Recently I posed a question on our Facebook page which, I have to say, was intended to be somewhat tongue in cheek. That question was – Who would win in a fight between Jack the Ripper and Sweeney Todd?
The question brought forth quite a few answers stating that Jack the Ripper would win because Sweeney Todd never existed so, effectively, the answer was a foregone conclusion.
This go me thinking about a favourite theme of mine – one that I have written about in several books on the Jack the Ripper murders of 1888 – and that theme is that Jack the Ripper, like Sweeney Todd, never actually existed.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying that a series of gruesome murders didn’t take place in the East End of London in the autumn of 1888. They most certainly did and those crimes, officially known as the Whitechapel Murders, did take place and were, and still are, well documented.
We even cover the murder sites themselves on our CSI Jack the Ripper Walking Tour around the area!
So my question wasn’t intended to deny the fact that the murders took place.
However, the killer, almost definitely, wasn’t called Jack, his middle name wasn’t The and his surname, without doubt, wasn’t Ripper.
Indeed, the name Jack the Ripper was as much a fiction as was the name Sweeney Todd, and was probably the invention of a journalist who, in all likelihood, worked for the very News Agency to which the Dear Boss Letter, that bore the signature ‘Jack the Ripper’, was sent.
So, it is, therefore, perfectly reasonable to suggest that Jack the Ripper per se never existed, without actually denying that the murders we now know as the ‘Jack the Ripper Murders’ – but which were, in fact, part of a generic series of crimes officially recorded as ‘The Whitechapel Murders’ – did take place.
Incidentally, its worth checking out our Facebook Page as we’re getting some great input and theories there and enjoying some great discussions about various aspects on the history of the infamous 1888 crimes.