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Episode
30

Jack The Ripper

Feb 25, 2020
History
-
17
minutes
True crime
Crime
The Victorian Era

In 1888 a serial killer terrorised the streets of London's East End, brutally murdering women.

Over 2,000 people were questioned, but the killer's true identity has never been revealed.

Today it's time to tell the story of Jack The Ripper.

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Transcript

[00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:11] I'm Alastair Budge. 

[00:00:13] Today we are going to be talking about the most infamous serial killer in British history, Jack The Ripper. 

[00:00:24] In 1888, over the period of about two and a half months, London's East End was terrorised by the gruesome killings of young women at the hands of a killer nicknamed Jack The Ripper. 

[00:00:41] To this day, we don't know who he really was, although you'll have to wait until the end of the podcast for the identities of some of the suspects. 

[00:00:52] Before we get right into it though, I just have two little things to say.

[00:00:57] Firstly, today's podcast is obviously about a serial killer, and so if you happen to be listening with children nearby or if you just don't want to listen to something where we'll be talking about some quite nasty murders, then now is probably a good time to press pause.

[00:01:16] Secondly, regular listeners will know that the transcript and key vocabulary for the podcast can be found on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:01:26] We also just recently launched our animating transcripts, which are kind of like subtitles for podcasts, but way cooler because you can press on a word and find out its definition.

[00:01:39] So that's definitely worth checking out if you haven't done so already, and that's at leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:01:46] Okay then, public service announcements over. 

[00:01:51] The year is 1888 and we're in Victorian London's infamous East End. 

[00:01:58] To say that life in London's East End was rough in 1888 would be an understatement. 

[00:02:06] It was overcrowded after an influx of immigrants from Ireland, Russia, and Eastern Europe had come to seek a better life and escape persecution

[00:02:20] But living conditions were absolutely atrocious

[00:02:24] Over 50% of children born in the East End of London died before they were five years old. 

[00:02:33] Violent crimes were frequent and alcoholism was rife.

[00:02:40] Poverty was widespread, and this ended up driving many women to prostitution. 

[00:02:48] Just in the Whitechapel area alone, the Whitechapel area of East London, there were 62 known brothels and 1,200 women working as prostitutes. 

[00:03:01] Crime against these women was commonplace and abuse at the hands of men was an unfortunate reality for the prostitutes working in the area, and it wasn't often reported to police or reported in the press.

[00:03:17] However, on Friday the 31st of August, 1888 something happened that was evidently pretty different to the norm. 

[00:03:29] A woman named Mary Ann Nichols was found dead, brutally murdered, her throat and her lower abdomen, her stomach, cut in horrible ways.

[00:03:43] I'm not going to go into all of the gory details because, well, they are pretty gory, pretty nasty. 

[00:03:51] Suffice it to say that it was clearly the work of a sadistic individual. 

[00:03:58] Then through September, October, and November, the bodies kept on appearing. 

[00:04:06] Women murdered in a similar way in the middle of the night, the killer's signature move, the things that linked the killings, was the way in which their throats were cut and the fact that their stomachs were often brutally cut, pretty horrible stuff. 

[00:04:26] It's thought that one person was responsible for the killings of at least five of these women, perhaps as much as 11. 

[00:04:37] They had all been killed in a similar gruesome way within about one mile of each other, over the course of this two and a half month period. 

[00:04:48] But there was no sign of the killer. 

[00:04:53] The time that these murders took place coincided with a boom in cheap newspapers, which one would probably say were a mixture of news and fiction, they certainly embellished the news. 

[00:05:11] And they seized upon the Jack The Ripper case, publishing all of the gory details to a public that was following this horrible murder investigation in real time as the bodies continued to pile up

[00:05:27] At the height of the investigation, over 1 million newspapers relating to the case were sold each day.

[00:05:38] The journalists would also try lots of tricks to boost the circulation of their newspapers, for example writing in to the police, so writing letters to the police, pretending to be Jack The Ripper. 

[00:05:54] Indeed, the nickname Jack The Ripper was given to the killer because that's how a letter sent to the police was signed. 

[00:06:03] Although now it's believed that this was actually a fake letter sent by a journalist to try to boost interest in the case and sell more newspapers. 

[00:06:17] Despite all of the public awareness, the murders continued. 

[00:06:22] And the police were unable to find the killer. 

[00:06:26] More than 2000 people were interviewed. 

[00:06:30] Over 300 people were investigated by the police, and 80 people were detained, they were put into jail. 

[00:06:42] But to no avail, the killer was still at large, he still wandered the streets. 

[00:06:49] And so the public decided to take things into their own hands. 

[00:06:55] A group of volunteer citizens in London's East End patrolled the streets looking for suspicious characters because they were unhappy with the police's efforts.

[00:07:08] But still, there was no sign of him. 

[00:07:12] And there were hundreds of theories about who he actually was, or even, was it one individual or a group of people?

[00:07:21] Some said that the fact that the murders happened around weekends or public holidays and all within a very close vicinity of one another, they were very close to one another, meant that he must have been a man who lived locally. 

[00:07:40] But others thought that The Ripper must be an educated, upper-class man.

[00:07:46] The use of his knife suggested that he had some anatomical knowledge, so did this suggest he might have been a doctor or even an aristocrat who came to the poor area of London with the specific objective of killing prostitutes? 

[00:08:05] Remember in 1888 it was a lot easier to get away with murder, to evade capture by the police.

[00:08:14] Obviously there was no CCTV, no DNA matching and that area of London in particular had pretty poor street lighting. 

[00:08:26] To be caught you would have to either be found at the scene or have left some identifying object at the scene or be found covered in blood soon after. 

[00:08:38] And for this reason, a vast amount of crimes at this time went unsolved.

[00:08:45] And the role of the police was more from a preventative point of view than a crime solving one. 

[00:08:55] And with The Ripper, the police were none the wiser, they didn't have any real information about who he was or why he was committing these horrible crimes. 

[00:09:07] One of the theories about why Jack The Ripper chose prostitutes as his victims was actually because, compared to other types of people, they were the easiest to kill and get away with

[00:09:22] They worked at night, and by default they were already working on the edges of society. 

[00:09:30] So who actually was Jack The Ripper? 

[00:09:34] Well, there are over a hundred suspects, some of whom are taken more seriously than others. 

[00:09:42] But there's no conclusive evidence with which we can say with certainty that we know who he is.

[00:09:49] So let's just take a look at three of these suspects from very different backgrounds, which I think shows you just how little idea people really have of who Jack The Ripper was and how, even now, with the ability to match DNA, we aren't any clearer on the identity of this infamous serial killer

[00:10:19] So our first suspect is Aaron Kosminski, a Jewish Polish immigrant who worked as a barber in London's East End.

[00:10:31] Police records at the time give the surname Kosminski as a suspect, however, no first name was given. 

[00:10:41] Over a hundred years after the crimes were committed, in 2014, scientists claimed that this man, Aaron Kosminski, they claimed that his DNA matched the DNA on a scarf from one of the victims, and therefore he must have been Jack The Ripper.

[00:11:02] They'd finally discovered the true identity of Britain's most famous serial killer

[00:11:09] But others dispute the methodology of this, and it's definitely not definitive evidence to point the finger at Kosminski.

[00:11:18] Secondly, and I should say that this is a claim that isn't taken very seriously, there is a theory that Lewis Carroll, the author of books such as Alice in Wonderland, was the true identity of Jack The Ripper. 

[00:11:37] The theory goes that Caroll was traumatized by experiences as a child at school, which left him with a desire to kill women.

[00:11:49] The supposed evidence for this is that there are anagrams, where you rearrange the letters of a word or sentence, so there are anagrams in letters that he published in which he admitted to the crimes.

[00:12:07] What's more according to his main accuser Caroll wrote a diary every day in purple ink, but on the days of the Whitechapel killings, he switched to black.

[00:12:24] But I wouldn't worry too much, nobody really takes this claim particularly seriously, and I'm just mentioning it here to illustrate quite how bizarre some of the theories are.

[00:12:37] Our final suspect was an Irish-born American named Francis Tumblety. 

[00:12:47] Not only was Tumblety a suspect in the Jack The Ripper case, but he was also a suspect, or rather a suspect as an accomplice to the murder of Abraham Lincoln. 

[00:13:02] He was obviously quite an eccentric individual and he claimed to have done things ranging from knowing Charles Dickens and the German emperor King Wilhelm through to Napoleon The Third, the emperor of France. 

[00:13:18] He is suspected of being The Ripper because of his hatred of women and a particular hatred of prostitutes, after he had a failed marriage to a prostitute. 

[00:13:31] He was arrested in November, 1888 for something completely different, for homosexual activity, which was still illegal in England at that time. 

[00:13:42] While he was awaiting trial, he posted bail, where you pay a sum of money to be allowed out of jail, but knowing that he was a suspect also in the Jack The Ripper case, he fled to France and then to the United States. 

[00:14:03] Despite the British police's attempts to extradite him, and bring him back to Britain for questioning, the Americans wouldn't do it, saying that there wasn't enough evidence. 

[00:14:16] So he was never brought back to be questioned.

[00:14:20] So that's just three of the hundred plus people who are suspected of being Jack The Ripper. 

[00:14:29] I'll leave the link in the show notes and you can peruse the rest at your leisure if you, if you'd like. 

[00:14:36] One thing that I think everyone can agree on is that whoever Jack The Ripper really was, the secret of his identity seems to be something he took to the grave with him.

[00:14:49] It's telling that in Madame Tussaud's Waxworks museum in London where there are representations of famous characters from history, Jack The Ripper is represented just as a shadow. 

[00:15:05] Okay then I appreciate that the subject matter of today's podcast was a little dark, but I hope that you'll agree that the subject is pretty fascinating.

[00:15:18] Jack The Ripper has captured the attention of the British public for over 130 years now. 

[00:15:25] And given that the mystery shows no signs of being solved, I think that it's going to continue to fascinate and disgust people for many years to come. 

[00:15:36] As a reminder, if you haven't checked out the animating transcripts yet, then do head to Leonardoenglish.com and have a look.

[00:15:44] I like to think of them as subtitles, but way better. 

[00:15:48] So it's definitely worth a look if you haven't done so already. 

[00:15:53] And as a final point, which came as a little bit of a surprise to me, but a very pleasant surprise, the podcast was featured as the top English learning podcast on iVoox, the Spanish speaking world's favourite podcast app last week, so if you are someone who discovered the show through that, welcome, bienvenidos, it's great to have you. 

[00:16:16] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English. 

[00:16:21] I'm Alastair Budge and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF PODCAST]



Continue learning

Get immediate access to a more interesting way of improving your English
Become a member
Already a member? Login

[00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:11] I'm Alastair Budge. 

[00:00:13] Today we are going to be talking about the most infamous serial killer in British history, Jack The Ripper. 

[00:00:24] In 1888, over the period of about two and a half months, London's East End was terrorised by the gruesome killings of young women at the hands of a killer nicknamed Jack The Ripper. 

[00:00:41] To this day, we don't know who he really was, although you'll have to wait until the end of the podcast for the identities of some of the suspects. 

[00:00:52] Before we get right into it though, I just have two little things to say.

[00:00:57] Firstly, today's podcast is obviously about a serial killer, and so if you happen to be listening with children nearby or if you just don't want to listen to something where we'll be talking about some quite nasty murders, then now is probably a good time to press pause.

[00:01:16] Secondly, regular listeners will know that the transcript and key vocabulary for the podcast can be found on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:01:26] We also just recently launched our animating transcripts, which are kind of like subtitles for podcasts, but way cooler because you can press on a word and find out its definition.

[00:01:39] So that's definitely worth checking out if you haven't done so already, and that's at leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:01:46] Okay then, public service announcements over. 

[00:01:51] The year is 1888 and we're in Victorian London's infamous East End. 

[00:01:58] To say that life in London's East End was rough in 1888 would be an understatement. 

[00:02:06] It was overcrowded after an influx of immigrants from Ireland, Russia, and Eastern Europe had come to seek a better life and escape persecution

[00:02:20] But living conditions were absolutely atrocious

[00:02:24] Over 50% of children born in the East End of London died before they were five years old. 

[00:02:33] Violent crimes were frequent and alcoholism was rife.

[00:02:40] Poverty was widespread, and this ended up driving many women to prostitution. 

[00:02:48] Just in the Whitechapel area alone, the Whitechapel area of East London, there were 62 known brothels and 1,200 women working as prostitutes. 

[00:03:01] Crime against these women was commonplace and abuse at the hands of men was an unfortunate reality for the prostitutes working in the area, and it wasn't often reported to police or reported in the press.

[00:03:17] However, on Friday the 31st of August, 1888 something happened that was evidently pretty different to the norm. 

[00:03:29] A woman named Mary Ann Nichols was found dead, brutally murdered, her throat and her lower abdomen, her stomach, cut in horrible ways.

[00:03:43] I'm not going to go into all of the gory details because, well, they are pretty gory, pretty nasty. 

[00:03:51] Suffice it to say that it was clearly the work of a sadistic individual. 

[00:03:58] Then through September, October, and November, the bodies kept on appearing. 

[00:04:06] Women murdered in a similar way in the middle of the night, the killer's signature move, the things that linked the killings, was the way in which their throats were cut and the fact that their stomachs were often brutally cut, pretty horrible stuff. 

[00:04:26] It's thought that one person was responsible for the killings of at least five of these women, perhaps as much as 11. 

[00:04:37] They had all been killed in a similar gruesome way within about one mile of each other, over the course of this two and a half month period. 

[00:04:48] But there was no sign of the killer. 

[00:04:53] The time that these murders took place coincided with a boom in cheap newspapers, which one would probably say were a mixture of news and fiction, they certainly embellished the news. 

[00:05:11] And they seized upon the Jack The Ripper case, publishing all of the gory details to a public that was following this horrible murder investigation in real time as the bodies continued to pile up

[00:05:27] At the height of the investigation, over 1 million newspapers relating to the case were sold each day.

[00:05:38] The journalists would also try lots of tricks to boost the circulation of their newspapers, for example writing in to the police, so writing letters to the police, pretending to be Jack The Ripper. 

[00:05:54] Indeed, the nickname Jack The Ripper was given to the killer because that's how a letter sent to the police was signed. 

[00:06:03] Although now it's believed that this was actually a fake letter sent by a journalist to try to boost interest in the case and sell more newspapers. 

[00:06:17] Despite all of the public awareness, the murders continued. 

[00:06:22] And the police were unable to find the killer. 

[00:06:26] More than 2000 people were interviewed. 

[00:06:30] Over 300 people were investigated by the police, and 80 people were detained, they were put into jail. 

[00:06:42] But to no avail, the killer was still at large, he still wandered the streets. 

[00:06:49] And so the public decided to take things into their own hands. 

[00:06:55] A group of volunteer citizens in London's East End patrolled the streets looking for suspicious characters because they were unhappy with the police's efforts.

[00:07:08] But still, there was no sign of him. 

[00:07:12] And there were hundreds of theories about who he actually was, or even, was it one individual or a group of people?

[00:07:21] Some said that the fact that the murders happened around weekends or public holidays and all within a very close vicinity of one another, they were very close to one another, meant that he must have been a man who lived locally. 

[00:07:40] But others thought that The Ripper must be an educated, upper-class man.

[00:07:46] The use of his knife suggested that he had some anatomical knowledge, so did this suggest he might have been a doctor or even an aristocrat who came to the poor area of London with the specific objective of killing prostitutes? 

[00:08:05] Remember in 1888 it was a lot easier to get away with murder, to evade capture by the police.

[00:08:14] Obviously there was no CCTV, no DNA matching and that area of London in particular had pretty poor street lighting. 

[00:08:26] To be caught you would have to either be found at the scene or have left some identifying object at the scene or be found covered in blood soon after. 

[00:08:38] And for this reason, a vast amount of crimes at this time went unsolved.

[00:08:45] And the role of the police was more from a preventative point of view than a crime solving one. 

[00:08:55] And with The Ripper, the police were none the wiser, they didn't have any real information about who he was or why he was committing these horrible crimes. 

[00:09:07] One of the theories about why Jack The Ripper chose prostitutes as his victims was actually because, compared to other types of people, they were the easiest to kill and get away with

[00:09:22] They worked at night, and by default they were already working on the edges of society. 

[00:09:30] So who actually was Jack The Ripper? 

[00:09:34] Well, there are over a hundred suspects, some of whom are taken more seriously than others. 

[00:09:42] But there's no conclusive evidence with which we can say with certainty that we know who he is.

[00:09:49] So let's just take a look at three of these suspects from very different backgrounds, which I think shows you just how little idea people really have of who Jack The Ripper was and how, even now, with the ability to match DNA, we aren't any clearer on the identity of this infamous serial killer

[00:10:19] So our first suspect is Aaron Kosminski, a Jewish Polish immigrant who worked as a barber in London's East End.

[00:10:31] Police records at the time give the surname Kosminski as a suspect, however, no first name was given. 

[00:10:41] Over a hundred years after the crimes were committed, in 2014, scientists claimed that this man, Aaron Kosminski, they claimed that his DNA matched the DNA on a scarf from one of the victims, and therefore he must have been Jack The Ripper.

[00:11:02] They'd finally discovered the true identity of Britain's most famous serial killer

[00:11:09] But others dispute the methodology of this, and it's definitely not definitive evidence to point the finger at Kosminski.

[00:11:18] Secondly, and I should say that this is a claim that isn't taken very seriously, there is a theory that Lewis Carroll, the author of books such as Alice in Wonderland, was the true identity of Jack The Ripper. 

[00:11:37] The theory goes that Caroll was traumatized by experiences as a child at school, which left him with a desire to kill women.

[00:11:49] The supposed evidence for this is that there are anagrams, where you rearrange the letters of a word or sentence, so there are anagrams in letters that he published in which he admitted to the crimes.

[00:12:07] What's more according to his main accuser Caroll wrote a diary every day in purple ink, but on the days of the Whitechapel killings, he switched to black.

[00:12:24] But I wouldn't worry too much, nobody really takes this claim particularly seriously, and I'm just mentioning it here to illustrate quite how bizarre some of the theories are.

[00:12:37] Our final suspect was an Irish-born American named Francis Tumblety. 

[00:12:47] Not only was Tumblety a suspect in the Jack The Ripper case, but he was also a suspect, or rather a suspect as an accomplice to the murder of Abraham Lincoln. 

[00:13:02] He was obviously quite an eccentric individual and he claimed to have done things ranging from knowing Charles Dickens and the German emperor King Wilhelm through to Napoleon The Third, the emperor of France. 

[00:13:18] He is suspected of being The Ripper because of his hatred of women and a particular hatred of prostitutes, after he had a failed marriage to a prostitute. 

[00:13:31] He was arrested in November, 1888 for something completely different, for homosexual activity, which was still illegal in England at that time. 

[00:13:42] While he was awaiting trial, he posted bail, where you pay a sum of money to be allowed out of jail, but knowing that he was a suspect also in the Jack The Ripper case, he fled to France and then to the United States. 

[00:14:03] Despite the British police's attempts to extradite him, and bring him back to Britain for questioning, the Americans wouldn't do it, saying that there wasn't enough evidence. 

[00:14:16] So he was never brought back to be questioned.

[00:14:20] So that's just three of the hundred plus people who are suspected of being Jack The Ripper. 

[00:14:29] I'll leave the link in the show notes and you can peruse the rest at your leisure if you, if you'd like. 

[00:14:36] One thing that I think everyone can agree on is that whoever Jack The Ripper really was, the secret of his identity seems to be something he took to the grave with him.

[00:14:49] It's telling that in Madame Tussaud's Waxworks museum in London where there are representations of famous characters from history, Jack The Ripper is represented just as a shadow. 

[00:15:05] Okay then I appreciate that the subject matter of today's podcast was a little dark, but I hope that you'll agree that the subject is pretty fascinating.

[00:15:18] Jack The Ripper has captured the attention of the British public for over 130 years now. 

[00:15:25] And given that the mystery shows no signs of being solved, I think that it's going to continue to fascinate and disgust people for many years to come. 

[00:15:36] As a reminder, if you haven't checked out the animating transcripts yet, then do head to Leonardoenglish.com and have a look.

[00:15:44] I like to think of them as subtitles, but way better. 

[00:15:48] So it's definitely worth a look if you haven't done so already. 

[00:15:53] And as a final point, which came as a little bit of a surprise to me, but a very pleasant surprise, the podcast was featured as the top English learning podcast on iVoox, the Spanish speaking world's favourite podcast app last week, so if you are someone who discovered the show through that, welcome, bienvenidos, it's great to have you. 

[00:16:16] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English. 

[00:16:21] I'm Alastair Budge and I'll catch you in the next episode.

[END OF PODCAST]



[00:00:04] Hello, hello, hello, and welcome to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English. 

[00:00:11] I'm Alastair Budge. 

[00:00:13] Today we are going to be talking about the most infamous serial killer in British history, Jack The Ripper. 

[00:00:24] In 1888, over the period of about two and a half months, London's East End was terrorised by the gruesome killings of young women at the hands of a killer nicknamed Jack The Ripper. 

[00:00:41] To this day, we don't know who he really was, although you'll have to wait until the end of the podcast for the identities of some of the suspects. 

[00:00:52] Before we get right into it though, I just have two little things to say.

[00:00:57] Firstly, today's podcast is obviously about a serial killer, and so if you happen to be listening with children nearby or if you just don't want to listen to something where we'll be talking about some quite nasty murders, then now is probably a good time to press pause.

[00:01:16] Secondly, regular listeners will know that the transcript and key vocabulary for the podcast can be found on the website, which is Leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:01:26] We also just recently launched our animating transcripts, which are kind of like subtitles for podcasts, but way cooler because you can press on a word and find out its definition.

[00:01:39] So that's definitely worth checking out if you haven't done so already, and that's at leonardoenglish.com. 

[00:01:46] Okay then, public service announcements over. 

[00:01:51] The year is 1888 and we're in Victorian London's infamous East End. 

[00:01:58] To say that life in London's East End was rough in 1888 would be an understatement. 

[00:02:06] It was overcrowded after an influx of immigrants from Ireland, Russia, and Eastern Europe had come to seek a better life and escape persecution

[00:02:20] But living conditions were absolutely atrocious

[00:02:24] Over 50% of children born in the East End of London died before they were five years old. 

[00:02:33] Violent crimes were frequent and alcoholism was rife.

[00:02:40] Poverty was widespread, and this ended up driving many women to prostitution. 

[00:02:48] Just in the Whitechapel area alone, the Whitechapel area of East London, there were 62 known brothels and 1,200 women working as prostitutes. 

[00:03:01] Crime against these women was commonplace and abuse at the hands of men was an unfortunate reality for the prostitutes working in the area, and it wasn't often reported to police or reported in the press.

[00:03:17] However, on Friday the 31st of August, 1888 something happened that was evidently pretty different to the norm. 

[00:03:29] A woman named Mary Ann Nichols was found dead, brutally murdered, her throat and her lower abdomen, her stomach, cut in horrible ways.

[00:03:43] I'm not going to go into all of the gory details because, well, they are pretty gory, pretty nasty. 

[00:03:51] Suffice it to say that it was clearly the work of a sadistic individual. 

[00:03:58] Then through September, October, and November, the bodies kept on appearing. 

[00:04:06] Women murdered in a similar way in the middle of the night, the killer's signature move, the things that linked the killings, was the way in which their throats were cut and the fact that their stomachs were often brutally cut, pretty horrible stuff. 

[00:04:26] It's thought that one person was responsible for the killings of at least five of these women, perhaps as much as 11. 

[00:04:37] They had all been killed in a similar gruesome way within about one mile of each other, over the course of this two and a half month period. 

[00:04:48] But there was no sign of the killer. 

[00:04:53] The time that these murders took place coincided with a boom in cheap newspapers, which one would probably say were a mixture of news and fiction, they certainly embellished the news. 

[00:05:11] And they seized upon the Jack The Ripper case, publishing all of the gory details to a public that was following this horrible murder investigation in real time as the bodies continued to pile up

[00:05:27] At the height of the investigation, over 1 million newspapers relating to the case were sold each day.

[00:05:38] The journalists would also try lots of tricks to boost the circulation of their newspapers, for example writing in to the police, so writing letters to the police, pretending to be Jack The Ripper. 

[00:05:54] Indeed, the nickname Jack The Ripper was given to the killer because that's how a letter sent to the police was signed. 

[00:06:03] Although now it's believed that this was actually a fake letter sent by a journalist to try to boost interest in the case and sell more newspapers. 

[00:06:17] Despite all of the public awareness, the murders continued. 

[00:06:22] And the police were unable to find the killer. 

[00:06:26] More than 2000 people were interviewed. 

[00:06:30] Over 300 people were investigated by the police, and 80 people were detained, they were put into jail. 

[00:06:42] But to no avail, the killer was still at large, he still wandered the streets. 

[00:06:49] And so the public decided to take things into their own hands. 

[00:06:55] A group of volunteer citizens in London's East End patrolled the streets looking for suspicious characters because they were unhappy with the police's efforts.

[00:07:08] But still, there was no sign of him. 

[00:07:12] And there were hundreds of theories about who he actually was, or even, was it one individual or a group of people?

[00:07:21] Some said that the fact that the murders happened around weekends or public holidays and all within a very close vicinity of one another, they were very close to one another, meant that he must have been a man who lived locally. 

[00:07:40] But others thought that The Ripper must be an educated, upper-class man.

[00:07:46] The use of his knife suggested that he had some anatomical knowledge, so did this suggest he might have been a doctor or even an aristocrat who came to the poor area of London with the specific objective of killing prostitutes? 

[00:08:05] Remember in 1888 it was a lot easier to get away with murder, to evade capture by the police.

[00:08:14] Obviously there was no CCTV, no DNA matching and that area of London in particular had pretty poor street lighting. 

[00:08:26] To be caught you would have to either be found at the scene or have left some identifying object at the scene or be found covered in blood soon after. 

[00:08:38] And for this reason, a vast amount of crimes at this time went unsolved.

[00:08:45] And the role of the police was more from a preventative point of view than a crime solving one. 

[00:08:55] And with The Ripper, the police were none the wiser, they didn't have any real information about who he was or why he was committing these horrible crimes. 

[00:09:07] One of the theories about why Jack The Ripper chose prostitutes as his victims was actually because, compared to other types of people, they were the easiest to kill and get away with

[00:09:22] They worked at night, and by default they were already working on the edges of society. 

[00:09:30] So who actually was Jack The Ripper? 

[00:09:34] Well, there are over a hundred suspects, some of whom are taken more seriously than others. 

[00:09:42] But there's no conclusive evidence with which we can say with certainty that we know who he is.

[00:09:49] So let's just take a look at three of these suspects from very different backgrounds, which I think shows you just how little idea people really have of who Jack The Ripper was and how, even now, with the ability to match DNA, we aren't any clearer on the identity of this infamous serial killer

[00:10:19] So our first suspect is Aaron Kosminski, a Jewish Polish immigrant who worked as a barber in London's East End.

[00:10:31] Police records at the time give the surname Kosminski as a suspect, however, no first name was given. 

[00:10:41] Over a hundred years after the crimes were committed, in 2014, scientists claimed that this man, Aaron Kosminski, they claimed that his DNA matched the DNA on a scarf from one of the victims, and therefore he must have been Jack The Ripper.

[00:11:02] They'd finally discovered the true identity of Britain's most famous serial killer

[00:11:09] But others dispute the methodology of this, and it's definitely not definitive evidence to point the finger at Kosminski.

[00:11:18] Secondly, and I should say that this is a claim that isn't taken very seriously, there is a theory that Lewis Carroll, the author of books such as Alice in Wonderland, was the true identity of Jack The Ripper. 

[00:11:37] The theory goes that Caroll was traumatized by experiences as a child at school, which left him with a desire to kill women.

[00:11:49] The supposed evidence for this is that there are anagrams, where you rearrange the letters of a word or sentence, so there are anagrams in letters that he published in which he admitted to the crimes.

[00:12:07] What's more according to his main accuser Caroll wrote a diary every day in purple ink, but on the days of the Whitechapel killings, he switched to black.

[00:12:24] But I wouldn't worry too much, nobody really takes this claim particularly seriously, and I'm just mentioning it here to illustrate quite how bizarre some of the theories are.

[00:12:37] Our final suspect was an Irish-born American named Francis Tumblety. 

[00:12:47] Not only was Tumblety a suspect in the Jack The Ripper case, but he was also a suspect, or rather a suspect as an accomplice to the murder of Abraham Lincoln. 

[00:13:02] He was obviously quite an eccentric individual and he claimed to have done things ranging from knowing Charles Dickens and the German emperor King Wilhelm through to Napoleon The Third, the emperor of France. 

[00:13:18] He is suspected of being The Ripper because of his hatred of women and a particular hatred of prostitutes, after he had a failed marriage to a prostitute. 

[00:13:31] He was arrested in November, 1888 for something completely different, for homosexual activity, which was still illegal in England at that time. 

[00:13:42] While he was awaiting trial, he posted bail, where you pay a sum of money to be allowed out of jail, but knowing that he was a suspect also in the Jack The Ripper case, he fled to France and then to the United States. 

[00:14:03] Despite the British police's attempts to extradite him, and bring him back to Britain for questioning, the Americans wouldn't do it, saying that there wasn't enough evidence. 

[00:14:16] So he was never brought back to be questioned.

[00:14:20] So that's just three of the hundred plus people who are suspected of being Jack The Ripper. 

[00:14:29] I'll leave the link in the show notes and you can peruse the rest at your leisure if you, if you'd like. 

[00:14:36] One thing that I think everyone can agree on is that whoever Jack The Ripper really was, the secret of his identity seems to be something he took to the grave with him.

[00:14:49] It's telling that in Madame Tussaud's Waxworks museum in London where there are representations of famous characters from history, Jack The Ripper is represented just as a shadow. 

[00:15:05] Okay then I appreciate that the subject matter of today's podcast was a little dark, but I hope that you'll agree that the subject is pretty fascinating.

[00:15:18] Jack The Ripper has captured the attention of the British public for over 130 years now. 

[00:15:25] And given that the mystery shows no signs of being solved, I think that it's going to continue to fascinate and disgust people for many years to come. 

[00:15:36] As a reminder, if you haven't checked out the animating transcripts yet, then do head to Leonardoenglish.com and have a look.

[00:15:44] I like to think of them as subtitles, but way better. 

[00:15:48] So it's definitely worth a look if you haven't done so already. 

[00:15:53] And as a final point, which came as a little bit of a surprise to me, but a very pleasant surprise, the podcast was featured as the top English learning podcast on iVoox, the Spanish speaking world's favourite podcast app last week, so if you are someone who discovered the show through that, welcome, bienvenidos, it's great to have you. 

[00:16:16] You've been listening to English Learning for Curious Minds by Leonardo English. 

[00:16:21] I'm Alastair Budge and I'll catch you in the next episode.

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