"Jack the Ripper"is the popular name given to a serial killer who killed a number of prostitutes in the East End of London in 1888. The killings took place within a mile area and involved the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields and Aldgate. He was called the Whitechapel Murderer before a letter was received by the Scotland Yard which claimed to have been written by the murderer himself. The signature on the letter read “Jack The Ripper”.
Much of the original evidence gathered at the time has been lost, and many "facts" are actually opinions by the various writers who have written about the case during the past century.
Role of Media and Press:
Jack the ripper has remained popular for a number of reasons. The most important one was that the murders took place in a metropolitan city, where the press and media was a force for social change. Every day the activities of the Ripper were chronicled in the newspapers, as were the results of the inquiries and the actions taken by the police. Even the feelings of the people living in the East End, and the editorials that attacked the various establishments of Society appeared each day for both the people of London and the whole world to read. The press coverage made this series of murders popular.
It is commonly believed that the Ripper himself was responsible for five murders. Although some have written that he had killed seven or more victims. The public, press, and even many junior police officers, whereas, believed that the Ripper was responsible for nine slayings. The five that are generally accepted as the work of the Ripper include Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catharine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly.
All five of these listed plus Martha Tabram, whose case is still disputed, were prostitutes and were killed between early August and early November 1888. All but Tabram and Kelly were killed outdoors. They varied in both age and appearance. Most were diagnosed or suspected to be drunk at the time they were killed.
Method of Operation:
It is commonly believed that the Ripper hired these prostitutes at first. Upon getting the opportunity, he would seize the women by their throats and would strangle them until they were unconscious if not dead. The autopsies constantly revealed clear indications that the victims had been strangled. The Ripper then lowered his victims to the ground. Lastly, he cuts the victim’s throat. Splatter stains show that the blood pooled beside or under the neck and head of the victim rather than the front which is where the blood would flow if they had been standing up.
He did not violate the bodies sexually and usually he took a piece of the victim's viscera. The taking of a "trophy" is a common practice by modern sexual serial killers. In the opinion of most of the surgeons who examined the bodies, most believed that the killer had to have some degree of anatomical knowledge to do what he did. In one case he removed a kidney from the front rather than from the side, and did not damage any of the surrounding organs while doing so. In another case he removed the sexual organs with one clean stroke of the knife.
The Ripper Letters
It is commonly accepted by the experts on the case that none of the letters purported to have been written by the Ripper were in fact written by him. The Whitechapel Murderer may have written the letters, but there is no evidence to suppose that he did and the police seem convinced that they were the work of a journalist. One other letter may have been written by the killer. It was found inside half a human kidney, which was delivered to the police.
A number of people were suspected to have been The Ripper. In 1894, Sir Melville Macnaghten, Chief Constable, wrote a confidential report in which he names the three top suspects. Macnaghten's first suspect was M.J. Druitt, a barrister turned teacher who committed suicide in December 1888. The name of the second suspect was confirmed as Aaron Kosminiski, whereas, the third suspect, Michael Ostrog, has been investigated and there is nothing to indicate that he was nothing more than a demented con man. Similarly, every suspect in one way or the other created a controversy.
Besides all that has been studied and researched about the ripper, there is less or no evidence to prove or disprove much of it. The biggest reason to believe this is that the actual murderer had never been apprehended or caught red handed.
In addition to that, the Ripper didn’t leave any much evidence at the scene of the crime than he actually wanted to. Specialists in criminology still study the Ripper in order to determine his true identity.