The name 'Jack the Ripper' has become the most infamous in the annals of murder. Yet, the amazing fact is that his identity remains unproven today. In the years 1888-1891 the name was regarded with terror by the residents of London's
So shrouded in myth and mystery is this story that the facts are hard to identify at this remove in time. And it was the officers of Scotland Yard to whom the task of apprehending the fearsome killer was entrusted. They may have failed, but they failed honourably, having made every effort and inquiry in their power to free London of the unknown terror.
Over the years the mystery has deepened to the degree that the truth is almost totally obscured. Innumerable press stories, pamphlets, books, plays, films, and even musicals have dramatised and distorted the facts to such a degree that the fiction is publicly accepted more than the reality.
Almost certainly the one single reason for the enduring appeal of this rather sordid series of prostitute murders is the name Jack the Ripper. The name is easy to explain. It was written at the end of a letter, dated 25 September, 1888, and received by the Central News Agency on 27 September, 1888. They, in turn, forwarded it to the Metropolitan Police on 29 September.
Immediately after the Eddowes murder a piece of her bloodstained apron was found in a doorway in Goulston Street, Whitechapel. Above the piece of apron, on the brick fascia in the doorway, was the legend, in chalk, "The Juwes are The men that Will not be Blamed for nothing." A message from the murderer, or simply anti-Semitic graffiti? Expert opinion is divided.
After the Kelly murder, and many more abortive arrests, the panic began to die down a little and a more quiescent atmosphere began to reign. In early 1889 lnspector Abberline left, to take on other cases, and the inquiry was handed over to Inspector Henry Moore. His last extant report on the murders is dated 1896, when another 'Jack the Ripper' letter was received. There were brief flurries of press activity and wild suggestions that the 'Ripper' had returned on the occasions of the subsequent murders. However, Sadler was the last serious suspect arrested, and his seafaring activities obviated him from blame for the 1888 murders.
It will be seen from the foregoing that this is a mystery, when stripped of its fictional trappings, which provides all the raw material the imaginative writer or armchair detective could hope for. So popular is the subject that meticulous and scholarly research is carried out on the background of all the characters named in the story. Detailed plans are drawn and Victorian census returns and post office directories are consulted.
The newspapers of the time are trawled for every scrap of information. Every minor detail revealed and added is hailed as a major triumph of research, sometims even justifying a book.
Kemo D. (a.k.a. no.7)