Jack the RIPPER?

Has the case of Jack the Ripper ever been solved?

if so who by, but if not what is the progress of the case if it is still going on, and who is working on it if so?

No it hasn’t been solved. The only people working on it are authors hoping to make a buck on it.

Nobody knows. The evidence in the case was so badly handled and so fragmentary that it allows for hundreds of theories but very few facts.

Lots of people pursue the evidence, as an obsession or a hobby. Author Patricia Cornwell just put millions of dollars of her own money into an investigation and wrote a book called Portrait of a Killer in which she names painter Walter Sickert as the Ripper.

Every review I’ve seen has ripped the book into shreds, pardon the pun, criticizing her methods, her conclusions, and her sloppy use of data.

Here is a more even-handed look at the book, though.

Patricia Cornwell thinks she’s solved it. The artist did it.

While there are many theories about who the “real” Jack the Ripper was, it’s a case which is doomed to remain unsolved. Police of that era didn’t have the forensic techniques which we have, nor did they collect what may have been important evidence. All we can do at this point is guess.

Whoops! ** Exapno Mapcase ** beat me to it!

The case has been “solved” on numerous occasions by different amateur and professional-but-off-duty sleuths over the years, however, I am not aware that (with so many solutions) there is general agreement on who he was.

I doubt that Scotland Yard or the London Police have anyone actively working on a series of crimes, the perpetrator of which must now be long dead (although I will not insist that my guess must be true).

Recent books on the subject have included:
Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper – Case Closed by Patricia Cornwell
Prisoner 1167 : The Madman Who Was Jack the Ripper by J. C. H. Tully

But, as a stroll through this list of books reveals, there are plenty of other candidates.

Well, it wasn’t Lewis Carroll.

Casebook: a good site for information on Jack the Ripper, and the attempts to solve the case.

I’ve read a good deal about it.

[li]Most theories are postulated to make money from the sale of books about the theory. Nuff said.[/li][li]There was little comprehension of mental illness in Victorian England. Most people couldn’t conceive of a mentally ill person as anything other than an obvious, wild-haired loon. So the real perpetrator was probably never identified. He just wouldn’t have fit the mental image of what a Victorian thought crazy people looked like. Natural camoflage.[/li][li]If he was identified, the best candidates are listed in the memoirs of the officers who actually investigated the case. So, those suspects are the mostly likely ones. Ignore later efforts as speculation.[/li][li]Conspiracy theories are rubbish. This was the work of a lone madman. We have seen parallels a thousand times before, on the streets of the US. None of those serial killers need a “cover-up conspiracy” to hide from justice for years–why would the Whitechapel Murderer?[/li][li]“Jack The Ripper” was almost certainly a manufactured name, created not by the Whitechapel Killer, but by a sensationalistic reporter of the time, to sell extra papers.[/li][li]The erasure of the chalk message referring to “Jewes” was not a police attempt to hide Masonic involvement, but an attempt to prevent a repeat of anti-Semitic rioting & persecution that had happened several years earlier. I doubt that the “chalk message” had anything to do with the crime.[/li][/list=1]

There are two good anthologies, Who Was Jack the Ripper? and The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper which contain excerpts from numerous writers who claim to have solved this mystery. Strikingly, hardly any of these authors come up with the same answer, yet they nearly always claim that their solution is indisputable.

A good deal of these solutions, despite the cerititude of their proponents, amount to smoke and mirrors. For instance, there was a book a few years ago which claimed to “prove” that Jack the Ripper was a quack American doctor who eventually died in a mental hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. The proof? The doctor lived in London and was a really weird guy. Jack the Ripper probably lived in London, and must have been a really weird guy. You can’t get more compelling logic than that.

A great many authors who have purported to solve the mystery lose all sight of the idea of burden of proof. There is a formal name for the fallacy they employ which escapes me, but it might be called the “winged monkey” argument:

I say a winged monkey just flew out of my butt.

You aren’t here so you can’t prove it.

Therefore, you have to believe me.

Another habit of Jack the Ripper theorists is to identify a more-or-less well-known person and insist that he squeezed the murders into a very full and public schedule without anyone noticing. In the same way, people who insist that Shakespeare did not write the works commonly attributed to him generally pick someone extremely prominent such as Sir Francis Bacon to be the real author. In the case of Shakespeare, it seems nobody ever suggests that it was actually a totally obscure and unnoticed schmuck who was responsible. In the case of Jack the Ripper, it is always someone who was famous (or notorious) in his own right, or else a prominent suspect at the time.

As noted by an earlier poster, the evidence available is limited, and of poor quality. While many authors, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, placed great stock in the letters signed “Jack the Ripper” (his advice was to find someone with good handwriting), there are reasons to believe that these were actually a journalistic hoax.

There is also a good deal of doubt as to whether all of the murders commonly attributed to Jack the Ripper were actually committed by the same person. Two occured on the same night, with the first done close to the entrance of a social club, and without extensive mutilation of the corpse. It has been argued plausibly that, instead of making a radical departure from the modus operandi he followed before and after, this was the work of another person acting from a separate motive.

In The Cases That Haunt Us John Douglas, a long-time FBI profiler, argues that Jack the Ripper would not have been a doctor or an accomplished artist, or anyone else of such distinction. Instead, he would have been a loser on the margins of society who had trouble functioning generally. He suggests that he was very likely some young punk that no one has ever heard of.

As for the notorious “Juwes” graffito, there was considerable excitement in some quarters in the 1970s when it was pointed out that the “Juwes” were three assassins mentioned in Freemason mythology. From this it was theorized that the murders must be the work of a Freemason conspiracy. Supporting this idea is the point that the Juwes were said to have had mutiliations performed on them when they were executed which more-or-less matched the outrages performed on a couple of the Ripper victims.

Left unexplained by this theory is why the Freemasons involved would want to draw attention to themselves and their society, or why they would identify with the Juwes when the Juwes were supposed to be enemies of the Freemasons. Also ignored is the point that the mutilations described in the story of the Juwes were done to them rather than by them.

Most tellingly of all, the Juwes had not been mentioned in Masonic literature for decades when the murders occured.

A far likelier explanation is that whoever wrote the remark about the Juwes not accepting blame was a semi-literate complaining about how he felt he had been cheated by a Jewish shopkeeper. The area in which the murders were committed was occupied largely by poor Jewish immigrants.

In seizing on an obscure point such as the “Juwes” inscription, Ripper theorists resemble some of the writers on the JFK assassination; whole theories have been built around such observations as that Oswald was seen to be drinking a cola on the day of the shooting, while he was said to prefer Dr. Pepper.

So, who was Jack the Ripper? Person or persons unknown.


I once read a book which seriously claimed that Elizabeth I had written them.


Personally, I like the theory that Prince Albert was Jack the Ripper the best. It’s just so much fun!

On The Outer Limits, a little space alien did it and framed a loser doctor for no good reason.

<walks away whistling>

<channeling Henry Fiedler>

“Redjac, Redjac, ah, ha-ha-ha-ha! Die, die, everyone will die!”

'scuse me. JohnFiedler.

Alan Moore’s graphic novel, From Hell, uses the freemason theories.

But if you read the incredibly extensive notes he appended, it soon becomes clear that he doesn’t believe a word of it but is using the theory for his own purposes.

Of course, the movie ignores this entirely.

Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence, was most assuredly not the Ripper.

It couldn’t have been Prince Albert. He was in the can the whole time.

The Artist formerly known as Prince, Duke of Odd Sigils, and now once again known as Prince, was most assuredly not the Ripper also.

But the jury is still out on the Great Gloved One With No Nose.

Sherlock Holmes was Jack the Ripper.