This was the testimony of London Police Constable John Neil on what he found at about 3:45 a.m. in the morning of today's date, August 31 in 1888. The body which Constable Neil found was that of Mary Ann Nichols, 43, a prostitute. She was the first of the five victims who can be definitely attributed to a serial killer who came to be known as "Jack the Ripper". And for those of you who don't like such phrase qualifiers as "believed to be" and "apparently' and others like that I suggest that you skip this posting. Because as is well known, "Jack the Ripper" was never caught. Therefore what we can say about him for sure... how many women he killed, why he killed, even if he was in fact a "he" and not a "she"... these are all matters of speculation and will likely remain so for all time. READERS WARNING: this posting includes some gruesome details and at least one awful crime scene photo.
"The Canonical Five"
Mary Jane Kelly, the Media, the Letters and the Legacy
"The body was lying naked in the middle of the bed, the shoulders flat but the axis of the body inclined to the left side of the bed. The head was turned on the left cheek. The left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at a right angle and lying across the abdomen. The right arm was slightly abducted from the body and rested on the mattress. The elbow was bent, the forearm supine with the fingers clenched. The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk and the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes. The whole of the surface of the abdomen and thighs was removed and the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera. The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone. The viscera were found in various parts viz: the uterus and kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the right foot, the liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side and the spleen by the left side of the body. The flaps removed from the abdomen and thighs were on a table. "
I send you half the Kidne I took from one women preserved it for you the other piece I fried and ate it was very nice. I may send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a while longer
Catch me when you can Mishter Lusk"
The letter (the spelling is the original, left) came with a small package which contained half of a human kidney, and came shortly after the murder of Catherine Eddowes. Of the three letters, this one (the original of which has been missing from the files of Scotland Yard since the 1950's) is believed to be the one most likely from the actual killer. But of course nobody knows for sure. After the murder of Mary Kelly there were two more murders which raised fear that the Ripper was still at his bloody spree. But those are not crimes which fit the Ripper's known pattern. So Mary Kelly was the last of the killings which are generally attributed to the Ripper. Since nobody was ever apprehended and charged with the crime there are a plethora of suspects who have been fingered over the years. Part of the legacy of the Ripper killings has been the whole phenomenon of serial killers, and the means to catch them, none of which were available in 1888. Finger printing was not in use at that time, though it was not far off. But the whole concept of assembling and using a psychological profile of an unknown assailent and the use of DNA evidence are both tools which have been applied or dreamt of being applied to study this case. In fact DNA analysis on the adhesive that was on one of the letters has actually been used to suggest to some "Ripperologists" that the killer may have actually been a woman.... just imagine that. Out of the mists and shadows of London's blighted slums of Whitechapel in the autumn of 1888 comes the menacing, glowering figure of.... "JILL the Ripper" ?? Who knows??
A & E Television Networks, 2009.
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