Although almost a century and one quarter has passed since the horrific crimes committed by Jack the Ripper in the seamy Whitechapel section of London, the fascination with the 1888 killings of six prostitutes has never left the imaginations of writers, movie makers and crime buffs. Who is this deranged killer and why weren’t the London police ever able to capture him?
Perhaps the crime technology and criminal profiling techniques of today would have yielded many more clues as to the identity of Jack the Ripper. Certainly he left some clues behind, including a bloody leather apron. In an ultimate act of audacity, he even sent a body part of one of the victims to Scotland Yard. Whoever he is, he taunted the police of the day, making his escape swiftly and with much agility under cover of darkness.
Even at the time, it was suspected that the clue to the identity of Jack the Ripper lay in the victims he chose. But who is he? To this day, Scotland Yard does not know. They had their hands full as the mutilated body count mounted through the summer of 1888 and persisted until November of that year when the murders suddenly ceased.
There is no shortage of suspects from all backgrounds and walks of life for the police to consider. Jack the Ripper is thought to have possibly been a local butcher named Kominski who was known to possess a hatred of women and a violent streak. Other suspects include a member of the royal family, the Duke of Clarence, who was the eldest son of the future king of England, Edward VII, and a doctor named Montague Druitt, who was known for his deviant sexual proclivities. Druitt was found floating in the Thames River some seven weeks after the sixth victim was discovered.
The world will never know for certain the name of the killer who terrorized the streets of Whitechapel so long ago, and yet Jack the Ripper will never be forgotten. Although part of the mystique lies in the mystery shrouding his true identity, another even deeper interest lies in the unsettling realization of man’s capacity for hatred and cruelty.