Yours truly, Jack the Ripper
Central news agency 27th sept 1888
Almost certainly the one single reason for the enduring appeal of this rather sordid series of prostitute murders is the name Jack the Ripper.
BLOOD RED INK
Today, in the public records office, written in blood red ink, remains probably the most infamous letter in the history crime. Subject to fierce debate among historians and experts for over a century it is known as the “dear Boss letter.”
It was received on 27th September 1888, almost three weeks following the death of Annie Chapman, at the Central News agency.
It was to alter the perception of the Whitechapel murders forever and created the most infamous nick name in history
25th September 1888
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip the ladys ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldnt you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good Luck.
Jack the Ripper
Dont mind me giving the trade name
PS Wasnt good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it No luck yet. They say I’m a doctor now. Ha ha.
WORDS OF A KILLER?
The agency did not release the text until 30th September, since it contained a prediction that no-one would have wanted to make public until it had been proved true or false. Some senior officers were convinced it was a hoax and modern historians have largely followed this conclusion.
THE MYTH IS BORN
Regardless who wrote the letter, the nickname was a fantastic piece of tabloid marketing, the name Jack the Ripper would become a news man’s dream. Suddenly all of London had a name to go with the brutal killings and everything that was bad about the east end could be personified into one character.
A GRUESOME LEGACY
It’s true to say after a century the crimes are forgotten by the outside world, but the name survives and when mentioned instantly conjures up images of Victorian nights, cobble stones, foggy alleyways and that shadowy figure lurking in the darkness, dressed in top hat, cloak and carrying a doctors bag, the eternal image of Jack the Ripper.
The letter was eventually published in the papers following the double event murders of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, with the latter victim having her ear severed, this added fuel to the sense that the letter may be authentic.
Whether the letter was a hoax or not it gave the still unknown killer his gruesomely appropriate nickname and in doing so, ensured forever more , that the Whitechapel murders of 1888 achieved a mythical dimension, which they have never lost.