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Who was Jack the Ripper?

Jack the Ripper was one of the most notorious serial killers in history. In 1888, the Ripper was suspected of brutally killing at least five women in and around the Whitechapel district in the East End of London. The Ripper killings were the focus of an intensive police investigation and garnered enormous attention from the public and media, but the case went unsolved, and the identity of the Ripper remains a subject of widespread debate over a century later. So who was Jack the Ripper? Was he one of the contemporaneous suspects, or one revealed by historical and scientific research? Was he even a man - or, for that matter, was he real at all?
History

Montague John Druitt

Druitt was a leading suspect in the Ripper case, and his suicide in 1888 coincided with the end of the Ripper's murders.

The Ripper killings stopped after Druitt's death

The final Ripper murder took place on November 9, 1888, shortly before Druitt's death in December of that year. Explore

Authorities believed Druitt was the Ripper

Widely circulated rumors and public statements by officials suggested that Druitt had been identified as Jack the Ripper by those in the know. Explore

Seweryn Klosowski (George Chapman)

Klosowski was a convicted serial killer who lived in Whitechapel at the time of the Ripper murders.

Klosowski killed women

Like the Ripper, Klosowski was a serial murderer who targeted women; he poisoned three of his wives. Explore

Aaron Kosminski

Kosminski was suspected by police inspectors, and DNA evidence later tied him to the crimes.

DNA linked Kosminski to the Ripper's fourth victim

Mitochondrial DNA found on a shawl belonging to Cathering Eddowes was a match for Aaron Kosminski. Explore

Walter Sickert

Clues about Sickert's connection to the Ripper case have been found in his paintings and letters.

Sickert painted the Ripper's crimes

Sickert's grisly paintings contained clues about the killings. Explore

Sickert sent letters addressed from the Ripper

Watermarks and DNA from the Ripper letters point to Sickert. Explore

Jill the Ripper

Despite the fact that almost all the suspects were men, a woman would have been better positioned to commit the crimes and escape.

A witness identified the Ripper as a woman

According to an eyewitness, a woman was masquerading as one of the Ripper's victims in the hours after her killing. Explore

A midwife could have committed the crimes

A midwife would have had the necessary skills to commit the Ripper murders and would have had a much easier time evading suspicion than any man. Explore

No single person was Jack the Ripper

Differences between the Ripper murders suggest that they were the work of multiple people, not a lone killer.

"Jack the Ripper" had no modus operandi

The Ripper murders were committed in dissimilar ways, which would be unusual for a single killer. Explore

The first Whitechapel murders involved multiple killers

Before the five canonical victims of Jack the Ripper were killed, the case began with two similar murders in Whitechapel, both committed by multiple killers. Explore
This page was last edited on Wednesday, 25 Mar 2020 at 03:42 UTC