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Jack the Ripper: Take a Gruesome Journey into the Macabre

Visit the gruesome past of Jack the Ripper on this virtual tour of London with our host Jaime. Jaime is a writer and performer living in London. He has been studying serial killers and talking about them as well as discussing socioeconomic similarities between then and now for 7 years.

Jack the Ripper crime scene photos in this post are from wikipedia.

In you already in the UK, make some time for an England staycation. Don’t forget to take in a Jack the Ripper Tour while in London.

Who is Jack the Ripper?

Jack the Ripper was a serial killer in London, 1888. His identity was unknown. These 5 victims were all murdered within a short period of time and then no further murders occurred. People believed that this serial killer had knowlede as a surgeon due to the precise cuts and organ removal of the bodies.

Jack the Ripper Victims

The tour takes us back to 1888 London, the area of the White Chapel murders. While affluent at present time, White Chapel was an area of extreme poverty during the time of Jack the Ripper. Men could work 15 hours a day on the docks for 8 cents. Women could work 15 hours in a match factory for 5 cents per day. This option caused phossy jaw due to phosphorus corroding one’s face. This lead to open bloody sores and deterioration of the jaw. Doctors would have to stitch up the face and victims would have to drink meals from a straw the rest of their lives. The alternative was prostitution for 4 cents per customer. It is easy to see why prostitution was the better alternative.

The Murder of MaryAnn Nichols

Jack the ripper murder scene sketch of a policeman finding MaryAnn Nichols

On the evening of August 30th 1888, patrons heard MaryAnn Nichols bragging in the local pub about how much she had earned that evening while drinking her gin. She ordered another when she realized she had spent all her nightly earnings in the pub and on a new hat. At midnight she left to earn some more money.

3 hours later a policeman finds MaryAnn a 20 minute walk away from the pub lying on her back with her throat cut deeply from left to right. When the medical examiner gets there, he removes her clothes. What he finds is horrifying. The killer inserted a long blade into her genitalia and brought it all the way up to her throat almost slicing her in half. In addition, he ripped her open and disemboweled her. The killer removed parts of her womb and genitalia. Later, people remembered seeing MaryAnn chatting with a mysterious man.

Serial Killer Victim #2: Annie Chapman

Newspaper page with jack the ripper crime scene pictures of Annie Chapman, the second victim if Jack the Ripper,  with the medical examiner

At 5:30am on September 7th a friend spotted Dark Annie laughing with a man in a dark suit and hat. At 6 am a man leaving his flat finds Annie lying in his courtyard. A deep cut lies across her throat from left to right. Additionally, the murderer ripped open her body with a long blade just like Mary Ann Nichols. The killer took her genitalia and parts of her womb , but this time he also takes a kidney. Not only that, but he tore out her intestines and draped them over her right shoulder.

Later, on September 27, the local newspaper receives a letter regarding the murders. It was signed Jack the Ripper. It turns out two men from the newspaper trying to build publicity faked the letter to sell more papers. But the name stuck and Jack the Ripper became famous.

Most likely enraged by someone taking credit for his work, the killer struck again two days later.

The Name Jack the Ripper is Born

Victim #3: Elizabeth Stride

jack the ripper murder photo of Liz Stride in death

On September 29th, Liz Stride treated herself to a night on the town after earning a lot of money from cleaning houses that day. Some workers spotted her outside the Bricklayers Arms Pub at 11 pm linking arms with a man.

At 1am a man found her with her throat cut lying in an alley. The man had been trying to turn down the alley to tie up his horse. When his horse became spooked and refused to go into the alley, the man investigated and saw a woman lying there. However, he didn’t look any further as he assumed it to be his wife passed out after too much to drink. Instead he went next door to the pub for a drink of his own. Surprisingly, his wife was in the pub which caused him to get a constable to go check on the woman in the alley.

It is thought that the horse and rider had scared off the killer because other than the slit throat, the other gruesome details were absent from this killing.

However, the killer struck again less than an hour afterward.

Jack the Ripper Strikes Again

Victim #4: Catherine Eddowes

Sketch of Catherine Eddowes, the fourth victim

At 1am the local jail released Catherine Eddowes where she had spent the evening for drunken and disorderly conduct. 15 minutes later people saw Catherine speaking with a man that fit the killer’s description. At 1:45 a police officer finds her mutilated body.

This time the killer had devolved further. It seems that the cut throat, disembowelment, removed genitalia, kidney and womb were not enough. This time the killer removed all of her organs in addition to placing her intestines over her shoulder. Plus the killer cut off her nose, eyes, lips, and ears, and slashed both cheeks.

At 2:30 the police find some clues left tauntingly by the killer. A wall covered in Katherine’s blood had a reference to the freemason society. Additionally the killer left a torn piece of Katherine’s dress soaked in her blood and feces.

Mary Jane Kelly the Final Victim of Jack the Ripper

Drawing of Mary Jane Kelly, the last victim of Jack the Ripper

Mary Jane Kelly differed from the other victims in that the other victims were all between the ages of 39 and 49, whereas she was only 25. She moved to London to work as a seamstress, but involved herself with a man who drank too much. When he lost his job he forced Mary Jane into prostitution to pay the bills. On November 9th, behind six weeks in rent, she went out to earn some money. At 2am patrons saw her linking arms with someone fitting the killer’s description at a local pub.

The next morning a debt collector entering her home finds her remains at 10:45am. The skin and flesh were cut off her face and neck exposing her skull. The killer cut off her breasts while she was still alive. He removed her organs and placed them on a bedside table. Her femur was exposed due to all the flesh of her thigh being shaved away. Her intestines were placed over her right shoulder. In addition, this time the killer removed the heart and took it with him.

After this, the killings stopped and Jack the Ripper disappeared.

Jaime’s presentation includes maps, photos, and sketches. He also includes ideas as to the identity of Jack the Ripper. To participate in Jaime’s tour go to Airbnb. For additional reading on a similar American Serial killer check out Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.

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Was Jack the Ripper ever caught?

While Jack the Ripper was never caught, he later became linked with a series of murders in Chicago during 1893. A man named H.H. Holmes was suspected of murdering numerous people in the Chicago area during the 1893 World’s Fair. Holmes constructed a building that he used to carry out his murders. The amount of victims is unknown. A series called American Ripper is available now on the History Channel.

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