More than 130 years have passed since a hate-filled killer terrorized the streets of London’s Whitechapel, but the scars left by Jack the Ripper still taint the city’s psyche.
Today, after hopping on the London Eye, you can take guided tours of the real locations where the Ripper’s victims were found. Numerous TV shows and movies have been inspired by the crime spree. But the atrocities committed are still not to be taken lightly. The crimes of the Ripper still haunt London, and probably forever will.
Keep reading to find out 10 creepy facts that you might not have known about the cowardly murderer known as Jack the Ripper.
10 The Killings Took Place In The Same Area
The crimes of Jack the Ripper haunt all of London, even after 130 years. But they only took place within a small area of the city. The victims of the murderer were all discovered in or near the Whitechapel district of London, according to History.com. This area is located in the East End of the city.
If there were any other victims of the Ripper elsewhere in London, police never discovered them. You can still visit Whitechapel today, though it looks nothing like it did in the 1880s.
9 There Were Five Official Victims
There is still so much that we don’t know about Jack the Ripper, including their true identity and the number of victims. But experts generally ascribe five known victims to the Ripper, all of whom were killed within three months of each other.
The first recognized victim of the Ripper was Mary Nichols, who was killed on August 31, 1888. The next was Annie Chapman, murdered on September 8. Following this was Elizabeth Stride on September 30 and Catherine Eddowes the same night. The last was Mary Kelly, who died on November 9.
8 The Crimes Stood Out From Others Of The Time
The 1800s weren’t a prosperous time to live in London. Life could be pretty brutal in a lot of ways, but the horrible crimes of Jack the Ripper still stood out from all the other atrocities that went on. Locals at the time were completely outraged and shocked by the details released about the murders.
What really stood out about the Ripper’s crimes was the sickening way in which the victims were treated. Many people still speculate that the murder had to have been a doctor or butcher, judging from the way the bodies were left.
7 He May Have Kept “Trophies” From His Victims
If you’ve watched a few serial killer documentaries on Netflix, you’ll know that sometimes murderers like to take home trophies from their crimes. The Ripper wasn’t known for stealing from the women they killed, but this may have been the case with Annie Chapman.
According to Historic UK, after Annie had been killed and mutilated, parts of some of her insides had been carved out and taken away. Although her belongings and other body parts were found with her corpse, part of the bladder and other organs were completely missing.
6 The Killer Allegedly Sent Letters To Scotland Yard
In one of the most famous elements of the Jack the Ripper case, several letters addressed to Scotland Yard soon emerged, claiming to be signed by “Jack the Ripper.” Contained within the letters were details of the killer’s activities and also warnings about future crimes.
Because of the limited technology at the time, the letters couldn’t be traced like they would be today. They might have been a hoax orchestrated by cruel pranksters. But some believe that the murderer really did send letters to the London Metropolitan Police.
5 The Crimes Inspired Riots In Whitechapel
Understandably, the crimes committed by Jack the Ripper left the citizens of London in a state of panic. This was especially true in Whitechapel, the area where the murders took place. After the name “Jack the Ripper” was published in the local newspapers, people who lived in the area started spreading theories and rumors about the killer.
It was widely believed that whoever was responsible carried knives in a black bag. So the locals, driven by fear and hysteria, began rioting and attacking anyone who was caught carrying a black bag.
4 One Of The Clues Was Destroyed By The Police
The murder of Catherine Eddowes brought with it a clue that may have shed light on the identity of Jack the Ripper. Nearby her body, police found her bloodstained apron in the doorway of an apartment block. Above the apron, was a message written in chalk: "The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing."
Wanting to avoid racial tensions, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Charles Warren, ordered the message to be erased rather than photographed and considered as evidence. According to the blog Jack the Ripper, this went against the wishes of the City of London Police, who felt that the message was an important clue.
3 There Was A Rumor That He Belonged To A Gang
There were endless rumors surrounding the case of Jack the Ripper. One was that he wasn’t just a lone serial killer, but part of a gang. A newspaper at the time published a story detailing a woman’s experience summoning the ghost of one of the Ripper’s victims, Elizabeth Stride.
According to the story, the ghost of Stride revealed that the killer was a middle-aged man who “belonged to a gang of twelve.” There were other victims around the same time who were attacked by gangs of men, but police never officially linked those cases to the five canonical victims of the Ripper.
2 A Psychic Medium Gave A Name And Address To Police
More than one psychic medium weighed in on the Whitechapel tragedies at the time. A notable incident was when a psychic medium living in New York City sent a telegram to the police advising them to watch the house at 20 Wurt Street, London.
The psychic, known as Mr. B. Barraclough, also gave a name to the police. He identified the Ripper as one Thomas Totson. Unfortunately, the address did not exist and police were unable to follow through with Mr. Barraclough’s suggestions for solving the crime.
1 New Genetic Tests May Have Finally Uncovered The Killer’s Identity
It’s been more than a century and we still don’t know the true identity of Jack the Ripper. But thanks to new genetic testing, some forensic scientists believe that they have finally uncovered the mystery. After examining a stained silk shawl that was found beside the body of Catherine Eddowes, investigators found DNA that points to a 23-year-old Polish immigrant called Aaron Kosminski.
A barber with access to knives, Kosminski was a prime suspect at the time. Science Mag points out that critics of this theory argue that the shawl could have been contaminated over time and these findings don’t necessarily mean that the case is closed.