Jack the Ripper is the name that has been given to an unidentified serial killer responsible for murders occurring in the impoverished Whitechapel section of London in 1888. "Jack the Ripper" became the first internationally known serial killer. The name Jack the Ripper comes from the signature of a letter, dated 25 September, 1888, and received by the Central News Agency on 27 September, 1888.
There were 11 murders of prostitutes in the Whitechapel area from 1888 to 1891, known as the Whitechapel Murders. Five of these are commonly identified as the Jack the Ripper murders. Those of Mary Ann Nichols at Buck's Row, Whitechapel, on Friday 31 August 1888, Annie Chapman at Rear Yard at 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields on Saturday 8 September 1888, Elizabeth Stride at the yard at side of 40 Berner Street, St Georges-in-the-East on Sunday 30 September 1888, Catherine Eddowes at Mitre Square, Aldgate, City of London on Sunday 30 September 1888 and Mary Jane Kelly at 13 Miller's Court, 26 Dorset Street Spitalfields on Friday 9 November 1888.
All Jack the Ripper murders took place in a one square mile area of the East End of London.
(Miller’s Court, Christ Church, London, November 1888.)
It was a cold, foggy November night. The street was almost deserted, but for a few coachesl passing by occasionally. A tall, lone figure was walking hastily, his head bowed, His footfalls echoed on the cobblestones. The thick mist swirled around him as he made his way along the deserted street.
“Feeling naughty tonight, Sir?”Asked a seductive, husky voice. coming from the shadows of an alleyway . It was addressed to the tall man who was passing by. From his bearing having a top hat and a long overcoat .The prostitute figured he was a “gentle man” possibly on his way home.
The man stopped as she emerged from the alleyway. His face was shadowed by the brim of his hat. .
She was a bit on the plump side in her twenties, wearing a fur collared, well worn brown frock that fell to her ankles. She had a small artificial dot on a side of her red, pouted lips and smelled of cheap liquor.
The man sized her up quickly and asked in a well modulated voice “How much?”
The prostitute smiled, showing a missing tooth,
‘For you, Sir, two Shillings!’ she responded hopefully.
“Slut!”He thought furiously. Recognizing her at last
“Where shall we go?" He asked bluntly.
“I have a little room at the back “she replied softly,” Follow me “
The man clutched the handle of the little black bag he carried firmly.
The room was approximately 12 feet square. Opposite the door was a fireplace. On the left of the door and at right angles to it were two windows, one of which was close enough to the door as to be able to reach through it and unbolt the door. To the right of the door was a bedside table so close that the door would hit it when opened. Next to the table was a bed with the head against the door wall, its side against the right wall. The room contained two tables and a chair and a cheap print entitled "The Fisherman's widow" hanging over the fireplace. Opposite the fireplace was a small cupboard which contained cheap crockery, empty ginger beer bottles and a little stale bread.
“The money first, please” she requested politely.
“Money? ah yes.” the man replied evenly. He set the bag down on the bed and turned his back to her as she began undressing.
The man fumbled round a bit, then turned suddenly. He held a straight edged razor in his gloved hand. “You?' she cried, recognizing the man., she then froze with terror at the sight of the straight edge razor he held in his gloved hand. She tried to get away , but the man quickly grabbed her and with a deft stroke,slit her throat .He then threw her on the bed.
"Slut! "He screamed as he began slashing at her face "You must die, slut !," he raged," Die, like the rest of them!"and he went into a frenzy.. A few minutes later, his rage abated, he left and disappeared into the night.
Later at half-past eleven o’clock that morning a man went to the room to collect rent and failing to gain any answer to his knocking, he looked through the window. It was then seen that the woman lay naked and bleeding on the bed frightfully mutilated .The mutilation was so dreadful she could only be identified by her red hair and her eyes !
In a small Inn on Whitechapel Road, a doctor entered the premises. The owner, Sims, greeted him as he entered and asked pleasantly, “The usual, Doc?"
Walking across to his favourite table, he sat down
The man nodded, “As usual, Sims "and smiled.
Sims went into the kitchen and returned shortly with a mug of tea, cup and saucer and set them down on the table.
“ Anodder one, Doctor “,said Sims sadly “ Can’t see why the bloody cops can’t catch ‘im, I can’t wait to see the culprit, eight orready, and all dem poor girls did was hustle their living, gor, it’s a bloody shame ! They say that he must ’ave some knowledge of anatomy the way he took out dem organs in the dark. hope we catch “im soon! ”He said in derision. Sims was also a member of The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee that helped the police patrol the streets at night, looking for the killer.
“Yes, Sims, I hope so too, sad Indeed.” he replied evenly
", Well, doc, 'cuse me, “said Sims," I have to go prepare for the day,"
The doctor nodded and unfolding the newspaper he had bought he read:
The headline blared :
Another Whitechapel Horror !
Daily News 10 November1888
Whitechapel has on horror's head horrors accumulated. Another woman has been murdered and mangled, within a stone's throw of the places where women were murdered and mangled on the 7th of August, the 31st of August, the 8th of September, and not far from the scene of either of the murders and mutilations of September the 30th. This latest murder far surpasses in hideous brutality any of the crimes which went before it. The mutilations are more wild and wanton and ghastly. The murderer, whoever he may be, would seem to have taken a positive delight in cutting and carving at the body of his victim. But although there was more hewing and hacking than in any of the former murders, yet it is almost indisputably evident that this latest crime belongs to the same class as the crimes which went before it. The same kind of mutilation which put the trade mark of the assassin on other corpses is shown in the body of the young woman who was murdered yesterday. Of course we do not suggest that this is any conclusive evidence that this murder was done by the hand which may have committed some or all of the other crimes. There is a ghastly imitativeness in crime, a horrible "fashion" which may be set going in murder, and which reveals itself with the mechanical servility of any other imitativeness and any other fashion. A brutal man getting into a furious quarrel with a woman in some wretched slum of the East end might have been content a few months ago with kicking her to death, or cutting her throat. Now, however, when such a man has quarrelled with a woman and killed her, it is quite possible that he will not be satisfied until he has followed the new Whitechapel mode, and gashed and disembowelled her. Therefore it is not to be hastily assumed that all the murders were done by the one hand, or that the last murder was the work of the same criminal as any of the former. What we are fairly warranted in believing is that it is a crime which comes of the same impulse; which would not have been committed in such a way of the preceding crimes had not given it inspiration. The natural inclination of everybody would be to hope that the murders and the mutilations are the work of some solitary wretch with a positive mania for women's blood. It would be better that such were the explanation than to have to believe that one murderer hacked a woman to pieces, and that several other murderers followed and improved upon his example. Nothing certainly in the history of crime has ever happened in this country which could be compared in horror and hideousness with this succession of Whitechapel slaughters.
It is well to trace back this recent history of crime in the East end. It began last Christmas week, when a woman was found bleeding and mangled in one of the poorest streets of Whitechapel. She was barbarously wounded, and in a manner somewhat like that which has characterised all the subsequent murders. She lived, if we are not mistaken, long enough to say that the crime was the work of several men. No trace of any criminal was found. The murder did not attract much attention at the time. Its very hideousness prevented the publication of full details, and the ordinary reader of newspapers learned little more than the fact that a woman had been killed somewhere down Whitechapel way. Unhappily such an event as that is not so uncommon as to startle London from its propriety; and although, if the whole story had been told, the public might have been stirred up to serious alarm at the condition of things in the East end, yet as the whole story was not told it was not generally supposed that any novelty in crime had been started. About Easter time another murder was committed in the same region which appeared to belong to the newly invented order of assassination. Early in August a woman was found dead on the landing of some model dwellings known as George yard Buildings, Spitalfields. This poor creature was found to have been pierced with no less than thirty nine wounds, most of which were in and about the abdomen. There were in this case evidences of deliberation very much like in some respects to those which presented themselves in more recent instances. Then came the murder of August 31; the murder of September 7th, a mere duplicate of the preceding crime; and then followed quickly the two slaughter deeds of September 30. One of the victims of September 30 had been dealt with by the murderer after the fashion of the earlier sufferers. In the case of the other woman the work of mutilation had been begun, but not finished. In the murder of yesterday the mutilating business was carried farther, and to all appearance done more deliberately, than in any former instance. In most, in nearly all, of these crimes we see certain common features. The woman is killed in the first instance by the cutting of her throat. She has no time to resist or even to scream. Then the assassin has her, to use a famous phrase employed for quite a different purpose, "like a corpse on the dissecting table," and he gashes her body at his deliberate pleasure.
The first of the crimes we have mentioned would appear from the woman's own account to have been the work of several men. With regard to all the others, such evidence as can be collected, or the fact that little or no evidence of any kind can be got at, would seem to show that in each case not more than one criminal could probably have been engaged. Five of the murders, including that of yesterday, may be generally described as belonging to just the same order; the same way of killing first; the same sort of deliberate mutilation afterwards; only that in yesterday's crime, as we have said, the hideous completeness of the work surpassed all preceding attempts. We have, then, the grim fact to face that within eight weeks five women have been murdered in the same way, and mangled in the same way, within a small area of the East end of London. The attention of the police authorities has been directed to that limited area for weeks and weeks back. The whole neighbourhood has been thrown into alarm and consternation. Every man and woman in the entire region must have been aroused to watchfulness and to activity. Yet the murders have been going on just the same - and we do not hear of any clue to the perpetrator of the latest many more than to the perpetrator of the earliest. If we are to accept what is certainly the general opinion, that the last five murders at least are the work of one hand, then the wonder becomes all the greater that one man can keep on doing such things, deed after deed, without being discovered. That such a man should again and again succeed in entrapping a woman into some lonely place and there slaughter her and yet never be seen, would certainly seem to border on the miraculous. Of course there is the other possibility to which we have already drawn attention, that some at least of the later crimes may have been the mere outcome of man's perverted imitativeness. The newspapers have been full of cases of men who threatened their wives, or their sweethearts, or women who were neither wives nor sweethearts, that they would treat them in the Whitechapel way. Only yesterday or the day before there was reported the case of a man who declared that he was willing to give ten shillings to any one who would rid him of his wife by the Whitechapel process. Practical jokers in the East end have frightened woken almost out of their senses by brandishing knives and proclaiming themselves to be Jack the Ripper. One such frolic actually caused a poor nervous woman to lose her life. While a mania of this kind is in the air we may expect to find mimicry take the form of earnest as well as of jest. But however the crimes are wrought, the fact remains that while the police and public, terribly forewarned, are on the look out for one particular sort of crime in one particular locality the crime goes on all the same, and the criminal withdraws himself form all eyes as securely as though he possessed the charm which could make him invisible at will.
The place was now filling with the usual morning crowd. Some recognized him and nodded a respectful “Good morning, doctor,”
The doctor returned their nods then said”Well, Sims, I must be going.”He got up and left a coin on the table
“"ave a good day, Doc, sees you tomorrow” replied Sims politely from behind the counter and went about tending the other regular customers.
The doctor left the Inn and went further down the narrow cobbled street to his practice.
A week later after the murder of Kelly. The doctor was in his flat sitting next to the fire place. He was deep in thought. “Somehow, he’s got to end this torment” he told himself .He knew what he must do .Finally, after much thought, He went over to his desk ,took out a sheet of paper and began writing....:.
Just then came a loud knocking at his front door.
"Who is it?"Asked the Doctor.
"Police!" came the sharp reply.
Composing himself, he went to the door and opened it.
A pair of uniformed police officers stood on the threshold, one tall and thin, the other short
"Yes, Officers, what can I do for you?"He said trying to keep himself calm.
“I am Sergeant Percival," said the tall one,” and this is Officer Newton," indicating his
friend who nodded.
"We are checking the neighbourhood; we saw that your light was on, so we came to tell you
that should you hear any unusual sounds, please note the time and description. We have
reason to believe the Ripper is hereabouts . The net is closing in on him,"
"I see,”replied the doctor, “is that all, Officer?”
"Yes, sir, just be careful."
The officers wished him a good night and left.
The doctor closed the door gently.
On the sidewalk, Officer Bill Newton said suddenly.
"Did you notice how he was kind of nervous, Pete ?”
"Who? The doctor? Don’t make me laugh, Bill, “Pete replied with a smile, “Why, he couldn’t
hurt a fly, as a matter of fact, he’s dedicated to saving lives, not taking them”.
"Yes, well, I guess you are right, it was just a thought."Bill said matter of factly, shrugging
"You worry too much, Bill."
“Well I guess I do, but the whole damn case gives me the creeps” he replied, “Five bloody
women murdered in most gruesome ways and we haven’t got a clue about the killer, he’s
never be seen, never been noticed, never be suspected by any one because of blood marks
on his hands or his clothes, It all seem certainly to border on the miraculous., Damn
it makes us coppers look like fools ! “
“Calm down, Bill, I know how you feel, but we will get him in the long run, he can’t hide
Later that night, the doctor went back to his desk and began writing :
After rereading the letter the doctor placed it into an envelope and sealed it carefully. He then addressed it to the Chief Inspector.
On his way to the bridge where he had planned to commit suicide. He dropped the letter into a nearby post box and walked on, the heavy stones weighing down his coat pockets. A fog was and a slight wind was on brushing his wrinkled face refreshing him a bit.
Having reached the designated bridge, He took a last look around, then quickly climb over the barrier and threw himself into the murky water below.
Two days later the Chief Inspector opened the letter sent to him by the Ripper and began reading.
“My Dear Chief Inspector.
By the time you read this letter I will be dead. I cannot go on like this. The torment is too much and weighs heavily on my soul. I cannot carry this secret for the rest of my life. I must now put an end to it. I confess that I am responsible for the last five recent murders here in Whitechapel namely that of Mary Nichols ,Anne Chapman, Catherine Eddoes ,Elizabeth Stride and finally ,Mary Kelly in Spitalsfield ,the woman I sought , who not only robbed me, but also gave me the dreaded disease ..Infected with that dreaded curse given to me .I tried the sulphur remedy but it didn’t work the pain, oh the pain. I am rotting from within. I was bent on revenge until I found her again and killed her, but it later proved too strenuous for my conscience. I have much remorse for what I did to them and may all forgive me.
Signed John Hanbury FRCS. MD
"Damn! he was right under our bloody noses !" cried the Inspector, shaking his head in
“What are you talking about, sir?”Asked the deputy
The Inspector handed him the letter.
‘Dr. Hanbury? I-I can’t believe it, why –why, he is our own Police Coroner, for God’s sake !”-
“Yes,” replied the Inspector, still in shock, “no wonder we couldn’t catch him, he knew our
every move.” !He looked up at Pims and said firmly, " The public must not know about this,
It would make us and the department look like fools. Destroy it!" He ordered.
A week later they found the doctor’s corpse in a canal.
PPS: The Whitechapel murders ceased.