The name Jack the Ripper instills fear and terror in the hearts of most people alive even today.
This is due to a number of reasons, not least because his identity remains unknown 130 years after he committed at least five murders on vulnerable women within a small region of Britain’s capital city, London.
In fact, the murders have been attributed to more than one person over the years, but the name remains firmly attached to the most infamous and well-known serial killer in British history.
The identity of Jack the Ripper has remained a mystery for more than a century. With the aid of our family archives and newspapers, we’ve delved further into his notorious crimes to learn more about the victims and perpetrators.
Jack the Ripper is a notorious British serial killer. In the late 1800s, the murderer stalked Whitechapel, London, targeting female sex workers.
Despite his fame, Jack the Ripper’s identity continues to baffle and intrigue historians today. Could Findmypast’s family records and newspapers from the era help shed new light on Jack the Ripper’s story?
How many victims did Jack the Ripper have?
At least five prostitutes were murdered by Jack the Ripper in London’s east end:
- Mary Ann Nichols
- Annie Chapman
- Elizabeth Stride
- Catherine Eddowes
- Mary Jane Kelly
Between August and November 1888, five women were murdered in London’s East End.
They became known as the canonical five since they were all killed between August and November 1888. Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols was Jack the Ripper’s first victim, while Mary Jane Kelly was his last.
Catherine Eddowes was killed just minutes after Elizabeth Stride, leading some to believe that the murders were committed by two different people. However, there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.
Elizabeth Stride was killed on 30 September 1888. She was the second victim of Jack the Ripper and her murder has been attributed to a botched robbery.
On the night of April 16, 1881, Annie Chapman was lodging with her parents in Dagenham, Essex, when she gave birth to a fourth child. Her husband, John Chapman, resided above stables in Berkshire and joined his wife there later.
Who were the most probable Jack the Ripper suspects?
There are numerous theories about the identity of Jack the Ripper, and no one can be sure who was responsible for the murders.
However, some of the most probable suspects include:
Frederick Deeming was a serial killer who was executed in Melbourne, Australia, in 1892. Some believe that he may have been responsible for the Jack the Ripper murders, but he did not fit the description of Jack the Ripper and was in his native country at the time.
Criminal profiling – Victorian police used criminal profiling to track down Jack the Ripper. They believed that he must have been a man “accustomed to inflicting violence” who led a “desperate life”.
He also had a “defective brain” and a “mania for the abscess”.
Dr. Francis Tumblety
Dr. Francis Tumblety, a misogynistic American quack who lived in London during the Whitechapel murders, was born in Baltimore, Maryland to Irish immigrant parents according to the 1900 US Census.
Tumblety fled to London after being linked to a slew of crimes in the United States, including Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.
Many people feel that Tumblety is the most likely candidate for Jack the Ripper’s true identity. He was vocal about his dislike for women and his macabre cabinet of anatomical curiosities has never been explained.
A well-respected member of the medical community, Forbes Winslow was convinced that Jack the Ripper must be a medical man. He stated that “an insane murderer living in Whitechapel could easily have grabbed his victims in one place and then carried them dead or alive to another location several miles away.”
Montague John Druitt
Montague John Druitt was a barrister who, after the death of his father, became severely depressed and took to drinking. He was eventually dismissed from his teaching post at Rugby School for “ill-treatment of boys”.
On December 8, 1888 – just days after the murder of Mary Jane Kelly – Druitt’s body was found floating in the Thames. Although there is no concrete evidence to link him to the Jack the Ripper murders, many people believe that he was responsible.
One of the most popular suspects for Jack the Ripper is Aaron Kosminski, a Polish immigrant who lived in Whitechapel at the time of the murders.
He was admitted to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in 1891 and was later discharged due to being “non-dangerous”. Although there is no concrete evidence to link him to the murders, he was also one of the most likely suspects.
Also known as The Vampire of Düsseldorf, Peter Kurten might have been Jack the Ripper because he committed his first murder in 1909 and had a history of violence against women.
He also moved from Germany to London around 1888.
Dr. Thomas Neill Cream
Another potential suspect is Dr. Thomas Neill Cream who was a Scottish-born doctor based in London during the Whitechapel murders.
He was hanged for murder in the United States and some people believe that his crimes were an attempt to bring attention to wrongdoings by the medical profession.
Although there are numerous suspects for the identity of Jack the Ripper, no one can be certain who was responsible for the murders. The case remains unsolved to this day.
The identity of Jack the Ripper – one of history’s most notorious unsolved mysteries – remains a mystery to this day.
Although there have been numerous theories and speculations about the killer’s identity, no one can be certain who was responsible for the murder.
As the case of Jack the Ripper is one of history’s most notorious unsolved mysteries, it has spawned numerous theories and speculations about the killer’s identity.
However, no one can be sure who was responsible for the murders. Although some of the most likely suspects have been mentioned, the true identity of Jack the Ripper will likely never be known.