I’m going to tell you about a dark period in East London’s history.
It was in the later part of the 19th century that a serial killer was spreading terror in the East End of London. Five women were killed in just a matter of months. The people of London were terrified of a killer who was soon known as Jack the Ripper.
There have been many theories about who Jack the Ripper was, but no one really knows who he or she was. Jack the Ripper is probably one of the most famous serial killers of all time. He is known all over the world for his gruesome murders.
It is a bit unclear just exactly how many women the Ripper killed. But we assume that he killed at least five women. And all the women were prostitutes.
In this mini-talk I will try to answer the following questions about Jack the Ripper:
- Who did he kill, and how did he kill them?
- What evidence did he leave behind?
- Who were the suspects?
- Why are we still fascinated by the story of Jack the Ripper today, 118 years later?
During three months from August to November 1888 five horrific murders were committed. And it didn’t take long before the Ripper was soon known for his gruesome murder methods.
He would seek out the women on the street and strangle the victim until unconscious, lay them on the ground, cut their throats and then mutilate their face and body with a sharp object. On some of the victims he would also remove organs and body parts.
The victims’ names were: Mary Anne Nichols, Elizabeth Strider, Catherine Eddowes and Annie Chapman. All of these women were above the average age for prostitutes at the time. They were from 42 to 47 years old.
And the last name on the accepted list of the Ripper’s victims is Mary Jane Kelly. She was the last and the youngest of the Ripper’s victims and probably the most gruesome murder committed by him. Her face was cut so that it was almost unrecognizable. Her body was horribly mutilated. Her breasts were cut of, and her organs were lying around her body in the bed where she was found. She died only 25 years old.
Scotland Yard was responsible for the investigation, and they did everything in their power to catch the Ripper.
In October, the police started getting letters signed Jack the Ripper. In the letters the Ripper described his victims and wrote that he would continue killing women. The police believed that the letters were written by a journalist, however. But today they still don’t know if some of the letters are real.
Maybe the most important evidence was the way the Ripper cut his victims. When he removed organs from the victims he would dissect their bodies in the same manner that a trained doctor would have done it. This shows that Jack the Ripper may have been a doctor or that he had received medical training.
Other than that, the police didn’t have much to go on.
Over the years there have been many suspects in the Ripper case, and as far as I know there have been at least 25 suspects.
It has been everyone from successful lawyers and doctors and sons of doctors, to lunatics who heard voices in their head and men who basically just hated women.
But no one has been proven guilty, because the police were newer able to get hard evidence against those who was suspected.
The Jack the Ripper file was closed in 1892, four years after the murders.
The legend about Jack the Ripper has fascinated a whole world for over a century. Although it has been a long time since he killed his victims, many people are still trying to solve the mystery. The reason for that, is that people are still curious about who the murderer really was. The way the women were killed was so gruesome that it had to be a very special person who could have done it.
People are able to get material from the Ripper case over the Internet so that they can investigate and make theories for themselves. Since there were many suspects and few facts it is easy to speculate and bring forward many different theories. Because of this, there has been made many films and books about the Ripper. New generations will therefore get to know the story and they will continue to speculate more about who the guilty person could have been.