126 years, and counting.
That is how long the Ripper has eluded the law. Even though it is safe to assume that the Ripper is now dead, people still feel anguish and frustration because he was never caught or brought to justice. He never paid for the crimes he committed and as such, Jack the Ripper’s victims were never recompensed.
So many theories have emerged over the decades, but most of them are just good tabloid material. However, one question, which many people are asking today, is whether this century old mystery will ever be solved. The short answer is “not likely”. Let thejacktherippertour.com take you through why not!
Too Much Time Has Passed
One of the key reasons why the Ripper’s identity will likely remain hidden is because too much time has passed. Finding answers to unsolved cases that are more than 100 years old is quite rare. To have a case as infamous as the Ripper case remain unsolved though, despite the immense media attention, the huge public pressure and the frequency of the murders, is not only appalling; it is also frustrating and confounding. Any chance of a breakthrough practically disappeared at the start of the 20th century.
Too Many Theories, Very Little Substance
Very little evidence was available to inspectors at the time and even fewer clues. Something that was always available in abundance was the countless theories associated with the identity of the Ripper. Some of them were completely unrealistic and hard to even comprehend. They garnered the media’s attention nonetheless, mainly because the culprit continued to remain at large. And with each passing year, people began to put more faith in these theories than the law enforcement authorities.
The claims made by these theories were outrageous to say the least. Some claimed the Ripper was actually a female and the police were looking for the wrong gender all along. Some deduced that he was an immigrant butcher living in Whitechapel. A doctor, a painter, an author, and even a member of the Royal Family were all accused of being the Ripper at one time or another. All of these suspects made good tabloid headlines but offered very little conclusive evidence to support their claim.
Too Many Witnesses, Very Few Leads
To their credit, the police did whatever they could to crack the case. The number of police constables on duty at night more than doubled, and many people found near the scene of the crime were detained and questioned. In the end, there were very few leads and too many suspects to narrow down using the normal process of elimination.
The Latest Breakthrough
There was one silver lining to this entire saga though.
In September 2014, the strongest claim regarding the identity of the Ripper emerged. A blood-stained shawl, purchased at an auction in 2007, contained DNA evidence that suggested one Aaron Kosminski was the most likely Jack the Ripper suspect.
Interestingly, Kosminski was one of the suspects rounded up for questioning during the Ripper saga. There was immense circumstantial evidence linking him to the crimes. Moreover, a person claiming to have seen him in the act of committing a crime declined to testify, citing he was not 100% sure it was him. Due to all these technicalities he walked free. The Ripper murders stopped afterwards. The police thought they had their killer, but, unfortunately, they could not prove it.
This theory is the strongest claim to revealing the Ripper’s identity. As of yet, however, it is not without its share of critics who question the DNA evidence, as well as the origins of the shawl.
Despite the close calls, it is possible that the true identity of Jack the Ripper will forever remain a mystery. If you want to know more about the Ripper saga though, be sure to take the Jack the Ripper tour next time you are in London. Not only is it great entertainment, but it also offers great insight regarding crime detection and life in Whitechapel in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Richard Cobb – has written 201 posts on this site.
Richard Cobb is a industry expert on everything Jack The Ripper, he is also the founding partner of The Jack The Ripper Tour which has become extremely successful over the last 3 years.