My first post on Casebook, so please excuse any general nievity.
As someone who has (like most of you) spent (far too many) hours seriously researching this case, the idea that there were 5 murders only committed by Jack has never been a 'fact' i have subscribed to 100%.
Certainly we have been assured by the highest ranking officers of the day that 5 victims (Nichols to Kelly) was the total sum of women murdered by the one man. Rightly or wrongly, most of us by & large accept this as fact.
I would have found this easier to accept at the time of the murders, but that would have been long before we had the huge benefit of hindsight.
Prior to forensic detection methods, & prior to any real usable cases with which to draw fact based information, it surely has to be concluded that the '5 victims only' statement was based almost solely on the percieved MO employed by this man, in those 5 cases. Unless of course the police had cast iron proof or information which allowed such a statement, which we are oblivious to, then we are asked to believe 5 is all threre were based on the fact Jack used a knife, strangled, mutilated, & removed organs when time allowed. In other words, any crime or murder which did not incorporate these elements we can discount as the work of this one man.
Even if we consider only 1 fact alone, it throws this whole idea of 5 only into some, even great doubt in my mind. That fact is that there were NO murders committed or recorded in Whitechapel during either 1886 OR 1887. Murder in Whitechapel was rare Very rare indeed. So rare in fact that for the 2 years prior to 1888 there had been not 1. In other words, the very fact that there were then 7 murders & at least 1 attempted murder in Whitechapel recorded in 1888, makes ALL those atrocities linked by their very rarity alone. That does not even take into account very similar atrocities that followed right though until 1891. 12 recorded in all. And all unsolved to this day.
Yet another doubt on the 5 only idea, is cast when we examine the terrible murder of the 'first' woman to be murdered, Mary Nichols. Nichols was killed in a most violent & ruthless manner. A mere look at her inquest will also conclude she was murdered & butchered in a quick & professional manner. Her killer appeared to know what he wanted to achieve, & pretty much exactly how to go about achieving it. Was the murder of Mary Nichols really his first killing? Or had her murderer honed his skills? Did he perhaps have dry runs? Is her killer perhaps responsible for murdering others? Or even many others, perhaps elsewhere?
I am not for saying there HAD to be more crimes committed than the 5, merely that we surley cannot simply take the 5 as cast in stone, & as fact. The 5 like much in this complex case is in my mind merely an opinion. An opinion of certain contempory police officers, & an opinion therefore of many researchers. Not until we examine & treat ALL POSSIBLE related atrocities with the same thorough investigation can we even begin to conclude just how many as FACT were actually murdered by this man. Not merely taking into account his MO for the stated 5 victims, but also taking into account location, environment, & possible motive. Remembering a serial killer often changes his 'known MO. Hindsight proves this as fact.
All we know for certain is there we many women who died at the hands of this man. Until we further open our minds & examine all we can we may never really know just how many he was responsible for.
Thank you for taking the time to read!
Here on Casebook, we have people who think that Jack the Ripper killed only 2 women, and people who think that he was responsible for every murder in Whitechapel that year, including the torso killings. You can find a believer of almost any respectable Jack the Ripper theory here.
The so-called "Jack the Ripper" murders lasted between 1888 and 1891. That is how the press, public and various factions of the police perceived the case (e.g. from Smith to Coles); as protracted, not brief.
That's between 9 and 11 murders (depending on whether you include or exclude Mylett and the Pinchin St torso) though after 1888 the killer struck with decreasing frequency
Sir Melville Macnaghten, rightly or wrongly -- most people here believe wrongly -- "believed" to his grave that Montague Druitt was the killer. Therefore Druitt could not have killed after Mary Jane Kelly, and probably did not despatch anybody before Nichols. That is how the police chief arrived at 5, due he writes in 1914 to "certain facts" obtained "some years after" this suspect destroyed himself, leading to this "conclusion" (of identification, albeit posthumously).
What has deformed understanding of this subject for decade after decade, at least since the Second World War, is the misapprehension -- created by Macnaghten for reasons of discretion: to deflect away from police bungling --that M. J. Druitt was a suspect because his suicide coincided with the cessation of the murders. It did not; it was two years too early, as the ex-chief conceded in his memoirs (to paraphrase, Scotland Yard was on a wild goose chase pursuing a "ghost").
If a person thinks Macnaghten was wrong, however, then the Ripper may have killed five, seven, or nine victims. He is certainly not restricted to five, and certainly not restricted to Miller's Court as his bloody finale (Anderson implied six by including Tabram, and Reid thought Coles was a victim of the same killer).
That could depend on whether you believe Jack the Ripper was a strict practicioner of his method, and that method was solely derived upon "his knife". Under those conditions, the focus will always be on the canonical victims. If, however, Jack the Ripper was generally ,a killer at large, (albeit ingenious or @$!#&* lucky) And the knife was more variable than ripperologists give credit, then consideration can be given to the ,,willful murders by persons unknown,, on unfortunate women in the years around 1888.
That,s not to undermind the outrages committed against Annie Chapman, Kate Eddowes or Mary Kelly. It,s when those cases are set aside from the investigation, a case can be made for an uncommon street killer from the murders of Martha Tabram to Frances Coles.
there,s nothing new, only the unexplored
I personally believe he killed more than 5. I am not bound by any specific number but the Torso murders seem to at least be worth looking deeper into.
Elizabeth Jackson comes across to me as far more of a Ripper victim than any other possibility. The cuts, removal of uterus, theft of organs, stolen ring from victim, general time frame and vicinity to other JTR murders, class of victim (an unfortunate) all given credence to this.
I am however open to being persuaded to any number of victims given the right evidence.