The Search For Jack The Ripper Essay

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The Search For Jack The Ripper Essay, Research Paper You Don t Know Jack: The Search for Jack the Ripper Jack the Ripper is one of the most notorious yet romanticized characters in modern history. His gruesome prostitute murder rampage of 1888 in Whitechapel, a poor district on the East Side of London, shocked Victorian society and fascinated the world for over a century. Jack the Ripper is not the first serial killer in history, but he is the first greatly publicized killer of the modern age. It is generally accepted among Ripperologists that he had five victims, all prostitutes, between August 31st and November 9th 1888. Almost everyone has heard of Jack the Ripper, but who was he? Well, no one knows for certain but there are over fifty theories regarding his identity

ranging from a would-be King of England to a murderous Polish Jew. We may never discover who he was, but we must analyze some of these theories and form our own conclusion on the identity of this most fascinating individual (Wilson & Odell 163). A few things must be said about Jack the Ripper and his murders before one can review the suspects. Jack the Ripper committed five gruesome murders in the autumn of 1888. All victims except one were disemboweled, severely mutilated, and some even had organs removed. It can be established by the heinous nature of his crimes that he was very mentally disturbed. Colin Wilson, a famous British Criminal Psychologist (Colby-Newton 47) believes he was a sick man, twisted by hate and saturated with sadistic cravings (qtd. Colby-Newton 47).

But he must have possessed some knowledge of anatomy and, as Dr. Sequiera puts it, he must have been no stranger to the knife (qtd. Wilson & Odell 138). We come to this conclusion by analyzing level of the mutilations of his victims. The fact that he was able to remove a kidney from Catherine Eddowes in less than 10 minutes (Rumbelow 98) suggests at least some knowledge of anatomy and possibly some surgical skills. All of the Ripper s victims were prostitutes. Mary Ann Nichols and Annie Chapman were killed about a week apart, and both had been severely mutilated. Elizabeth Stride and Katherine Eddowes were killed less than two hours apart on September 30th; an ordeal that would be dubbed a double event . Elizabeth Stride s throat was cut deeply from left to right; as was the

Ripper s modus operandis, but her body had not been mutilated. Most suspect this was so because someone must have accidentally stumbled upon the murder and frightened the killer away. Unsatisfied due to an unfinished job, the Ripper walked three quarters of a mile and found Katherine Eddowes, another prostitute, whom he murdered and severely mutilated (he even removed her left kidney). The Ripper s last victim was Mary Jane Kelly, the only victim found indoors, in her doss in Miller s Court. Her body was also the most severely mutilated; most likely due to the fact that the killer was able to spend hours in his grim task as opposed to only minutes on the other victims between police patrols (Wilson & Odell 59). Dozens of theories on the Ripper s identity have been formulated

over the years and some have been weaker than others. The first such theory is that the killer was Thomas Cutbush. Cutbush was arrested in 1891 for stabbing two young women s buttocks in public. He was proclaimed Jack the Ripper by the Sun in a spectacular article (Colby-Newton 68). This theory was quickly dismissed by Sir Melville Mcnaghten, Assistant Chief Constable at Scotland Yard and future head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), who claimed that there were at least another three men, any one of whom would have been more likely than Cutbush to have committed this series of murders (Wilson & Odell 276). George Chapman was another popular suspect at the time. A Polish barber-surgeon (Crime 72) who immigrated to England sometime in 1888, Chapman was later