It might seem an odd thing to say but Jack the Ripper must have been an absolute charmer. I’m not wishing to appear flippant on this one but, if you think about it, whoever was responsible for the Whitechapel Murders, was able, even at the height of the panic that his crimes caused in the area, to persuade the local prostitutes to go with him into dark recesses and corners where they knew full well that the police would not be able to protect them.
Now, it could be argued that economic necessity forced his unfortunate victims to take business from any passing stranger, no matter how menacing or unsavoury their appearance. But surely, with a serial killer evidently on the loose in the area, the survival instinct would have kicked in and persuaded them to give a wide berth to anyone they perceived as a threat to their well being?
The fact is that, whoever this man was, his victims found him un-threatening enough to be willing to lead him to the dark places that, from a professional perspective, their was little danger of them being interrupted.
We know from contemporary press accounts that, especially following the murder of Annie Chapman on the 8th September 1888, the local prostitutes were wary of potential clients who seemed strange.
Jack the Ripper, on the other hand, was able to approach them, speak with them (if only to negotiate the fee for whatever service he was seeking, or, at least, purporting to be seeking) and then go with them to places like the dark gateway in Buck’s Row where the body of his first victim, Mary Nichols, was discovered, on 31st August 1888.
At no time in the lead up to his crimes does he appear to have given himself away, and at no time do his victims appear to have become aware of his murderous intent until it was too late.
So forget the image of the to-hatted figure in the swirling cape with the mad eyes, Jack the Ripper would have been, quite simply, that most dangerous of serial killers – just one of the crowd.