Created in 1888, the Whitechapel murders are one of the most famous serial killings in history. The name comes from a Jewish community in London’s East End. Jack the Ripper is the term given to the killer or killers responsible for these murders. He is notorious for mutilating his female victims. In many ways, he was a human predator that acted like a wild animal.
Who was jack the ripper? Many believe that the murders were a government plot to collect blood from prostitutes. In those days, hospitals collected blood for transfusions, which were a new medical technology at the time. There was also speculation that Prime Minister William Gladstone wanted to push his reform agenda by unleashing this violence against Victorian society’s marginalized women. However, many argue that this theory is flawed because there was no way to identify the killer without the victims’ testimonies. Some say he was manipulated as a child, just like the Little Albert experiment.
The police investigated every possible suspect but failed to catch the ripper. To this day, they have not identified a suspect or murderer. Although they received numerous leads, they lacked the technological resources to solve such a high-profile case. The murders occurred at a time when forensic science was in its infancy, so there were few records available for investigators to use. A few possible suspects from this era include a police officer or two; however, this is only based on speculation and has never been confirmed.
In 1990, George Lusk published an article about his theory about who Jack the Ripper was. He proposed that the murders were committed by someone who sympathized with the victims and had access to medical knowledge. His theory was based on information gathered from sources within the police department and reports from journalists who covered the Whitechapel Murders in 1888. Lusk proposed that his fake journalist’s notebook helped him gain access to police files and sources within them. By doing so, he was able to piece together information about who Jack the Ripper was and why he committed such heinous crimes against women.
The Whitechapel murders changed London’s attitude toward women as citizens and its attitude toward immigrants as workers— both groups that had been targeted by Jack the Ripper in his previous murders. Although it’s easy to mock Jack the Ripper as a fictional character, there are still unsolved cases that have led some historians to refer to him as “our common denominator”— a personification of violence against women and ethnic minorities.