I was asked in intriguing question by a journalist the other day. She wanted to know how one becomes a Ripperologist?
One of the great things about studying the Jack the Ripper mystery is that anybody can get involved, and everybody can make a contribution to the field.
It might be in a personal way. Did you grow up in the East End of London in the 1950’s and 1960’s? If so, do you have any family photographs taken in the streets that show the area as it was then? If so there is a chance that you might have an unseen picture of one of the murder sites, or at east of one of the streets where a murder occurred as it was before the redevelopment that has taken place in the area over the last 20 years.
As I mentioned in last Saturday’s blog The National Archives and findmypast have now put half a million criminal records online that date from between 1770 and 1934. Why not have a comb through them and see if any of those suspects resemble the witness descriptions of those who may have seen the face of Jack the Ripper?
Ten there’s the fact that new eyes can bring a new perspective to the case. You might read something about the mystery and spot an inconsistency that other have missed.
Of course, one of the possible reasons as to why the murders stopped is that the man responsible may well have moved somewhere else.
Why not pay a visit to your local studies library and have a look through the archives. Perhaps there’s a newspaper article about someone being arrested for a violent crime towards the end of 1888? Can you find anything out about that person? Does the local newspaper have an article about him that might link him(or her) to the East End of London at the time of the Jack Ripper Murders in the autumn of 1888?
Even if you don’t find any useful information regarding the crimes, you might make some interesting local discoveries and you will certainly gain a valuable insight into your local history.
These are just a few suggestions of how you could start your own investigation into the case.
So, in short, the anser to the question how do I become a Ripperologist is, study the case and you will be one!