Jack the Ripper is probably the most notorious serial murderer whose personality had never been really identified.
Nonetheless, his crimes are still shocking for the wide public, while, on the other hand, they are also thoroughly analyzed by many specialists from different field such as criminology, psychology, medicine, and others. In fact, Jack the Ripper a vague figure in the history of criminology committed unprecedented crimes that had never become known to the public before. This is why it is extremely important to thoroughly analyze and investigate not only his crimes but his personality as well in order to fully understand his behavior that can be extremely helpful in investigation of the serial crimes at the present days.
First of all, it should be pointed out that, to a significant extent, the crimes committed by Jack the Ripper were predetermined not only by his own personality but also by the surrounding reality of that epoch and the socio-economic situation in the East End of London which was the home of poverty, prostitutes and drunkards. Obviously, the social atmosphere in the district was unhealthy and, in such a situation, there is no wonder that such serial murderer as Jack the Ripper appeared aiming at the ”˜purification’ of streets of London.
In fact, real goals and motives of his crimes remain unclear but it is a well-known fact that the victims of his crimes were prostitutes. As a rule, he preyed for prostitutes over the age of forty and all of them were drunken. In order to fully understand his actions and investigate his crimes, it is necessary to briefly dwell upon the description of each crime and each victim of Jack the Ripper.
Firstly, it should be said that the crimes took place in a one mile radius within the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate, and the City of London proper. The first victim of this serial murderer was Mary Ann Nochols.
She was found dead at Bucks Row on Friday morning August 31, 1888 (Abrahamsen 3). She appeared to have been strangled, her throat was sliced and there was a slight mutilation of her abdomen area.
The second victim of Jack the Ripper was Annie Chapman. She was found on the September 8, 1888 at Hanbury street. Similarly to the previous victim, she was also strangled, which prevented any form of screaming, and her throat was sliced almost to the spinal cord in her neck (Begg 59). Her abdomen had been cut open and the severe intestines were draped over her shoulder (Abrahamsen 60).
The next two murders are considered the ”˜double murder’, because they occurred on the same date September 30, 1888. One of the two victims, Elizabeth Stride, was discovered on Berner’s street. She was strangled and her throat was cut just as the others before her, but there was nothing that could be construed as body mutilation. In this respect, it is traditionally speculated that either Jack the Ripper was interrupted before he had a chance to completely finish the murder, or that this is not the work of Jack the Ripper at all (Begg 123). Another victim of that day, Catharine Eddowes, was found at Miter Square, and again, she had been strangled. Her throat was cut and her body horribly mutilated in a way unlike the previous victims.
The last of the five murders was the most horrid. The victim was Marie Jane Kelly, found on Friday, November 9, 1888 (Abrahamsen 17). This was the only murder to have taken place in a room. Because of its complicated, almost surgical style, experts say that it must have taken over two hours to complete. The body of the victim was lying dead on bed. Her face was cut almost beyond recognition of her features (Begg 21). Her nose and ears were cut off, and the rest of the skin on her body was shredded enough to see bone (Abrahamsen 17). The surface of her abdomen and thighs were removed and the contents of the abdominal cavity was emptied (Begg 21). The viscera was found in different parts, the uterus and kidneys under the head, the liver between both feet, the intestines on the right side of the body, and the spleen on the left (Begg 24).
On analyzing all five murder committed by Jack the Ripper, it is possible to presuppose that this was a man that is quite strong physically, and possessed substantial knowledge in anatomy. At the same time, unquestionably he had serious mental health problems that, in all probability, result from some psychological trauma. Taking into consideration his surgical skills, which he demonstrated while killing and mutilating his victims, it is possible to presuppose that he was rather a doctor than an ordinary fanatic striving for moral purity. On the other hand, it is also obvious that the idea of ”˜purity’, or, to put it more precisely, ”˜female purity’ was one of the moving forces of his crimes and may be viewed as the ideological concept he was obsessed with. Practically, it means that he probably originates from the middle class family, or the family with high morals that also indicate at the possibility that the murderer was a doctor, or, at least, had some medical education. As his victims are prostitutes, it indicates at the fact that he probably had a very negative attitude to women. In fact, it may be the result of some psychological trauma either provoked by some kind of psychological trauma received in his childhood, or probably, provoked by the problems the killer might have had in relationships with women, including both physical and psychological problems. Moreover, the fact that the crimes were committed during the autumn or in late summer also indicated at the substantial psychological pathology the murderer suffered from since traditionally specialists emphasize that mental health disorders are particularly obvious in autumn and spring as seasons change affecting the nature and biological rhythms of people dramatically.
It is also worthy of mention that he was an exhibitionists since he wanted his crimes were publicly known that indicates at the fact that he was aÂ terrible sociopath unable to fully control his behavior and attempting to establish his social position and gain social recognition by means of his crimes. In this respect, it should be said that the police and newspapers were bombarded with letters from a writer claiming that he was Jack the Ripper. For instance, on October 15, 1888, George Lusk, the president of the Whitechapel Vigilance committee, received a letter entitled ”˜From Hell’. Included in this letter was one half of a human kidney preserved in wine. It is noteworthy that the lettersÂ popularized and greatly increased the murderer’s fame (Haggard). The latter fact is particularly important since, in all probability, the public recognition and popularity was not only one of the major goals of his crimes but also a strong stimulating factor.
No wonder that he kept killing and, what is more his murders became more and more cruel. In this respect, it is possible to say that the failure of his attempt to mutilate the dead body of Elizabeth Stride, which was in all probability his victim, provoked not just another murder but made Jack the Ripper even more cruel and sadistic. As he continued killing this trend gradually grew stronger and result in the most horrible murder of Marie Jane Kelly.
Thus, it is possible to conclude that all the five crimes were committed by the same person who suffered from a serious mental health disorder, being educated and having quite substantial knowledge in medicine that makes it possible to presuppose that he was a doctor, he strived not only for moral purity but rather for his own public recognition that is an obvious symptom of sociopathy.