Things You Probably Don’t Know about Jack the Ripper

There are 3 infamously uncaught serial killers: Jack the Ripper, The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, and The Zodiac. Over the next three days, I’ll share information about each that you may not have known.  Today is Jack the Ripper Day.

Jack the Ripper:

  • Case files indicate that Scotland Yard did participate in a cover-up, but not one involving the Royal family.  Instead, they have a few cases noted in the Ripper files that occurred after the murder of Mary Kelly.  While several copycats did spring up after the disappearance of Jack the Ripper, these cases are all unsolved and it would appear that the notations were added because Scotland Yard believed them to be further Ripper victims.  However, the hysteria had passed and they did not want it to start up again, so they were never officially investigated as part of the Ripper case.  Most Scotland Yard investigators did seem to believe they were connected though.
  • NYC may have done a similar campaign of disinformation.  Nearly four years after the Ripper case closed, there were a handful of killings back in New York that very closely matched not only the Ripper killings.  However, the NYPD kept a very tight lid on this  by calling all the murders copycats and only during the last forty years has the files become available to the public.  NYPD detectives did believe Jack the Ripper was in New York City.
  • Despite the claims of Ripperologists that this person or that person was responsible, Scotland Yard had over 2,000 suspects in the Whitechapel killings.  New York City had nearly as many in their serial killer investigation.  No official comparison has ever been done between the two lists.  This seems to be because neither Scotland Yard nor the NYPD wanted to create panic by officially linking the cases together.
  • There were some within Scotland Yard and the NYPD that believed Jack the Ripper was active well into the 20th century.
  • The FBI has a casefile on the Whitechapel killings.  And it is the single most researched serial killer case of all time.
  • Jack the Ripper was the first official criminal profile to ever be given. One of the medical examiners created a physical and mental profile of what they believed the suspected killer would be like at the instance of Scotland Yard.
  • Some key points of the profile went on to eliminate suspected Ripper victims.  However, in at least three instances, the other examiner in the original Ripper case disagreed and believed these victims should have been included.  This debate continues to this day.  In the late 1970s, the FBI actually created their own profile of Jack the Ripper using modern day information on serial killers and their profile only further complicated the existence of other Ripper victims.
  • The Jack the Ripper Saucy Jack letters from which the moniker was created are thought to actually have been written by a journalist trying to sell more newspapers.  While police suspected one journalist of doing it, a different journalist did issue a deathbed confession stating he was the author of the initial Jack the Ripper letters.
  • The majority of Ripper letters have been discounted, including the ones above.  Only the From Hell letter is believed to be authentic and then, only because it did contain a piece of a human kidney, taken from the left side of a body.  Catherine Eddowes was found missing her left kidney and this letter was delivered several days after her murder.  Two other letters have not been authenticated, but also have not been discounted.  One of them uses the same language as the From Hell Letter, but has very different handwriting.  The other has very different language, but very similar handwriting.  None of these letters used the name Jack the Ripper.  Even modern day handwriting experts cannot agree on these letters being from the same person or different people.
  • Finally, from 1890 until about 1930, almost every serial killer case was compared to Jack the Ripper case files in both the UK and US to ensure they were not a reemergence of the sexual fiend that stalked Whitechapel.  (However, another serial killer may have jumped the pond…)
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