Jack the Ripper is the best known name given to an unidentified serial killer generally believed to have been active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888.
The name “Jack the Ripper” originated in a letter written by someone claiming to be the murderer that was disseminated in the media. The letter is widely believed to have been a hoax, and may have been written by journalists in an attempt to heighten interest in the story and increase their newspapers’ circulation. The killer was called “the Whitechapel Murderer” as well as “Leather Apron” within the crime case files, as well as in contemporary journalistic accounts.
Attacks ascribed to Jack the Ripper typically involved female prostitutes who lived and worked in the slums of the East End of London whose throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations. The removal of internal organs from at least three of the victims led to proposals that their killer had some anatomical or surgical knowledge. Rumours that the murders were connected intensified in September and October 1888, and letters were received by media outlets and Scotland Yard from a writer or writers purporting to be the murderer.
The “From Hell” letter received by George Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee included half of a preserved human kidney, purportedly taken from one of the victims. The public came increasingly to believe in a single serial killer known as “Jack the Ripper”, mainly because of the extraordinarily brutal character of the murders, and because of media treatment of the events.
Extensive newspaper coverage bestowed widespread and enduring international notoriety on the Ripper, and his legend solidified. A police investigation into a series of eleven brutal killings in Whitechapel up to 1891 was unable to connect all the killings conclusively to the murders of 1888.
Five victims—Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly—are known as the “canonical five” and their murders between 31 August and 9 November 1888 are often considered the most likely to be linked. The murders were never solved, and the legends surrounding them became a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. The term “ripperology” was coined to describe the study and analysis of the Ripper cases. There are now over one hundred theories about the Ripper’s identity, and the murders have inspired many works of fiction.
One of the things that puzzles many people about this particular long ago murder spree is quite why the crimes are still so famous, even though over a hundred and twenty seven years have elapsed since they occurred.
If, as is generally believed, Jack the ripper had only five victims then he wasn’t a particularly prolific murderer compared to many who have come since, and the fact that his so-called reign of terror lasted a mere twelve or so weeks means that he wasn’t at large for a particularly long period of time. Yet there is little doubt that he is the world’s most famous serial killer. Why should this be?
Several factors combined to help make this series of crimes famous all over the world.
Not least amongst them was the fact that the newspapers of the day gave a huge amount of coverage to the crimes and provided their readers with daily updates on them with the result that Jack the Ripper effectively became a menacing media figure.
Secondly, the area in which the killings occurred was perceived as being a hotbed of vice and villainy, and a breeding ground for social unrest, squalor and disease. The Whitechapel Murderer, in the eyes of the wider Victorian society, came to be seen as the personification of all the evils with which the East End of London was associated.
Finally, there was, of course, the name by which the killer came to be known – Jack the Ripper. It was this name – which was probably the invention of a journalist (which has been proven as of late this year )- that had the effect of turning five sordid East End murders into an international phenomenon and of catapulting the unknown miscreant responsible into the realm of legend.
It is generally believed that there were five victims of Jack the Ripper.
- Mary Nichols, murdered on 31st August 1888.
- Annie Chapman, murdered on 8th September 1888.
- Elizabeth Stride, murdered on 30th September 1888.
- Catherine Eddowes, also murdered on 30th September 1888.
- Mary Kelly, murdered on 9th November 1888.
The above five murder victims are generally attributed to the hand of Jack the Ripper.
However, the generic file on which these five “canonical” victims appear is the Whitechapel Murder file and this has the names of eleven murder victims on it. They are:-
- Emma Smith murdered on 3rd April 1888.
- Martha Tabram (also Turner), murdered on 8th August 1888.
- Rose Mylett, murdered on 19th December 1888
- Alice Mckenzie, murdered on 9th July 1889.
- The Pinchin Street Torso, discovered on 10th September 1889.
- Frances Coles, murdered on 13th February 1891.
But the Jack the Ripper murders also serve as a reminder of a not too distant past when a whole section of London society fought a daily battle against poverty and starvation.
As such they provide us with a window through which we can look back on a bygone age when the eyes of the world were focused on the daily lives and struggles of the East Enders who were most affected by the crimes.
Thanks to newspaper reportage on the case, coupled with the records and musings of philanthropists and reformers who wished to bring the plight of the East End’s poor to the attention of the wider Victorian society, we have an unrivalled opportunity to, literally, peer into the very streets where the Whitechapel Murders occurred at the time they were occurring and to observe the impact the killings had on those who dwelt in the area.
Of course the murders were also the focus of a huge criminal investigation that saw the Victorian police pit their wits against a lone assassin who was perpetrating his crimes in one of 19th century London’s most densely populated and crime ridden quarters.
As a result of official reports and the efforts of journalists to keep abreast of the progress (or, perhaps, more accurately, lack of progress) that the police investigation was making, we are able watch that investigation unfolding.
We can analyze the methods that the police used to try and track the killer and compare them with the methods that the police would use today.
We can also ask – and hopefully answer – the question why didn’t the police catch Jack the Ripper?
The Victorian police faced numerous problems as they raced against time to catch the killer before he could kill again.
A major one was the labyrinth-like layout of the area where the murders were occurring, made up as it was of lots of tiny passageways and alleyways, few of which were lit by night.
And, of course, the detectives hunting the killer were hampered by the fact that criminology and forensics were very much in their infancy.
THE JACK THE RIPPER LETTERS
Another intriguing aspect of the case is the number of letters that were sent to the authorities that either purported to come from the killer or else offered suggestions on how the perpetrator of the atrocities might be brought to justice.
The most famous of all these letters, and the one that gave the murderer the name that has ensured the longevity of his legend, was the missive sent to the Central News Office in late September 1888.
This was the infamous Dear Boss Letter, that bore the chilling, though accurate, signature – Jack the Ripper.
Press coverage of this letter led to a veritable avalanche of similar correspondence that resulted in the police investigation almost being brought to melt down.
Yet, the likelihood is that the person responsible for the murders was not the same person who sent this letter.
Indeed, it was believed by police officers at the time, and the majority of modern day experts are unanimously in agreement, that the letter was in fact the work of a journalist working at The Star newspaper, the most popular and widely circulated at the time of these gruesome murders.
JACK THE RIPPER SUSPECTS
Despite the fact that no-one was ever brought to justice or charged with the crimes, there have, over the years, been more than a hundred named suspects who may or may not have been Jack the Ripper.
Some of those suspects are fascinating, whilst others are down right ridiculous.
Aaron Kosminski, Thomas Cutbush and Montague John Druitt are suspects that fall into the first category, whilst Prince Albert Edward Victor, the Freemasons and Lewis Carroll belong firmly in the latter category.
Yet, one thing is certain. No matter how unlikely the names of those that appear on the ever expanding list of suspects might be, the on going challenge of “nailing” the ripper has helped keep this series of crimes at the forefront of criminal and social history for over 127 years.
PRESS COVERAGE OF THE CASE
One of the more intriguing aspects of the Jack the Ripper murders is the amount of worldwide newspaper coverage that they generated. Journalists converged on the streets of the East End to report on the murders, and were often appalled by the diabolical living conditions that they encountered.
Pages and pages were given over to reporting on the inquests into the deaths of the victims; local residents were interviewed at length; police officers were followed, and sometimes even bribed, as reporters endeavoured to secure that all too elusive exclusive that might help sell more newspapers.
The authorities were subjected to a constant barrage of press criticism, both for the inability of the police to bring the killer to justice, and the appalling social conditions that they had allowed to develop unchecked right on the doorstep of the City of London, the wealthiest square mile on earth.
Plus, most importantly, and as mentioned earlier, the name Jack the Ripper was most probably the invention of a journalist.
JACK THE RIPPER’S LONDON TODAY
Given the passage of 127 years since the murders occurred it’s amazing how much of the area has managed to survive since 1888.
Although the murders sites themselves have long since vanished, there are numerous streets and buildings that have survived and which are, more or less, the same now as they were in the late 19th century.
Just off Whitechapel High Street, for example, you will find a delightfully sinister arch that leads into the cobbled Gunthorpe Street. This is the street along which Martha Tabram walked with her killer in the early hours of the 8th August 1888 and the surroundings still have a sinister air about them.
The Ten Bells Pub, which is linked to several of the victims is still going strong – albeit it is trying to distance itself from its ripper related past.
The Frying Pan Pub, where Mary Nichols drank away her doss money, shortly before being murdered, is now a restaurant.
The doorway in Goulston Street, where the murderer deposited his only clue, is now the take away counter of the Happy Days Fish and Chip Shop.
People still make their way to St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cemetery in Leyton to lay flowers on the grave of Mary Kelly and to spend a few moments in quiet contemplation.
So..who was Jack the Ripper? Well, after over one week carrying out my ow investigation by watching many videos, reading tons of investigations back then both by the police as well as current day “lone-ranger” keen fans, journalists and investigative reporters I finally came across this video posted on www.youtube.com. Have a watch and tell me what you think?
This is what I think so far;
- It was a man called Charles Allen Cross. As you will see from the video he called himself as Charles Allen *Lechmere* on the 2nd day of the inquest. He also gave his home address which was also a lie. He didnt exist at that address. No such name matched that address. So who was he really?.
- Why did Charles Allen Cross lie? Was it because he was purposely lying to cover his real identity to the court and the police? Was he the real killer Jack the Ripper?.
- As you see from the video, Charles Allen Cross was the only individual ever to be found with any of the murdered prostitutes. He claimed that he came across the body (the second victim out of the 5 victims) at a certain time. His timing was to found out to be not true if one was to take a walk from his home to the spot where the 2nd victim was lying – as presented in the video.
- His history of moving, over a period of time from different houses around the known area of the Whitechapel murders and the fact that he needed to frequent/pass by/pass through the “triangle” of “death” area brings about more suspicion with regards to this man.
- Was Charles Allen Lechmere or rather Charles Allen Cross the killer everyone was looking for but failed miserably to find? Maybe he was smart and somehow knew how to outwit the police?. In the end he continued to roam the streets as a free man, not even seen as a prime suspect due to the gross ineptness of the court and the police. If it were today, it’s sure that he would end up as a prime suspect. So was he lucky or was it all planned?
- Looks like Charles Allen Lechmere/Cross remained free in “plain sight” of the authorities until his death around the age of 70. His face is finally revealed in this video investigation. I dont think he looks that normal to me. There is something eery about him.
- It was NOT an immigrant nor a Jew who committed these gruesome murders but a local, an Englishman who lived a pretty normal life with a normal job which he held onto for at least 20 years and location-wise, his “base” was not that far from the area of the murders.
- Charles Allen Cross lived in the same area circumventing the area surrounding all the murder sites and since his early morning shift always was between 6am to about 7am onwards…it is not surprising that he would have been on his way to work anytime from 3.30am/4/30am onwards suggesting that he would have easily been the person who had the chance to murder these women and still have the time to get back to walking towards his workplace. Circumstantial you say? I dont think so.
- Look again at the evidence presented by the video (above). Charles Allen Cross’s claims dont match up. His early life matches many serial killers’ backgrounds. So why should he not be a prime suspect?
- He always lived with or close to his mother, a dominant “force’ in his life and only two months before these murders started he suddenly moved away into his own house. So is there evidence of some sort of traumatic event taking place?. Did this event trigger the spate of murders?
- Remember, he was the ONLY person ever found to be standing over a body and yet at the inquest he managed to bluff his way out of it and walked away a free man. There are so many factors that were not checked out by the court or the police. Ineptness as I said on the part of the authorities at the time.
- Most serial killers are above average intelligence as we know. take for example Ted Bundy. In fact, they’re practically genuises or with very high IQ levels. So it’s no surprising that Charles Allen Cross could possess the same mindset and intelligence by the way he went about things. He was very smart. Kind of ahead of his time I would conclude. That is why he managed to out-smart everyone.
- I do have one question though. Why did this spate of killings come to an abrupt end around 1989?. There were other reported murders in the same area up until 1891 but not quite the same, but who knows if it wasnt him again?. This certainly needs more time to research.
Analysis and Summary
There have been literally hundreds of theories when it comes to Jack the Ripper but until now, I too was not convinced by these theories even though many were compelling.
This one however is the only evidence I find compelling enough to say “Yes, this is the one”. I too have done my own research into who he really was and of course you can think of half an dozen people who had the means to do such things. It was a time dont forget where many immigrants from Europe flocked into London and many were struck my abject poverty and many starved to death.
Alot of the Victorian women of those days were in particular hard pressed for money as most had ended up alone, seperated from their families through divorce or loss of jobs. Most resorted to become prostitutes, no choice of theirs and they put their lives at risk especially if they went about their daily routines in that part of London, the East End of London. Whitehapel was notorious for murders and violence.
Do you know how he also out-smarted the authorities the way he did?
If he is as clever as I think he was, he must have made sure he knew the exact timing of the police constables doing their rounds every night throughout the district of Whitechapel – since he had lived there for so many years – checked out what time the next would arrive at a certain junction, corner and do their designated rounds along certain streets and alleyways. Get it?.
He must have done his research at least a few months beforehand or even up to one year beforehand, before he could carry out his bloody plans. Hence why he moved out of his mother’ house 2 months before the murders started.
2 months before he started his rampage? Probably in my mind because he was either ready to start the “ballrolling” after completing his research on the police patrol timings or that he needed that time to finish off his research on the above. Either way he was just about ready. Now that’s a man with a high IQ level and careful planning and for 1887-88, that’s not bad.
I am in no way gloryfying this murderer, rather that I’m trying to read his mind.
I have ventured down Whitechapel myself when I was living anjd studying in London and I find it quite erry and spooky especially at night and I know it to be haunted, I can sense it. Jack The Ripper still haunts this place and his victims who died horrific deaths still haunt the back alleyways and the dimly lit streets. Not the kind of place to be hanging out late at night or early morning just before dawn. No way man, not even if you gave me 1 million dollars to do it.
I reckon that all these murdered women are still waiting for juctice to be served and sadly, I dont think it will ever happen unless you find Charles Allen Cross’s relatives still living today? But would they know and would they help seek justice on behalf of these women 127 years ago?
For me for what it’s worth, Charles Allen Cross is our man. He was Jack The Ripper. You may have your own theory and I have mine.
I will continue to carry out my own investigations and research. Who knows what I might come up with?. Perhaps a second part to all this?
Keep your wits about you because if you click here: http://livingmsia.com/letters-from-jack-the-ripper/ you’ll be presented with more questions on whom wrote the “Dear Boss” letter and more!