Feelings Not Facts

There’s been a strange development in the study of the Jack the Ripper case in recent years. A tendency has crept in to ignore the facts, and, instead, to concentrate on feelings.

Now, to be honest, this isn’t something that is unique to the wold of ripper studies. It is there in many aspects of life. It was present throughout the Brexit debates. It has been popping up time and time again during the horrific Covid crisis. It is, I suppose, a symptom of the online world.

But it has in recent years become noticeable in the way that people discuss the Whitechapel murders.

Why argue facts when you can argue feelings?

A top hatted figure by some gas-lamps.
The Popular Image of Jack The Ripper.


This is particularly prevalent when people discuss their favoured suspect.

Since we do not know who Jack the Ripper was, and will probably never know, it is impossible now to prove a case against any particular suspect beyond reasonable doubt.

So any case against any suspect has to be nothing more than supposition. Little to no actual evidence on the case has survived plain and simple.

A cherished belief that a particular suspect was guilty of the crimes is not evidence, it is merely opinion. Creating a back story for a particular suspect is not stating fact, it is reciting fiction.


However, when the promoter of a particular suspect begins to present their suppositions as established facts then they are, to say the least being disingenuous, and as they start to attract believers in their opinion, those believers will then go off and also present the suppositions as facts.

In the  majority of cases, those believers have not, and do not, do their own research, but rather swallow hook, line and sinker, the supposed “facts” put forward by a theory’s promoter, without actually going to the trouble of checking the facts.

Thanks to social media, these “facts” then get spouted on Facebook and Twitter, and get read by people who have delved into the case and who have studied the original source documents.


Of course, they then highlight the flaws in the case against that particular suspect, at which point, something very intriguing often happens.

Those who were convinced that that particular suspect was without doubt Jack the Ripper, often based on an argument they’ve read on a Facebook page or have seen in a YouTube video, are unable to counter with facts, because they haven’t actually studied the facts.

So instead, they accuse the detractors of their suspect of being ill-informed or stupid, or, they accuse them of not wanting to solve the case because they wouldn’t be able to make money from it. And, having done so, they just go on spouting the opinions of a particular theory’s promoter and presenting suppositions as facts.

And, sadly, as is the case with so many things in the present age, it is often the ones that shout the loudest who get heard the most.

But, as the saying goes, you are entitled to your own opinions and views, but you are not entitled to your own facts.