Into Thin Air

One of the great mysteries, at least to us today, concerning the Jack the Ripper murders is exactly how was it that the killer, whoever he may have been, was able to commit his murders and then melt away unseen?

The area where the murders occurred is often perceived as, and, indeed, is often portrayed as, an area of deserted night time streets, with the occasional effect of swirling fog sometimes thrown in for good measure.

However, this couldn’t have been further from the reality of the area at the time of the Jack the Ripper Murders. Indeed, it was a busy and bustling district and the streets, although possible not teeming with people, were most certainly relatively busy.

There are, for example, contemporary press reports of Whitechapel Road being awash with people, milling around coffee stalls at 1am and 2am.

Then, in the case of the second victim, Annie Chapman, there is the fact that her murder took place as it was getting light (5.30am to 6am) in the back yard of a house where people were getting ready to go out to work.

Having murdered Annie Chapman, the killer would have then stepped out into the reasonably busy Hanbury Street and made good his escape through the streets surrounding the busy and bustling Spitalfields Market. 

When he murdered Catherine Eddowes on 30th Spetember 1888 he had already carried out another murder, that of Elizabeth Stride, 45 minutes previously. So the area was alert  to the fact that the Whitechapel Murderer was, again, on the prowl in the Streets of the East End.

Not only that, but the police were also out in the streets trying to find him because of the murder of Elizabeth Stride.

Following Catherine Eddowes Murder, we know that he went back into the streets where all the attention was on hunting him down and catching him, yet he was able to slip through the streets as if he was invisible.

There can only be one explanation for his seeming miraculous escapes from the scenes of his crimes. That when he left them he  fitted in to the neighbourhood and so didn’t seem out of place.

So, as we frequently maintain on our Jack the Ripper Tour, this all points to the fact that, whoever it was that was responsible for this set of East End murders, he was most probably somebody who lived in the locality.