The nightmare began in August 1888.
A series of violent killings is what happened. Spread across Whitechapel London. Raped Butchered and mutilated, these were no ordinary killings. And every single victim was a woman, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly. These are the five Whitechapel murders, but many historians believed that their killer slaughtered as many as 11 Victims.
No women were safe and not even Scotland yard could figure out who were behind these gruesome crimes. The only thing they knew about the killer were the words that kept families up at night “Jack the Ripper”.
By mid-1888, London found itself in the grip of hysteria.
What had these women done to deserve such brutal execution?
The only link between these erstwhile random selections of women was their night profession: Prostitution. Servicing strange men, they met in the dark alleys of London’s East end made them the perfect targets for a vicious murderer.
But who was he?
And more terrifyingly, where was he?
Scotland yard was in a race against time to crack this case before another woman was killed. But the British press couldn’t get enough. Readers were gripped by this 19th-century horror, and instead of cooperating with the police, the newspapers started lying to their audience to juice up the stories. Journalists were writing hoax letters pretending to be the killer. And in one of these letters, the writer called himself “Jack the Ripper” and thus the legend was born.
In November 1888 Jack committed his last Whitechapel killing. Somehow, the Ripper Has Outwitted Scotland yard and satisfied his thirst for killing the fairer sex.
What made him stop?
London was giddy with suspicion, trying to guess who the Ripper might be. Today there are more than 100 theories about his identity.
Everyone from author Lewis Carrol to artist Walter Sickert was linked to the crimes. Even Queen Victoria’s Grandson was a hot suspect.
Yes, Prince Albert Victor was rumored to have had an illegitimate child with an End Prostitute, and people wondered if he set about on a murdering spree to keep her and her friends quiet about the affair.
It wasn’t until the arrival of a murder letter, beautifully named ‘From Hell’ that some light was shown on this murky affair.
No, it was not actually from hell, it’s just the letter claimed it was from Hell. The letter reads as follows
I send you half the kidney I took from one of the women, Preserved it for you. The other piece I fried and ate it. It was very nice. I may send you the bloody Knife that took it out if you only wait a while longer.
Catch me when You can
Experts are confident that this letter is from Jack himself because of what it came with it, A kidney, preserved in ethanol, from one of Jack’s murder victims, likely to be Catherine Eddowes.
What this piece of evidence and Jack’s unusual modus operandi told police was that there dealing with a man with an understanding of human anatomy. Here was someone clearly skilled in the removal of body parts.
Could the Killer be a Doctor?
Perhaps, it was the Queen’s surgeon, Sir William Gull, acting on behalf of Prince Albert Victor?
For all the Speculation, Ripperologists are still scratching their heads over the identity of Old Jack 130 years later. But could modern technology help us crack the mystery that has baffled us all this time?
That’s exactly what businessman Russell Edwards tried, with the help of molecular biologist Dr. Jari Louhelainen. In 2007 Edwards bought an old, stained shawl at an auction.
What’s special about this shawl?
Well, it belonged to Catherine Eddowes, when she was killed. Using a technique called DNA vacuuming Dr. Louhelainen collected genetic information from the fabric of the shawl and discovered Catherine Eddowes blood splatter stains were mixed with semen. Infrared Imaging and DNA extraction managed to identify the semen belonging to a man called Aaron Kosminski, a polish Immigrant who moved to England in 1881 and became a barber in Whitechapel.
Was Kosminski, the Ripper?
Well back in the day, even police notes from the ripper cases had his mentioned in several places. Though they never charged him with murder, but they did identify him as their chief suspect. Apart from this, it was also known that he was mentally unstable and was also admitted to an asylum in 1891, the same time that the 11th and the last ripper victim was murdered
Coincidence maybe, but a very compelling one.
Though they are a lot of people who don’t believe this and often question the entire scientific process.Also, there will always be the doubt of what if Dr. Louhelainen did make a mistake. And if he did, then the mystery of who exactly was Jack the ripper remains and will remain unsolved for a very long time to come.