Does his name ring a bell or remind you of an unsettling history lesson from high school?
Jack the Ripper was a serial killer based in London and active in the late 1800’s. Researchers believe the Ripper most likely carried out the usual fate of a serial killer - suicide.
According to world population rates, the average rate of homicide for every 100,000 United Kingdom citizen is 1.2 per year. The average rate of homicide in the United States is 5.3 per year.
Jack the Ripper was more than likely identified as a hairdresser who emigrated from Poland to England just before the series of murders began.
Aaron Kosminski is now the leading suspect of this on-going case. Records show he was arrested and detained in a workhouse in the 1890’s under claims of violent behavior with a knife. He was soon transferred to an asylum and then moved to another one. He was known to hear voices and was oddly paranoid about accepting food from others.
Assistant Chief Constable Sir Melville Macnaghten documented suspects he questioned to be the Ripper. Kosminski was one of these suspects and was described as low-class with homicidal tendencies and a hatred for women.
Police then reported Jack the Rippers murder spree from 1888 to 1891 with eleven documented victims, all prostitutes in Whitechapal, London. The number of his victims is questioned to this day, ranging from a few to hundreds.
Chief Constable Macnaghten wrote in his notes “the Whitechapel murderer had five victims and five victims only.” These victims are now referred to the ‘Canonical Five’ or ‘five official’ victims due to the similar way they were killed and distorted. All of their throats cut and intestines torn apart. He described Mary Jane Kelly as the Rippers last victim because “the murderer's brain gave way altogether after his awful glut...and that he immediately committed suicide, or, as a possible alternative, was found to be so hopelessly mad by his relations, that he was by them confined in some asylum...”
Mary Jane Kelly is the most famous and investigated victim of the Ripper. Kelly was a well known prostitute and died at 25 years old. She was reportedly seen drinking with another lady on the night of Nov. 9, 1888 and then seen later that night entering her home with an unidentified man.
Kelly’s neighbor told police she heard Kelly singing in her room for some time that night. A friend of Kelly’s reported he and Kelly met on the street the next day as she asked for money. She then continued down the street and was approached by a well-dressed man. The two were seen bursting with laughter and eventually entering Kelly’s home that night. Neighbors reported hearing yet ignoring loud cries at 4 a.m. The landlord’s assistant found her mutilated in her own bed that morning during a quest to collect her outstanding rent.
There's been new DNA evidence found by two U.K. universities just last year on a preserved shawl left at a crime scene in 1888. The shawl belonged to the fourth Ripper victim, Catherine Eddowes.
There are many questions surrounding this new DNA evidence. The shawl was allegedly removed from police evidence and given back to the victim's family. Russell Edwards bought the shawl at an auction in 2014 and immediately ordered a DNA test. The results were apparently sketchy and not tested again until 2019 by Liverpool John Moores University and University of Leeds. The DNA presented matched descendants of Kosminski and Eddowes. Although, the shawl was never documented into police custody.
We will never know for sure who the Ripper was.
Lack of education on forensic science made the police investigations debatable. Researchers could not even distinguish between human and animal blood. The Metropolitan Police, one of two London police forces, were in charge of finding Jack the Ripper using similar tactics police use today. They tracked suspicious suspects and attempted to predict the Ripper’s next strike. The Metropolitan Police found themselves going in circles while attempting to identify the Ripper and confirm which homicide cases were his.