The Legend of Jack the Ripper

I am currently reading and learning about the figure known as Jack the Ripper in my English class regarding the history of early London, England, and prior to taking this class I failed to possess a lot of knowledge about the legend. After reading several texts describing his gruesome murders of female prostitutes I wanted to delve into his history and expand my knowledge even further.

Jack the Ripper is an unidentified serial killer who murdered female prostitutes in the Whitechapel region of London in 1888. “Jack the Ripper” stems from a term used in a letter composed by an individual claiming to be the killer that was propagated in London media. Said letter is now recognized to be false and it has been proposed that it was created by journalists in London as an attempt to escalate the hysteria surrounding the murders in Whitechapel to encourage more persons to read their newspaper articles. Jack the Ripper has also ben referred to as The Whitechapel Murderer and furthermore the Leather Apron, all of which were used to refer to the killer in media.

Jack the Ripper murdered female prostitutes who resided and worked in the slums of East London. All of the women’s bodies sustained massive lacerations to the throat and the abdominal region and often times were absent of internal organs and reproductive organs. Based on the type of gruesome murders the Ripper conducted it was believed that the killer possessed some knowledge in anatomy or surgical procedures.

Although there were eleven recorded murders in Whitechapel around the time of the Ripper’s activity, only five women were linked to Jack; Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly.

Because the Ripper was never identified, it is unsure of when he was born or died. Jack the Ripper is a central component of London’s early history, and despite his story being incredibly chilling and disturbing, it is one that encounters tremendous recognition.


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