Today any murderer that goes on a killing streak ends up covering the newspaper headlines for weeks and with a Netflix documentary in their name. Yet the very first serial killer to reach worldwide fame was Jack the Ripper. His murders caught the attention of everyone around the world and have held our attention for over 100 years. While we still don’t know who Jack the Ripper was as the killer was never found, it hasn’t stopped the story from being made into movies, books, and parodied by every known comedy to date. If you are someone who is a fan of all the true-crime documentaries that are taking over our screens but have yet to hear about Jack the Ripper and the key suspects, then allow us to fill you in.
Jack the Ripper was a serial killer in 1888. He became famous because he was murdering prostitutes in London and would often mutilate or dismember the bodies. Truly the acts of a horrific and disturbing mind. It reached such fame because someone so clearly insane continued to walk the streets and was never captured. Police and psychologists worked night and day to profile the killer and why they are sure of some things, they are certain of nothing.
The police believe that the killer was a man and would pick on prostitutes because of how easy they were to get on their own and murder. They also seem to think that he only killed women because he resented his own mother, she may have abused him from a young age or perhaps deserted him. Each murder followed a pattern.
The murders took place only on the weekends and only between 12AM and 6AM. The police decided that this meant two things. One that he had a job during the week and two that he had no family (or his leaving in the middle of the night would cause suspicion). It was particularly difficult to catch Jack the Ripper because in the late 1800s in London, violence was at an all-time high. In the area that Jack the Ripper operated murders and violence were common and abuse against women was a daily issue. Between April 1888 and February 1891 11 murders occurred against women, five for certain were by the same murderer.
These five women are taking as the clear victims of Jack the Ripper. Depending on other stories you read they sometimes include some of the other six or some other murders as well. Yet these five, we believe that Jack the Ripper was certainly guilty of. The five Jack the Ripper murders all had their throats slit and four of them had other disgusting wounds and mutilations.
We can’t accuse the police of being lazy during this manhunt. They interviewed over 2,000 people, investigated 300, and arrested 80. The working theory at the time was that the cuts on the victim showed that the killer understood human anatomy meaning that he likely worked in the medical field or perhaps as a butcher. This became the focus of all investigations. Yet in 1982 the case was closed with no convictions, there was not enough evidence.
There are now endless theories of who murdered these women. Some think that it was now a woman name Mary Pearcey who was arrested for murdering his partner and child in a similar way to Jack. There was another possible murderer named John Druitt who was in the area, seen near one body and died shortly after the murders stopped. Another likely guilty party was Carl Feigenbaum who was known to mutilate women, whose lawyer thought he was guilty and who moved to America and was later executed for murdering a woman.
Sadly without forensic evidence, we will never know who the murderer was. It is clear that London was full of deranged psychopaths at the time and that instead of arresting no one the police may have been better arresting a bunch of these terrible suspects.