Victims attributed to Jack the Ripper (L-R): Mary Ann Nicholls, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catharine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly.
Jack the Ripper lives in lore, an icon of butchery, the most infamous murderer in history. But what of his hapless victims? Who were they?
The legend of Jack of the Ripper – the first serial killer in recorded history – conjures up visions of fog shrouded streets, the sound of footsteps clicking loudly and menacingly on cobble-stoned alleys, visions of a fiend with evil eyes, thin fingers and a black medical bag dangling from them. The London tours that celebrate his life feed off that image.
Despite the dozens of books written about Jack the Ripper, books crammed with speculation about his identity and his motivation, the fact is no one knows anything about the actual man who committed the most infamous murders in crime annals. The only thing positively known about the Ripper is who his victims were. Over time, they've been all but forgotten. Who were they?