Oh no, no. One name alone does justice to your deathless razzmatazz.
And nothing can do justice to the leap from your brief reign to world-wide Rippermania. It all started on four fog-swept nights...
Scene: The impoverished areas in and around Whitechapel, London.
Five prostitutes--Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly--were murdered between 31 August and 9 November 1888. These women are the "canonical five", believed to have been murdered by a single killer. Three had had internal organs removed with surgical precision. And the fifth kill was the grisliest.
Why Black Magic Beats Mere Numbers
Oh, Jack. You might have been only a footnote in the annals of serial killers. The competition today is tremendous:
Luis Garavito. Colombian child-murderer, torture-killer, and rapist known as ”La Bestia”. Confessed to killing 140 children over a 5-year period in the 1990s.
Pedro Lopez. Colombian child-murderer and rapist, known as "The Monster of the Andes". Targeted young girls, between the ages of 8 and 12, 1969-1980. Confessed to killing 300.
Ted Bundy. The American serial killer and rapist confessed to 30 homicides, 1974-1978, but may have killed up to 100.
No, you can't touch their numbers. But they can't come within a country mile of your name. It first appeared in the famous 'Dear Boss' letter, supposedly written by you, to the press. Far more likely, a journalist wrote it. Either way, the moniker electrified the city. Not Brad the Berserker, Bill the Butcher, Debbie the Destroyer, Dennis the Demolisher, Jan the Judger, North the Nullifier, Wendy the Eraser, Valerie the Savager, Claude the Carver, Lev the Liquidator or Rob the Marauder.
No. It took three words.,..the right three...to assure your immortality. And the key to those three was the third--how it rrrrripped!
Killers' Faces: Now and Then
Ah, Jack, once again: luck was on your side. No one lived who saw your face--and knew that it was yours. But, clearly, you didn't resemble any of our whacked-out creepoids.
Nor could you have looked like any of history's fave Ripper suspects:
Eeeek! Lewis Carroll?
Tiptoeing Gingerly Inward Toward Jack
Surely, any man with the name Jack the Ripper:
1) Wore a top hat and good evening clothes.
2) Hobnobbed with high-muck-a-mucks.
3) Walked on cat's feet through the fog.
4) Had a dangerous dark side he couldn't control--and yet was attractive enough to inspire the confidence of his poor victims.
5) Had a devilish sense of humor. Best displayed in the 'From Hell' note that came with the kidney part sent to George Lusk:
I send you half the
Kidne I took from one women
prasarved it for you tother piece I
fried and ate it was very nise. I
may send you the bloody knif that
took it out if you only wate a whil
We're closer now to seeing you.
A charismatic man like you hadn't crude or reptilian features. Nor did he stutter...have bad breath...wear caked or crazy undies. He could use knife and fork in smooth Euro ballets on his pink flat-iron steaks. He might have beaten Oscar Wilde in a verbal duel; boxed; or been a whiz at Go.
The Real Face of The Ripper
Yes! Through the process of elimination, we narrow our choices for your face to these:
The Devil's in the Details
Still, Jack, dear Jack, the devil's in the details. So we try not to think too much about exactly how you worked.
(Click this link, if you dare, for one image of the Ripper's fifth victim.)
As a matter of fact, your romantic appeal has little to do with the details. It has to do with something else:
The Eternal Mysteries
1) Why did you start when you did, Jack?
2) Then why did you suddenly stop--as the Beatles did after twelve albums or Harper Lee after one book?
3) Did you die...commit suicide...or simply know you'd completed your work?
4) Many of the letters 'you' wrote to the press were, more than likely, hoaxes. But Jack, please, tell us: did you write even one?
5) How did you swing the black magic of the infamous double event? You struck once...were interrupted...then--with the cops and their dogs on your tail--you struck an hour later...and escaped. How? Did you jump from the Tower of London when chased, then run like hell to London Bridge to swan dive and swim to a freighter?
6) Were there actually two Rippers--you and a roadie who aided and drove?
7) And...would we be as hooked on you if your victims had been men?
Breakdancing with Saucy Jack
Now, Jack, we don't mean to upset you. But you're more important to us as a myth than as a man. As for me, to be brutally honest, I don't really give a hoot if you wrote most or any of the letters to the press. I like to think you wrote them all, forerunning our most fecund Tweeters. Nor do I pay any mind to other proposed body counts. You murdered five and only five. Yes, our Myth Jack's built for speed--and suddenness was at your heart. You outwitted and outran hundreds out to get you. You became Hell's patron saint for all souls who face insurmountable odds.
And, though we do know it's wrong to respect you as a man, we're only human. So we can't help wanting to breakdance with your elemental force...and hoping to learn how to turn it to more loving ends.
Rest in peace, Saucy Jack.
I’m not a butcher, I’m not a Yid,
Nor yet a foreign skipper,
But I’m your own light-hearted friend,
Yours truly, Jack the Ripper.