23). It was from this class the murderer chose his victims (Rubinstein 11).
The predator went on a spree from August 31st, 1888 to November 9th, 1888 killing five prostitutes: Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catharine Eddowes, and Mary Kelly. He slashed the women’s throat and dismembered them. The last victim was disfigured so horrifically that she was beyond identification, and a convincing likelihood of cannibalism (Rubinstein 10-11). Even though unease settled over Scotland Yard, London in its entirety, including the East End, was not overly concerned about the murders (Douglas&Olshaker 28). The East End was running rampant with speculation on who committed the killings. One of the utmost widespread ideas came from the leather apron discovered by Annie’s body. As the authorities questioned local prostitutes, the same story kept getting mentioned regarding a tough resident, Leather Apron, who bullied local prostitutes and demanded money (Douglas&Olshaker 34). Just days after Annie Chapman’s murder, John Pizer also known as “Leather Apron” was arrested (Bardsley, Par.14). Later, Pizer’s alibi checked out for the murders of Polly Nichols and Annie Chapman, and he was released (Bardsley Par.23). Although the police and the media made a determined attempt to locate the “actual” Leather Apron, they lacked progress, and the people continued to panicked about the identity of the murder (Douglas&Olshaker 35).
Fig. 1 Jack the Ripper Stalking his next victim
A letter received by the Central News written in red crayon and addressed to the Boss was the first contact the authorities had established with the murder. The killer talked about keeping red stuff in a ginger beer bottle and was going to write the letter with it, but “it went thick like glue” and he could not use it. He also talked about Leather Apron and he thought it was a joke and it gave him “real fits”. He even signed the letter Jack the Ripper. Numerous correspondences thought to be from Jack the Ripper were sent to the authorities, the media, and people related to cracking the killings. However, only a couple were believed to be lastingly intriguing to Ripper researchers (Bardsley Par.1-2).
Despite the thousands of hours of effort put in on these events, there is not yet one suspicious individual for which a strong case can be made (Bardsley Par.5). To date there are about fifteen contenders for the actual identity of Jack the Ripper (Rubinstein 12). When Sir Charles Warren retired as the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Melville Macnagthen took his place. Even though the Ripper murders were formally concluded, the search for the killer was ongoing; Macnagthen had admission to all the case files. In his last report, he stated,...