We all know the story of Jack the Ripper. Famed serial prostitute killer. Brutal murderer. Never found or caught. He is famed for being uncaught and even to this day his infamy lives on. There have been plenty of movies and series that have included the famed serial killer. Even famed author Patricia Cornwell has had her say in this world-famous case stating that the post-Impressionist painter Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper, due to a letter found matching his artistic style.
There have been over a hundred suspects over the years and the list just keeps growing. Ofcourse because of the lack of DNA technology back then there was no way to confirm the identity of someone. There are many who speculate that he lived in or around the Whitechapel district of London as female prostitutes from the East End of London were being murdered. Jack the Ripper, or the Whitechapel Butcher as some called him, had a very specific and gruesome MO(modus operandi/preferred method for murder). His MO was to cut the throats of his victims, mutilate them and then proceeded to remove certain of their internal organs–one such victim had her kidney removed. This is what originally caused the police to suspect a doctor or butcher. Both were soon disproven when they could find no one who was a viable suspect among the slaughter houses or doctors.
Who Did It?
Now that we have a bit more of a background to this famed murderer, let’s take a look at some of the speculation surrounding the murders. I mentioned above that there are a list of suspects that goes over a hundred people. Some of these however are just plain silly. At the time among the suspects were local gangs referred to as “High-Rip” gangs at the time. After this was found to be a faulty assumption, they then began to look into the possibility of a lone assassin. This conclusion came about after the murder of Annie Chapman. Due to Jack’s firm grasp on human anatomy, they began to inquire among doctors and slaughter houses, however both turned out to be dead ends. They then turned to medical students, however this also soon proved to be futile. Among all the mentioned suspects were such prominent figures as Winston Churchill’s grandfather, Prince Albert Edward Victor, Lewis Caroll, Dr. Barnado even the Freemasons made it onto the list. Two men who came on and then off the list were Thomas Cutbrush and Carl Feigenbaum. In recent years these men have once again made it into the spotlight due to modern research and records that were discovered showing that both men were in an asylum. Then came along Aaron Kosminski.
Aaron Kosminski was a Polish Jew who lived as a barber/hairdresser in the Whitechapel district of London. A sad fact at the time was that a lot of the low-rent boarding houses and brothels were not protected and a large amount of “working girls”, as they called themselves, were beaten and sometimes even murdered. A lot of these working girls lived and worked in Whitechapel and the police had no interest in these activities as long as there was no ruckus caused. So, as a result, a lot of murders involving these poor girls went unsolved. Only in the year of 1888 when Jack the Ripper began to cause a stir did the police finally get involved. He murdered up to five women–two of these within a span of two hours.
This sets the backdrop for the time and place that Aaron Kosminski lived in. Catherine Eddowes was the fourth victim in the string of murders involving Jack. Amos came on to the crime scene and found Eddowes’ shawl. He thought his wife would love it so he decided to take it home as a present for her. She was understandably appalled and rejected it immediately putting it away in a trunk up in her attic. There’s been a lot of speculation about whether or not the shawl actually belonged to Catherine Eddowes as some suggested it, in fact, belonged to Jack the Ripper himself. Whatever the speculation, the shawl was sold to one “armchair detective” Russell Edwards. The well-to-do businessman and cold case enthusiast bought it in the year 2007 at auction as he was very interested in its history–being connected to Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel murders. Despite it’s age, the dried blood on the shawl still held DNA and when compared to Aaron Kosminksi’s sister’s descendant, Matilda, the DNA was too close to leave room for doubt. This all pointed to Aaron Kosminski. Aaron had also been seen attacking a prostitute, but the witness refused to speak up. We see here DNA links as well as some evidence of violent tendencies. Aaron Kosminski was soon sent to an asylum where he lived till 1919, when he died of gangrene.
There will always be people who criticize or are skeptic of the evidence brought out. Ripperologists all over doubt and criticize Edwards’ discovery. They claim that as no one published the findings, there is something that is not right about the DNA research he did. Some even doubt the very appearance of Simpson at the scene. Personally, I stand with Edwards and his findings, but don’t take my word for it. The search goes on. One day THE most famous unsolved cold case in history will be solved.
Till then, my darling avidReaders, keep safe and God bless you all.