Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Tale of Jack the Ripper

Dr. Ruwan M Jayatunge  

Jack the Ripper was an unidentified serial killer who terrorized the Whitechapel district in London's East End by committing a number of murders in 1888. According to the official figures Jack the Ripper had killed five female prostitutes between August 31 and November 9, 1888.  
However some experts believe that his victims were more than five and he even killed several children and also operated in France. Some of his victims disappeared without a trace or any police records. Up to date no one knows the real number of his victims.  Ripper was never identified. Ripper’s story became an unresolved riddle in the criminal history. Eventually Jack the Ripper became a symbol of horror in the Victorian era.
Ripper was a psychologically deviant person obviously had anti social personality traits. He was a psychopath. He was driven by lack of empathy and remorse. Ripper had a known dislike for prostitutes. He mainly targeted poor prostitutes who were mostly alcoholics living in utter destitution. He thought that he was doing the society a service by eliminating these elements. In his letters he often states that these sex workers did not deserve to live. He further thought that God had given him a mission to remove these unwanted people from the society. According to Ripper they were “unfortunates” The writer George Bernard Shaw once concluded that Jack the Ripper revealed the deplorable conditions in the East End than any social reformer.
Ripper had a number of socially skills. He had superficial charm to deceit women. He was like a phantom and had the ability to blend into the crowd. He was cunning and acted fast. Moreover Ripper was an arrogant person. In his letters he mocked the Police and the Scotland Yard. Often he challenged them to catch him and ridiculed the Police for their ineffectiveness. He thought that he was always one step ahead than the Police. In these letters he signed himself Jack the Ripper with sardonic humor.   
Ripper   had a homicidal streak and operated in the impoverished part of England. First the investigators thought that the murderer had a sound knowledge in human anatomy and surgical procedure. Analysis of wounds inflicted on Catherine Eddowes (one of the victims) indicated that Jack was unlikely to have been a medically-trained professional, or a medical or veterinary student. His cutting technique was gross.

Ripper was an addictive killer with profound OCD type of homicidal tendencies. He possessed a considerable physical strength. He murdered his victims with a knife and mutilated their bodies. Most of the victims were found with throat cut and disemboweled. Throat-cutting was Jack the Ripper’s hallmarkIn some of the victims Ripper removed the internal organs. He was obsessed with liver, kidneys and uterus and probably collected these organs as trophies. He must have obtained sexual gratification committing these horrific acts.
There was a high probability that Ripper ate human flesh. He claims that he cannibalized Catherine Kate  Eddowes's kidney. In one of his letters to the Police Ripper writes with misspellings: I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. The spelling mistakes in the letter could be a trick to mislead the Police.  
There were a number of Ripper suspects. The famous one was Aaron Kosminski   a Polish Jew who immigrated from Russian Poland to England in the 1880s. He worked as a barber in Whitechapel. Later he became psychotic and transferred to a mental hospital. Kosminski probably suffered from Paranoid Schizophrenia. However Aaron Kosminski was not fluent in English and he could not write letters to the Police as articulately as the Ripper did. Kosminski was a racial scapegoat.
The second suspect was Frederick Bailey Deeming. He murdered his wife and children in England before moving to Australia. During the trial Frederick Bailey Deeming made a confession that he was Jack the Ripper. But Frederick was in South Africa when Whitechapel murders took place. Ripper was becoming famous in England and Frederick Bailey Deeming wanted to earn some publicity before his capital punishment.  
Rumors linked Prince Albert Victor- Duke of Clarence The grandson of Queen Victoria with Jack the Ripper. The Prince contracted syphilis   from a prostitute.  His mental health was fading.  Probably the Prince suffered from Neurosyphilis that altered his mind. However Prince Albert was not in London when two of these brutal murders occurred.
The FBI agent John Douglas built up a detailed profile of Jack the Ripper in 1988 and surmised that Ripper came from a family where he was raised by a domineering mother and weak, passive father. John Douglas indicates that Ripper was an   introvert and started venting his frustration through violent destructive acts.

Patricia Cornwell, an American crime writer claimed that she spent $7 million solving the Jack the Ripper case. Patricia Cornwell presented the theory that Walter Sickert, a British painter, was the serial killer Jack the Ripper.

Walter Richard Sickert was an English painter and he had a profound fantasy about Ripper killings. He even did a painting and titled it as Jack the Ripper's bedroom in 1907. This ambiguous and unnerving portrait contains an ominous figure symbolized as Jack the Ripper.

Assessing Walter Sickert’s childhood trauma and sadistic instincts Patricia Cornwell states that this Victorian painter had a psychological motivation to kill and mutilate helpless victims. She suggested that Sickert was a sexually incapable misogynist who had a murderous mind.     

To establish her point Patricia Cornwell highlights that Ripper letter bore the unusual watermark found on Sickert's writing-paper. In addition she claims that she found DNA evidence to prove that Sickert was Jack the Ripper. However some Ripperologists deny this claim and they insist for more evidence.    

Despite a large number of investigations still Jack the Ripper remains an unsolved mystery. He still remains the most elusive serial killer in history.

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