Archive for murder

Casebook: Jack the Ripper

Posted in Mystery, Victoriana with tags , , , on January 6, 2012 by mike k

The world is full of psychopaths and serial killers but no murderer has intrigued criminal historians more than the unsolved case of Jack the Ripper.

Considered to be the world’s first serial killer, “Jack the Ripper”, is a psuedonym used by journalists in 19th Century London to describe the killer of at least five prostitutes in grisly fashion. I say “at least” because no one is quite sure how many women “Jack” actually killed. The murders occurred in Whitechapel, a notoriously overcrowded, extremely poor section of London known for its poverty and its seedy nightlife,  with the first happening on August 31st (Mary Nichols) and the last on November 9, 1888 (Mary Kelley). Despite the best efforts of London’s Metropolitan Police and Scotland Yard, “Saucy Jack” was never captured. The murders shocked the ‘morally upright’ society of Victorian England and helped usher in a wave of social activism to alleviate the plight of the poor in Whitechapel and to aid ‘women of the night’ in finding a better vocation for themselves.

Whitechapel, London, 1905

There have been dozens of films and television series about the Jack the Ripper case (most recently BBC’s Whitechapel and Johnny Depp’s From Hell) and even more books and websites to be found throughout the World Wide Web.

In 2003, I was lucky enough to participate in a walking tour of Whitechapel sponsored by Premium Tours complete with a stop at the Sherlock Holmes Pub for dinner and drinks (English beer, by the way, is superior to our American brands). The tour picqued my interest in the Jack the Ripper case (okay, it became a slight infatuation for a turn) and got me searching the Internet for information.

I don’t usually provide advertisement for websites but in this case the website is well deserving of its accolades.

THE BEST website I found during my search for Jack the Ripper is Casebook which has some of the most amazing files and photographs I have ever seen concerning the murders. There is also a forum you can join but I must warm you the ‘Ripperologists’ in this forum really know there stuff so don’t go in there unprepared for they do not look upon ‘lurkers’ and ‘amatuers’ lightly. Just about anything you would like to know about Jack the Ripper can be found on this website including a nifty little “Jack the Ripper” online store.

So … if you’re willing to take a stroll down the dark, mysterious and somewhat seedy part of Victorian London, Casebook is the place for you.

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