Hello again – I hope you have been well.
Now that the introduction to the case is done, there are three particular aspects of this case that I would like to go through. The first is the topic of conversation for today’s blog.
Who was Jack the Ripper? The simple truth is that no one knows. Because of this, people tend to invent answers. In the Jack the Ripper Casebook, there are thirty-one suspects and over one hundred people can be linked back to the killer from other sources. In this blog, I will write about the most interesting suspects in this case.
The first suspect I would like to discuss seems the least likely. In the weeks after the ‘Dear Boss’ letter was released by the Central News Agency of London, many of Whitechapel’s citizens may have suspected that Jack was indeed a writer for the newspaper, as that would have been the easiest way to get the letter into the paper. However, the police instantly dismissed this letter as a hoax and it was only much later that it was seen as genuinely from the Ripper. Personally I still believe it to be a hoax, as it was one of the letters actually signed ‘Jack the Ripper’. It seems to be too…perfect, to be genuine.
Of course, some say that after Eddowes’ murder, the warnings of ‘clipping the woman’s ears off’ made it genuine. It seems a better idea that the real killer saw the letter and followed its brilliant advice (it was at least brilliant to him).
As I have written, over one hundred people have been suspected to be Jack the Ripper. In the Casebook, three of the thirty-one suspects were doctors. Many people think that the Ripper would need some serious skill with a blade in order to cause some of his victims’ wounds. Most of the wounds were seen as too rushed to be from an experienced hand but it seemed the killer knew how to inflict pain on his victims without causing immediate death; a skill which many thought would take a doctor’s hand, because only a doctor would know the ins and outs of a body that well.
This group of suspects is a favourite for conspiracy enthusiasts. There are so many reasons why Jack the Ripper was able to escape the police. One of the theories, and I must stress the word theory, is that he was able to escape capture because he was a police officer and that he was able to get access to all of the crime scenes in order to get rid of evidence, or that he already knew how to commit a murder without leaving a trace. If you ask me, it is rubbish. I don’t think a right-minded police officer would be able to commit one of those murders, let alone five (possibly more).
Finally, I would like to discuss my favourite theory as to who the Ripper was. Like all great British legends, it can somehow be linked to the Royal Family. The main suspect in three major Ripper theories is Prince Albert Victor, grandson of Queen Victoria. It is widely known that the prince was not the brightest of the royal family and widely suspected that he contracted syphilis. Dr Thomas Stowell thinks that this drove him insane and ‘compelled’ him to commit the murders. It cannot be confirmed whether he actually had syphilis or not. Aside from the fact that the prince was not even in London at the time of the killings, there are many things that point to the fact that the prince clearly wasn’t Jack. Yet, people continue to believe that it was him.
As much as I disagree with this particular theory, I admit that part of me would love it to be true. What exactly would it mean for the royal family if it turned out that Albert Victor was indeed Jack the Ripper? Would they have known? If they had, did they cover it up? This is exactly the reason why I think the prince has stayed in contention for the identity of this infamous killer. Like all good conspiracies, the more controversy it causes, the longer it lasts.
I cannot say too much more without going on for days or giving away the storyline of my own book, which wouldn’t be clever. Of course, if you wish to find out more about the suspects, you can look online on sites such as the Jack the Ripper Casebook (the web address of which is on my first blog) and discussion forums.
Again I hope you have found some questions of your own to ask about Jack the Ripper and that you will learn something from this forum. Next, I will discuss the victims of the Ripper and why they were targeted, so I hope you will join me tomorrow.