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Jack The Ripper

History's Most Famous Unsolved Crime


Hand holding kitchen knife behind male executive's back (toned B&W)
Jack Ambrose/The Image Bank/Getty Images

A serial killer murdered and mutilated at least five prostitutes in the East End of London in 1888 and because no one was ever arrested or tried for the murders, crime buffs are still fascinated with the Jack the Ripper case more than 115 years later.

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"Jack The Ripper" is the name given to unknown killer due to correspondence at the time from someone claiming to be the killer signed with that name. But while the murders were taking place, the assailant was know as the Whitechapel Murder or "Leather Apron."

There is some dispute concerning how many victims Jack The Ripper claimed. Some believe that he killed only four prostitutes during his spree, while others think that he may have killed as many as nine. It is generally accepted that there were five victims.

Victims of Jack The Ripper

These are the Ripper's victims that most experts agree on:

  • Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols, murdered on Bucks' Row, Friday, August 31, 1888.
  • Annie Chapman, murdered at 29 Hanbury Street, Saturday, September 8, 1888.
  • Elizabeth Stride, murdered on Berner Street, Sunday, September 30, 1888.
  • Catharine Eddowes, murdered in Mitre Square, Sunday, September 30, 1888.
  • Mary Jane (Marie Jeanette) Kelly, murdered at Number 13 Miller's Court, Friday, November 9, 1888.

Although there were 13 other women murdered in the East End area from December 1887 until April 1891, most observers agree that they were not the victims of the Ripper.

Casebook: Jack The Ripper

For those interested in the Jack the Ripper case, the CASEBOOK: Jack the Ripper web site, Stephen P. Ryder, executive editor, is the most exhaustive online resource of information related to the 1988 murders. The site cuts through the myths and misconceptions about the case, and presents all the known evidence and continues to report new findings.

As Ryder reports in the mission statement for the Casebook, "The Ripper's victims remained faceless until the 1960s, when their mortuary photographs were finally rediscovered... indeed, even more photographs have been unearthed in the past decade. Perhaps most promising is the discovery of the Littlechild letter in the early 1990s, revealing for the first time in over a century the name of one of Scotland Yard's top suspects. If current trends are anything to go by, there is much more to discover in the coming millennium."

The Casebook site contains information, original manuscript copies, and photographs that have rarely, if ever, been displayed in the mass media. A few examples of what is available on the massive web site include:

The Victims
Profiles of the five generally accepted Ripper victims, including biographies, police reports, autopsy reports, crime scene photographs, autopsy photographs and even photos of their grave sites.

Profiles of 27 different men suspected at the time or later in history as being Jack The Ripper. Some profiles are still being developed.

Ripper Letters
Hundreds of letters were sent to the police and local press purporting to be written by the Whitechapel, most of which were hoaxes, but some are believed to be from the killer, including the Dear Boss letter, Saucy Jacky postcard, and the From Hell letter. They are reproduced on the site.

Official Documents
The Casebook provides copies of hundreds of official documents related to the Whitechapel investigation. Included is the Macnaghten Memorandum, one of the most quoted documents in Ripper investigations.

Press Reports
More than 1844 complete transcriptions of contemporary newspaper articles which covered the Whitechapel murders, categorized by newspaper and by author.

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