- "I was not codding [sic] dear old Boss when I gave you the tip, you'll hear about Saucy Jacky's work tomorrow double event this time number one squealed a bit couldn't finish straight off. Had not got time to get ears off for police thanks for keeping last letter back till I got to work again."
- —"Saucy Jacky" postcard
Jack the Ripper is the best-known name given to an unidentified serial killer who was active in the largely impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district of London in 1888.
|Alias|| Jack the Ripper
The Whitechapel Murderer
|Place of Birth||Unknown (possibly London)|
|Date of Death||Unknown|
|Place of Death||Unknown|
|Cause of Death||Unknown|
|Modus Operandi||see Modus operandi|
|No. of Victims||5+|
|Span of Killings||1888–?|
The nickname "Jack the Ripper" originated in the "Dear Boss" letter, written by someone claiming to be the murderer, that was disseminated in the media. The letter is widely believed to have been a hoax, and may have been written by a journalist in a deliberate attempt to heighten interest in the story. Other nicknames used for the killer at the time were "The Whitechapel Murderer" and "Leather Apron".
In the mid-19th century, England experienced an influx of Irish immigrants, who swelled the populations of England's major cities, including the East End of London. From 1882, Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe and Tsarist Russia moved into the same area. The civil parish of Whitechapel in London's East End became increasingly overcrowded. Work and housing conditions worsened, and a significant economic underclass developed. Robbery, violence and alcohol dependency were commonplace, and the endemic poverty drove many women to prostitution. In October 1888, London's Metropolitan Police Service estimated that there were 1200 prostitutes and about 62 brothels in Whitechapel. The economic problems were accompanied by a steady rise in social tensions. Between 1886 and 1889, frequent demonstrations, such as that of November 13, 1887, led to police intervention and further public unrest. Racism, crime, social disturbance, and real deprivation fed public perceptions that Whitechapel was a notorious den of immorality. In 1888, such perceptions were strengthened when a series of vicious and grotesque murders attributed to "Jack the Ripper" received unprecedented coverage in the media.
Modus operandi Edit
In 1888, Jack the Ripper murdered at least five women in London, all in the same general vicinity, all prostitutes from the slums whose throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations. The removal of internal organs from at least three of the victims led to proposals that their killer possessed anatomical or surgical knowledge. Each victim was strangled and then mutilated, usually disemboweled and sometimes missing organs when the police arrived. It was a gruesome string of crimes that came to be known as London's first serial killings. Many experts credit the investigation of Jack the Ripper with starting the criminal profiling field, as the surgeon who assisted in several victims' autopsies provided police not only with physical details of the crime but also with psychological characteristics that he believed to be associated with the manner of the killings. The surgeon, Dr. Thomas Bond, believed the killer would be unassuming in appearance and manner, and daring and calm in the face of unimaginable violence; he thought he would be middle-aged, leading a solitary life and wearing a long coat to cover up any blood from his crimes, since he killed in public spaces.
Canonical Five Edit
Mary Ann Nichols Edit
On August 31, 1888, prostitute Mary Ann Nichols was murdered in Buck's Row (since renamed Durward Street), a back street in Whitechapel. Her body was discovered by cart driver Charles Cross at 3:45 a.m. on the ground in front of a gated stable entrance. Her throat had been slit twice from left to right and her abdomen was mutilated by a deep jagged wound. Several shallower incisions across the abdomen, and three or four similar cuts on the right side were caused by the same knife used violently and downwards. As the murder occurred in the territory of the J or Bethnal Green Division of the Metropolitan Police, it was at first investigated by the local detectives. On the same day, James Monro resigned as the head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) over differences with Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Charles Warren. Initial investigations into the murder had little success, although elements of the press linked it to the two previous murders and suggested the killing might have been perpetrated by a gang, as in the case of Smith. The Star newspaper suggested instead that a single killer was responsible and other newspapers took up their storyline. Suspicions of a serial killer at large in London led to the secondment of Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore and Walter Andrews from the Central Office at Scotland Yard. On the available evidence, Coroner Baxter concluded that Nichols was murdered at just after 3 a.m. where she was found. In his summing up, he dismissed the possibility that her murder was connected with those of Smith and Tabram, as the lethal weapons were different in those cases, and neither of the earlier cases involved a slash to the throat. However, by the time the inquest into Nichols' death had concluded, a fourth woman had been murdered, and Baxter noted "The similarity of the injuries in the two cases is considerable.
Annie Chapman Edit
The horribly mutilated body of the prostitute Annie Chapman, was discovered at about 6:00 a.m. on September 8, 1888 on the ground near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. Chapman had left her lodgings at 2 a.m. on the day she was murdered, with the intention of getting money from a client to pay her rent. Her throat was cut from left to right. She had been disemboweled, and her intestines had been thrown out of her abdomen over each of her shoulders. The morgue examination revealed that part of her uterus was missing. The pathologist, George Bagster Phillips, was of the opinion that the murderer must have possessed anatomical knowledge to have sliced out the reproductive organs in a single movement with a blade about 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) long. However, the idea that the murderer possessed surgical skill was dismissed by other experts. As the bodies were not examined extensively at the scene, it has also been suggested that the organs were actually removed by mortuary staff, who took advantage of bodies that had already been opened to extract organs that they could sell as surgical specimens.
On September 10, the police arrested a notorious local called John Pizer, dubbed "Leather Apron", who had a reputation for terrorising local prostitutes. His alibis for the two most recent murders were corroborated, and he was released without charge. At the inquest one of the witnesses, Mrs. Elizabeth Long, testified that she had seen Chapman talking to a man at about 5:30 a.m. just beyond the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, where Chapman was later found. Baxter inferred that the man Mrs Long had seen was the murderer. Mrs Long described him as over forty, a little taller than Chapman, of dark complexion, and of foreign, "shabby-genteel" appearance. He was wearing a deer-stalker hat and dark overcoat. Another witness, carpenter Albert Cadosch, had entered the neighbouring yard at 27 Hanbury Street at about the same time, and heard voices in the yard followed by the sound of something falling against the fence.
n his memoirs, Walter Dew recorded that the killings caused widespread panic in London. A mob attacked the Commercial Road police station, suspecting that the murderer was being held there. Samuel Montagu, the Member of Parliament for Whitechapel, offered a reward of £100 (roughly £8,000 as of 2011) after suppositions by the public that the attacks were Jewish ritual killings led to anti-Semitic demonstrations. The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee under the chairmanship of George Lusk was founded and offered a reward for the apprehension of the killer—something the Metropolitan Police (under instruction from the Home Office) refused to do because it could lead to false or misleading information. The Committee employed two private detectives to investigate the case.
Robert Anderson was appointed head of the CID on September 1, but he went on sick leave to Switzerland on the 7th. Superintendent Thomas Arnold, who was in charge of H (Whitechapel) Division, went on leave on 2 September. Anderson's absence left overall direction of the enquiries confused, and led Chief Commissioner Sir Charles Warren to appoint Chief Inspector Donald Swanson to co-ordinate the investigation from Scotland Yard. A German hairdresser named Charles Ludwig was taken into custody on September 18 on suspicion of the murders, but he was released less than two weeks later when a double murder demonstrated that the real culprit was still at large.
Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes (double murder) Edit
On September 30, 1888, the body of prostitute Elizabeth Stride was discovered at about 1 a.m. in Dutfield's Yard, inside the gateway of 40 Berner Street (since renamed Henriques Street), Whitechapel. She was lying in a pool of blood with her throat cut from left to right. She had been killed just minutes before, and her body was otherwise unmutilated. It is possible that the murderer was disturbed before he could commit any mutilation of the body by someone entering the yard, perhaps Louis Diemschutz, who discovered the body. However, some commentators on the case conclude that Stride's murder was unconnected to the others on the basis that the body was unmutilated, that it was the only murder to occur south of Whitechapel Road, and the blade used might have been shorter and of a different design. Most experts, however, consider the similarities in the case distinctive enough to connect Stride's murder with at least two of the earlier ones, as well as that of Catherine Eddowes on the same night.
At 1:45 a.m. Catherine Eddowes' mutilated body was found by PC Edward Watkins at the south-west corner of Mitre Square, in the City of London, about 12 minutes walk from Berner Street. She had been killed less than 10 minutes earlier by a slash to the throat from left to right with a sharp, pointed knife at least 6 inches (15 cm) long. Her face and abdomen were mutilated, and her intestines were drawn out over the right shoulder with a detached length between her torso and left arm. Her left kidney and most of her womb were removed. The Eddowes inquest was opened on 4 October by Samuel F. Langham, coroner for the City of London. The examining pathologist, Dr Frederick Gordon Brown, believed the perpetrator "had considerable knowledge of the position of the organs" and from the position of the wounds on the body he could tell that the murderer had knelt to the right of the body, and worked alone. However, the first doctor at the scene, local surgeon Dr George William Sequeira, disputed that the killer possessed anatomical skill or sought particular organs. His view was shared by City medical officer William Sedgwick Saunders, who was also present at the autopsy. Because of this murder's location, the City of London Police under Detective Inspector James McWilliam were brought into the enquiry.
At 3 a.m. a blood-stained fragment of Eddowes' apron was found lying in the passage of the doorway leading to 108 to 119 Goulston Street, Whitechapel, about a third of a mile (500 m) from the murder scene. There was chalk writing on the wall of the doorway, which read either "The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing" or "The Juwes are not the men who will be blamed for nothing." At 5 a.m., Warren attended the scene and ordered the words erased for fear that they would spark anti-Semitic riots. Goulston Street was on a direct route from Mitre Square to Flower and Dean Street, where both Stride and Eddowes lived.
The Middlesex coroner, Wynne Baxter, believed that Stride had been attacked with a swift, sudden action. She was still holding a packet of cachous (breath freshening sweets) in her left hand when she was discovered, indicating that she had not had time to defend herself. A grocer, Matthew Packer, implied to private detectives employed by the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee that he had sold some grapes to Stride and the murderer; however, he had told police that he had shut his shop without seeing anything suspicious. At the inquest, the pathologists stated emphatically that Stride had not held, swallowed or consumed grapes. They described her stomach contents as "cheese, potatoes and farinaceous powder [flour or milled grain]". Nevertheless, Packer's story appeared in the press. Packer's description of the man did not match the statements by other witnesses who may have seen Stride with a man shortly before her murder, but all but two of the descriptions differed. Joseph Lawende passed through Mitre Square with two other men shortly before Eddowes was murdered there, and may have seen her with a man of about 30 years old, who was shabbily dressed, wore a peaked cap, and had a fair moustache. Chief Inspector Swanson noted that Lawende's description was a near match to another provided by one of the witnesses who may have seen Stride with her murderer. However, Lawende stated that he would not be able to identify the man again, and the two other men with Lawende were unable to give descriptions.
Criticism of the Metropolitan Police and the Home Secretary, Henry Matthews, continued to mount as little progress was made with the investigation. The City Police and the Lord Mayor of London offered a reward of £500 (roughly £41,000 as of 2011) for information leading to the capture of the villain. The use of bloodhounds to track the killer in the event of another attack was considered, but the idea was abandoned because the trail of scents was confused in the busy city, the dogs were inexperienced in an urban environment, and the owner was concerned that the dogs would be poisoned by criminals if their role in crime detection became known.
On September 27, the Central News Agency received a letter, dubbed the "Dear Boss" letter, in which the writer, who signed himself "Jack the Ripper", claimed to have committed the murders. On 1 October, a postcard, dubbed the "Saucy Jacky" postcard and also signed "Jack the Ripper", was received by the agency. It claimed responsibility for the most recent murders on 30 September, and described the murders of the two women as the "double event", a designation which has endured.
On October 2, an unidentified female torso was found in the basement of New Scotland Yard, which was under construction. It was linked to the Whitechapel murders by the press, but it was not included in the Whitechapel murders file, and any connection between the two is now considered unlikely. The case became known as the Whitehall Mystery. On the same day, the psychic Robert James Lees visited Scotland Yard and offered to track down the murderer using paranormal powers; the police turned him away and "called him a fool and a lunatic".
The head of the CID, Anderson, eventually got back from leave on October 6 and took charge of the investigation for Scotland Yard. On October 16, George Lusk of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee received another letter claiming to be from the killer. The handwriting and style were unlike that of the "Dear Boss" letter and "Saucy Jacky" postcard. The letter arrived with a small box containing half of a human kidney preserved in alcohol. The letter's writer claimed that he had extracted it from the body of Eddowes and that he had "fried and ate" the missing half. Opinion on whether the kidney and the letter were genuine was and is divided. By the end of October, the police had interviewed over 2,000 people, investigated "upwards of 300", and detained 80.
Mary Kelly Edit
On November 9, 1888, prostitute Mary Jane Kelly was murdered in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller's Court, behind 26 Dorset Street, Spitalfields. One of the earlier victims, Chapman, had lived in Dorset Street, and another, Eddowes, was reported to have slept rough there. Kelly's severely mutilated body was discovered shortly after 10:45 a.m. lying on the bed. The first doctor at the scene, Dr George Bagster Phillips, believed that Kelly was killed by a slash to the throat. After her death, her abdominal cavity was sliced open and all her viscera removed and spread around the room. Her breasts had been cut off, her face mutilated beyond recognition, and her thighs partially cut through to the bone, with some of the muscles removed. Unlike the other victims, she was undressed and wore only a light chemise. Her clothes were folded neatly on a chair, with the exception of some found burnt in the grate. Abberline thought the clothes had been burned by the murderer to provide light, as the room was otherwise only dimly lit by a single candle. Kelly's murder was the most savage, probably because the murderer had more time to commit his atrocities in a private room rather than in the street. Her state of undress and folded clothes have led to suggestions that she undressed herself before lying down on the bed, which would indicate that she was killed by someone she knew, by someone she believed to be a client, or when she was asleep or intoxicated.
The coroner for North East Middlesex, Dr Roderick Macdonald, MP, presided over the inquest into Kelly's death at Shoreditch Town Hall on 12 November. Amid scenes of great emotion, an "enormous crowd" of mourners attended Mary Kelly's funeral on 19 November. The streets became gridlocked and the cortège struggled to travel from Shoreditch mortuary to the Roman Catholic Cemetery at Leytonstone, where she was laid to rest.
On November 8, Charles Warren resigned as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police after the Home Secretary informed him that he could not make public statements without Home Office approval. James Monro, who had resigned a few months earlier over differences with Warren, was appointed as his replacement in December. On 10 November, the police surgeon Thomas Bond wrote to Robert Anderson, head of the London CID, detailing the similarities between the five murders of Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes and Kelly, "no doubt committed by the same hand". On the same day, the Cabinet resolved to offer a pardon to any accomplice who came forward with information that led to the conviction of the actual murderer. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner reported that the Whitechapel murderer remained unidentified despite 143 extra plain-clothes policemen deployed in Whitechapel in November and December.
Later Whitechapel Murders Edit
Kelly is generally considered to be Jack the Ripper's final victim, and it is assumed that the crimes ended because of the culprit's death, imprisonment, institutionalisation, or emigration. The Whitechapel murders file does, however, detail another four murders that happened after the canonical five: those of Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, the Pinchin Street torso and Frances Coles.
Mylett was found strangled in Clarke's Yard, High Street, Poplar on December 20, 1888. As there was no sign of a struggle, the police believed that she had accidentally choked herself while in a drunken stupor, or committed suicide. Nevertheless, the inquest jury returned a verdict of murder.
McKenzie was killed on July 17, 1889 by severance of the left carotid artery. Several minor bruises and cuts were found on the body, discovered in Castle Alley, Whitechapel. One of the examining pathologists, Thomas Bond, believed this to be a Ripper murder, though another pathologist, George Bagster Phillips, who had examined the bodies of three previous victims, disagreed. Later writers are also divided between those who think that her murderer copied the Ripper's modus operandi to deflect suspicion from himself, and those that ascribe it to the Ripper.
"The Pinchin Street torso" was a headless and legless torso of an unidentified woman found under a railway arch in Pinchin Street, Whitechapel, on September 10, 1889. It seems probable that the murder was committed elsewhere and that parts of the dismembered body were dispersed for disposal.
Coles was killed on February 13, 1891 under a railway arch at Swallow Gardens, Whitechapel. Her throat was cut but the body was not mutilated. A man named James Thomas Sadler, seen earlier with her, was arrested by the police, charged with her murder and was briefly thought to be the Ripper. He was, however, discharged from court for lack of evidence on March 3, 1891.
Other Alleged Victims Edit
In addition to the eleven Whitechapel murders, commentators have linked other attacks to the Ripper. In one case, that of "Fairy Fay", it is unclear whether the attack was real or fabricated as a part of Ripper lore. "Fairy Fay" was a nickname given to a victim allegedly found on December 26, 1887 "after a stake had been thrust through her abdomen", but there were no recorded murders in Whitechapel at or around Christmas 1887. "Fairy Fay" could have been created by the press through confusion of the details of the murder of Emma Elizabeth Smith with a separate non-fatal attack the previous Christmas. Most authors agree that Fairy Fay never existed.
Annie Millwood was admitted to Whitechapel workhouse infirmary with stab wounds in the legs and lower abdomen on 25 February 1888. She was discharged but died from apparently natural causes aged 38 on March 31, 1888. She was later postulated as the Ripper's first victim, but the attack cannot be linked definitely. Another supposed early victim was Ada Wilson, who reportedly survived being stabbed twice in the neck on 28 March 1888. Annie Farmer, who resided at the same lodging house as Martha Tabram, reported an attack on 21 November 1888. She had a superficial cut on her throat, but it was possibly self-inflicted.
The surviving police files on the Whitechapel murders allow a detailed view of investigative procedure in the Victorian era. A large team of policemen conducted house-to-house inquiries throughout Whitechapel. Forensic material was collected and examined. Suspects were identified, traced and either examined more closely or eliminated from the inquiry. Police work follows the same pattern today. Over 2000 people were interviewed, "upwards of 300" people were investigated, and 80 people were detained.
The investigation was initially conducted by the Metropolitan Police Whitechapel (H) Division Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headed by Detective Inspector Edmund Reid. After the murder of Nichols, Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore, and Walter Andrews were sent from Central Office at Scotland Yard to assist. After the Eddowes murder, which occurred within the City of London, the City Police under Detective Inspector James McWilliam were involved. However, overall direction of the murder enquiries was hampered by the fact that the newly appointed head of the CID, Robert Anderson, was on leave in Switzerland between September 7, and October 6, during the time Chapman, Stride and Eddowes were killed. This prompted the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Charles Warren, to appoint Chief Inspector Donald Swanson to coordinate the enquiry from Scotland Yard.
Partly because of dissatisfaction with the police effort, a group of volunteer citizens in London's East End called the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee patrolled the streets looking for suspicious characters, petitioned the government to raise a reward for information about the killer, and hired private detectives to question witnesses independently.
Butchers, slaughterers, surgeons and physicians were suspected because of the manner of the mutilations. A surviving note from Major Henry Smith, Acting Commissioner of the City Police, indicates that the alibis of local butchers and slaughterers were investigated, with the result that they were eliminated from the inquiry. A report from Inspector Donald Swanson to the Home Office confirms that 76 butchers and slaughterers were visited, and that the inquiry encompassed all their employees for the previous six months. Some contemporary figures, including Queen Victoria, thought the pattern of the murders indicated that the culprit was a butcher or cattle drover on one of the cattle boats that plied between London and mainland Europe. Whitechapel was close to the London Docks, and usually such boats docked on Thursday or Friday and departed on Saturday or Sunday. The cattle boats were examined but the dates of the murders did not coincide with a single boat's movements and the transfer of a crewman between boats was also ruled out.
Criminal Profiling Edit
At the end of October, Robert Anderson asked police surgeon Thomas Bond to give his opinion on the extent of the murderer's surgical skill and knowledge. The opinion offered by Bond on the character of the "Whitechapel murderer" is the earliest surviving offender profile. Bond's assessment was based on his own examination of the most extensively mutilated victim and the post mortem notes from the four previous canonical murders. He wrote:
All five murders no doubt were committed by the same hand. In the first four the throats appear to have been cut from left to right, in the last case owing to the extensive mutilation it is impossible to say in what direction the fatal cut was made, but arterial blood was found on the wall in splashes close to where the woman's head must have been lying.
All the circumstances surrounding the murders lead me to form the opinion that the women must have been lying down when murdered and in every case the throat was first cut.
Bond was strongly opposed to the idea that the murderer possessed any kind of scientific or anatomical knowledge, or even "the technical knowledge of a butcher or horse slaughterer". In his opinion the killer must have been a man of solitary habits, subject to "periodical attacks of homicidal and erotic mania", with the character of the mutilations possibly indicating "satyriasis". Bond also stated that "the homicidal impulse may have developed from a revengeful or brooding condition of the mind, or that religious mania may have been the original disease but I do not think either hypothesis is likely". While there is no evidence of any sexual activity with any of the victims, psychologists suppose that the penetration of the victims with a knife and "leaving them on display in sexually degrading positions with the wounds exposed" indicates that the perpetrator derived sexual pleasure from the attacks. This view is challenged by others who dismiss such hypotheses as insupportable supposition.
The concentration of the killings at the weekend, and within a few streets of each other, has indicated to many that the Ripper was employed during the week and lived locally. Others have thought the killer was an educated upper-class man, possibly a doctor or an aristocrat, who ventured into Whitechapel from a more well-to-do area; such theories draw on cultural perceptions such as fear of the medical profession, distrust of modern science, or the exploitation of the poor by the rich. Suspects proposed years after the murders include virtually anyone remotely connected to the case by contemporary documents, as well as many famous names, who were never considered in the police investigation. As everyone alive at the time is now dead, modern authors are free to accuse anyone, "without any need for any supporting historical evidence". Suspects named in contemporary police documents include three in Sir Melville Macnaghten's 1894 memorandum, but the evidence against them is circumstantial at best.
Despite the many and varied theories about the identity and profession of Jack the Ripper, authorities are not agreed on a single solution and the number of named suspects reaches over one hundred.
Over the course of the Ripper murders, the police, newspapers and others received many hundreds of letters regarding the case. Some were well-intentioned offers of advice for catching the killer but the vast majority were useless.
Hundreds of letters claimed to have been written by the killer himself, and three of these in particular are prominent: the "Dear Boss" letter, the "Saucy Jacky" postcard and the "From Hell" letter.
The "Dear Boss" letter, dated September 25, was postmarked September 27, 1888. It was received that day by the Central News Agency, and was forwarded to Scotland Yard on September 29. Initially it was considered a hoax, but when Eddowes was found three days after the letter's postmark with one ear partially cut off, the letter's promise to "clip the ladys (sic) ears off" gained attention. However, Eddowes' ear appears to have been nicked by the killer incidentally during his attack, and the letter writer's threat to send the ears to the police was never carried out. The name "Jack the Ripper" was first used in this letter by the signatory and gained worldwide notoriety after its publication. Most of the letters that followed copied this letter's tone. Some sources list another letter, dated September 17, 1888, as the first to use the name of Jack the Ripper, but most experts believe this was a modern fake inserted into police records in the 20th century, long after the killings took place.
The "Saucy Jacky" postcard was postmarked October 1, 1888 and received the same day by the Central News Agency. The handwriting was similar to the "Dear Boss" letter. It mentions that two victims were killed very close to one another: "double event this time", which was thought to refer to the murders of Stride and Eddowes. It has been argued that the letter was mailed before the murders were publicised, making it unlikely that a crank would have such knowledge of the crime, but it was postmarked more than 24 hours after the killings took place, long after details were known by journalists and residents of the area.
The "From Hell" letter was received by George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, on October 16, 1888. The handwriting and style is unlike that of the "Dear Boss" letter and postcard. The letter came with a small box in which Lusk discovered half of a kidney, preserved in "spirits of wine" (ethanol). Eddowes' left kidney had been removed by the killer. The writer claimed that he "fried and ate" the missing kidney half. There is disagreement over the kidney: some contend it belonged to Eddowes, while others argue it was nothing more than a macabre practical joke. The kidney was examined by Dr Thomas Openshaw of the London Hospital, who determined that it was human and from the left side, but (contrary to false newspaper reports) he could not determine its gender or age. Openshaw subsequently also received a letter signed "Jack the Ripper".
Scotland Yard published facsimiles of the "Dear Boss" letter and the postcard on October 3, in the ultimately vain hope that someone would recognise the handwriting. In a letter to Godfrey Lushington, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Charles Warren explained "I think the whole thing a hoax but of course we are bound to try & ascertain the writer in any case. "On October 7, 1888, George R. Sims in the Sunday newspaper Referee implied scathingly that the letter was written by a journalist "to hurl the circulation of a newspaper sky high". Police officials later claimed to have identified a specific journalist as the author of both the "Dear Boss" letter and the postcard. The journalist was identified as Tom Bullen in a letter from Chief Inspector John George Littlechild to George R. Sims dated September 23, 1913. A journalist called Fred Best reportedly confessed in 1931 that he had written the letters to "keep the business alive".
The nature of the murders and of the victims drew attention to the poor living conditions in the East End, and galvanised public opinion against the overcrowded, unsanitary slums. In the two decades after the murders, the worst of the slums were cleared and demolished, but the streets and some buildings survive and the legend of the Ripper is still promoted by guided tours of the murder sites. The Ten Bells public house in Commercial Street was frequented by at least one of the victims and was the focus of such tours for many years.
In addition to the contradictions and unreliability of contemporary accounts, attempts to identify the real killer are hampered by the lack of surviving forensic evidence. DNA analysis on extant letters is inconclusive; the available material has been handled many times and is too contaminated to provide meaningful results. To date more than 100 non-fiction works deal exclusively with the Jack the Ripper murders, making it one of the most written-about true-crime subjects. The term "ripperology" was coined by Colin Wilson in the 1970s to describe the study of the case by professionals and amateurs. The periodicals Ripperana, Ripperologist and Ripper Notes publish their research.
Jack the Ripper features in hundreds of works of fiction and works which straddle the boundaries between both fact and fiction, including the Ripper letters and a hoax Diary of Jack the Ripper. The Ripper appears in novels, short stories, poems, comic books, games, songs, plays, operas, television programmes and films.
In the immediate aftermath of the murders, and later, "Jack the Ripper became the children's bogey man." Depictions were often phantasmic or monstrous. In the 1920s and 1930s, he was depicted in film dressed in everyday clothes as a man with a hidden secret preying on his unsuspecting victims; atmosphere and evil were suggested through lighting effects and shadowplay. By the 1960s, the Ripper had become "the symbol of a predatory aristocracy", and was portrayed in a top hat dressed as a gentleman. The Establishment as a whole became the villain with the Ripper acting as a manifestation of upper-class exploitation. The image of the Ripper merged with or borrowed symbols from horror stories, such as Dracula's cloak or Victor Frankenstein's organ harvest. The fictional world of the Ripper can fuse with multiple genres, ranging from Sherlock Holmes to Japanese erotic horror.
Unlike murderers of lesser fame, there is no waxwork figure of Jack the Ripper at Madame Tussauds' Chamber of Horrors, in accordance with their policy of not modelling persons whose likeness is unknown. He is instead depicted as a shadow. In 2006, Jack the Ripper was selected by BBC History magazine and its readers as the worst Briton in history.