Jack the Ripper has been an object of fascination for well over a century. The legacy of this premier serial killer has inspired many works of fiction, art, and media coverage. The murders he committed in the Whitechapel district of London in 1888 were unlike no other. While the exact number of murders are unknown, there were a series of five women (“the canonical five”) who are said to be linked, as their deaths have compelling similarities. These murders are characterized by deep throat and abdominal lacerations with their internal organs taken out, leading officials to believe that Jack the Ripper must have had some experience with anatomy and/or the practice of surgery.
As a result of this, many Jack the Ripper suspects are doctors. Going back to the canonical five, all the victims were attacked at night, around the end of a week, and also around the end of a month or the very beginning of the next month, which also links the murders together. Again, while they very well may have been other murders done by the Ripper, these five women are the most similar, making them the most widely-accepted and known victims. Whoever the identity of the Ripper was, it was clear he had a strong prejudice against women.
The real terror of the infamous Jack the Ripper is that he got away with every murder and his identity remains a mystery to this day. While there have been hundreds of suspects for who supposedly carried the true identity of the Ripper, none have ever been confirmed. An American doctor, Dr. Francis Tumblety is an extremely likely suspect for the Ripper, though he was not a true medical doctor; he was a fraud who claimed to have expertise in medicine and anatomy, selling his patients herbal-based medications and performing surgical techniques. Tumblety was quite the man of criminality in many aspects of his life, being arrested for pick-pocketing at one time and even thought to have been an accomplice in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
There are many suspicions that connect Tumblety to the Ripper murders. For one, he had a strong misogyny against women based off of a failed marriage to a prostitute. He was also traveling Europe and staying in a boarding house in the Whitechapel district during the time of the Ripper murders. Tumblety was arrested for an unrelated crime in November 1888 and this was the first time police officials considered him as a real suspect for the Ripper murders. However, Tumblety was able to escape to France and then back to the United States in avoidance of these accusations. Other evidence for Tumblety’s relation to the Whitechapel murders is extensive, intricate, and can be found in Mr. Michael Hawley’s book, Jack the Ripper Suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety.
In his latest release, Jack the Ripper author and enthusiast, Michael Hawley, discusses one of the most prominent suspects for the identity of the heinous murderer. Hawley is considered a “ripperologist”, an informal term used to describe those who intensely study and analyze the Ripper murders and possibly identities. While the identity of the infamous Ripper may never be truly known, the prominent and pervasive legacy he left behind will never be forgotten, especially not by authors such as Michael Hawley who have dedicated an exuberant amount of time and research into spreading this historical awareness.