The question we get asked time and time again on our Jack the Ripper walking tour around the streets of the East End of London is “who do you think that Jack the Ripper was?”
We have to adopt a concerned, and confused, look at this point and reply, sagely, that nobody really knows and, sadly, nobody will, in all honesty, ever know who Jack the Ripper was.
The problem is that very little original evidence survives, and that which does survive is, to say the least, somewhat confusing.
All sorts have names have been put forward as suspects ever since the murder spree occurred in the autumn of 1888.
These range from a prominent member of the Royal family, to some very unlikely suspects such as Lewis Carol, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Whereas those authors who settle on a particular suspect often put forward convincing cases, they tend to, on the whole, twist the facts to fit their theories as opposed to come up with a convincing and water tight case.
You might think that the solution might well lie in the police files?
The answer to that is that it may have done. But very little of the actual evidence that the police obtained about particular people who may, or may not, have been responsible for the murders has long since vanished from the official records.
So we know that the police at the time favoured particular suspects but, without the evidence that they had to support their suspicions, we can’t, and never will, know why they suspected them, thus making it almost impossible to say with 100% certainty who Jack the Ripper was.
Thus, when people on our Jack the Ripper tour ask us who Jack the Ripper was the only honest, answer that can be given is “I don’t know.”
What we can do, however, is discuss all the theories with you as, when it comes to the mystery of the Whitechapel Murders, our guides are the out and out experts on the case and are up to speed, so to speak, with every twist and turn of the World’s most famous murder mystery.