Jack the Ripper was one of the most famous and renowned killers in history. Even though he was not the first serial killer, he was the first killer to strike in a metropolis setting. Jack the Ripper was in his prime at a time when the media had strong control over society and society had as a whole was becoming much more literate. Jack started his killing campaign at a time of political controversy between the liberals and social reformers along with the Irish Home rule partisans. The reports of Jack the Ripper were collected and reported by the police, but then the different newspapers with their political influences slightly distorted the stories to give them their own effect. It has been more than one hundred years since the last murder and there is no longer any more original evidence, and the “facts” about the stories have changed over time due to different writers or differing sources.
The press changed Jack the Ripper from being a depressed killer of prostitutes to one of the most romantic figures seen throughout history. One fact that most sources agreed upon was that the Ripper was a killer who wanted nothing more than to strike fear into the entire city by horribly mutilating his victims and then leaving them in locations where they were sure to be seen. Jack was the type of killer that wants fame and loved the fact that his “name” was on everyone’s lips and was able to strike fear into anyone and everyone’s heart. Many historians believed Jack the Ripper was a certain Aaron Kosminski. In this essay, I will argue my view as to if Jack the Ripper was Aaron Kosminski.
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Kosminski was named a suspect in two different documents, Lady Abernathy’s copy of Magnaughten’s draft report of 1894 and the official version of that in the Scotland Yard’s cases papers, the former being briefer. It names Kosminski as a Polish Jew, who lived in Whitechapel and describes him as having become insane due to many years of indulgence in solitary vice. It also states that he had a great hatred of women, with strong homicidal tendencies, and that he was detained in a lunatic asylum about March 1889. Also According to Anderson and Swanson, identified by a witness as the Ripper, but no charges were brought against him due to the witness’s reluctance to testify against “a fellow Jew.” This substantiation exhibits that Aaron Kosminski in all probability could have been Jack the Ripper. The primary piece of confirmation acquaints with the fact that Kosminski lived in Whitechapel, where the murders occurred.
Allowing us to understand that he knew the area a bit more and could have been examining our victims for an extensive period and waiting for the right time to make his move. The next piece of evidence indicates with the intention of Kosminski being a frenetic person who would have killed women, in view of the fact that he had great hatred for them, furthermore seeing as our victims were prostitutes, this would be another reason for why he might have had great hatred for them, and why he might have mutilated them. In the ultimate piece of evidence, which is vital to the essay, Kosminski was seen to be Jack the Ripper with one of the victims with an eyewitness; this allows us to see that Kosminski was a victim and therefore, must have killed the others as she was mutilated akin to the other victims. These pieces of evidence all together point out Kosminski as being Jack the Ripper.
However, the only evidence against Kosminski was a positive identification by an eyewitness to the Ripper’s Mitre Square murder. At the time of the murder, this witness declared that he could not identify the murderer again, and then two years later he claimed that Kosminski was indeed the man who committed the crime. Many ripper investigators do not believe that this evidence holds enough weight to point the finger at Kosminski, claiming he may simply have been an insane man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Moreover, Aaron Kosminski was not the solitary suspect for Jack the Ripper, there were more. On the contrary, I personally believe these two suspects, who I shall introduce, could have potentially been Jack the Ripper. The first suspect is Montague John Druitt. Montague John Druitt, born in Dorset to a well-off family, graduated with a degree in classics and went on to teach at a boarding school in Blackheath. Druitt’s father, who was a surgeon, died in 1885 and his mother was institutionalized for depression.
In spite of these tragedies, he became financially prosperous and mingled in respectable social circles, but depression and suicide were prominent in his family. Shortly after being dismissed from his teaching position, his body was found floating in the Thames River in December 1888, a little more than a month after the last ripper victim, Mary Kelly was found. A suicide note discovered by his brother stated, “Since Friday I felt I was going to be like mother, and the best thing for me was to die.” No hard evidence exists that Druitt was Jack the Ripper with the exception of the commissioner’s statement: “From private information, I have little doubt but that his own family believed him to have been the murderer.” Since Macnaghten claimed to have destroyed all of the documents pointing to Druitt as the Ripper, the truth may never be known. My second suspect is Severin Klosowski otherwise known as George Chapman.
Severin Klosowski was born in Poland in 1865 and entered an apprenticeship as a surgeon in Warsaw. He immigrated to London in 1887 and found work, as a barber’s assistant in the Whitechapel district, close to where the murders were committed. Chapman was a “lady’s man,” often living with one woman while he was still married to another and was known to have been abusive to his wives. He ultimately resorted to using tartar emetic, a colourless, odourless white powder to poison three of his wives and was finally arrested for the murder of his final wife after a doctor found large doses of the poison in her body. Chapman was hanged on April 7, 1903. The fact that Chapman lived in the Whitechapel district during the time of the murders supports my theory, of him being Jack the Ripper. It cannot be ignored that he arrived in London shortly before the murders began and the murders ceased when he travelled to America, where another prostitute was killed in a similar fashion.
He also had experience as a surgeon and was obviously violent and homicidal towards women. Hard evidence names Chapman as Jack the Ripper, however, the question remains whether he could transform himself from a brutal mutilator of prostitutes to that of a conniving “wife-prisoner.” Although many criminologists, historians and detectives differ in the opinion of identifying the genuine Jack the Ripper, I tend to believe there are only two possibilities, either Aaron Kosminski or Severin Klosowski (George Chapman). In the case of Kosminski, I believe that the evidence for him being Jack the Ripper is powerful as the evidence shows that he had the exact personality and mental issues that many criminologists, historians and detectives believed Jack the Ripper had.
He was an insane man who had great hatred for women with strong homicidal tendencies, which is exactly the type of man Jack the Ripper would have been. Furthermore, Kosminski was the solitary suspect who had an eyewitness statement; therefore, he is most likely to be Jack the Ripper. In the case of Klosowski, I believe that he is also the type of man who could have been Jack the Ripper in the view of the fact that he was a man who killed his wives with poison; however, it states that he eradicated his wives with poison while Jack the Ripper had mutilated his victims. To conclude, I agree with the views, which say that Aaron Kosminski was Jack the Ripper due to the fact that there is more evidence pointing at him to be Jack the Ripper.