All the information in this post may not be 100% accurate, it is my interpretation gathered from compiled writings.
Surely you’ve heard of Jack the Ripper. Some people believe he was a surgeon and that he killed his victims with surgical precision. But was he really a surgeon, or just your average slasher?
Who Was Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper was one of histories most notorious serial killers. He was said to be responsible for a huge series of murders that have remained unsolved though the ages.
Most people believe Jack the Ripper was undoubtedly a man, while others believe it was a woman responsible for the horrific crimes. Jack the Ripper is said to have committed in the range of 5 to 11 murders between the years 1888 and 1891. These crimes all took place within the slums of Whitechapel, the East End of London. Although these terrible murders definitely took place, there is still to this day a huge controversy concerning the details of the crimes.
According to the “records”, Jack the Ripper is held responsible for 5 murders. They are known as the “canonical five”. The time frame for the murders is somewhere between August and November of 1888.
Victims of Jack the Ripper
The canonical five consists of Mary Ann Nichols, murdered on August 31st, Annie Chapman, September 8, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, both murdered on September 30, and Mary Jane Kelly on November 9th.
All five of these Jack the Ripper victims were well known prostitutes and of course it would seem Jack the Ripper was ridding the city of bad members of society. He killed them by means of slashing their throats, but he didn’t stop there. Afterwards he would continue working over their bodies mutilating them and cutting them into many pieces. Elizabeth Stride’s body was spared the mutilation, as the story goes, Jack the Ripper was interrupted during the attack and fled before he could finish the job.
These horrible series of murders brought about one of the largest police investigation in history, yet the crimes still remained unsolved. This was such a big deal that journalists, academics and amateur investigators turned the episode into a huge field of study in a category all of it’s own.
This massive investigative group had compiled a list of over 100 people that were possible suspects in the Jack the Ripper case along with a wide range of conspiracy theories.
Was Jack the Ripper a Surgeon
But the real question here is, was Jack the Ripper a surgeon. Many theories suggest that Jack the Ripper must of been in the medical or surgical profession. This is mainly due to the nature of the attacks. Jack the Ripper would attack and dismember his victims with extreme speed and precision. Most of the cuts made on the victims appeared to of been done with some sort of surgical instruments and the incisions were very clean.
Four of the five victims had their abdomen cut open and many of the victims had specific organs removed from their bodies. For instance Annie Chapman had her uterus removed. Mary Jane Kelly was missing her heart and Catherine Eddowes had been robbed of her uterus and left kidney. Half of her kidney would later arrive in the hands of the police along with a Jack the Ripper letter. The killer stated that the other half he had eaten.
Apparently an eye witness stated they saw a man at one of the crime scenes carrying a shiny black bag, like a doctor would carry. This only added to the rumors that Jack the Ripper was a doctor of some sort.
During the long grueling investigation there were local butchers and abattoir workers all questioned as to their whereabouts at the time of the crimes. But all of them had alibis, so they were eliminated as suspects. Also on the suspect list were of course a long list of doctors.
Who Were the Suspects
Dr. Francis J. Tumblety, a 56 year old American “quack” was one of the Jack the Ripper suspects involved. He had toured the United States and Canada trying to sell Indian herbs. Tumblety was later arrested for his involvement in The Conspiracy of Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination. But he was in England in 1888, and had become a suspect in the Jack the Ripper murders. He evidently was arrested for crimes of indecency, which apparently was acts of homosexuality. Because of the charges against him, he fled the country. After Tumblety absconded, the murders stopped, of course this increased the suspicion against him.
Another suspect was Michael Ostrog. He was a con artist in Russia and had a record for fraud and petty theft. Even though Ostrog had a record, none of his crimes were of a violent nature. But one interesting fact about Ostrog is he claimed to of been a surgeon while in the Russian army. Hummm, makes you wonder doesn’t it.
George Chapman from Poland, later known as Seweryn Klosowski had moved to England around 1888 and he was responsible for murdering three of his wives. He was charged for the crimes and hanged in 1903. But Chapman was a trained surgeon and was known to be a violent misogynist. But the strange thing is that his wives were poisoned. So there really wasn’t any link there as far as the method used to kill the women in London. It’s normal practice for a serial killer to be very methodical. And for one to change their way of killing their victims isn’t common practice, so there really wasn’t any substantial evidence linking Chapman to the Ripper murders.
A Scottish doctor named Thomas Neill Cream specialized in abortions. He was also known for committing at least five murders. Not only that, but most of his victims were also prostitutes, but they were murdered by poisoning. It’s said that Cream was in prison at the time of Jack the Ripper’s killing spree, but some theories suggest he may of bought his way out of prison. When he was hanged in 1892, his last words before his body dropped were, “I am Jack the…”
Even though these crimes were never solved, the theories continue to develop even today. Some far out suspects that have been conjured up are Lewis Carroll, author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”; Sir William Gull, Queen Victoria’s physician; Prince Albert Victor, the Queen’s grandson; Sir John Williams, the Queen’s daughter’s obstetrician; and the artist Walter Sickert.
Considering the immense amount of time that has gone by since the Jack the Ripper murders, and the jumbled up abundance of conspiracy theories that have developed. It is highly doubtful that these crimes will ever be solved. Even though Jack the Ripper was thought to be a surgeon, this doesn’t mean he actually was. For all we know it may of been the town butcher.
So was Jack the Ripper really a surgeon, or was he just the common slasher? Let me hear your thoughts…