In the mid-19th century, England was robust with new Irish immigrants. An area known as the whitechapel in London’s East End became increasingly overcrowded. Due to the lack of proper housing and work, an economic underclass developed. Crime rates increased and poverty led many females to prostitution. London’s Metropolitan Police Service estimated 1200 prostitutes and ~62 brothels in Whitechapel alone in October 1888. Whitechapel was known as a den of immorality. Within these circumstances, a serial killer was made–Jack the Ripper.
Jack the Ripper Murders
A series of 11 murders in the Whitechapel area occurred during a period of about three years during 1888-1891. Police were unable to tag the murders to any single suspect, but five of the murders, known as the “canonical five”, are believed to be the work of Jack the Ripper. The murders were all carried out in a similar manner–deep throat slashes, abdominal and genital-area mutilation, removal of internal organs, and progressive facial mutilations.
The Canonical Five
- Mary Ann Nichols — Friday 31 August 1888. Throat severed deeply by two cuts. Lower abdomen partly ripped open by deep, jagged wound. Several incision on abdomen.
- Annie Chapman — Saturday 8 September 1888. Throat severed by two cuts. Abdomen slashed entirely open. Uterus removed.
- Elizabeth Stride — Sunday 30 September 1888. One clear-cut incision severed main artery on left side of neck.
- Catherine Eddowes — Sunday 30 September 1888. Throat severed. Abdomen ripped open by long, deep, jagged wound. Left kidney and major part of uterus removed.
- Mary Jane Kelly — Friday 9 November 1888. Throat severed to spine. Abdomen emptied of organs. Heart missing.
Jack the Ripper Letters
During the course of the Ripper murders, police, newspapers and other media outlets received hundreds of letters regarding Jack the Ripper. Three of the most prominent were claimed to have been written by the Ripper himself. These letters include:
Old boss you was rite it was the left kidny i was goin to hoperate agin close to your ospitle just as i was going to dror mi nife along of er bloomin throte them cusses of coppers spoilt the game but i guess i wil be on the job soon and will send you another bit of innerds
Jack the Ripper
O have you seen the devle with his mikerscope and scalpul a-lookin at a kidney with a slide cocked up.
The mystery of Jack the ripper has never solved and remains one of the greatest mysteries in criminal justice.