Jack the Ripper

Who? Jack the Ripper, true identity unknown, was a serial killer during the Victorian age who committed a series of murders that left London trembling with both terror and intrigue. There are a number of theories as to who he was, but never truly solved. I’ll get more into this into my cultural presentation, but there have been several suspects during both the active investigation and independent investigations since. One thing is for certain and that’s that Jack was one sick puppy.

What? Jack the ripper is known to have committed five murders (known as the “Canonical Five”), but may have been responsible for up to eleven of them. He was especially heinous, often mutilating his victims to the a degree that had never been witnessed by the police or Scotland Yard before. The stories of the Ripper drove newspaper sales and the Victorians gobbled up the stories with a morbid curiosity.

Where? East End London, England. White chapel was overcrowded, poverty stricken and life was a game of daily survival by wits and any means necessary. It wasn’t a place you wanted to live, yet many did. It was filled with pubs, drunks, sailors, pickpockets, and prostitutes. Needless to say, it was rife with both targets and opportunity for Jack to pursue his heinous desires. In fact, rich people were given guided tours of Whitechapel (and provided with protection) during and after the Ripper murders.

When? April 3rd (though some sources cite August), 1888 is the beginning of the Ripper’s rampage. His ghastly attacks would continue until November where he’d been credited with raping and disemboweling women in the East End.

Why? Who knows? Theories abound and no definitive answer has been made. I’ll cover some of these theories in my cultural presentation. Regardless of the reason, these killings brought about an atmosphere of fear that permeated throughout London and still capture our imagination and interest today.

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