Jack the Ripper
Best Known As:
Notorious throat-slashing London killer of the 1800s
Jack the Ripper is the popular name of the unknown killer who terrorized London between August and November of 1888. (He was also called the Whitechapel Murderer, after the city district where he operated.) The exact details of the case are uncertain: five women are generally considered to be definite victims of the Ripper, though there may have been more or fewer. All were strangled and then had their throats cut, and many were further mutilated. The nickname Jack the Ripper came from the signature on a letter, possibly authentic, sent to a news agency during the rampage. The killings stopped as abruptly as they began, and London police were unable to solve the case or find a firm suspect. The case was closed officially in 1892, but the mysterious anonymity of the killer has kept the case in the public eye ever since.
Many books have been written claiming to solve the crime. Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution, a 1976 book by Stephen Knight, suggested that the murders were meant to silence women who were blackmailing Prince Eddy, a grandson of Queen Victoria. Author Patricia Cornwell’s 2002 book Portrait of a Killer claimed that Jack the Ripper was actually Walter Sickert, an Impressionist painter of the era; Cornwell wrote a second book in 2016, The Secret Life of Walter Sickert.
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