Jack The Ripper
Facts

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Who was the Jack the Ripper

Answer: A serial killer whose real identity remains unknown

Other information: While literally hundreds of potential suspects were investigated by police at the time, no strong enough evidence was found to bring anyone to trial. Since 1888, scores more people have been identified as potential suspects by students of the case. However, even less exists to link any of them to the crime. It is now likely that we will never put a name to Jack the Ripper.

Further Reading: Jack the Ripper Suspects

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How many people did Jack the Ripper kill?

Answer: 5

Other information: The most commonly accepted answer is that the Ripper killed five women: Mary Ann 'Polly' Nicols, Annie Chapman, Kate Eddowes, Elizabeth Stride, and Mary Jane Kelly. These are so-called 'canonical' murders
However, several others killed at the time are frequently mentioned as possible victims: Martha Tabram, Frances Coles, Alice McKenzie, Rose Mylett and Annie Millwood.

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Was Jack the Ripper Polish?

Answer: Unknown

Other information: Several Polish suspects down the years have been identified - among them Aaron Kosminski, Severin Klosowski and 'David Cohen'. None have been proven to The Ripper, and no definitive evidence exists to suggest that the killer was Polish. At best, some potential eyewitnesses described the Ripper as a 'foreigner'.

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Was Jack the Ripper female?

Answer: No

Other information: While Jack the Ripper was never caught and identified, there were several eyewitnesses who experts believe saw him either during or around the time of some of his murders and were clear that they saw a man. Female serial killers are extremely rare and have never been known to target prostitutes. The theory that The Ripper was a woman is attractive purely because it has novelty value and is used to 'explain' why the killer was never caught.

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What did jack the ripper do to victims?

Answer: Jack the Ripper killed his victims by choking them unconscious. Using a sharp knife with a blade of around 6-8 inches in length, he severed their throat - with victims dying from blood loss from the severing of their artery. In most cases, he then proceeded to mutilate their bodies.

Other information: The mutilations he performed on the bodies of his victims ranged in extent. His major target was the abdomen and sexual organs - which he stabbed and tore with his knife. In at least 3 of his murders he is known to have removed internal organs. In addition, he mutilated his victims' faces - sometimes with such appalling savagery as to leave them unidentifiable.

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Did Jack the Ripper write letters to the police?

Answer: Almost certainly not - with one possible exception.

Other information: The police received many hundreds of letters claiming to be from the Ripper. In fact there is no conclusive evidence to link the Ripper to any of the letters. In most cases, the letters were crude hoaxes - borrowing heavily from other letters and containing factual errors or threats that were never carried out. One letter - sent to George Lusk - was accompanied by a portion of kidney (thought to be human) and is the only one considered to have any genuine claim by most modern researchers.

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Was Jack the Ripper part of the royal family?

Answer: Allowing for the fact that we don't know who Jack the Ripper actually was, we can be fairly certain that he wasn't a Royal. Contemporary, unsourced remarks about the Ripper being a 'high up' member of society have led to over a century of conspiracy theories - many of which have a Royal element. None are supported by known facts.

Other information: The most commonly named 'royal suspect' is the Duke Of Clarence. Alleged to have been driven insane by syphilis, various yarns have been spun down the years implicating him - along with a supporting cast of surgeons and cabmen - of sneaking into the East End to wreak bloody havoc on whore.

In fact, based on his known and documented movements, he can be immediately ruled out as a suspect on the dates of almost all the murders.

This fact does not deter those who believe in a conspiracy - as they 'explain' this fact by simply claiming the records must have been altered. All without a shred of proof!

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Was Jack the Ripper a social reformer

Answer: No

Other information: A weird myth or meme has reverberated around the Ripper case from the earlier days that in some way his actions helped to draw attention to the pitiful lives led by those in London's slums (what Jack London would refer to as 'The Abyss'). That may be true - perhaps until prostitutes were being slain some people outside the East End were unaware of the conditions there - but it no way was it his 'purpose'. The Ripper's motives of course, are now unknowable, but serial killers kill for their own reasons - not for the betterment of society.

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