It is the year of Our Lord 1888, in the Country of England the Capital of London and the district known as White Chapel. This area is known for its atmosphere of destitute, poor, overcrowded, and death. Families live with the livestock, children are born and die shortly after birth, husbands and wives leave each other. Women turn to alcohol and prostitution for relief and earnings. In this environment, a series of murders occurred that have never been solved. Although, there has been much speculation as to whom the famous “Ripper” was and why he did these things.
This is where the fun starts. In order to know who he was and why he did the things he did, one has to know the nature of the crimes he committed and on whom he committed them. He has been attributed to committing at least five of the murders that were committed in the area of White Chapel. Though there is speculation that he could have committed others. The crimes started abruptly on Friday August 31, 1888 and ended just as abruptly on Friday November 9,1888. (Jack the Ripper Casebook). There were five women murdered in Whitechapel within a mile of each other and while each woman was different, they all shared similarities. Each was known as prostitutes, alcoholics, divorced, very poor, and some if not all had some sort of illness from syphilis to Brights Disease and TB. All of the victims were between 5’and 5’7” tall. (www.casebook.org) This is where it gets really strange. Four of the victims were dark headed and in their forties. The last victim was 25 years old and blond. All of the victims had their throats slashed, and with each new murder the violence was enhanced. Two of the victims had their faces slashed beyond recognition, causing speculation that these women may have tried to fight him, knew him or both. The mutilation of the face was a statement to the fact that he was in charge and they infuriated him. It was a fit of extreme rage on his part.
Many theories have been written about the Ripper and who he was. But few have been written, if any about why he did what he did. This could be because he was never caught and there were no known facts about him. That being said, I will try to put to paper my opinion about this elusive criminal. Based on the physical evidence, that being, the women, who they were, where they lived and what they did for a living, one could assume that he felt that they were a drain on society and were not fit to live. Based on the brutality of the murders and the fact that he strangled them before he mutilated them showed that he did not want them to cry out and thereby bring attention to himself, even though he committed all but one of these crimes in a public place. He wanted the thrill of possible detection without the verbal possibility of detection. He did not have relations with these women even though he had approached them for sexual intentions.
My theory is that he possibly could not perform sexually. The Ripper was in all probability a psychopath .He appeared to have no fear of detection. He was able to charm these women and lure them into a false sense of security resulting in their death in a very public place. With each murder he became more ruthless; it was as if he could not get satisfaction without more and more mutilation. This was more than likely his release of sexual frustration. It was as if he needed not only the thrill of possible detection, but to completely humiliate these women by the mutilations. He committed these crimes within a four month period suggesting that he could not get enough satisfaction from the first one. He had to continue making each one more horrid. He appeared to know what type of female he was looking for and it is my belief that he stalked them, watching them before he committed the crimes.
The last one was probably not one he had planned. She may have been an impulse, especially if he noticed that she was pregnant. She did not fit the profile that he had set. The Ripper was more than likely a very attractive man, who was well educated and probably had knowledge of a surgeon or mortician. The way he arranged the body parts of the last victim suggested that he wanted to achieve satisfaction; but in his demented way he was leaving a calling card of laughter. This murder and mutilation had to take at least two hours to complete. From the appearance of the hands, he may not have strangled her before he started carving. He appeared to have taken his time and enjoyed the sense of power and control because he did not have to fear detection. (johnno.casebook.org/ripper.html).
There were no more killings after the murder of Mary Kelly. It appears as if she was his swan song. He had accomplished that which his twisted mind had germinated. He had not only fulfilled his sexual fantasy and rid the world of one more unnecessary female, he had also taken the very life she carried and spared it the pain of living in the same squalid conditions that she was living in.
Probably, in The Ripper’s mind, he had paid his dues for his crimes. Was he abused as a child? Was his mother a prostitute? Was he a witness to the things that his mother did? These questions are pure speculation and continue to haunt those that study this unsolved crime. However, based on the evidence of the crime scenes and the bodies of the women, one could probably safely assume that this man had no conscience. He killed and mutilated to satisfy the evil from within. He cared not for anything or any one. He enjoyed the thrill of possible detection, yet he took great care not to get bloodied by his deeds.
All of the victims were already lying down with their head turned to the left side. (www.casebook.org) Whitechapel Murders Mary Ann Nicholls age 43 Annie Chapman age 47 Murdered August 31,1888 Murdered September 27,1888 Place of Murder Place of Murder Bucks Row No 29 Hanbury Street DOB 8/26/1845 DOB 9/1841 Height 5’2′ Height 5′ Hair Brown Hair Brown clothing Clothing Back Straw bonnet trimmed with black velvet Reddish brown ulster with seven large brass buttons bearing the pattern of a woman on horse back accompanied by a man Brown linsey frock apparently new according to Sugden White flannel chest cloth Black ribbed wool stockings Two petticoats, one grey wool, one flannel. Both stenciled on bands “Lambeth Workhouse” Brown Stays (short), Flannel Drawers Men’s elastic (spring) sided boots with the upper cut and steel tips on the heels (merlyn555.bravepages.com/jack/polly.htm) long black figured coat that came down to her knees, black skirt, brown bodice, another bodice, 2 pettiecoats, a large pocket worn under the skirt and tied about the waist with string, lace up boots, red and white striped woolen stockings, neckerchief white with a wide red border (merlyn555.bravepages.com) Prostitute Prostitute Alocholic Alocholic TB Time of Death approx 3:30 AM Time of Death approx 5:30 AM Injuries Injuries Lying lengthways along street, her left hand touching the gate. Blood was oozing from a wound in the throat. She was lying on her back with her clothes disarragned. Her arm was quite warm from the joints upwards, her eyes were wide open. Five of front teeth are missing, slight laceration of the tongue. On right side of face there is a bruise running along the lower part of the jaw. It might have been caused by a blow with fist or pressure of the thumb. On the left side of the face there was a circular bruise. which also might have been done by the pressure of the fingers. On the left side of the neck about an inch below the jaw, there was an incision about four inches long and running from a point immediately below the ear. An inch below on the same side and commencing about an inch in front of it was a circular incision terminatin at a point about three inches below the right jaw.
This incisions completely severs all the tissues down to the vertabrae. The large vessels of the neck on both sides were severed. The incision is about eight inches long. There were no injuries about the body till just about the lower part of the abdomen. Two or three inches from the left side was a wound running in a jagged manner. It was a very deep wound and the tissues were cut through. There were several incisions running across the abdmon On the right side there were also three or four similar cuts running downwards. (merlyn555.bravepages.com/jack/polly.htm) lying on her back on the ground. her head was towards the back of the wall of the house, nearl two feet from the wall, at the bottom of the steps, but six or nine inches away from them.
The face was turned to the right side and the left arm was resting on the left brest. the right hand was lying down the right side.Deceased’s legs were drawn up and the clothing was above the knees. A portion of intestines still connected with the body,were lying above the right shoulder, with some pieces of skin. There were also some pieces of skin on the left shoulder. The body was lying parallel with the fencing dividing the two yards.The face was swollen and turned on the right side and the tongue protruded between the front teeth,but not beyond the lips, it was much swollen. There was a large quantity of blood, with a part of the stomach above the left shoulder. The body was cold,except that there was a certain remaining heat, under the intestines, in the body. Stiffness of the limbs was not marked, but it was commencing.
The throat was dissevered deeply. The incision of the skin was jagged and reached right around the neck. There was a bruise over the right temple.There was a burise under the clavicle and there were two distinct bruises each the size of man’s thumg on the fore part of the chest. The throat had beenn severed. The incisions of the skin indicated that they had been made from the left side of the neck on a line with the angle of the jaw, carried entirely round and again in front of the neck and ending at a point about midway between the jaw and the sternum or breast bone There were two distinct clean cuts on the body of the vertebrae on the left side of the spin. They were parallel to each other and separated by about half an inch. The muscular structures between the side processes of bone of the vertebrae had an appearance as if an attempt had been made to separate the bones of the neck. (merlyn555.bravepages.com)
In the case of Annie Chapman the abdomen had been entirely laid open , the intestines were severed from their mesenteric attachments, and had been lifted out of the body and placed on the shoulder of the corpse. While from the pelvis the uterus and it appendages with the upper portion of the vagina and the posterior two thirds of the bladder had been entirely removed. None of these parts were ever found. These incisions were cleanly cut avoiding the rectum and dividing the vagina low enough to avoid injury to the cervix uteri. ( www. pathguy.com)
Elizabeth Stride 45 Catherine Eddowes age 46 Murdered September 30,1888 Murdered September 30,1888 Place of Murder Place of Murder 40 Berner St Mitre Square DOB November 27,1843 DOB April 14,1842 Height 5′ 9′ Height 5′ Hair Brown Hair Brown Clothing Clothing Long black cloth jacket, fur timmed around the bottom with a red rose and white maiden hair fern pinned to it. (she was not wearing the flowers when she left the lodging house.) Black skirt, blakc crepe bonnet, checked neck scarf knotted on left side,dark brown velveteen bodice, 2 light serge petticoats, 1 white chemise, white stockings, spring sided boots (merlyn555.bravepages.com) Black straw bonnet trimmed in green and black velvet with black beads, Black strings, worn tied to the head, Black cloth jacket trimmed around the collar and cuffs with imitation fur and around the pockets in black silk braid and fur, large metal buttons, dark green chintz, skirt, 3 flounces, brown button on waist band.
The skirt is patterned with Michaelmas daisies and golden lillies, Man’s white vest, matching buttons down front, Brown linsey bodice, black velvet collar with brown buttons down front, Gray stuffed petticoat with white waistband Very old green alpaca skirt(worn as an under garment) very old ragged blue skirt with red flounces, light twill lining (worn as undergarment) White calico chemise, nor drawers or stays, Pair of men’s lace up boots, mohair laces, right boot repairedwith red thread,(merlyn555.bravepages.com)
Prostitute, Alocholic, Alocholic Brights Disease Time of Death Approx 1:00AM Time of Death approx 1:40AM Injuries Injuries throat cut, lying on left side with her left hand on the ground. the right arm was across the breast. Her face was not more than five or six inches away from the club wall.The legs were drawn up feet close to the wall,body still warm,face warm, hands cold, legs quite warm,silk handkerchief around throat slightly torn. corresponded to the right angle of the jaw, the throat was deeply gashed and there was an abrasion of the skin about an inch and a quarter in diameter, under the right clavicle.Over both shoulders especially the right arm, from the front aspect under colar bonesand in front of chest there is a blusih discolouration. on neck fron left to right there is a clean cut incision six inches in length, incision commencing two and a half inches in a straight line belwo the angle of the jaw. Three-quarters of an inch over undivided muscle, then becoming deeper about an inch dividing the sheath and the vessels, ascending a little and then grazing the muscle outside the cartilages on the left side of the neck.
The carotid artery on the left side and the other vessels contained in the sheath were all cut through, save the posteriorportion of the carotid, to a line about 1-1/2 inch in extent, which prevented the separation of the upper and lower portion of the artery. the cut through the tissues on the right side of the cartilages is more superficial and tails off to about two inches below the right angle of the jaw. It is evident that hte hemmorrage which produced death was cause through the partial severance of the left carotid artery.(merlyn555.bravepages.com)
Body its back, head turned to left shoulder, arms by side, palms upwards, fingers sligthly bent, left leg extenteed ,in a line with body. Abdomen exposed. Right leg bent at the thigh and knee. Throat cut across. Intestines were drawn out to a large extent and place over the right shoulder – were smeared over with some feculent matter. Piece of about two feet were guite detached from the body and placed between the body and left arm. The lobe and aruricle of the right ear were cut obliquely through. Face much mutliated. cut about 1/4 of an inch thrrough the lower left eyelid, dividing the structure completery through upper eyelid on that side.
Scratch through the skin on the left upper eyelid near to the angle of the nose.Right eyelid ws cut through to about 1/2 ” Deep cut over bridge of nose,extending from left border of nasal bone down to near angle fo jaw on right side of cheek. Cut went into the bone and divided all structures of the cheek except mucous membrane of the mouth. Tip of noes was quite detached from an oblique cut from bottom of nasal bone to point wings of nose join the face. Cut from this divided upper lip and extended throught substrance of gum over right upper lateral incisor tooth. 1/2″ from top of nose was another oblique cut.
Cut on right angle of mouth as if cut of a point of knife. Cut extended 1-1/2″ parallel with lower lip. on each side of cheek a cut which peeled up skin forming triangular flap about 1-1/2″ on left check two abrasions of epithelium under left ear. Throat cut across to extent of about 6-7 “. Superficial cut commenced about 1-1/2″ below lobe below and 2-1/2″ behind left ear and extened across throat. about 3″ below lobe of right ear. Big muscle of throat was divided on left side. large vessels on left side of neck was severed. larynx was severed below vocal chord. all deep structures were severed to bone, knife marking intervertebral cartilages. sheeth of vessel on right side was just opened. cartoid artery had fine hole opeing , internal jugular vein opened 1-1/2″
Mary Kelly age 25 Murdered November 9,1888 Place of Murder Millers Square DOB 1865 Height 5’7″ Hair Blond Clothing This victim was found in her bed naked. She was the only victim found this way in in a house the others were all killed and left outside. Prostitute Alcoholic Three months pregnant Time of Death between 1-2AM injuries Body was lying naked in middle of bed with the shoulders flat but the axis of body inclined to left side of bed. Head was turned on left cheek. Left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at right angle and lying across abdomen. Right arm was slightly abducted from body and rested on mattress.
Elbow was bent forearm supine with fingers clenched. Legs were wide apart, left thigh at right angles to the trunk and the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes. Whole surface of abdomen and thighs was removed and the abdominal cavity empted of its viscera. Breasts were cut off, arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and the face hacked beyond recognition of features. Viscera were found in various parts viz: uterus, and kidney with one breast under the head, the other breast by the right foot, the liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side and the spleen by the left side of the body.
The flaps removed from the abdomen and thighs were on a table. Face was gashed in all directions, nose, cheeks, eyebrows and ears being partly removed. Lips were blanched and cut by several incisions running obliquely down to chin. There were also numerous cuts extending irregularly across all features. Neck was cut through the skin and other tissues right down to the vertebrae, the 5th,6th being deeply notched. Skin cuts in front of neck showed distinct ecchymosis.
Air passage was cut at the lower part of the larynx through cricoid cartilage. Both breasts were more or less removed by circular incisions, the muscle down to the ribs being attached to the breasts. The intercostals between the 4th,5th and 6th ribs were cut through and contents of thorax visible through openings. Skin and tissues of abdomen from costal arch to pubes were removed in three large flaps. Right thigh was denuded in front to the bone, the flap of skin including the external organs of generation, and part of right buttock. Left thigh was stripped of skin fascia, and muscle as far as knee. Left calf showed long gash through skin and tissue to the deep muscles and reaching from knee to five inches above ankle.
Both arms and forearms had extensive jagged wounds. Right thumb show a small superficial incision about one inch long with extravastion of blood in the skin and there were several abrasions on the back of the hand moreover showing same condition. On opening the thorax it was found that the right lung was minimally adherent by old firm adhesions. Lower part of lung was broken and torn away. Left lung was intact. It was adherent at the apex and there were a few adhesions over the side. In the substances of the lung there were several nodules of consolidation. Pericardium was open below and heart absent. (merlyn555.bravepages.com)
This article written by Yvonne Mason and no part of it may be reprinted, redistributed without express permission of the author